A year after we came out to live in the great untamed west back in 2015, and while looking for lower cost-of-living options, we went to a ranch on Highway 33 near Carmi that had just three RV sites on an expanse of ranch land on the West Kettle River. It was the first time in our lives that we actually contemplated living full time in a fifth wheel. The new owners of this ranch raised horses, and as we chatted we learned that they were among the thousands who were devastated – and left Ontario – when the recently elected Liberal government pulled all the slots out of the racetracks. The only reason this was done, as far as I could see it, was to placate the existing, and sweeten the pie for potentially new, stand-alone casino owners who wanted an even bigger share of the province’s gambling pie.
I remembered this event almost 5 years ago today, when the Ontario liberals under Premier Kathleen Wynn all but killed the horse breeding industry, as I read this morning’s Blackburn news item entitled “Ontario to Invest in Horse Racing Industry”. Good thing I had an empty stomach when I saw that headline, otherwise my breakfast would have been in my lap.
Here is a story in the London Free Press (where my late uncle Dick worked many moons ago) from March 23 of 2013, attempting to quantify the devastation back then. I thought of the countless innocent horses put down (or worse) when their owners saw their livelihoods collapse. Tens of thousands of jobs – lost. There were many things that government did to raise my hackles, but nothing disturbed me more than that. Not even buying votes by cancelling gas plants already half-constructed at a cost of over 1 billion dollars, then getting away with it scot-free; in fact, getting rewarded with a majority government in the next election, thanks to the Toronto vote. Much like Toronto being the tale that wags the Ontario dog, out here in B.C. I have been told it is the same thing with Vancouver. The reason behind building those gas plants in ridings that didn’t want them, was to make up the shortfall on the grid after shutting down the clean-coal power plants – the one in Courtright among them. But don’t get me started on that one.
So, here we are five years later, with the scattered remains of a once-thriving industry in a shambles, and that financially and morally bankrupt bunch of crooks have the unmitigated gall to ride in on their white horse like heroes and save the day. If they’d just left well enough alone in the first place.
I guess there must be an election coming up in Ontario soon . .