Hiawatha Horse Park. BlackburnNews.com file photo.

PCs Promise To Get Horse Racing Back On Track

The Ontario PC Party is promising to resurrect the Slots at Racetracks program if elected in the June 7 provincial election.

Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey says tracks like Hiawatha Horse Park were devastated when it was axed by the Liberal government in 2012.

He says they’ll form a committee to consult with the community and review options to reinstate the program.

“We’ll get this thing up and running because we believe in horse racing,” says Bailey. “It’s something that the culture of small-town Ontario and southwestern Ontario was built on, it goes back almost 200 years here. It was a complete atrocity the way it was destroyed. It was bureaucrats in Toronto and MPP’s that didn’t understand rural Ontario that did it.”

Bailey says the private sector would buy and operate the slots.

Some casino operators have non-compete clauses which could make it challenging to install slots at racetracks but Bailey says they’ll look at changing the legislation if they have to.

The PCs say the Liberal government is currently under a civil lawsuit regarding their changes to the horse racing industry.

Court documents reveal the government anticipated the changes would lead to “23,000 job losses and 27,000 dead horses,” and that part of the rationale behind the decision was to wedge the PCs and NDP in a by-election.