Tuesday 17 August 1993

Ontario Casino Corporation Act, 1993, Bill 8

Michael Hurst

James Adkin

Norman Ordower

Melvin Muroff

Ontario Restaurant Association

Evelyn Slobasky, president, Windsor region

Jim Evans, vice-president, Windsor region

Thom K. Racovitis, member, Windsor region

Paul Oliver, president

R.C. Pruefer Co Ltd

William G. Docherty, president

Art Gallery of Windsor

Dr Lois Smedick, board member and chair, acquisitions committee

Brian A. McKenzie

Freeds of Windsor

Alan Orman, co-owner

Mark Buckner

Megeed Ragab; Jason Smith

Windsor-Essex County Development Commission

Mary Penfold, chair

Jim Lyons, manager, commercial development

Paul T. Bondy, commissioner

Old Riverside Business Improvement Association

Sandra Stanciu, chairperson

Windsor Convention and Visitors Bureau

Jonathan Deneau, general manager

Cleary International Centre

Sergio Grando, general manager

Continued overleaf

Continued from overleaf


*Chair / Président: Johnson, Paul R. (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings/

Prince Edward-Lennox-Hastings-Sud ND)

*Acting Chair / Président suppléant: Mills, Gordon (Durham East/-Est ND)

Vice-Chair / Vice-Président: Wiseman, Jim (Durham West/-Ouest ND)

Caplan, Elinor (Oriole L)

*Carr, Gary (Oakville South/-Sud PC)

Cousens, W. Donald (Markham PC)

Jamison, Norm (Norfolk ND)

*Kwinter, Monte (Wilson Heights L)

*Lessard, Wayne (Windsor-Walkerville ND)

Mathyssen, Irene (Middlesex ND)

North, Peter (Elgin ND)

Phillips, Gerry (Scarborough-Agincourt L)

Sutherland, Kimble (Oxford ND)

*In attendance / présents

Substitutions present / Membres remplaçants présents:

Abel, Donald (Wentworth North/-Nord ND) for Mr North

Callahan, Robert V. (Brampton South/-Sud L) for Mrs Caplan

Dadamo, George (Windsor-Sandwich ND) for Mr Jamison

Duignan, Noel (Halton North/-Nord ND) for Mr Sutherland

Eves, Ernie L. (Parry Sound PC) for Mr Cousens

Martin, Tony (Sault Ste Marie ND) for Mr Wiseman

McClelland, Carman (Brampton North/-Nord L) for Mr Phillips

Mills, Gordon (Durham East/-Est ND) for Mrs Mathyssen

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Duignan, Noel, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations

Kormos, Peter (Welland-Thorold ND)

Clerk / Greffière: Grannum, Tonia

Staff / Personnel: Murray, Paul, research officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 0902 in the Cleary International Centre, Windsor.


Consideration of Bill 8, An Act to provide for the control of casinos through the establishment of the Ontario Casino Corporation and to provide for certain other matters related to casinos / Loi prévoyant la réglementation des casinos par la création de la Société des casinos de l'Ontario et traitant de certaines autres questions relatives aux casinos.

The Chair (Mr Paul Johnson): I'm calling the standing committee on finance and economic affairs to order. Welcome, everyone, to the second day of hearings on Bill 8.


The Chair: Our first presenter today is Mayor Michael Hurst from the city of Windsor. Welcome, sir. You have 30 minutes for your presentation. You can use as much of that time as you would like for your presentation, and whatever time remaining we will have for questions from members of the committee.

Mr Michael Hurst: Am I on?

The Chair: You may start as soon you're on.

Mr Hurst: I'm always on. Thank you. I'm going to make a --

The Chair: If you would try your mike please, Mr Hurst.

Mr Hurst: Testing, testing, testing.

The Chair: Okay. If you would please proceed. Sorry for the delay.

Mr Hurst: First of all, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for letting me speak. I have been anticipating this opportunity for some long number of months, to be honest with you. But I think, more importantly, I want to thank you sincerely for coming to the city of Windsor. I believe it's a very important statement that you have made, and we're very appreciative of it.

We're here, as I understand it, to speak to Bill 8, and I fully intend to do that but in a very compressed and short way. We will be leaving some written submissions in terms of amendments that we think should at least be considered and hopefully some of the proposed amendments incorporated into the legislation before final reading.

I would also like the opportunity to make a brief presentation about the city of Windsor, about the people of the city of Windsor and about the provincial government and how the provincial government has acted and reacted to the people of the city of Windsor. I think it's important that we have a full, comprehensive understanding of the precise relationship that has existed between the people of the city of Windsor and the government of the province of Ontario on this particular issue.

I will conclude, if I haven't run out of time and you haven't cut me off, by bringing you back into the document called the Request for Proposals. It is a fundamental document that must be understood if the committee is going to be in a position to do right by the people of the city of Windsor, and I sincerely believe that this is precisely what this committee wants to do.

In respect to amendments to Bill 8, members of city council feel it important and desirable for a local community to have some form of direct voice in the operational issues regarding the casino. We believe that this could be dealt with through municipal representation on the Ontario Casino Corp or alternatively through the establishment of a community advisory group advising the crown corporation. We go into more detail in respect to that proposition, and again we'll be leaving the document with you.

Part II, subsection 19(3), of the bill deals with powers provided to the city of Windsor in regard to the casino site, and we believe that there should be more definitive statements in respect to the powers of the local municipality vis-à-vis the casino site.

We believe as well that players in the casinos must be 21 years of age or older. We think it's fundamental. We think it's very important if you understand the relationship between the city of Windsor and the city of Detroit, Michigan. Windsor city council strongly recommends that this provision be reconsidered and that the age limit for playing the casino be raised from age 19 to age 21.

Under-age gaming in the casino is made an offence under this bill and individuals convicted for under-age gaming are subject to a penalty. However, this restriction is limited only to the individual gaming. There's no penalty placed on the operator for permitting the offence to occur, and it is most important that the operator be aware that severe penalties result from allowing under-age play to occur, and these penalties and this requirement should be clearly specified in the legislation.

We have as well a number of proposals in respect to, again, the casino area, and I will leave these with the committee in due course.

The other issue that I'd like to raise in respect to the legislation is the issue of licensing revenue. We have a very well-prepared and well-thought-out proposal which would suggest that licensing fees for slot machines are something that should be given serious consideration. Again, we are fleshing that out in great detail in the document that I will be leaving with you.

Again, thank you for coming to the great city of Windsor, the southernmost city in this great nation. Across the street from Detroit, Michigan, our largest three taxpayers are Chrysler Canada, Ford Canada and General Motors Canada. We are the automotive capital of Canada and we are damned proud of it.

Our proximity to the United States and our reliance upon the cyclical automotive industry have made us tough, have made us resilient and have made us doggedly determined to make things happen ourselves. We believe and practise that success is the intersection of opportunity and hard work, and that's why there will be a casino in Windsor, Ontario.

Windsor, Ontario: A population of about 200,000 people, some of the most caring, giving and generous people on the face of the earth. You have to know this: We lead the nation in per capita United Way giving each and every year and we've done so for about the last 20 years.

We have people who make up the most productive workforce in Canada. Ask yourself the question, why did General Motors, why did Ford, why did Chrysler make the large investment announcements recently in this community, part and parcel of a series of investment announcements that totalled $4 billion -- that's billion with a "b"? Because we do in fact have one of the most productive workforces in North America.

Windsor, Ontario: You know, we have a university. We have a community college. We have a police service -- which, by the way, in my opinion at least, is one of the best police services in all of Canada -- to say we are safe and we are secure, and our police personnel make certain that that is always the case.

We have beautiful parks. We have a tremendous opportunity in terms of our riverfront. We have a travel time from the periphery of the city of Windsor to downtown of 15 minutes. We have a mayor who is a Detroit Tigers fan.

Mr Robert V. Callahan (Brampton South): You can't win 'em all.

Mr Wayne Lessard (Windsor-Walkerville): Lucky the minister isn't here.

Mr Hurst: All of this to say we are not Haliburton, we are not Welland, we are not Toronto; we are Windsor, and you've got to understand that if you want to do right by us. And I sincerely believe, again, that that's exactly what you want to do.

In my inaugural speech in December 1991, I argued that many challenges lay ahead. At that time the recession was getting worse. Unemployment was rising very quickly. Our retailers downtown were in trouble. Our options for job creation, downtown revitalization and economic diversification were limited. I promised that the mayor and city council would work very hard indeed to address these problems, but I also said that we could not do the job alone, that the community must have input.

One of our first endeavours to meet the challenge was to address something called cross-border shopping. After consulting with local retailers and the cross-border task force, I met with Premier Rae within three months of coming into office. The reason: to help discuss solutions to reduce cross-border shopping, which was crippling our downtown. Within five months the province responded to border communities like ours and agreed to allow stores to open on Sunday.

The point I'm trying to make is that there was a severe problem in this border community. We went to the Premier of the province of Ontario, and the Premier of the province of Ontario not only listened to us but heard what we had to say. As a result of that, we were able to get a more level playing field. Certainly it did not eliminate the problems of cross-border shopping, because we know that is a very intricate issue, to say the least, but it did allow us an opportunity for our community to compete on a more level playing field, and that's all that we were asking for. For the first time in many years, I would submit, there was hope felt by our community.

In that same spirit of working with the community, we now have the casino opportunity, and this opportunity was the result of leadership and hard work by the community and its elected representatives. Over 10,000 letters went to the Premier supporting casino gaming in Windsor, Ontario. It is essential, in my opinion, that the committee members know and understand that the mayor and city council provided the province with a unanimous council resolution requesting the implementation of casino gaming here in Windsor and, very importantly, that this was done long before any announcement by the province of Ontario regarding casino gaming.


I have with me today support letters in the form of resolutions in favour of the casino from organizations representing business and labour plus each and every town in the county of Essex and inclusive of the corporation of the county of Essex. Many of these community organizations and groups will be speaking in the next few days supporting casino gaming.

Honourable members of this committee, the people in this community have spoken. Their message is clear. They want the casino.

Again, in my inaugural speech I referred to job creation as one of our primary challenges. Our city has a published or official unemployment rate of somewhere between 12% and 13%. We know it is much higher and we know that the citizens of the city of Windsor know it's much higher. Look at the welfare rolls, look at the unemployment lines, look at the devastation that has happened to many families in our community. We think it's probably as high as 17%. Ladies and gentlemen, the casino will provide employment opportunities for 8,000 people -- 8,000 jobs, probably affecting 20,000 or 25,000 people.

Anecdotally, I coach a Little League baseball team. A father whose son plays with my little boy came up to me a couple of weeks ago and said: "Mr Mayor, what am I going to do? I haven't been able to work for over a year. My unemployment insurance is running out. What am I going to do? When will there be a casino in the city of Windsor? When will I be given back the dignity of gainful employment?" I tried to assure him that we're all working hard to bring this opportunity to this community, and specifically to individuals such as that. He doesn't want to stay at home. He doesn't want to be reliant upon a social welfare system. He wants an opportunity to participate, to have gainful employment so that his little boy, I suppose, can be proud of him and know and understand that he's going to work every day.

As I said in my 1991 inaugural speech, the issue of employment is not just an issue of economics; it is one clearly of personal dignity. We say on behalf of those 8,000 people and their families, their little boys and their little girls: Do not prevent this opportunity from happening.

I want the committee to know that we in the city of Windsor understand our unique strengths because we work at it. Our strategic location is one of these strengths. There are 30 million to 40 million people within a three- to four-hour drive of the city of Windsor, and they are mainly American. No other community in the province of Ontario can say that. The casino will, in our opinion, without question, draw them to the city of Windsor.

In terms of the city of Windsor, in terms of the community as a whole, the casino will assist us in diversifying our local economy. I don't have to remind the committee that our community, as a border community, has been vulnerable to large cyclical swings resulting in heavy unemployment, as I've just stated, and the resulting stress of families in our community, as I have just stated. The casino, in our opinion, will help reduce these cyclical swings in our economy; diversification will help stabilize the economic fabric of our community.

Before I go any further, I want it on the record that I found comments by some members of the Legislature during the second reading of Bill 8 very unsettling indeed. These were comments which showed, without question, an utter and profound lack of knowledge about the city of Windsor, about the people of the city of Windsor, about the importance and delicacy of the casino issue and how our community has responded to it.

I also want the committee to understand that we have done our homework in preparing for the casino. I asked a member of my staff late last night to go through my diary for the last 17 months. We have held, personally, 122 meetings on the casino issue. The point I'm trying to make is that we haven't taken anything for granted and we haven't taken the position that this is a simple proposition and we haven't taken the position that all we have to do is stand back and it will happen. There's a profound, fundamental work ethic in this community: success, intersection of opportunity and hard work. We know how important the issue is and consequently we are certainly prepared to do what is necessary to allow it to happen and to allow it to happen in a proper fashion.

Many have argued that we are turning Windsor into someplace called Atlantic City. I visited Atlantic City and I can assure you that we have worked hard with the cooperation of the province of Ontario to ensure that this experience will not happen in the city of Windsor. With all due respect, there's very little valid comparison that can be made between Atlantic City, New Jersey, and the city of Windsor in the province of Ontario in Canada. The province understands and shares our vision. This is not going to be a scenario which creates Atlantic City, New Jersey, in this jurisdiction. It simply will not happen.

Honourable members of this committee, please take the time to study and scrutinize the request for proposals. The conclusion is obvious; the conclusion is clear. The city of Windsor, in partnership with the province of Ontario, has issued a series of clear instructions to ensure this casino will complement our downtown, not detract from it, and the instructions, of course, are going to be followed.

