Many questions surround the motion that will be presented and debated in Ontario’s provincial legislature this Thursday, March 28. What does it mean for the slots-at-racetracks program? Is the motion binding? And are the Progressive Conservatives working with the NDP on this motion?
In an interview conducted late last week, Norm Borg and Essex MPP Taras Natyshak discuss the motion that will be presented and debated at Queen’s Park on Thursday, March 28. That motion calls for the extension of the Slots at Racetracks Program beyond the March 31, 2013 deadline and for referendums to be held before new casinos are built in Ontario.
The text of Natyshak’s motion is as follows:
That, in the opinion of this House, the following principles should be immediately applied to the Province’s gaming policy:
1) Implementation of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s transformation of gaming strategy be suspended until after the 2014 Ontario municipal elections in order to allow municipalities wanting to be a host site for a casino to undertake a referendum on the issue on the 2014 ballot;
2) A panel, composed of representatives nominated by the three recognized parties, be tasked with hearing from stakeholders and drafting fair spending limits for parties taking part in the referendum on casinos;
3) Changes to the Slots at the Racetracks partnership be frozen, in order to enable the horseracing industry to continue to operate while the government engages the industry in a robust consultation with the goal of ensuring its survival, stability and growth; and
4) Current funds from unclaimed purses due to racetrack closures be made available to local or community race tracks. Filed March 18, 2013.
Natyshak told Trot Radio’s Norm Borg that the motion is not binding, thus it will have no immediate impact.
“It indicates the will of the house,” says Natyshak. “It indicates, quite clearly to the government where we would like them to take their direction and even more importantly in a minority government where they’re required to make some compromise and understand where that can be made.”
It was reported last week that both the NDP and PC Parties were onboard with this motion, even helping getting it tabled. Natyshak says that’s not the case.
“We didn’t actually manage to get together [with the Tories], this is something that is an initiative right from our party,” noted Natyshak. “The Tories played no part in facilitating this motion coming forward at all. In fact, they expressed quite clear reservation in supporting it.”