By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Thursday October 11, 2012
Give Hamilton time for casino referendum
Ontario NDP leader and Hamilton Centre MPP Andrea Horwath is calling on the provincial government to hit the pause button on its massive modernization of gaming in Hamilton to allow cities to hold referendums.
“It’s time for government to stop talking down to people an open up its ears and listen to people for a change,” Horwath said at a press conference at City Hall Wednesday morning. “It’s time to listen to local voices here in Hamilton and in communities across the province, as well as the voices of the people in the horseracing industry.”
Horwath filed a motion at the Ontario Legislature last week asking the Dalton McGuinty Liberals to postpone the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s modernization “in order to allow those municipalities who wish to undertake a referendum on the issue of being a host site for a casino in a cost-effective way on the municipal ballot.”
The motion has yet to be debated in the house.
“It does give us a great deal of credibility moving forward,” said Councillor Sam Merulla, who hosted Wednesday’s press conference along with Horwath. “I’m just pleased that there’s a possibility still, from a political perspective as a result of Andrea’s leadership, that it can become a reality.”
The massive modernization, announced earlier this year, includes plans for a single casino in the Hamilton/Burlington area. It’s still not clear whether that means Flamboro Downs will stay open – council’s preference – or whether a new facility will be built downtown, on the waterfront, or in another location. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)