Some have argued and attempted to paint a picture whereby our community will be subjected to a large influx of crime. Somehow, the possibility of 12,000 visitors a day will be responsible for the demise of the high level of police protection we currently enjoy. Let me assure the committee that the mayor, city council, the chief of police and the province of Ontario all want, all desire adequate resources allocated to address the security issue. The leadership of this city, I can tell you, will not settle for anything less. The leadership of the province, I can tell you, will not settle for anything less either.

The committee should note that we in the city of Windsor have never suggested that the casino would be a panacea. We have suggested that the casino provides an opportunity for job creation, economic diversification and downtown revitalization. Honourable members of this committee, the mayor, city council and province of Ontario have not taken their eye off the ball.


Let me give you an example. We in the city of Windsor for many, many years have been attempting to put in place a scenario which would allow for the positive expansion and therefore necessary revitalization of our downtown area. If you could direct your attention to that map on the wall, it's called the twin anchor concept. The twin anchor concept is going to allow this community to take steps up and forward as never before. The opportunity has been given to us, presented to us, as a result of the casino announcement.

On the extreme right-hand side you will see the site for the permanent casino. It's approximately 14 acres in size and it is not a coincidence that it is located on Riverside Drive, which is right across the street, so to speak, from the Detroit River.

You will notice in the upper right-hand side something called the transient marina. The transient marina issue is an issue that we are trying to bring into reality to coincide with the opening of the doors of the permanent casino. Last night, city council adopted the merits of a feasibility proposal, and we are now in the process of dealing with the Ministry of Environment and Energy and the federal Ministry of the Environment in terms of the applicable processes that we will have to follow to meet environmental requirements. We have an anchor on the extreme east end of the central business district.

If you look to the extreme left, you will see something outlined in red, and it's called the multi-use facility. It will be part and parcel of that which will constitute the western anchor for downtown Windsor. So on the one hand we have an anchor on the east; on the other hand we have an anchor on the west. It is going to create economic opportunity, investment opportunity, in the downtown area.

It used to be because of the historical evolution that our downtown was a restricted area. If you put blinders on and if you restrict yourselves, there's no opportunity for improvement. What the casino opportunity has done is it has given us that opportunity for improvement. Our horizons are going to expand, and with that there are going to be many positive opportunities indeed for the city of Windsor.

I don't know where you stayed last night, but if you stayed in the Hilton or you stayed in the Compri and you had a room facing the river, you had to be impressed. It's one of the most beautiful scapes that one can imagine. If you had a chance, perhaps you've been down to our riverfront. We as a council adopted last November a master plan for riverfront development. The casino opportunity is going to allow us to proceed with that master plan in a much more timely way, which is very important to the city of Windsor in the sense that, as I said earlier, we believe that we know and understand our unique natural assets. Our geographical location is it; our climate is it. If we are going to progress as a city, we need opportunities for diversification. We have access to tens of millions of people in the United States. The provincial government, a couple of years ago, committed itself to funding jointly with the city of Windsor, and there was a tiny bit from the feds, to create the facility that we're in today.

We believe that the casino opportunity allows the city of Windsor to take advantage of the huge multibillion-dollar convention/trade show business that exists in the midwest United States. The casino is going to give us that little bit of difference. It's going to allow us, I believe, to pull our chairs up to the bigger tables and to compete very well for that US business.

If we are successful in that regard, it means then that we are not going to be dealing with recycled Ontario money but rather we are going to be dealing with brand-new money from the United States of America. I know I'm rambling on but I kind of enjoy this.

I want to take a few minutes -- and Mr Chairman, you'll have to do your job and cut me off -- and go through the Request for Proposals. Again, this the fundamental document. This is the document that all of us have to know and understand. It came as a result of many, many meetings indeed, not only with the mayor of the city of Windsor, not only with the council of the city of Windsor but with police services, with charity organizations, with our development commission, with our convention and tourist trade, with those who operate in the charitable gaming sector, because of course we in the city of Windsor are blessed by our geographic location. We are blessed by the fact that those who attend our bingos in the main are from the United States of America with brand-new money.

The ministry issued this RFP and it is meant to solicit the highest-quality proposal for the casino complex. The objectives of the ministry: "to act as a catalyst for community economic development;" -- "community" means city of Windsor -- "to create jobs;" -- it means creating jobs in the city of Windsor -- "to promote the tourism and hospitality industries;" -- in part in the city of Windsor to assist us in meaningful economic diversification -- "to establish a viable new industry in the province, and to provide revenues to the province," and what's wrong with that?

"These objectives must be attained" -- this is what's said in the bible -- "in a manner that also takes into account the objectives of the city," -- that's the city of Windsor -- "which are: to ensure the casino complex assists in the revitalization of the city's central business district and acts as a stimulus to commercial development, and to ensure that the casino complex is compatible with the city's waterfront master plan, civic square urban design and `twin anchor' concept."

By the way, I have to say this: The civic square urban design was a collaboration between the provincial government and the city of Windsor. It's an absolutely outstanding document, an economic and planning blueprint that will assist the city of Windsor in revitalizing itself. My hat's off to the province of Ontario for agreeing to joint-fund.

The Chair: I'll just interject at this time and let you know that you have four minutes left.

Mr Hurst: Four minutes? Cut me off at any time, Mr Chairman, but not before the four minutes.

I want to point out that in the basic structural framework, "Proponents are encouraged to be creative in their proposals with respect to achieving the objectives described above. However, the ministry expects proponents to take into account the following:" -- very important -- "Any lease or purchase will provide a fair return" -- repeat, fair return -- "to the city on its acquisition costs," an opportunity for the city of Windsor, I would submit, to generate some additional revenue. The same thing is stated again and again in the request for proposals.


Page 7, "Operational Framework." Here's the point I want to make:

"A local advisory committee comprised of community representatives will be established. The crown corporation and the successful proponent will consult with that committee on issues which are of interest to the community concerning the casino complex."

Proponents should know that the qualitative aspects of the proposal are as important as the quantitative aspects. I would submit that the mayor had a little bit to do with this wording, because this wording is absolutely critical. We didn't want the situation to be presented where a particular proponent could basically buy the opportunity. Quality is as important as the quantitative aspects.

We asked for and were given the opportunity to have established a review panel comprised of prominent Ontario residents, established to assist the government and the selection committee in making certain that the integrity of the selection process was maintained. I'm very pleased to say that I asked one Charles Clark, who I know Carm knows, to sit on that committee. He's agreed to do so. In a meeting with him last week, he expressed to me that he was very satisfied indeed with the way the selection process was proceeding.

Mr Chairman, you make me rush, and when I rush I'm not very good.

"A comprehensive and creative plan regarding the type of entertainment that is proposed must demonstrate that the proposal makes a unique contribution to the city," ie, the city of Windsor, "and that the proposal is compatible with the other available entertainment options in the city and identifying possible areas for synergy with existing entertainment facilities."

It just goes to the issue that the common thread throughout the request for proposal document is: Pay attention to the fact that you're in a community that actually has living and breathing people with aspirations, a city that has some sense of where it wants to go in the future, a city that has expressed, I would submit, very clearly a vision for the city of Windsor. Pay attention to the fact that you're in a defined community that has certain unique characteristics about it.

There are mentions made of the need to interact with St Clair College. I mentioned earlier that we had a community college, and there's going to be an interaction there. It indicates: Tell us how residents will be integrated into senior operational and management positions. Indicate what preferences, if any, will be given to local or Canadian vendors. Indicate the synergies, if any, that derive from the proponent's existing business activities. The proponent should outline the types of public education and problem gambling prevention strategies that could be implemented as part of its operation of the casino complex.

The Chair: Regretfully, Mr Hurst, your time has expired. I thank you very much for making a presentation before the committee today.

Mr Noel Duignan (Halton North): On a point of information, Mr Chair: Is the mayor of Windsor leaving that material and making it available to the members of the committee, a copy of his statement? He indicated that he had some other amendments he would like to see and some other information. Are you leaving that for the members of the committee?

Mr Hurst: Do you want copies for all members of the committee?

The Chair: If you leave the originals, we can make copies for the members. Great. The clerk has the copies. Thanks very much.


The Chair: The next presenter is the police chief of Windsor, Mr James Adkin, if he could come forward to make his presentation, please. I will also let all the presenters know as they come forward that when we get to the point when you've got four or five minutes left, if you haven't left time for questions, I'll let you know that's approximately the time you have left.

Mr Adkin, whenever you're ready to proceed.

Mr James Adkin: Mr Chair and members of the committee, it's a pleasure for me to have the opportunity to appear here this morning. The mayor is always a very difficult act to follow. You will note that I clearly am not a politician; I don't speak as well or likely as long. But at any rate I will have a statement to make and then will be glad to answer any questions that any member of the committee may wish to pose.

I suppose I come to the committee this morning with two hats, really: as a citizen of the city of Windsor for some 35 years and also as a police chief. As a citizen of the city of Windsor for 35 years, I would like to take this opportunity to commend the provincial government for a very wise choice. I see my city as being one that is strategically located properly to accommodate a casino, and I would certainly echo the comments of the mayor earlier that the panoramic view afforded to the people who live and visit here, I would suggest, is second to none.

Something else has happened to my city since October 6 of last year. I now live in a city of hope. I now live in a city where people see that perhaps the opportunity at long last is here and will be afforded to them for employment and for a better way of life and for the purposes of conducting businesses that demonstrate a pride and look good in our community. I think perhaps that may have something to do with declining crime rates in the city of Windsor that we at the police service are very proud of.

The other reason of course is for that reason the province has selected the city of Windsor, and it has selected a city where crime is on the run. There are a number of factors that likely lead to that independent study demonstrating that we are one of the few cities in Canada that is enjoying declines in not only property crimes but also personal crimes in the city of Windsor, and have for the last 18 to 24 months.

As a police chief, you have provided me with a challenge that will certainly last through my career and likely that of my successor, and it is a challenge because, quite frankly, we care. I see that I have a very sincere and honest responsibility to ensure the citizens of this community that they are going to continue to enjoy safe streets, they're going to continue to be able to send their children to the school grounds and playgrounds of the city without fear of criminal interruption, they're going to feel comfortable to move about the city at any time of the day or night and not be fearful that they will be personally attacked or that their families will be personally attacked.

To do that and to continue to be able to ensure that, we must have qualified, well-trained police officers in place at all times to commit to that assurance. There is simply no substitute for good, trained, organized police people; it can't be substituted. Clearly, that must continue in this community, and I will do all I can to ensure that it does, and I have been assured of the support of an overwhelming number of citizens of this city to ensure also that this will be the case.

I will address four particular areas that I feel must be in place to ensure that safety and security issue. I am here today, as well as being the chief of the city of Windsor Police Services, as a voice for the Windsor Police Services Board; I'm here representing the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police and the Criminal Intelligence Service Ontario; I'm also here as the chair of the law enforcement subcommittee of the casino project team.

Those four areas that I believe must be addressed in some form, be they in the regulations of Bill 8 or otherwise, in no particular order, are:

We must have legislation to ensure that the dollars are there to support policing in the various communities of the province of Ontario, Windsor being the first, of course.


It is no secret -- it has been reported well in the media -- that the casino project team, my staff and myself, have been undergoing negotiations now since the early part of this year to arrive at the appropriate number of police people. Some see that as the province reneging on a promise. I see that as the province not wanting to expend a dollar more than it need expend on policing, and I think that's good business. The role I play is to ensure that when the doors of that casino open, there is not one fewer police person than is required to ensure the safety and security of this community and that the proper equipment is in place to ensure that in fact can be guaranteed.

What I have told this community is that until I'm comfortable that that is in place, I will not say so. On the startup date of that casino, when questioned, I will answer honestly as to whether or not I feel we have adequate numbers and adequate equipment to police the community and the surrounding area of the casino.

We've been involved in a negotiation process, and that's not surprising and that's not wrong. What will be wrong is if, at the end of the day, I am forced or I am required to ensure that all is well when I know, based on 32 years of experience, that it's not all well, and I'll be quite prepared to say so.

The legislation must provide an opportunity for police investigators to have access to records, books and documents kept by the casino, rather than to engage in lengthy legal processes to acquire such information when criminal investigations are ongoing. I think the legislation must make it easy for police people to examine all of the records and documents that are kept by the casino.

The Windsor Police Services Board and the Windsor police administration are on record as having great concerns about the age of majority for people in the casino and to partake in games in the casino as being set at age 19. We believe that age should be 21. We understand all the reasons why the government lawyers have advised that the age of majority should be 19, but we take little comfort in that fact. We do not feel that these young people, particularly the 3,500-plus who come to our community every weekend from the United States as a result of the lower drinking age here, are going to be the kind of people this government wants frequenting the casinos. We see ourselves as playing a very significant role when we're responding to calls for service when these people are ejected from the casino because they're not able to conduct themselves in an orderly fashion.

I am not speaking out against all 19- and 20-year-olds, but we have a wealth of experience in this community in dealing with that age group. Particularly at 1 and 2 o'clock in the morning, after having frequented our licensed premises, many of them then conduct themselves in a fashion that is less than desirable for the citizens of this city.

We realize that the age of 19 has been decided on, so I'll leave that, only to suggest to you that I believe you will be anxious to revisit that at a particular point in the future, because I think my point will be borne out.

The last theory I want to touch on is one that all of my organizations feel very, very strongly about, and we urge that legislation be in place to address what we believe to be a very real issue in this regard.

At the present time, and since the announcement and for years well beyond, we will be very diligent, in terms of monitoring organized crime figures that arrive in this community, to consult with business people on a regular basis. We will monitor those activities and we will record them. It's what happens after that that causes the police community and the intelligence community a great deal of concern.

If we have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, or even based on the balance of probabilities, that those business people, and in some cases proponents to vending at the casino, are involved directly or indirectly in criminal activity with a known underworld figure, we're going to fail in our efforts to do that. We may even have difficulty legally bringing that information forward to those who should be aware of it.

