NORM PUTTICK/Straight Talk
The slots in Fort Erie are to close. The decision on Casino Niagara will come today. It no doubt will be left open.
The minority Ontario Liberals are getting a lot of bad advice these days, or is it pay back time for all the noise Niagara politicians have been making the last few years about health care?
I believe the racetrack and the slots are a good fit for Fort Erie. I believe the horse racing industry when it says it contributes to the Ontario economy with breeding, purchase of farm products and the many jobs it supports. I feel sorry for those who will be laid off and lose their income that no doubt will not be replaced soon with a new job anywhere in Niagara.
A question was asked by a regional councillor who wanted to know why the NDP and Conservatives have been so quiet on this issue. The Conservatives and Tim Hudak are in a tight situation.
They can’t say much when the long time Conservative Paul Godfrey is sitting with Liberal finance Minister Dwight Duncan to make the announcements of closure and change in the gambling industry in Ontario.
If Hudak wants to be premier someday he will need Godfrey. The NDP is questioning the closure of a food plant in St.Catharines. I am sure they are compiling questions about the slots closing. On their list should be a question to Hudak: “Will you and your members support a motion to keep the Fort Erie slots and the racetrack investment in the Ontario 2012 budget?”
What is of concern to me still is the lack of layoffs, or closure, within the economic development offices of the Region. What do they accomplish? I would ask again kindly produce a list of the jobs created by EDOs and staff. I mean through their own efforts. Jobs that are brand new to Niagara and not referred to the offices.
Toronto will get their casino without a referendum or needs study. The conservative Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has already made his position known on this. And Casino Rama near Orillia will lose the daily busses from the GTA.
Niagara Falls will obviously lose business. The Regional Mayors will ask their staff to arrange yet another summit to discuss how to retain or bring jobs to Niagara. Bet on it.
If I was a mayor I would arrange to have Hudak attend an open regional council meeting and ask the above question about keeping the Fort Erie slots open. This is too important to Fort Erie to not make elected MPPs accountable.
The leaders of the provincial NDP and Conservatives can get the votes in the Legislature to save the slots and jobs. Let’s hope they have the courage to do so.