Liberals Admit Mistake on Horse Racing: PC’s Continue to Stand Up for Rural Ontario

For Immediate Release

January 28, 2013

(Queen’s Park) – The Liberal Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Ted McMeekin, has finally come clean to the horse racing industry that the Liberals made a mistake by rushing the decision to end the Slots-at-Racetracks Program (SARP). This decision needlessly risked over 55,000 jobs in Ontario’s once thriving horse racing industry and alienated many rural communities.

“It is about time that the Minister owned up to the mistakes this government has made in terms of their treatment of rural Ontario,” stated Lisa Thompson, MPP (Huron-Bruce).

“Ontario’s horse racing industry has been in complete chaos because of the Liberal government’s decision to end SARP without any planning,” said Thompson. “Now it’s nearly a year later the Minister is just coming to terms that he dropped the ball on this important issue. It took risking 55,000 jobs and nearly a year of uncertainly for the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs to even admit he made a mistake and this government has continuously ignored rural concerns.”

In a recent interview with Andrew Dreschel of the Hamilton Spectator, McMeekin admitted his government dropped the ball on horse racing and stated that he hoped that the Liberals would be ‘A little bit more collaborative then we’ve been. And that we’ll listen better than we have. And we will quit trying to wedge issues.’

“Talk about wedging issues,” said Thompson. “The Minister and his Liberal government picked an unnecessary battle with the harness racing community and for what? To come back almost a year later and say ‘sorry I was wrong’? If the Minister had sat down, weighed the pros and cons and actually talked to those in the industry then we wouldn’t have had this crisis and he wouldn’t have to issue this mea culpa. This government needs to eliminate making policy on the fly, and start doing the research and listening to the people.”

“Tim Hudak and the PCs of Ontario have been standing up for rural Ontario when this Liberal government refused to listen and we will continue to do so,” said Thompson. “I look forward to continue representing my constituents when the legislature finally resumes.”


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