If we have a meeting of a known underworld figure in a park with what we believe to be a reputable businessman and that meeting lasts 30 minutes and the following week it lasts another 30 minutes and then the following week it lasts another 30 minutes, chances are they're talking about activities that they don't want to be detected talking about and that may be very detrimental to the operation of the casino.

We're asking for a reverse-onus clause in legislation that if that person was refused a contract, that reputable businessman was refused a contract, the onus would then rest with him or his organization to show why in fact he should be awarded that contract, rather than the police proving beyond a reasonable doubt or based on the balance of probabilities that he is likely engaged in some criminal activity with a known underworld figure. We believe that is absolutely essential to the clean operation of this casino. I know everyone gathered at this table is bent on that being the case. Assist us in that regard. We must have something there that we can use for a reverse-onus situation.

I was told to prepare for 15 minutes. It's now 16 minutes into my presentation. Those are the highlights of what I have to say. The police service is anxious to ensure that we do all that we possibly can to assist what we believe to be a very, very worthwhile project. We need your help. We need your assurances that policing this community is going to be as great a concern to you tomorrow as you say it is today.

With that, I thank you very much again for the opportunity.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Adkin. We have about 14 minutes per caucus. Mr McClelland, you're first.

Mr Carman McClelland (Brampton North): Chief, I'd like to thank you for being here. It's good to see you again.

Mr Adkin: Good to see you.

The Chair: Fourteen minutes total. I'm sorry. I correct myself.

Mr McClelland: A brief comment: Your last comment is something that we'll certainly deliberate about, no doubt, and have a great deal of thought and concern over. It seems to me, though, that it's a difficult position. It's a must-have, according to your presentation. I'd be pleased to hear more from you. I'm sure that'll develop over the course of time and be fleshed out.

In a must-have scenario to provide adequate police or to facilitate adequate policing, in light of the arguments that we don't have the time or, I would suggest, the expertise to get into it at this point in time in terms of the charter problems and the whole history of criminal law, we may find ourselves in a difficult position. I just want to flag that and say that we look forward to future discussion on that issue with you, because I see it quite frankly as being problematic.

In that vein, as we look towards the adequacy of resources for policing, you indicate you are in a negotiation process, and rightly so, and I understand the role that you have to play in that, together with the members of the board to whom you are accountable. The question, I suppose, comes down to this: How do we determine at the end of the day the adequacy of policing? Is it simply a matter of negotiations? How much is relied on empirical data in an objective analysis, if you will?

You as the expert, and I say that advisedly, come to the table and say, "Our empirical data, our objective analysis, say we need x number of policewomen and policemen and special forces, individuals and some other hardware and/or software to do the job." Then you get into this normal negotiating process where you have a lower and you try to meet somewhere in the middle. At what point in time do you revert back to that objective standard and those empirical data, if you will -- I don't want to put words in your mouth -- but draw the line in the sand and say that this is the absolute minimum?


Mr Adkin: I think one of the difficulties that both this police service and the government of Ontario are faced with is that we're both very new to this whole process. My estimates are based on what I honestly believe will be necessary to police the area in and around the casino.

I come to that conclusion by looking at crime trends in our city, by looking at the people casino gambling is likely to bring here, the age range, mid to high 40s. I look at past experience. I look at some issues I know will occur in the community and have already occurred in the community. We take the best data we could possibly get, we draw on our experiences and we arrive at a conclusion. It's written in this document.

Since this document was established the earlier part of this year, there have been some new issues come to our attention, the largest of those being the transit issue. When we drafted this report, we didn't know where the casino was going to be located. We didn't know what games were going to be played there. We didn't even know if the government was going to own or operate it at that point.

So there is room here for some negotiations and a modest trimming down, I would suggest -- underscore "modest" -- of the numbers. But what we've said to the province all along is: "This is a report that contains logic and to that logic there are numbers attached. You show us where our logic is wrong and we'll modify the numbers." They have done that to some degree, but again it equates to a very modest reduction in the numbers.

To answer your question, I think what I must say to you, in fairness, is it's a wait-and-see situation. What I'm urging and what the government is agreeing to is that we must have a monitoring process in place so that we can monitor, audit our calls for service, hopefully on a quarterly basis, and if I'm too ambitious or the government is not anxious enough to provide, then we must make those adjustments. That's why my first point talked about dollars for policing as part of some legislative requirement.

Mr Callahan: Could I just ask a question, very briefly? I asked it of the deputy minister. Apparently 80% of the people who are estimated will come over and gamble here are from the United States. I asked the deputy minister if they would in fact be exchanging US dollars for Canadian dollars. I cautioned her that this is a very serious opportunity for laundering money.

I'd like you to tell me whether that's correct or not, and if it is, is there any way that you're aware of if they're going to go that route that they could police that -- pardon the use of that terminology -- or in the alternative, would it be better for them to do as they have done in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, where they allow people to gamble in both currencies and avoid the possibility of money being laundered?

Mr Adkin: I agree with your comments that it does provide a greater opportunity for money laundering under the situation that you have reported on. I would say to the honourable members of this committee: Money laundering is a very, very sophisticated enterprise, and anything that can be done to ensure there is proper legislation in place should be. If that means gambling in both currencies in the casino, I would certainly be in support of that.

Mr Ernie L. Eves (Parry Sound): I want to talk very briefly about the issue of the report of the Windsor police and what appeared to be a conflicting report, at least in part, of Niagara University. As I'm sure you're probably aware, your report, based on an estimate of 10,000 visitors a day, calls for an addition of some 40 staff, some 33 of them, if my memory serves me correctly, being police officers themselves.

The Niagara University report, which the government is using, indicates that 12 additional officers are all that would be required, says, "The Windsor Police report fails to fulfil its objectives in five important ways," and then goes on to describe those five important ways. Have you had an opportunity to reflect upon your report and the Niagara report and would you agree that the need, based on 10,000 visitors a day, is now 12 additional officers?

Mr Adkin: The figure of 12 additional officers is absurd. I have been through that report very carefully. I have met with Dr Albanese as late as last Thursday. I have gone over my points of concern very, very carefully with him. I find it amusing. If you check on page 30 of that report, I would suggest to you that he talks about the necessity for a large police presence, a uniformed presence, in and around the casino. Let me tell you what that large police presence equates to.

If he is suggesting that I need 12 uniformed police officers, given contracts that we must live within, that would mean that I have six police officers on duty; the other six will be on days off, vacation, compensation leave, and on it goes. If I have three shifts to cover, that means two officers per shift. I'm responsible for all of the criminal investigations that occur within that casino, I'm responsible for all of the intelligence networking that must be done outside of that casino, I'm responsible for all the street crime that occurs around the casino, and he suggests that I should maintain a large uniformed police presence. I just don't know how, with two police officers out there, that's possible. I told him that and the response I got was not one that satisfied me.

Mr Eves: As an additional question, carrying on with Mr Callahan's question of money laundering, it's an issue that I've raised in the Legislature on numerous occasions. In other jurisdictions where they have casino gambling, money laundering indeed has proven to be a very substantial issue. In the United States, as I'm sure you're aware, there's a provision that the IRS has, which isn't altogether related to crime, I might add -- it's also looking for tax dollars, I would suspect, seeing as how gambling profits or gaming profits in the US are taxable.

However, there is at least a requirement in US jurisdictions that any cash sum in excess of $10,000 has to be duly reported. We noted that 10 Atlantic City casinos have been found lacking, shall we say, in reporting those requirements some 11,829 times, four of which, I believe, out of the nine are still left in the running for the operation of the first casino in the province of Ontario.

Would you not agree -- or perhaps that's too leading a question. Should there not be, by any jurisdiction, be it provincial or federal, some sort of law to try to prevent money laundering in the province of Ontario, as indeed there is in every jurisdiction in the US that I know of that has casino gambling?

Mr Adkin: Clearly, that must be the case. I would go beyond that and suggest that some of the legislation that I see in the United States, although in place, does not have the kind of legislative legitimacy, if you will, for police officers, police people, to be able to do very much about the enforcement aspect. The figures that you quote would certainly bear that out. If you have legislation and either it's not going to be acted on or it's not going to be legislatively legitimate, then we might as well be without it. I would certainly urge that.

The Chair: Mr Duignan.

Mr Duignan: First of all, thank you for the opportunity this morning. I just want to repeat a pledge the minister has made in the House a number of times, that the government will make sure that the proper police services are in place when the casino opens. The casino will not open until we are satisfied of that. The minister in her speech yesterday indicated that so far there are 10 new police officers paid for by the casino. We will pay for any more officers who are shown to be necessary.

The safety of this community, the safety and integrity of the project is of prime importance to this government and we will make sure that the people in this community are going to be protected and secure when they walk the streets or are in their homes in this community. As you know, that's the pledge of this government and of this ministry.

The mayor indicated before the problem with the 19-year-old aspect when it will move the age to 21. We realize that the local police services and others would have preferred the age limit to go to 21. However, after giving careful consideration and looking at some of the legal arguments, we felt that the higher age limit would not have withstood a court challenge under the Human Rights Code or indeed the Charter of Rights. We feel that's where the 19-year-old law will remain.

Mr Callahan: I find that astounding. How can you say --

The Chair: Order. Mr Duignan, please continue.


Mr Duignan: We do have the lawyer for the project here. Maybe she can expound on that particular point at some time in the next couple of days.

Again I couldn't agree more with your statement about the organized crime aspect of it. We do not want to see organized crime in this community or indeed associated with any business in this community associated with the casino project.

I want to leave some time for my colleague from Windsor, Mr George Dadamo. I understand that you have some questions you want to ask of the police chief.

Mr George Dadamo (Windsor-Sandwich): Thank you very much, Mr Duignan. I know that we don't have the luxury, sir, of spending a lot of time, and I may only have a minute or so, but you and the three Windsor members and your staff have sat together in your office and we've certainly discussed a bit about the crime aspect of the whole casino bill and how we were going to attack it.

I know that you've had studies, you've looked at other jurisdictions when it came to crime and casinos and whether they do in fact go hand in hand, and I know that you've discussed how many police officers you think you may need when we're in full operation. What I want to ask you is, have you conducted meetings with the OPP and how do you see a relationship formulating with them? Will they be taking care of the inside and the city of Windsor police will be taking care of the outside?

Mr Adkin: The Police Services Acts of Ontario requires that the Windsor Police Service conduct all investigations within the municipality unless that is relinquished by the police services board, and I would suggest that there is no intention to do that.

The Ontario Provincial Police will be in the casino, as I understand. They will be monitoring the tables; they will be looking for cheating at play. Once that is discovered, the Windsor police will be brought in, in some cases, to take the prisoner, to put together the court brief, to go to court and so on and so forth. So yes, the OPP will be there. Will that mean that the Windsor Police Services is not? No, indeed, not the case at all. We will be and we'll be actively involved in all criminal investigations that occur in that casino.

The Chair: Time has expired. Mr Adkin, I want to thank you very much for your attendance today before the committee.


The Chair: Our next presenter is Mr Norman Ordower, if you would please come forward. Mr Ordower, you also have 30 minutes to make a presentation. The time for your presentation and the time for questions are to be determined by yourself.

Mr Norman Ordower: I'll be brief.

The Chair: If people with private conversations could please move outside so we could have some quiet in here.

Mr Ordower: My name is Norman Ordower. I'm an independent merchant in the city. Our business has been in existence for some 57 years. I'm also the president of the Ottawa Street business association.

I truly approve of the casino. My experience in casino gambling is that some 25 years ago I was down in Las Vegas on a junket and at that point determined that this wasn't my form of enjoyment. I've never been into a casino since, except that back about a month or so ago a casino company invited a group of us down to Mississippi to experience its casino there. We went down and we spoke with business people. There were realtors with us who spoke with people in real estate. I can only tell you that our experience down there was very, very positive.

Am I on the right line? Am I speaking okay?

The Chair: You are doing fine.

Mr Ordower: Fine? Okay. Everything was very, very positive down there, and we had an experience of going into their downtown area. The place that I'm speaking of is Gulfport, Mississippi. When we went into Gulfport, Mississippi, we found it to be an absolute disaster. Many, many stores were boarded up. People did not have in place anything at all to try to get some trade from the casino: no organization, no business association, nothing.

The reason I bring that up is that in Windsor, as you know, as in many other communities, we have BIAs, and we've been talking a lot about how we can benefit from tourists who will come to Windsor. I believe that, for the most part, we are in place. We're just waiting and trying to work things out, how we can market for more business in our community.

As you know, we've suffered a long time with cross-border shopping, we've lost a lot of business because of this, besides all the taxes that we endure. It's been very, very detrimental to our business.

I want to bring out something about what I heard on a talk show regarding casino gambling on Indian reservations through the States. The reason I'm bring this out is the benefits that they appear to have reaped from this type of thing. Apparently, all the income from gambling on Indian reservations amounts to over $5 billion a year. Their unemployment is almost nil. They offered free medical, free education. They're now building roads and what have you. They're using the money, as far as I'm concerned, to their advantage, to their benefit, and they're using it very, very well.

The reason I'm bringing this out is the same thing for Windsor: The profits from casino gambling can be used to benefit many services and organizations -- all the good things, I guess.

You'll have to excuse me. I'm quite nervous.

The Chair: That's quite all right, sir.

Mr Lessard: So are we.

The Chair: Just take your time. Every presenter is probably nervous.

Mr Ordower: I think really that's just about all that I have to say.

The Chair: Okay. You are now prepared to take some questions from members of the committee?

Mr Ordower: I am.

The Chair: This time we're going to start with the Progressive Conservative caucus, and we have quite an extensive period of time for questions. We have about 25 minutes. Divide that by three, and I guess that's about eight minutes. Mr Eves.

