New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath was in Niagara today to attend the last races of the season at Fort Erie Race Track. She was joined by NDP horse racing advocate Taras Natyshak. From a grandstand packed with horse racing fans, Horwath rejected Kathleen Wynne’s view that there’s no future for the Fort Erie Race Track.
“Fort Erie Race Track is a big part of Ontario’s history and an important part of the local economy. We can’t let it disappear,” said Horwath. “By promising ‘a different kind of future’ for the Fort Erie Race Track, the Premier is gambling with the economic future of Fort Erie and the entire region. And by turning her back on horse racing at the historic Fort Erie Race Track Kathleen Wynne is turning her back on the people of Niagara.”
Horwath said that if this government was truly interested in creating jobs then it would stand by track workers and horse people in Fort Erie, and in track communities across the province like Ajax, Peterborough, Sarnia, Sudbury, Dresden, Belleville, Ottawa, Woodstock and Leamington. She noted that when cuts were initially announced in 2011, New Democrats were able to deliver transitional support for horse racing families, and since then New Democrats have been fighting to re-instate the profit-sharing Slots At Racetracks Program.
“The Premier says she wants to respect the history and culture of Ontario, but she’s choking off a track that’s been running races for 116 seasons. The Premier claims she wants to make horse racing ‘sustainable’, but she’s putting families out of work in Fort Erie” said Horwath.
“That’s not respect. And that’s not sustainable for the people of Niagara” said Horwath.