Dear Industry Members,
Tonight (January 26) Kathleen Wynne became the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party and is expected to be sworn is as Premier shortly. Dwight Duncan has already stated his intention to resign as Minister of Finance and will not run in the next election.
As Kathleen Wynne’s transition team comes together, OHRIA will continue our extensive outreach to government officials.
Overall, in my opinion, Kathleen Wynne as Premier presents our industry with an opportunity to develop a long term, sustainable plan for the horse racing and breeding industry in Ontario.
Wynne has stated she intends to serve as her own Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and she has also made it clear she intends to work with the horse racing industry to implement a plan that follows the transition panel’s recommendations.
John Wilkinson, a member of the transition panel, has served as co-chair of Wynne’s campaign and is rumoured to be her choice for her Chief of Staff.
The Liberal leadership election process has been a net positive for our industry. In Kathleen Wynne we may find we have a willing partner in the Premier’s office, in addition to the support of key endorsers, whose help made her victory possible.
As you are aware, Eric Hoskins ran on a platform that included addressing our industry’s needs within sixty days of becoming Premier. Both Gerard Kennedy and Charles Sousa, who along with Hoskins endorsed Wynne, responded to OHRIA’s government relations efforts with positive comments about our industry’s future and the need for government to work with the horse racing and breeding industry.
There is still much work to be done, but in these early days of a new administration, I am confident we will find the opportunity to engage new decision makers, who will likely be more motivated than their predecessors to stand up to protect our industry.
I will keep you posted of our activities and interactions with government as things develop.
President, Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association