Mr Eves: I don't have any questions, Mr Chairman. I would very happily defer to Mr Kormos or somebody else.

Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): I appreciate that, Mr Eves.

I was interested in what the chief of police said about the age of people who should have access to the casino, and you didn't have a chance to flesh that out. What would you have to say about that, recognizing we've got a drinking age, we've got an age at which children can leave home, which is not the same age at which they are treated as adults, for instance, in the adult courts, because of the Young Offenders Act? We've got an age now at which they can buy lottery tickets, because Steve Mahoney introduced a private member's bill that was passed that restricts the purchase of lottery tickets, which isn't the same age as the age at which a child can leave home and isn't the same age at which a youngster can drink. What do you say about the chief of police's comments about 21-year-olds?

Mr Ordower: I'm in favour of that, truly so.


Mr Kormos: And then we go one further: Would you restrict gambling to 21-year-olds or would you restrict access to a casino to 21? Because you've got the problem now of, how do you enforce it? Do you screen them at the door? Sure, you can screen them at a blackjack table. Somebody told me what one of those look like once, so I'm reasonably familiar with those.

Mr Eves: I find that hard to believe.

Mr Kormos: But you can't screen them at the slot machine, for instance, right? Because you give your kid -- let's assume it's a kid, never mind an 18-year-old. Let's assume it's a kid. You give your kid a roll of slugs or tokens and he or she can go at it. Now, mind you, at the same time, the racetrack is pretty forgiving in terms of the age at which people are permitted to bet money there. I thought that was an interesting thing that the chief raised and I'd like to hear comments out of you, the fact that you live here.

Mr Ordower: Absolutely. I feel that an age of 21 should be the limit. An experience that we had in Mississippi once -- and one of the things that I found very difficult to handle at the time was, in this casino in Mississippi, they have a babysitting service from age six months, okay? They took us up to where this service was. They have one person who takes care of maybe four or five kids. As I mentioned, it certainly took a long time for me to digest. As it was explained to me, is it better for them to leave the kids at home by themselves? Because if they're going to go and gamble, they're not going to find out what the rules are regarding their children; they're just going to pick up and leave. If they have a babysitter, maybe they'll leave a babysitter with them. If not, they may leave them in the car.

When it comes to this, when you're talking about age, myself, I prefer the age of 21 as opposed to 19. The other thing is that whether it's 21 or 19, if they want to gamble, they're going to gamble. If it's not in Windsor, they'll find a place where they can at age 19.

Mr Kormos: What does that say then? Does that still leave you firm in your resolution that the age should be 21?

Mr Ordower: Absolutely. At age 21.

Mr Kormos: Notwithstanding. So, in other words, if they're 19 and they want to gamble, let them go to where they can gamble at the age of 19.

Mr Ordower: They're going to. It's not a question of letting them go; they're going to go.

Mr Kormos: Oh, no, quite right. I was a little surprised to have the government proclaim that it was introducing gambling to Ontario. Obviously, the Premier had never been down to the King Street firehall down in Crowland, south Welland, on a Saturday night. I'm sure you're well aware gambling is not new to Ontario.

What about the nature of the beast that we've got here? Because somebody yesterday, one of the members, referred to this as having the potential of -- some of the members here are too young to remember Minaki Lodge, but I'm old enough to remember it and I think you do too. In terms of the relationship here, it's not a private sector initiative, nor is it a total government initiative. It's a strange hybrid which has in the past spelled trouble. Witness SkyDome, another hybrid: half private sector, half public sector.

Part of me very much says it should have been one or the other and that way there could have been far better control. So what do you say about the way things are developing in terms of the government having its fingers in there but calling upon bidders from the private sector, entrepreneurs, to invest the money and make a go of it?

Mr Ordower: My own personal thinking on that is, as far as I'm concerned, that's really the only way to go. The government will own the casino, the government will get its benefits from the casino, and only a private sector casino company would be able to run it, only because of its expertise. I don't see any other way to go.

Mr Kormos: Do you think preference should be given to Canadian operators when it comes to bidding? Because there's a real mixture. As you well know, the names of the people who are involved in making proposals range, everything from international companies to American-based companies and some very Canadian companies.

Mr Ordower: I think it should go to the company best-qualified to run it. I hope that the help that will be there will be Canadian help. I hope that there will be local help. I hope that the building of the casino will be done by local people. To have an American company come in here and run it, my only thinking on that is that it should be the best-qualified company to run it.

Mr Kormos: Fair enough. The problem there then is one of the comments in the Coopers and Lybrand study that was distributed here yesterday was that one of the several spinoffs is going to be the fact that the casino will purchase goods and services (1) in its initial building and (2) in its ongoing operation. Having said what you have, in that instance, what about preferential purchasing?

Do you think it should be required to purchase its goods and services from the Windsor area or get the best possible deal, because then the problem is, it's no longer benefiting Windsor in the way that one would want it to be benefiting Windsor. What if it can get a better deal on glassware or on bread from a supplier across the river in Detroit?

Mr Ordower: Peter, my experience, and I'm only talking from my experience down in Mississippi, because other than -- as I explained before, this is the only experience I have.

Mr Kormos: Was that in Biloxi?

Mr Ordower: No, this was in Gulfport. We went to Biloxi as well.

Mr Kormos: Okay, close by.

Mr Ordower: Yes, close by, exactly. They were talking of profits of $13 million the first month that they were there. They were talking about $100 million being put in the slot machines in one month. These figures are really exasperating to me. I think there's enough profit in casino gambling whereby, if it's a little more expensive here, rather than bringing it in from there, they can afford to buy it here.

Mr Kormos: I've got to tell you, $10 of that $13 million was mine. It took around six minutes last fall and I said, "That's it." The problem is that I didn't leave the building. I spent my 10 bucks, big spender that I am, but I stood and watched other people spending far more than 10 bucks, people who I guess ranged in income from everybody who made a heck of a lot less money than I did to people who made a heck of a lot more money than I did.

What do you say about the problem associated with -- because you and I both know it; there are a whole lot of responsible gamblers, if there is such a thing. That's an oxymoron, isn't it, responsible gambling. But what about the people who are looking for the brass ring? What about the hardworking people from here in Windsor who suffer the same human frailties as all of us, who are looking for the brass ring? How do you respond as a member of the community to the problems that creates, to the guy or gal, the man or woman, who goes home with nothing left from the paycheque, the casinos got it all, because you know, if you spend enough time there, that's the way the game works. You're going to lose it all.

Mr Ordower: Peter, gambling is nothing new to Windsor -- no place. You have lotteries, you have bingos, whatever. There are always games of chance, no matter where. This isn't the first opportunity for somebody to go into a casino hall and, not like you, put $10 in the machine or, like me, put nothing into the machine.

Mr Kormos: So you're up $10.

Mr Ordower: That's just me. My feeling is that nothing's going to stop the person who is addicted to gambling, like nothing stops a person who's addicted to drugs or to cigarette smoking or anything that's bad. In this casino that we visited in Gulfport, apparently they had assistance for addicted gamblers right there on the spot, so it was told to me. I didn't experience it, I'm just telling you what was told to me. If they saw somebody was losing heavily, they were approached and somehow asked if they would like help. To me, that's good.

Understand something: When I told you that I was in Las Vegas 25 years ago -- I mean, you went there to gamble. I saw a man sitting at a blackjack table with a roll of hundred-dollar bills, peeling one off after another. That was gambling to me. In visiting Gulfport, gambling took on a new meaning to me. They have services. They work with the community. They're very community-minded. People were telling me that it was a plus to have casino gambling there.

We stayed in a hotel, a Holiday Inn -- I may be off the subject, but I just want to explain my experience. We were booked into a Holiday Inn which was 20 minutes up the coast from this gambling casino. It appeared to be booked solid to me and I overheard somebody in the lobby say: "I never had to make a reservation to come into this hotel before. I could come any time and find a room." But this time he didn't have a reservation and couldn't stay there. Okay? This had never happened to him before supposedly. That was the remark.


To me, it's all positive. I know when the police chief sits here, there are other things that have to be -- but I can't take care of the crime and I can't take care of the laundering of the money or whatever. I don't know what goes on. I'm talking from a layman's point of view. I'm talking as a businessman who has never experienced business the way it is today. That's what I'm talking about. That's where I'm talking from. Not to say that I expect the tourists to come into my store and do a lot of spending, but I do expect that the unemployment roll could lessen by maybe 8,000 people. I do expect a lot of people coming into this community who we never had before.

I think we have an opportunity, as a business association, to attempt to get some of the business that might be available.

Mr Kormos: Fair enough. I have to tell you that my perspective on gambling changed. I got a whole new perspective on gambling since I entered politics. Yours resulted from Las Vegas, mine resulted from getting elected to the Legislature.

Mr Lessard: Mr Ordower, I want to thank you very much for taking the time from your business to make a presentation to this committee today. I just wondered whether you could put on the record the name of your business and the nature of your business and give yourself a little plug for the benefit of the committee.

Mr Ordower: We have a retail store on Ottawa Street; it's a ladies' retail store. It's called Marvin's Ladies Wear, and we've been there for 57 years.

Mr Lessard: I know the store because most of my shopping experience when I was a youngster was in the Ottawa Street area. My grandparents lived at the corner of Ottawa and Kildare and they were in that neighbourhood for over 40 years. My grandmother used to love to shop on Ottawa Street because she didn't drive, and that was her neighbourhood.

I've always found it to be a very fine place to shop in the city of Windsor, even though there have been a lot of changes that have taken place, especially during the time that you've been there. I remember going to Gray's department store back when that was one of the biggest department stores in the city. Of course that store isn't there, and even if it were, it wouldn't be a very big store any longer.

You indicated when you started that you had been to a casino about 25 years ago and didn't think that was your form of entertainment. Did you find at the time that it was something you had any feelings of opposition towards, something that you didn't think was appropriate for --

Mr Ordower: No, not at all. People have different forms of entertainment. Gambling happens to be a big business today and people enjoy doing it. I'm just one who doesn't enjoy it.

Mr Lessard: I just wondered whether you had maybe changed your mind with respect to casino gambling at some point and why that might have been.

I'm interested in knowing some of the ideas you may have as far as the Ottawa Street business improvement area is concerned, or any business improvement area in the city, be it downtown or Erie Street or old Riverside; what sort of ideas or plans you might have to attempt to try and get some of that business, the new people who are going to be visiting the city of Windsor who have never been here before.

Mr Ordower: The only two ideas that have been brought up so far are we have to attempt to bring the people from the downtown area to Ottawa Street or to any business area, and one of the ways of doing it is providing a transit system, a bus service for that, plus advertising and promotion. That's where we're at at this stage. We haven't really gone into it, but we have discussed it. Those would be the two ways that I could just bring up to you right now as far as marketing is concerned.

Mr Lessard: When you were down in Gulfport, Mississippi -- it's in Mississippi?

Mr Ordower: Right, in Mississippi.

Mr Lessard: Did you actually go into the stores and speak to merchants?

Mr Ordower: Yes.

Mr Lessard: Can you tell us a little bit about your experience and the people you spoke to?

Mr Ordower: The one store I went into was a men's store and I spoke to a gentleman there. I thought he was an owner but I found he was an employee there. I asked him what they were doing about trying to attract people from the casino into that downtown area, and his only answer to me was that they're hoping that they will build hotels in that area to accommodate tourists who wish to stay overnight and hopefully will bring some business to the downtown area. That was his only comment as far as trying to attract people into the downtown area.

There was also a shoe store there which some other people went into, and apparently from them they did a lot of business in the beginning because people had to come in who were working in the casino. They came in and bought shoes and other accessories that they required. I guess there's a dress code in every casino that they require to work in a casino. Since that time, she indicated that business was very, very slow. The question was asked, "Are you doing anything to try to bring business back in?" They weren't trying to do anything at all, not even to hand out advertisements at the casino or discuss the problem with the casino management or what have you.

Mr Lessard: So it was good that you had that opportunity, I guess --

Mr Ordower: Absolutely.

Mr Lessard: -- to see how other communities were dealing with the impact of a casino on their community. I think, as you have pointed out, we do have an advantage in having strong business improvement areas, not only in Ottawa Street but in other areas of the city, to plan for this. I want to thank you once again for your attendance here.

The Chair: Mr Dadamo, a short question.

Mr Dadamo: Just a brief one. Mr Ordower, thank you very much for coming down from Ottawa Street. Geographically it is a little bit of a distance between Ottawa Street, your area, and the downtown here with the new casino. Have you given any thought to how you would like to lure people into your area, how you would go about doing that?

Mr Ordower: I can only tell you that it would be through promotions and providing a bus service to the Ottawa Street area. As a matter of fact, talking about the importance of BIA, the money could be put in place very easily because of the money we collect in taxes. We use most of the money for promoting, for advertising, and this would be just another form of promotion for Ottawa Street to bring people from the downtown area.

Mr Dadamo: There's been a lot of talk about the fact that the successes will probably lie with getting people from the Ambassador Bridge, the tunnel, other areas of the city, to the downtown by shuttle services, and I'm sure that you've given a great deal of thought as to how you'd like to become part of that.

Mr Ordower: I think it would be an excellent way. The shuttle service would be an excellent way to bring people into Ottawa Street. When they come over the bridge or through the tunnel here, they're going to come in a car or a bus. They're going to park someplace and then do their thing in the gambling or walk around the downtown area, whatever the case may be, and what we have to do is find a way to bring them from the downtown area into Ottawa Street. We have nice restaurants on the street, we have nice retail, the street is fixed up beautifully since we've renovated it, and it will be up to us to bring them to the street.

Mr Dadamo: Thank you very much.

Mr Monte Kwinter (Wilson Heights): Mr Ordower, thank you very much for your presentation. As a businessman, I'd just like to explore a couple of areas. I take pride in considering myself a businessman.

