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Ontario Agriculture Minister Says He “Dropped the Ball” On Horse Racing

Ontario PC MPP Speaks Out: Asks Why Ag Minister Didn’t Speak Up When He Had the Chance

By, Farms.com

The Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Ted McMeekin made a surprising admission while being interviewed by a Hamilton reporter, saying that his Liberal government “dropped the ball” on the horse racing issue.

This admission has one PC MPP, Randy Pettapiece (Perth-Wellington) concerned that the Liberal’s attitudes won’t change when it comes to rural and small-town issues even with a new premier.

“Finally, someone in the Liberal cabinet has stated the obvious,” said Pettapiece in a release. “They dropped the ball. But that’s an understatement. And I wonder why the minister didn’t speak up when he had the chance.”

In March 2012 the Liberal government announced that it was canceling the Slots at Racetracks Program (SARP) effective March 31, 2013. This announcement was done with little to no consultation by industry stakeholders.

In Aug. 2012 Pettapiece and Ted Arnott (Wellington-Halton) MPP found evidence that the government had already made the decision to cancel SARP before the economic analysis assessing the impact of potentially ending SARP was completed.

“Their legacy is a legacy of contempt for rural Ontario. It’s not just horse racing; it’s their expensive energy policies that have helped drive away our manufacturing jobs, their forcing industrial wind farms on communities that don’t want them. None of that is likely to change with the same government in charge.”

The Ontario legislature has been prorogued since Oct. 15, 2012 and the new Liberal leader is expected to recall the legislature Feb. 19, 2013.

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