The Ontario Harness Horse Association recently met with New Democratic Party Member Paul Miller. Mr. Miller is a strong advocate for protecting the horse racing industry and the jobs that are associated with it. As a matter of fact, Mr. Miller was one of the many MPPs that spoke at the OHHA rally on February 22, 2012. On Thursday, March 8, 2012 Mr. Miller continued to show his support for the horse racing industry by reading a member’s statement into the record at Queen’s Park. The following is a transcript of that member’s statement as recorded in Hansard.LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ONTARIO Thursday 8 March 2012 MEMBERS’ STATEMENTS Horse racing industry
Mr. Paul Miller: The Ontario horse racing and breeding industry employs 60,000 people, more than 31,000 full-time, including trainers, grooms, feed store owners, feed growers, barn crews, concession staff, paying $1.5 billion a year in wages. Workers in the racing community pay taxes and contribute to our economy. Tomorrow, they could be on the welfare and unemployment lines.
One writer to me quoted Minister Duncan, “If it’s not a subsidy, then why do they need it?” To which he replied, “My paycheque is not a subsidy, but I really need it.” Another said, “I know one thing: the Liberals are sure waking up a lot of sleeping votes. Scare enough horses and you’ll get a stampede.”
Cripple the rural community and the economy, and $2 billion in horse racing and breeding industry expenditures will disappear in primarily rural and agricultural communities. Any change to this agreement should be negotiated because it could virtually end the successful revenue stream, costing the government $1.1 billion a year.
Speaker, the horse racing industry revenue is not—I repeat, not—a subsidy. It is a revenue-sharing partnership with the OLG, providing the government with revenue of more than $1 billion a year towards funding health care and education. This agreement is not a secretive subsidy for just a few wealthy horse owners. It was reached because Ontarians mostly voted they did not want slot machines.
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