I think the casino in Windsor is not going to hurt; no question about it. It's got to be better than not having it. Whatever it brings it's going to bring. My major concern, listening to the mayor, listening to some of the others, is that you're building up an expectation that I don't think is going to be realized.

The reason I say that, and I want to give you an example of another facility that is very well known, when you take a look at the SkyDome in Toronto, it attracts over 50,000 people every single time the Blue Jays play. It is an artistic success, the Blue Jays are doing phenomenally well, they've won the World Series, they're at the top of the league, sold out.

Mr Callahan: Unlike Detroit. I'm sorry. You're right.

Mr Kwinter: The SkyDome itself does not make money. The Blue Jays, as a business venture, are marginal. There's a lot of promotional activities by Labatt's and the CIBC, but they don't make a lot of money. Mind you, they equate what is happening. A lot of the suppliers in there make money, but even some of those are having some difficulties.


The point I'm making is that the feeling I have is that people are looking to the casino in Windsor and saying, "This is it. We have now made it. This is going to transform the city. It's going to bring in all of this activity. Everybody is going to benefit. The people out on Ottawa Street are going to benefit," and everything else, and I just don't think that is going to happen.

The other concern that I have, and one of the comments you made, was that the profits are going to be turned back in to Windsor and are going to be able to improve; a lot of things are going to happen.

I'm sure you understand that under the basic proposal, because it's a sort of hybrid, private and public sector, in order for any private sector investor to get involved, they're going to want to have certain guarantees. They're going to want to say: "If we're going to be in this by ourselves and we're going to operate it, we'll take our chances. You let us make the rules within the legal framework of your jurisdiction, but we will decide how we're going to operate it, how we're going to make our money and we will put our money in and take the business risk."

But if you as a jurisdiction are saying, "We are going to own it. We're going to take out a chunk of the profits up front and you are going to be in there. You're going to build it; you're going to operate it," they're going to say, "Sure, we'll do that, but we want some absolute minimal guarantees. We want to make sure that we're going to get a return on our investment and then we want some upside if we really do it well," and as a businessman, you'd have to understand: No one would go into it for any other reason. That's the only reason they would do it, that they're going to make a fair return on their investment plus the opportunity for some upside profits.

With the government saying, "We expect to take $120 million or $140 million a year out of this," there is a very, very strong risk that those numbers will not materialize. If everything goes as projected, no problem. The point I made yesterday: What happens if they build a casino in the Renaissance Center across the river? That may impact on it.

The other thing is that, other than the suppliers in the city of Windsor, the realty taxes for the facility and the spinoff business, the Windsor municipality is not going to share in the profits. How does that grab you?

Mr Ordower: Your first question about this being the end-all to our problems: certainly not. I don't look at it that way. I look at it that there's nothing happening in this community up until now to try to help us in the economic straits that we're in. Along comes casino gambling. I tell you that I don't think it's our ace in the hole by any stretch of the imagination. All I'm looking at it from is the fact that it's going to employ, directly and indirectly, some 6,000 to 8,000 people.

We're talking about casino gambling in a community where it's not just the people from Windsor or surrounding areas in Canada who are going to come to gamble. We're talking about the possibility of some 25 million people on the other side of the border who can come to Windsor within four hours by car. We're talking now, instead of the Canadians -- we're losing Canadian dollars over on the American side because it's so much cheaper to buy and what have you over there, and now we're going to get some of that American money back.

I do believe that strongly, because of the fact of the impact of casino on people. We've had rotating casinos around town. Every weekend they're someplace else. Again, I don't go to them. I only tell you what I hear. Sometimes they are two or three hours waiting to get at the table. What can I tell you about the SkyDome? Everybody says if the government has its hand in it, it's not run properly. I think that in a case like this whereby the government owns it but does not run it, we have a chance. I really do.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Ordower. Your time has expired. I thank you very much for making a presentation today.


The Chair: Our next presenter is Mr Melvin Muroff. Welcome to the committee, Mr Muroff. You have 30 minutes for your presentation. You can divide the time however you want. I see you have a presentation to make and so I expect there will be some time for questions.

Mr Melvin Muroff: There will be.

The Chair: Please proceed.

Mr Muroff: I'd like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak to you regarding my view of the new casino legislation for Ontario.

Firstly, I'd like to think that everyone speaking today, whether pro or against the casino legislation, has the betterment of downtown Windsor foremost on their minds.

I address you today not only as a practising lawyer in downtown Windsor for 25 years but also as a property owner downtown, a member of the Downtown Business Association, soon to be one of the proud owners of a remodelled Royal Windsor Hotel in downtown Windsor, formerly the National Travellers Hotel.

I'm sure you're fully aware of the blight that has taken over our downtown core area: retail businesses closing down daily, restaurants and hotels suffering from lack of business and barely able to continue. Of more importance is the lack of confidence in the downtown area with no one willing to take the initiative and invest in property development or start up any new businesses. How can you blame them when our downtown hotels are losing millions of dollars yearly, with their occupancy levels at 25%?

We need a catalyst, as the Honourable Marilyn Churley suggests, in order to put new life into our city. I suggest to you today that the proposed interim and permanent casinos will finally put Windsor on the map as an international border city, and we will benefit from thousands of Americans visiting our proposed casino and using the facilities we offer to them downtown.

I am proud to be a Windsorite and I look forward to the day the interim casino opens and my retail and restaurant clients are able to turn a profit for the first time in years. This casino is expected to give a major boost to the city's economy, and we in Windsor owe a great deal of thanks for the initiative which the Ontario government has taken and the hard work of the Downtown Business Association and Windsor labour unions in convincing the Ontario government that the interim casino should be located in downtown Windsor.

We in Windsor now have the opportunity of attracting tourism for the first time in years from not only the United States but also Europe and Asia. Let there be no mistake: Gambling is big business and we in Windsor intend to take full advantage of it and bring the dollars back to Windsor that cross-border shopping and free trade have taken away.

I submit that tourism in Windsor should be and could be a multimillion-dollar business because of our strategic location to approximately 40 million Americans within a few hours away. Casino gambling, in my opinion, will do the trick and turn the tide for Windsor's recovery.

I want to point out to you that since the announcement of the interim casino in downtown Windsor by the Honourable Marilyn Churley, I have seen what appears to be new enthusiasm with new restaurants and new businesses opening downtown for the first time in years replacing the boarded-up buildings in the downtown core area. Two major hotels which were under power of sale or foreclosure for years in the downtown area have recently been sold, and both new owners propose extensive renovations.

We in Windsor are excited and we await the opening of the interim casino. I am concerned about the possibility that the opening may not take place in January as proposed and I would point out to you and the casino project committee that many businessmen cannot hang on much longer, and we should not lose the momentum and the enthusiasm that has built up over the past few months. A delay of several months could be devastating for everyone concerned, including the proposed operator of the casino.


The Honourable Marilyn Churley has said that the permanent casino site is "readily accessible, affords a magnificent view of the Detroit skyline, is close to the existing hotels and restaurants, and allows the casino to act as a catalyst for much- needed downtown development."

I predict that if the interim casino is successful, which in my opinion it will be, we will see in downtown Windsor the biggest building boom that Windsor has seen in years, including new hotels on two Riverside Drive sites, a redevelopment of the downtown block between the Cleary convention centre and Ouellette Avenue, the construction of the Royal Bank tower that has been placed on the back burner for years, at least one major downtown marina, which is badly needed, several new high-rise condominium projects on Riverside Drive and maybe, if we are fortunate enough, we will see the long-awaited sports complex.

We in Windsor are privileged to have the casino hearings begin in our city. I am fully aware of the fact that the members of the committee sitting here today are not residents of Windsor and probably do not appreciate our unique situation in this city.

I was born and raised in Windsor and I have watched with amazement how cities like Toronto, Ottawa and London have benefited from government assistance over the years and have increased their populations. Twentyfive years ago, when I returned to Windsor, London and Windsor had the same size populations. Today, Windsor's population has dwindled to 190,000 and London has increased to 260,000. How would you like to raise three children in Windsor and see them leave for Toronto because there is more opportunity available?

I recall, when I graduated from the University of Toronto Law School in 1967, I was ridiculed by my classmates, including a gentleman by the name of David Peterson, for returning to Windsor --

Mr Callahan: What was that name again?

Mr Muroff: David Peterson -- to begin my practice of law. Now Windsor will have its day and hopefully we will be in the forefront of the recovery from the current recession in Ontario and classmates of mine will visit Windsor for the first time in their lives and will experience the first casino in Ontario in our fair city. What an opportunity we have ahead of us to develop our beautiful waterfront.

I am devoted to the development and the wellbeing of the downtown core area of the city of Windsor and will conclude by saying that this cannot and will not take place without casino gambling, which would do away with Windsor's current economic situation and provide long-term survival and growth. I thank you once again. I'll be glad to answer any questions.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Muroff. We have approximately seven minutes per caucus and we'll start with the government caucus. Mr Dadamo.

Mr Dadamo: Mr Muroff, I'm as excited as you are and others in this room that we were able to bring this committee to Windsor first, take it away from Metropolitan Toronto probably for the first time in who knows how many years in committees and all those kinds of things. So there's a lot of excitement about that.

I wanted to mention as well that 17 years ago last Saturday my wife, Maria, and I had spent our honeymoon night at the hotel you're about to buy and we're quite excited that the hotel is still there. I'm not sure what the tie-in -- there's no tie-in. I just needed to say that. Wayne had made mention about his Ottawa Street days and all that sort of stuff, but I grew up here and I was born here as well, so I have a lot at stake and probably a career on this too.

I wanted to talk to you and your partners and whoever is involved in refurbishing this hotel, the moneys that you'll spend, lifelong money I'm sure, and how it'll work for you. What plans do you have to get this thing going and how is it all going to work out for you?

Mr Muroff: Thank you, George. I'll be glad to try and give you some insight into that.

Firstly, this hotel has been managed by the Hanil Bank for three years under a foreclosure proceeding and it hasn't provided the management with any funds whatsoever to upgrade the hotel, as a result of which the commercial rooms which were used by retail salespeople to house their wares and also to sleep at night have all been closed down and the travelling salesmen no longer use the hotel.

One of the things we want to do is bring the travelling salesmen downtown who used to use that hotel in a big way, and we have plans to spend half a million dollars in renovations in the hotel. We will refurbish it from beginning to end. The only thing we need is a little bit of luck and some tourism coming into Windsor to fill those rooms. The present occupancy is 25%. They're losing $30,000 a month in that hotel. It requires extensive renovations to the rooms. The building's 18 years old; the rooms have never been redone for 18 years.

Mr Dadamo: Since I left it.

Mr Muroff: Right, since you left it.

Interjection: The bed you slept in is still there.

Mr Callahan: That just killed any occupancy.

Mr Dadamo: Sorry for the heckling, Mr Muroff.

Mr Muroff: Hanil Bank has taken back three properties of National Travellers hotels, one in London, one in Windsor and one in St Catharines, and all three of them are in the same situation. The only one that probably will have any success will be the Windsor hotel, because we're looking forward to increasing the occupancy, hopefully, from 25% to something reasonable, around 75% or 80%.

There's a dining room there that's been closed down for two years, for 150 people. There's a coffee shop closed down. There's commercial space closed down. It's the only hotel downtown with 144 parking spaces. The good thing is, it's only a block from the tunnel and three blocks from the casino.

We're excited about it. It's the biggest thing I've been involved in since I've been back to Windsor, and we're looking forward to making it a success.

In regard to the other hotel I was mentioning, Howard Johnson bought the Red Oak Inn, and that's on Ouellette Avenue. The problem with that is that they don't have any parking; the parking's owned by the neighbouring building. I have no idea what renovations they have planned, but I see a lot of advertising going on.

Mr Dadamo: I know you have limited parking as well. Will there be opportunity for expansion at all?

Mr Muroff: Yes, a very good point. One of the reasons we bought the building is that the southerly portion of the building was constructed for seven storeys, so we can go up another four storeys on that building and still provide 144 parking spaces. There's only 104 rooms presently and there's 144 parking spaces.

Mr Dadamo: Thanks. I just thought it was very important for you to be a little bit more personal about it, and tell the people how important it was to you and your gang.

The Acting Chair (Mr Gordon Mills): Thank you. Mr Callahan.

Mr Duignan: No. What about me?

The Acting Chair: Oh, I beg your pardon.

Mr Callahan: Haven't you used up your time? I would have figured you had. I think the Chair counts in different ways.

The Acting Chair: The parliamentary assistant.

Mr Duignan: Very briefly, you mentioned a very important word, "catalyst," and I think the minister made reference to that as well. The casino is just the beginning of the revitalization of Windsor. The mayor this morning made reference to the fact that it gives an edge in bringing conventions into this community, with the new marina, and making it a holiday destination as well. This will just act as a catalyst for all sorts of new businesses opening up in this community, building new hotels, new restaurants, building new, fun amusement parks, whatever the case may be.

Is that your opinion as well, that this will just act as a catalyst for other entrepreneurs and ventures to happen? Eventually, when these people come just for a day trip to a casino, they'll see it as a safe, secure and fun city to be in and the next time they come, they'll bring their families back and spend a couple of days in this community.

Mr Muroff: I'd like to touch on that point for a minute. I think Mr Kwinter was mentioning with the previous speaker about what the benefits of the casino will be to Windsor, and I don't agree with what was suggested. You have to live here to really appreciate what's happening. You will see that in Detroit they have a tremendous crime situation. We don't have that in Windsor. I think, properly policed, this casino will not create any further crime than what we have today.

The other thing is, the Americans like coming over here. They like spending their money here. They want to come back here. They want to use our restaurants. They want to use our hotels. We have very little development in the downtown area. We don't have a major department store downtown; every other major city does. Maybe this will give us a major department store.

