Wynne puts horse racing industry out to pasture

Oct. 16, 2013

QUEEN’S PARK – Premier Kathleen Wynne unveiled the long-awaited horse racing industry transition panel’s five-year plan for the industry at Grand River Raceway in Wellington County last week.

But the plan was akin to closing the barn door after the horses have gotten
out. The panel’s report recommends retaining just eight tracks – Hanover,
Clinton, Grand River, Western Fair, Flamboro, Georgian, Mohawk and
Woodbine – which is a steep decline from 17 tracks just two years ago.
Changes in the industry have already resulted in 9,000 people losing their

“Although there isn’t a track in the riding, Haldimand and Norfolk did support many horse breeders and support industries,” said Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett. “Kathleen Wynne was at the cabinet table when that decision was made, but she didn’t speak up.”

Although the panel was formed in the wake of the cancellation of the Slots at Racetrack Program, there was no consultation prior to the decision being made.

In the draft report, released in 2012, panel members warned, “If the industry closes, the panel has received expert advice that provision should be made for the humane dispatch and disposal of 7,500-13,000 horses in early 2013”. That information was not included in the final report – at least not the public one.

Although a definitive connection can’t be made, it’s coincidental that Barrett has been approached by horse lovers concerned about the increasing slaughter of horses for meat.

In September, Barrett’s caucus colleague Randy Pettapiece exposed the true cost of the Liberals’ horse racing transition panel. Through a freedom of information request, he learned that the three-member panel has spent, so far, over $526,000 in compensation and expenses.

Pettapiece also pointed out that unlike the Liberals, who only seem to come up with solutions when a Liberal seat is on the line, the Opposition have long had constructive ideas to help rescue the province’s horse racing industry.


For more information
Contact MPP Toby Barrett at 1-8000-903-8629