Politics
Ontario Tories want to end plan to build casinos

Ontario PC MPP Lisa MacLeod speaks at the Rideau Carleton Raceway where she announced details from the party's latest policy white paper-A New Deal for the Public Sector-that impact horseracing and casinos in the Ottawa area. December 14,2012

Credits: ERROL MCGIHON/QMI AGENCY

CHRIS HOFLEY | QMI AGENCY

OTTAWA - If the Ontario Conservatives form the next government, they plan to throw a wrench into plans to build 29 new casinos across the province.

Flanked by two of her Queen's Park colleagues at the Rideau Carleton Raceway on Friday, Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod announced a PC government would wipe the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation's casino plan off the table.

Calling it an "empire-building plan" by the OLG, MacLeod reiterated her worry that a new casino in Ottawa - widely expected to be built downtown - would spell the end of the Raceway.

The track's closure would put at least 500 racetrack staff out of work, said McLeod.

Her concerns were echoed by Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark and Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry's Jim McDonell.

Clark said the Liberal government's support for building the new casinos has "pitted community and community, neighbour against neighbour."

The PC plan involves giving racetrack operators first shot at buying slot machine operations in an effort to save the industry while still "providing a positive return to taxpayers."

The party also suggested allowing referendums in municipalities being considered for a casino to allow residents to decide if their city is suitable for a new gambling facility.

The three politicians stressed the success of the exisitng Slots-at-Racetracks programs, which brings in $1.2 billion each year.

Across the province, some 60,000 jobs would be in jeapordy if the program was scrapped, they said.

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