Big Boy has closed down within the past year, a major restaurant chain. Mother's has closed down in the past year. Wong's Eatery, one of the biggest Chinese restaurants in the area, has closed down. Cultures has closed down. All these are in downtown Windsor. Certainly a casino will generate new activity.

Within the past few months, there's a new restaurant going in on Chatham Street or Pitt Street, where Union Men's Shop was. There's a new restaurant going into Cultures. There's a new restaurant just opened up on Pitt Street called Blackjack's, believe it or not. These are within the past month and these people are ready for the casino and they will benefit from the people who come in from the casino.


The other thing is that we have a block between here and Ouellette Avenue right on Riverside Drive. That block is ripe for redevelopment. People have tried to redevelop that block for 20 years. Now it will happen; with the casino coming it will happen. The Royal Bank has got a vacant parking lot on the main street of Ouellette Avenue. It's been sitting there for two or three years and, hopefully, they'll go ahead with their project. We have two hotel sites immediately west of here; hopefully, those will be filled within the next year or two. Without this casino it won't happen. There's just no activity taking place.

Mr Callahan: I don't come from Windsor, but I have two sons who have gone to the University of Windsor, and one graduated from the University of Windsor law school. As you can tell, I've been down here a lot. I have to agree; I've come down here and have felt very badly about Windsor, seeing the stores that were closed and all the rest of it.

I also have to say, on the other side of the coin, having come back here and strolled over to Ouellette last night and up Ouellette, I ran into two of my colleagues from the government and we started to discuss the issue. Windsor is a very folksy place, a very safe place. When I see young people strolling the streets at night, perhaps it's almost reminiscent of Happy Days, cruising Ouellette Avenue, which I understand is a tradition that goes back well before my kids came here. When I see that, I have to ask myself the question, if I come back 10 years from now, will I see the same thing?

You have to know where I'm coming from. I was born and raised in the United States. I came from a very small town just outside of the Bronx. I can tell you that when you have this turnaround or this introduction of something of that type, you do have associated with it a very definitive change of your entire community.

I was very concerned this morning with the police chief, in that I think it's imperative that the government -- I don't want to be government bashing -- comes out with a definitive statement that it is going to cover the policing costs of this community to the nth degree to ensure that this atmosphere continues. Thus far, all I've heard is a cross-border shopping report from a fellow who, oddly enough, doesn't even live in this country saying, what, 12 police officers? I think that's absolute nonsense.

I think you should be looking positively towards anything that will generate and stimulate the growth of this community, but I really have concerns that if I come back here 10 years from now or if my grandchildren come to the University of Windsor, I want them to be safe walking the street. I want them to be able to cruise Ouellette Avenue if they choose to do so. I'd like, if I had any granddaughters, for them to be able to walk out on the street at night.

I've also been over in Detroit. Detroit is a war zone. I say that with all due respect. Hopefully, there are no Detroit people in the audience, but even if there are, I think they'd recognize that fact. Atlantic City: There were comments made about Atlantic City not being something that we should look at, but I think we should look at it. Atlantic City was, in its heyday, the folksy place that was visited by everybody. You could walk the streets. You could do anything. Today, I'm surprised they haven't put underground tunnels from casino to casino, because if you go out on the boardwalk, you'll be mugged. That is a very significant concern.

The question of laundering of money: I suggested to the government, and I hope they follow up on it, that they allow gambling in both currencies, because if they allow the Americans to come over and exchange their dough for Canadian dollars, you're going to see the largest form of laundering of money that you've ever seen, and that will create problems.

I'd like to have strict understanding of who is buying the real estate in Windsor. Are these prices going to be enhanced and upped unnecessarily? There are all sorts of ways that organized crime can get their fingers into your community; they don't have to drive up with Eliot Ness chasing them. That's long gone. These people are legitimate businessmen; they're into legitimate business. There's a book that somebody gave me, and I read it over the weekend. It's extremely interesting. It tells you all the things that are going on in the gambling areas of the world and how they get their money in there.

I guess the long and short of what I'm trying to say is that I like Windsor but, as I say, I'd like to come back in 10 years' time and know it hadn't changed that dramatically. I have real concerns about that, but I think those can be protected by the government not snapping all that money out and putting it in the consolidated revenue fund, by the government not putting the onus on the taxpayers of the city of Windsor to pay for these things that, "Oh, we didn't expect this to happen." If you do that, I think then you'll have an effective program here and this may be worthwhile.

On the other side of the coin, I also would caution the people of this province that they had better watch out, because the federal government has got as big a deficit as the provincial governments do, and you can bet your bottom dollar that if this thing goes and there are more of them that the biggest attraction you've got to getting Americans over here is, number one, the dollar; number two is the fact that the tax man doesn't stand at the slot machine and when you hit $1,200 collect 30% of it. That's coming, believe me, and if that happens you may have created a total entity here that may help this community immeasurably and suddenly it will be shut down like that because Ottawa, of whatever political stripe, will grab that dough.

You're going to have to be ever alert in terms of looking after those things. Hopefully, I can come back in 10 years and Windsor will still be a nice place.

Mr Muroff: I'd like to comment on your remarks, if I may. First, we in Windsor have a border, which Atlantic City doesn't have, and Canada Customs coming over from Detroit to Windsor is very keen on crime and is going to cut a lot of that off at the border. I do agree with you 100%: We'll need more policing. Another 15 or 20 police officers is not going to do the trick for Windsor.

Windsor will change, there's no doubt about it, but look at the pros and cons. It has got to benefit; it has got to do something with these 100 stores that are closed out now. Another 6,000 to 8,000 jobs will put people back to work. People will start buying homes, they'll start buying cars. It has to benefit the city but, you're right, it will create more crime and Windsor will change. There's no doubt about it.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Callahan. Mr Carr.

Mr Callahan: I wish you good luck.

Mr Gary Carr (Oakville South): First of all, thank you for your presentation. I want to ask you a question regarding your putting on your business hat.

As you well know, consumer confidence is very important to business people. We've heard a lot of comments on the great job the government has done bringing in the casinos, but I think people have forgotten that this budget in the spring, which introduced $2 billion of taxes, many economists say will kill about 50,000 jobs. Before we get carried away with this government doing a great job on the economy, I think we should reflect on that.

The numbers are 8,000 new jobs created. Do you believe that will come to Windsor if you get the casino? I'm asking you as a business person knowing the area whether you believe those projections, for 2,500 directly in the casino and about 8,000 new jobs. Quite frankly, I probably respect business people's opinions better than politicians, who may have their own reason for throwing out figures. I want to ask you very seriously whether you think the 8,000 new jobs being created is a realistic figure: higher or lower, or what would you say?

Mr Muroff: Let's say it's not 8,000, let's say it's 4,000. Four thousand new jobs in Windsor with a city of 190,000 people is a lot of new jobs, and we haven't had 4,000 new jobs here in years. We've had a lot of closings of a lot of factories. The Big Three have been closing down left, right and centre, other than Chrysler; Chrysler is booming right now. Four thousand jobs will do a hell of a job for downtown Windsor. Those people will start spending money in the retail stores, they'll start going to restaurants again, they'll start buying houses again. It's got to help and it will help.

Mr Carr: One big reason people aren't spending is the taxes, and I don't say just to this government. Governments at all levels and of all political stripes have hurt the confidence with increased taxes. We need to really tackle the issue from the standpoint that it isn't just taxes on business; when you tax consumers you're hurting businesses. The problem we have is that we're overtaxed and over-regulated. As we sit here today there are hearings in Toronto on employment equity which will probably kill as many jobs as this creates.

I appreciate that you say even 4,000 would be good, and people would say that if there are 10 jobs tomorrow it would be good, that anything is a plus. But I'm interested in finding out, again as a business person -- it may be difficult to do, but you have certainly read and know the situation better than anybody else what they're doing. I appreciate that 4,000 is great, but when the government says to us that it will be 8,000, I ask you again: Do you think it will be in that neighbourhood?

If you don't know, you can say that, but I'm trying to get a real handle because I don't believe governments when they say it. Again, that's not to be political, because all governments do this: They have a program and they try to sell it under job creation. I want to know from you as a business person, what can we expect in Windsor? If you can get 8,000, I think it will be great.


Mr Muroff: I think the spinoff is going to be tremendous. Number one, the construction trades will be building the new casino for a couple of years. Number two, that will spur some high-rise development on Riverside Drive for sure. There will be more hotels built, which we need, which means the convention facilities will be extended. We need more condominiums downtown. We only have a couple of major condominium buildings on the waterfront. That'll happen. I just think it'll bring confidence that we never had before, which we need so desperately.

As far as 4,000 or 8,000 jobs, I can't give you an exact figure. The only thing I know is, if you have a major casino operating in Windsor, it will create new jobs right across the whole city. Retailers will hire more people. The car plants will hire more people if they're selling more cars. There'll be more homes built in Windsor, and, who knows, maybe our population will increase for the first time in 20, 30 years.

Mr Carr: Right. One of the things that the government said yesterday -- and I don't know if you heard when they did their report when the deputy was in -- is that the spending, the amount that they've looked at, and I don't want to be incorrect but they said the average person's going to spend about $75 at the casino. Their research shows that they buy one meal and one drink when they come in, and the figure they're using is 80% of 12,000 people will come from the US, so 9,000 or whatever it works out to be.

Those people coming in, how much do you expect them to spend? The big concern that some people have is that they're just going to come across in excursion buses, come in, spend their 75 bucks, $200, whatever it is, lose the money and not go down and buy a dinner or new shoes or whatever. Do you think they're going to spend the money in the other areas and, if so, what can be done to attract them to do it, because there is major concern that it will be just come in, gamble, lose, win and leave.

Mr Muroff: I've been involved in the downtown business association and I can tell you that the department of tourism for Windsor or for Essex county is really gearing up for some big things, because we haven't had this opportunity for tourism in the past and we have to take full advantage of it and keep the people here. They have to use our hotels, they have to use our restaurants. Come here for a weekend, bring the family.

It's different than Atlantic City. This is a different country. You're coming from the United States to Canada. They can fly into Detroit and stay here over a weekend, which they can't do in Atlantic City. It'll be something new for people who haven't been here before. And the other thing is it's safe here, which it isn't in Detroit, and we may get Detroiters coming over for a weekend.

Mr Carr: One of the other things that you need to do, and you're right, you need to market it, but with all due respect, where you need to market it is in the major cities like Chicago where it's going to take a tremendous amount of effort and money to do that. How much is Windsor going to be spending in the major markets -- the Chicagos I use as an example -- because quite frankly I think the premise that you just open a casino and everybody in Chicago's going to know about it and want to flock here is absolutely wrong. The big key to all of this is marketing.

I wanted to ask the mayor this, but we didn't have time. How much is going to be spent by Windsor in the US to market it and how do you see it done: direct advertising, direct mail, television? How are you going to do it, because quite frankly, if you don't, I don't think we're going to get the numbers that we'd like to see.

Mr Muroff: I would say they're going to have to spend a tremendous amount of money in advertising on TV to draw the crowds. I have a very big Oriental clientele, and they will come to Windsor, I feel, because a lot of them have children attending university here. I think they will come here, they'll visit their children and they'll spend money here, and they love gambling.

I just came back from Europe. I was in Monte Carlo. I think Peter was asking a question of how you control under-age betting in the casinos. At the door of the casinos in Monte Carlo there are two police officers and they ask for identification, and you have to be 21 years of age to get in. The same thing will happen here. They'll ask for proof the same way you ask for proof for drinking, and I think it should be raised to 21, definitely.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Muroff, for your presentation. Your time has expired.


The Chair: The next presenter we have today is the Ontario Restaurant Association, if those representing the Ontario Restaurant Association would please come forward. Members of the committee will probably recognize Mr Paul Oliver, who has made many presentations before committees of the government. I certainly welcome you here today, and if other members representing the Ontario Restaurant Association would identify themselves for Hansard, please, before you start.

Ms Evelyn Slobasky: I'm Evelyn Slobasky. I am the president of the Windsor region of the Ontario Restaurant Association. I would like to say that we are pleased to appear before you today and to have the opportunity to discuss our views on the development of a casino in Windsor and to outline to you some of our industry's recommendations to improve Bill 8 and to enhance Windsor's new casino.

ORA, which is the Ontario Restaurant Association, is a non-profit industry association which represents the restaurant and foodservice industry in Ontario and currently has approximately 4,500 members representing thousands of foodservice establishments. ORA represents restaurants both licensed and non-licensed, contract caterers, accommodation establishments, quick-service restaurants and many other foodservice establishments. In Windsor, we represent approximately 200 active establishments and employ over 12,000 people.

With me today are Jim Evans, vice-president of the Windsor region of the Ontario Restaurant Association, Thom Racovitis, a member of the association and Paul Oliver, president of the Ontario Restaurant Association, who will make our presentation, starting with Mr Evans.

Mr Jim Evans: I'll give you a brief status of the industry. As you are likely aware, the past several years have been financially devastating for the foodservice and tourism industry in Ontario. Over the last three years, real food industry-wide sales have declined approximately 18%. All sectors of the foodservice and tourism industry have been severely impacted by negative sales.

The restaurant industry has also been severely hurt by the current recession. We must now work together to improve the health of the industry. In Windsor, we believe that the development of a casino, if done properly, can be a very positive step towards revitalizing the restaurant and tourism industry. It is, however, imperative that the casino be developed and marketed properly right from the start because it is almost impossible to reverse in the future a mistake made early on in the high-stakes development of gambling.

Just for information, our association went to Toronto last November 9 and met with the committee. We initiated it. We talked to them. We shared some things with them.

