After a turmoil-filled month during which the PC government faced multiple protests in response to controversial changes, the government has announced that they will be investing $10 million annually into Ontario’s horse racing industry. According to Finance Minister Vic Fedeli, the investment will help protect and create new jobs in the industry. The massive boost in funding will also go towards the breeding of Ontario horses.
News of the grant has some Ontarians flooding social media with harsh words and criticism. Many attacked the government for supposedly prioritizing the horse racing industry over the province's education and healthcare systems.
Whhhhyyyyyyyyyy? If fiscal responsibility is of utmost importance, why are we taking money from schools and therapists and giving it to HORSES? I cannot even. pic.twitter.com/ipEUMoz0hu— AmeliaBehaviour (@BehaviourAmelia) March 21, 2019
“Why of course horse racing is far more important than education and health care,” reads one sarcastic tweet.
Why of course horse racing is far more important then education and health care— Mike MacKay (@MackaymMike) March 21, 2019
Others took a more direct approach, accusing Ford of funding the horse races for his own benefit. “Wow! That's a decent amount to bet on the ponies! Does Ford bet to win or place? Too bad he doesn't have his van to park outside the track and bet from there. This is one way to cut Ontario's debt!” wrote another user.
Wow! That's a decent amount to bet on the ponies! Does Ford bet to win or place? Too bad he doesn't have his van to park outside the track and bet from there. This is one way to cut Ontario's debt!!— Rick Hewat (@kidrickhewat) March 21, 2019
But they won't give anything to a charity that helps youth with Autism. Figures. They love Buck a Beer, Pot, Gambling and the Premier wants to pimp his ride and have a casino. Wonderful 🤮— Sue Hutchinson (@rangerwyld) March 21, 2019
You’ve got your priorities completely screwed up. 🤔— Jeff Garner 🇬🇧🇨🇦🎗 (@McGuffieLad) March 21, 2019
Despite the backlash sparked by the announcement, the news really isn’t that shocking when you consider the fact that a long-term funding agreement was previously signed between the industry and Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., Global News points out. The Ontario government announced several funding packages through the Optional Slots at Racetracks for tracks that had lost or were set to lose their slot facilities.
In response to the protest, Ford’s government made several alterations to the province's autism program this past Thursday. Families affected by the changes will now receive provincial funding, regardless of their income and children currently benefitting from publicly-funded care will continue to receive the treatment for its outlined duration.