“We need a referendum. Let people here have a say about whether they’re interested in one or not.”
– Tim Hudak, The Toronto Sun, April 17, 2012
(Hamilton, ON) – The Liberals have once again squashed local opinions in Hamilton on new casinos when Dalton McGuinty selfishly and irresponsibly pulled the plug on the Legislature, killing Bill 76 and a hundred other pieces of legislation, Ontario PC Economic Development and Innovation Critic Monte McNaughton said today.
McNaughton’s Bill 76 – Ensuring Local Voices in New Casino Gambling Development Act, 2012 – would have ensured Hamilton and all other municipalities in Ontario held a local referendum before accepting a casino, helping to prevent further damage inflicted by the McGuinty Liberals when they dropped this requirement and turned their backs on local communities.
“Councilors in Hamilton are struggling to make the right decision by their constituents because there’s no clear way for people to voice what they want,” McNaughton stated. “Ensuring Local Voices would have given people in Hamilton more control over new casinos going up in their backyards. They would have had their say through referendums.”
More than a 100 municipalities, from Gananoque to Wawa, have voiced their strong support for the PC casino bill by passing resolutions and providing direct endorsements. The bill was set to pass into law this fall with bipartisan support from the NDP Caucus and several Liberal MPPs who knew it was wrong to silence the public on this issue.
“In the midst of a jobs and debt crisis, the Liberals abandoned Ontario families by shutting down parliament to escape another scandal,” McNaughton said. “They put a negligent government that wasn’t doing its job on autopilot, leaving overspending to continue unchecked and the debt to grow.”
One-off decisions to build casinos in communities without local support are further evidence the Liberals have no integrated and comprehensive plan to create jobs and grow the economy, McNaughton continued.
“Liberal leadership candidates and MPPs need to step up and recall the Legislature immediately,” McNaughton concluded. “MPPs need to be back at work passing legislation that will positively impact people in Hamilton and Ontarians across the province.”