Foodservice and tourism industry: The foodservice industry plays an important role as a key partner in Ontario's tourism and convention industry. Tourism is a major economic force in Ontario and generates an inflow of over $3 billion of foreign currency. Foodservice operators account for approximately 21% of all tourism dollars spent in Ontario. The cost of food and beverages and the viability of this sector directly influences Ontario's attractiveness for foreign tourism, especially those major North American conventions. The loss of tourism, either foreign visitors who do not come to Ontario or Ontario residents who leave us, is especially critical because it is a direct outflow of capital dollars which are removed from circulation or recirculation in Ontario.


Today Ontario faces a record annual travel deficit approaching $4.5 billion. This massive outflow of capital must be addressed by enhancing the competitiveness of Ontario's tourism and hospitality industry. We believe that development of a casino here in Windsor can help begin to address this serious problem. It is, however, important to note that the development of a casino cannot be seen as the only solution. It is only part of a much broader solution. There are many other issues which must be addressed and modified.

At this time, I'd like to turn it over to Thom Racovitis.

Mr Thom K. Racovitis: Casinos: The Ontario Restaurant Association supports the concept of introducing casino gambling in Windsor, with 3.1 million visitors annually, provided that the principal focus of this initiative is to generate increased tourism. We do not believe that the introduction of casino gambling should be seen as a major departure in Ontario. Gambling has been a part of Ontario's society for many years. Annually, there is wagered in Ontario over $4 billion per year on a variety of gaming activities, including $1.5 billion on lotteries, $1 billion on horse racing and $900 million on bingos, probably most of which -- the $900 million -- is in Windsor, I think, all well supported by US patrons in our city.

The introduction of casino gambling only expands existing practices. As well, it represents a major potential for increased tourism. Casino gambling also has been established in many other jurisdictions across Canada and North America and is being explored in many more areas. Ontario now has the opportunity to be on the leading edge of developing a new family-based casino. Unfortunately, if we don't act now, we will not only lose this opportunity of being one of the first, but we could also hurt Ontario's long-term tourism and convention prospects. We must be competitive with other jurisdictions. Most conventions are pre-booked several years in advance, so the sooner we are in flow, the faster we can get upcoming business.

While supporting the concept of a casino, the Ontario Restaurant Association, and in particular our Windsor operators, has a number of major concerns pertaining to the design and operation of the proposed casino for Windsor. We believe that these issues need to be addressed prior to the passage of Bill 8, and in some cases be entrenched in either the legislation or accompanying regulations.

Restaurants in the casino complex: For the foodservice industry, the development of restaurants and beverage facilities within the casino is a major concern. The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, the Honourable Marilyn Churley, has stated that the casino complex would include three modestly sized restaurants that will accommodate 10% of the casino's daily visitors.

The ORA supports the concept of limiting the availability of foodservices so that casino patrons will be encouraged to leave the casino complex and utilize the local hospitality operators, taxis and other accommodations. We are very concerned that this provision does not appear in Bill 8 and, more importantly, is absent from the government's request for proposals which was issued to prospective casino operators.

We believe that this promise by the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations must be enshrined in Bill 8 before it is passed. With projected visitors of approximately 12,000 per day, a 10% accommodation ratio suggests food and beverage facilities for 1,200 would be required in the casino complex. As with any restaurant, however, the three casino restaurants will have multiple sittings and a number of table turns throughout the day. Based on an average table turn of four times per day, we would suggest that the maximum seating required for the three casino restaurants to accommodate would be 300; 10% of the visitors would be 300 seats combined.

The ORA believes that this needs to be clarified and outlined in a follow-up to the request for proposals document, as previously stated by the government. Without this commitment, the foodservice industry cannot support Bill 8 as is.

Beverage alcohol prices: The ORA is very concerned about the possibility that local establishments will face unfair competition as a result of internal casino subsidization. The principal area of potential subsidization is that of wine, beer and spirits as well as foodservices. It has been stated by government officials that alcohol prices within the casino will be established in relation to other entertainment facilities.

Because of competitive concerns and the need to maintain a level playing field, the ORA supports this proposal. We believe, however, that further clarification is required regarding what will comprise the local price comparison. As you are well aware, there are great price variations between hospitality establishments. To avoid confusion and potential conflicts down the road, a formula to establish the local price needs to be developed and entrenched in Bill 8 for both food and beverage alcohol prices.

The ORA believes it is imperative that casino revenues are not used to subsidize food or alcohol prices to the detriment of local hospitality operators. Windsor cannot allow its hospitality industry to be decimated the way the local food and beverage industry in Atlantic City has been. Consideration is provided to protect the local hotel industry, but not restaurants. We need the same safeguards. Without this provision, we cannot support this legislation.

Hours of operation: To build upon the success of the casino, we believe that other regulatory changes need to be implemented in order to attract tourists and build a solid concentrated business. The most glaring regulatory change needed pertains to the closing hours for licensed establishments in Ontario.

We are the only province in Canada which still has a 1 am closing hour for licensed establishments. It has not kept pace with a modern, mobile and flexible society. Current 1 am closing hours are a major disincentive to the tourism and hospitality industry and encourages cross-border dining into bordering American jurisdictions. In Windsor, border crossings to American restaurants, bars and lounges continues to be a serious problem.

In order to permit Ontario licensees to compete fairly and to fully benefit from the development of the casino, changes to the hours of operation must be approved. Extending the hours of operation until 3 am would act as a major economic stimulant within the tourism and hospitality industry and would generate several thousand new jobs throughout Ontario. It would, most importantly, allow local licensed operators to build upon the success of Windsor's casino and create new jobs in the hospitality industry.

Enhancing infrastructure: As noted previously, the ORA believes that development of a casino should be seen only as part of a broader initiative to revitalize Windsor's tourism, convention and hospitality industry. To accomplish this major undertaking, we plan to initiate a Dine Windsor marketing campaign by our local ORA, including a fair exchange program incorporated into this.

This will require provincial and municipal coordination. For example, in the area of border crossing there needs to be better coordination to ensure that the bridge and tunnel are not bottlenecked and that entry into Windsor is made easy for our American visitors. This coordination will also be needed to ensure that enhanced air travel is available to visitors from all areas.

Thank you for your attention today and I pass the microphone over to Paul Oliver, our provincial president.


Mr Paul Oliver: In conclusion, the restaurant and hospitality industry is apprehensive about the introduction of casino gambling for reasons already outlined. We are particularly concerned about the discrepancies which exist between public statements made by government officials and what is contained in the request for proposals. To allay these concerns, we believe provisions regarding the day-to-day operations of the casino must be included in Bill 8.

We recognize that Bill 8 was designed as framework legislation to establish the casino corporation. However, we believe the scope of this legislation must go well beyond simply establishing the parameters. It must have true substance and must build in accountability.

The people of Ontario are being asked to take a leap of faith on casino gambling. The least that we can do is outline in permanent legislation how the casino will function and operate. This will ensure radical changes will not be implemented by this government or by future governments without public input and accountability.

Without provisions in this legislation protecting small local restaurants and hospitality establishments, the foodservice operators in Windsor are being asked to roll the dice on their future. This is simply a notion we cannot support. We have already seen the devastating impact of this public policy approach on local restaurants in Atlantic City.

We support the statements made by government officials; it's now time to put these mechanisms into legislation. Without meaningful and enforceable safeguards in this legislation, we cannot support Bill 8. As outlined, however, we continue to support the concept of casino gambling in Windsor.

You will find attached to our submission an article which outlines some of our concerns on casino gambling and the impact on restaurants in American jurisdictions.

We are pleased to have had the opportunity to appear here before you today and to discuss our views regarding the development of casino gambling in Windsor. We welcome any questions you may have.

The Chair: Thank you very much. We have approximately four and a half minutes per caucus, and we're starting with the Liberal caucus. Mr McClelland has a question.

Mr McClelland: To our presenters, I want to thank you for your presentation and thank you for being here. We too in the opposition have some concerns in terms of some of the discrepancies or apparent discrepancies, and moreover, I suppose, and I say this I hope not in too much of a spirit of partisanship, there is the leap of faith issue. There very much seems to have been said, "Trust us; we'll take care of you," whether it be in the policing issue or the projections in terms of jobs. We want to see the numbers. We want to see some concrete, empirical evidence and demonstrate in a tangible way some of the promises and overtures that have been made.

Again, I say in terms of the concept, and my colleague Mr Kwinter said yesterday, casinos per se are not the issue. We're talking about the way the project has been done, the management of it and some of the very real questions that are being raised, and you certainly bring up some of them.

I want to direct this particularly to you, Thom, if I might. You talked about the problem with potential internal casino cross-subsidization. If I can take that a step further, one of the hopeful outcomes will be that there will be a generation of business to your industry and your colleagues in the industry.

Mr Kormos asked a question about supply. How are you going to deal with the supply issue, services and the product on an Ontario level? I know you and I had a brief conversation. I might ask you to fill in other members of the committee on some of the initiatives you have been taking to ensure that there is a local component for supply of product for the restaurant association and how that might impact vis-à-vis the casino operation internally.

Mr Racovitis: Locally, about four weeks ago, members of the hospitality supply industry just recently formed a suppliers' organization, and we met with Paul Bondy, the industrial development commissioner. That was the first stage of it. We've had several meetings since. Those who were traditionally foes in the industry have sat down together at the same table, recognizing the upcoming potential and also the threat of offshore or out-of-province competition, and have worked very diligently in putting together the concept of a cooperative marketing strategy to supply the casino's total needs on a unilateral basis where everybody participates in this. It's the first time this initiative has ever taken place. There's another meeting scheduled this Friday with them.

Throughout this, as to the sources and the supplies and the manpower and the facilities, the storage spaces and everything else that would be required to supply the casino, I can assure you, without hesitation at all, that it is there. It's in place and the resources are readily available to us, emphasis placed on Ontario product.

Windsor, not too long ago, had four major packing houses. We had four major dairies in this city, processing and manufacturing. Today, most of this product is brought in from out of our city. We had a major international playing card company in the city of Windsor, not that long ago. The facility is still there. So there's still the expertise within this city to even rise to the occasion. Hopefully, the need will be there. But I can assure everybody here, without hesitation, that it can be supplied and it will be Ontario supplied too.

Mr Eves: I have a few very brief questions. I take it that your request for 3 am closing applies through the entire province of Ontario, not just the Windsor area?

Mr Racovitis: Yes.

Mr Eves: I read with interest your comment about recommending that foodservice operators be separately tendered to a different organization other than that which will operate and manage the casino. You raised other concerns, and I think properly so, with respect to the operation.

Your statement on the bottom of page 8 says, "It must have true substance and must build in accountability." You go on on page 9 to say, "This will ensure that radical changes will not be implemented by this government or by future governments without public input and accountability."

I must say I couldn't agree with you more. Governments of all political stripes from time to time tend to do things by regulation as opposed to legislation. The public often doesn't appreciate the difference. Government finds it very easy to change regulations, often without any public awareness or awareness by the media as to what is going on. On the other hand, to change a piece of legislation is a rather public and ostensible step. I take it that what your association is asking for is that Bill 8 itself be amended to include these concerns that you have.

Mr Racovitis: Yes.

Mr Oliver: It's not even the regulations part of it. It's our reading of Bill 8 that once a casino corporation is set up it can, by policy, change whatever it wants, on to impacting foodservice for example and cross-subsidization. Even the request for tender says there is the ability for the casino operator to provide services on a gratuitous manner, or freebies, as you might want to see them.

We've seen that in US jurisdictions where public policymakers have promised one thing, and then once a casino is up and going they say, "Oh, well, we've got to change this, this and this." We don't want to see that in Ontario. We think we can develop a good casino here that helps the local economy, helps the local operators. But we need to make sure that we don't get those changes down the road.

Mr Carr: Thank you very much for the presentation. You added some very important points. I also wanted to thank Thom. I guess some of the members had the opportunity to be in his facility last night and had an excellent dinner. Hopefully, the people who will be coming will be doing that as well.

My question is this: You've said very clearly the changes you want to make. I think a lot of the opposition are saying the same thing. It was hastily done. It was driven by finances, notwithstanding the fact that people like the mayor liked the idea. They have botched this thing from the beginning.

If you don't get the changes -- because you've alluded to it a couple of times in this presentation -- you've listed there, then your association will not be supporting it? If you don't get the changes you've listed to Bill 8, you will not be supporting Bill 8 then?

Mr Oliver: The issue is not whether we get the changes or not; the issue is just getting the promises that have already been made from the government. From our discussions with government officials, the government recognizes the problems. It's now just getting them put into the legislation so that not only this government, but as I said, future governments live by that. The concern is that once it goes out of the hands of the policymakers, we don't know what the casino management companies will do.

We've heard comments from some of the companies that are bidding on it that they're talking 30%, 40% or 50% foodservice, which is in direct contradiction to what the minister is saying. If that happens, the impact on local restaurateurs could be devastating. Atlantic City's lost half of its restaurants since casinos opened, and we don't want to see local operators being put out of business by the government's casino.

Mr Carr: I agree and I think as a politician, not to be too political, you better get it in writing from politicians because they will sometimes promise anything to get approval and then not come through. I agree with you; you should do that. We'll be pushing to ensure that it does happen because I think some of the points you made are very valid.


Mr Dadamo: I present to my committee colleagues here three outstanding people who are very passionate about this city and have worked hard on behalf of Windsor: Jim Evans, with Hiram Walker, and I have shared a couple of cab rides in from Pearson to downtown; Thom Racovitis, from Tunnel Bar-B-Q, and hardworking parents who borrowed about $500, as I understand, to start TBQ's many years ago and you've kept it alive and it's a wonderful place that some of my committee members will go to; as well, Evelyn Slobasky, who runs a bowling alley and restaurant on the corner of Ottawa and Parent. Hardworking people.

It's important that Wayne Lessard and I are on this committee, Dave Cooke; all three of us have to listen to you and to your concerns, have to react on behalf of the government and work and become that liaison between here and Queen's Park.

One issue that I want to hear from you is, with the three proposed restaurants that will become part of the final product, will that affect you? I'm trying to figure out what the relationship will be between the three establishments in the site and the outside restaurants and whether, being in the downtown core of Windsor, or reaching out to Evelyn on the corner of Ottawa and Parent, just what kind of relationship that will be.

Mr Racovitis: I don't think any of us can be arrogant enough to think that we're sitting isolated and won't be affected, either pro or con, with the casino. The casino's going to have an effect on our whole community in one way or another. From the restaurant point of view, we're really speaking on behalf of the broad section, 200 members of our association. I'd like to think that our downtown operation, just by sheer increase of traffic going by, would actually benefit, offering a product that perhaps the casino won't offer. If they offer ribs, I'll be upset about it.

Mr Lessard: They won't be as good.

Mr Racovitis: I hope not.

But I think a big part of what we're concerned about is creating the term "the black hole." Unlike Las Vegas, where the weather is pretty nice all the time, we have a situation in the wintertime here where you could have an ice storm, you could have some adverse weather. With a casino that would have the ability to service a great majority of the guests, they would have no cause to move out. Our taxi industry would not benefit from it; the rest of the city wouldn't benefit because there wouldn't be the exposure. So if the mandate is to look at what's beneficial to the city and to the province, I think this is a very important part that has to be considered. It's a matter of getting people mobile.

Part of the thing is that we know they have to eat, unless they come in with brown bags, and I think we should pass a law to take their bags away from them or something.

Other than that, I just think there can be and there will be, if it's oversaturated -- if it's a matter of the casino growing and allowing for growth in the future and working harmoniously with the local association, we're business people and we understand that the proponents are business people. They have to be viable and successful in order to continue. We're saying, give us the same courtesy and consideration. It was built-in protection for the hotels with a 75% occupancy. We're not asking for something that specific.

We recommended earlier that a 1,100-seat night club with live entertainment be incorporated into it. We have to feel very strongly that the people who operate the Vegas casinos, the Atlantic City casinos, wouldn't spend $1 billion a year on entertainment if it wasn't a necessity. The gambling itself will not be the total panacea. It's been identified that there's a three-pronged entertainment factor that makes these places successful: One is the gambling; one is the entertainment; and the other is the shopping. We recognize locally that even our shopping offerings are going to have to be somewhat improved and embellished upon and selections broadened and so on. So our particular case is not representing ourselves as individuals but our industry as a whole. We're concerned about it from that point.

The Chair: Mr Evans, Mr Racovitis, Ms Slobasky and Mr Oliver, thank you for bringing the concerns of the local members of the Ontario Restaurant Association before the committee.


The Chair: The next presenters that we have coming before the committee are Mr William Docherty and Michael Prince, representing R.C. Pruefer Co Ltd. If you would please come forward.

If people could please take their private conversations outside of the room, it would be very much appreciated. Order, please.

If Mr Docherty and Mr Prince would please take their places at the table and start their presentation as soon as they are ready. Again, you have 30 minutes, which you can use entirely for your presentation, or use some time for questioning if you wish.

Mr William G. Docherty: We have given you the original business plan of May 22, 1992, which is embraced in some of the legislation. We've given you the response to the ministry casino team of September 28, 1992, and again the response of November 17, and today's brief. We've given you a complete brief on it.

The Chair: Thank you, sir. If you could introduce yourself for the purposes of Hansard.

Mr Docherty: William G. Docherty with R.C. Pruefer and Dr Michael Prince with the University of Windsor.

Once the committee members have it, what I would like to do is walk you through our response for the Windsor consultations with respect to Bill 8 and take you through a couple of pages in full and then just hit various pages through it, highlights, and then be available for questions. It will take us approximately 20 minutes of reading time.

The table of contents is immediately behind the cover sheet, if you all have it. The introduction and overview --

The Chair: Mr Docherty, maybe you just could wait a minute. I don't think all members of the committee have the documents.

Mr Docherty: You don't need the blue ones. They're for information. They were prior responses to the casino team. That was for their information.

The Chair: You want the one of August 16.

Mr Docherty: That's right. But the others are available so you can check the background.

The Chair: We'll just wait a few seconds here until we get them handed out. If you would like to refer to the pages again that you are going to be speaking about.

Mr Docherty: Pages from just August 16.

The Chair: We're starting right at the beginning?

Mr Docherty: Right at the beginning, the table of contents.

The Chair: Please proceed.

Mr Docherty: Discussion point: History of involvement in the pilot casino project.

(1) Business plan for pilot gaming casino in the city of Windsor, May 22, 1992.

(2) Response for the Ontario casino project consultation, September 28, 1992.

(3) Response for the Windsor consultations, November 17, 1992.

(4) Phase II lease proposal for an interim casino at the Art Gallery of Windsor, June 30, 1993.

Discussion point: The Original Vision.

Discussion point: Bill 8, part I, the Ontario Casino Corp.

-- Ontario's present capacity to operate and regulate casinos.

-- A prudent strategy for Ontario.

-- The legislative framework.

-- A crown corporation for Ontario casinos.

-- Further expansion of casino gaming.

-- Management and accountability framework.

-- Municipal orientation.

-- Monitoring economic and social impacts.

-- Dice games and the Criminal Code.

Discussion point: Bill 8, part II, land in the designated casino area.

Discussion point: Bill 8, part III, the Gaming Services Control Act.

-- Regulatory framework.

-- Liabilities.

-- Extension of credit.

Discussion point: Bill 8, general considerations for control.

Summary and conclusions.


If I could now take you to page 3, item 1, business plan for a pilot gaming casino in the city of Windsor, May 22. You have five copies of that. Prior, we had distributed some 100 copies since May 22, since the original inception. All the remarks with respect to that follow, and I would take you through to page 7, the paragraph beginning.

Many recommendations are included in the May 1992 business plan and the subsequent reports. The casino project team appears to have been influenced by some of the main considerations and many appear to be incorporated into the proposed Bill 8.

It is important to note that throughout our involvement in the development of the casino project, whether for the interim or the permanent casino, we have continued to emphasize that there should be a partnership of effort with the province, municipality, organized labour and the local business community. One purpose of this partnership is to take steps directed towards preventing the casino patron from becoming a silent visitor. If maximum economic benefit is to accrue to the community, this silent visitor must not be limited to spending money in the timeless captivity of the casino and then returning home without seeing or participating in the many features that Windsor and the surrounding community has to offer.

The partnership between municipal representatives and the province should carefully balance the multiple needs and objectives of the city, province and operator of the casino. It is in the interest of the operator to maximize the gaming revenues and the resulting profits, and it is in the interest of the province to maximize revenues and the resulting win tax. The interests of the city, however, are best served by coaxing patrons outside the casino to visit the downtown commercial establishments, by providing attractions that will induce patrons to extend their stay and by inviting the patron to return repeatedly. Although the motives of the partners work against each other, there must be a balance which will enable achieving the objectives of the casino project. This must also apply to all other cities which hope to capture a casino.

The next page is 8, and we'll pick one paragraph, the last paragraph. We commend the initiative of the province in bringing the new industry of casino gaming to Ontario and for designating the pilot plan in Windsor. The standing committee on finance and economic affairs and all those who expect to be involved with this economic opportunity should remember that the downtown business community, with organized labour, was a catalyst for this initiative. It proceeded without help from either provincial or municipal governments. Without the efforts of the coalition, this project would never have become a reality. The standing committee on finance and economic affairs should therefore carefully consider the concerns and comments of labour and the downtown business community on the content of the Ontario Casino Corporation Act, 1993. The city officials really got involved in a very dynamic way after the euphoric October 7 press conference whereby this city was chosen as the designated pilot plan.

Page 9, point 5: Inadequate control by the province encourages lack of professional staffing, lower employment and salary levels and lingering questions about the integrity of the casino that may affect attendance and lessen economic benefit.

Point 6: Although dishonesty and corruption are not exclusive to private enterprise, there is an extra element of public accountability in public enterprise. In addition, public enterprise can avoid pressures derived from a profit motive that exist in commercial interests.

I would take you through to the next page, page 10, the last paragraph. The Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, by providing for the ownership of casino operations in the province by a crown agency, has taken an important step. However, because of the planned scale of the casino project at present, there is an even greater need for provincial guardianship. It is even more significant that the proposed act should provide for proactive control and independent review and audit of operations by the province. The following sections address some of these concerns.

We go to page 11, one paragraph. We applaud the creation of a crown agency to take absolute ownership of the casino. This was the single most important recommendation of the business plan submitted May 22, 1992.

Page 12, a prudent strategy for Ontario: Wisely, the province has adopted the prudent strategy proposed in our original business plan. That strategy is the introduction of casino gaming in Ontario in two phases: the introduction of a single-site casino that would serve as both a pilot project and prototype for the second phase, which is the development of casinos in other localities within Ontario. The pilot casino project in Windsor will allow the province sufficient time to develop administrative, operational and regulatory capacities necessary for the implementation of a controlled yet successful gaming industry.

Preparation of complete and satisfactory regulation and legislation may take an extended period. In this respect, the province has also wisely decided to open an interim casino that allows the community the potential for quicker economic development and job creation and valuable experience in coping with large increases in tourism. It also gives the province an earlier start in developing the capabilities necessary to the thorough and thoughtful management, control and audit of the permanent facility. The interim and pilot casinos also allow the province to set up procedures to monitor the economic and social outcomes before committing to other provincial locations. The pilot project also facilitates the development of training programs for casino personnel and for regulatory-investigatory personnel.

Page 13, a crown corporation for Ontario casinos: To avoid the potential pitfalls of inadequate statutory authority over casino gaming operations, our business plan recommended creating a crown corporation for the licensing and management of casinos by a provincial enactment pursuant to section 207 of the Criminal Code. Bill 8 achieves that purpose.

Besides having the appropriate legal foundation, a crown agency with absolute ownership of casinos represents a viable alternative to either public regulation of the private sector operations or direct governmental department control. If the province chooses to operate the casino, the management techniques and structures common to the corporate form will more likely result in effective and efficient performance of the casino gaming operation. A crown corporation also provides the appearance of distance from direct government control without completely surrendering government's watchdog role.

Further expansion of casino gaming: We recommended in our 1992 business plan that the expansion of casino gaming operations beyond the pilot project to other Ontario communities be legislatively contingent on ministerial approval according to the definitive licensing format. Bill 8 and the complementary amendments to the Gaming Services Act do not appear to provide for this recommendation. Bill 8 simply provides for the operation of casinos without restriction. Without the recommended legislative restriction, the bill appears to give the crown corporation blanket authority to open casinos in Ontario wherever and whenever it pleases. This exposes the corporation to increasing pressures from public and private interests alike.

Management and accountability framework: We recommend, however, that the legislation provide for assignment of responsibility as determined by two primary considerations, as follows:

(1) Control and responsibility for large-scale casino gambling should not be commingled with other existing forms of gambling. Providing separation of control, even in a separate ministry, will enable the fresh development of regulation and legislation.

(2) By virtue of the objectives of casino gaming stated in our reports and by the casino project team, there should be extensive municipal involvement and a strong municipal orientation.

The next paragraph, under municipal orientation, same page: We recommend for the purposes of the pilot project in Windsor the initial board of directors be comprised of eight members: three from the province at large and five from the city of Windsor. Appointees from the city would be required to meet a residency requirement of a specific length of time. Figure 1, modified from the original business plan, shows a representative organizational chart for the pilot program. It should be recognized that representation from the municipality is even more important considering the scope of the pilot casino project now that the day-to-day casino operations are to be managed by private interests.

Page 16, monitoring economic and social impacts: The 1992 business plan also recommended that the province establish, for an indefinite period, an independent watchdog committee to monitor the social and economic impact of the pilot project. This is a vital function, in view of the intensity of economic change, the sometimes conflicting objectives of the operator, province and municipality, and the risk of large-scale social influences from casino gaming. Bill 8 provides that the board of the casino corporation can form a committee such as this on an ad hoc basis or a standing committee in its bylaws. It is important, however, to see that this committee is as objective and independent as possible in its reporting.


We recommend that this committee consist of a combination of professionally qualified persons selected from academia and the community at large. A carefully selected committee can provide an independent evaluation of economic benefits and sociological effects of the casino project on the daily lives of community residents.

We also recommend that this committee form the nucleus of a Canadian centre for gambling studies to be located at the University of Windsor and funded from casino revenues. This research centre would be a joint program of the faculties of law, social science -- sociology and criminology -- business administration and others interested in this growing national industry.

Page 17, one line, second line: Changing the Criminal Code to allow dice games in the casinos. This gets the feds into the economic results, because they're going to obtain dramatic revenues as a result of this provincial thrust, and they should come to the party and they should participate. That's the one thing that they can do to make us competitive with gaming in the area on the American side of the border. If the province is hesitant, certainly this community has enough businessmen who would chase the feds for that opportunity.

I'll take you to page 18, which shows phase one of the regulatory management framework for the pilot casino. It appears to be offered by Consumer and Commercial Relations. The bill, by an act, can be assigned to any ministry. One of the things that we're terribly concerned about that I'll speak to again takes place in some of the western provinces, where the ministry that's responsible does its own inspection. We believe that the Attorney General, gaming and control bureau and casino investigation and audit have to be completely separate from the managing ministry so that there can be no collusion within a ministry to make things apparently good or bad, whatever. The cross-check on the two ministries is important to the integrity of an operation. A single city might have a $500-million win.

Phase two: We show you, on page 19, the opportunity of structuring it then, with the two separate ministries, on investigation reporting and operations; we show city A, city B and city C. Both of these charts were in our original business plan. We've modified them slightly to accommodate the intricacies that have taken place since October 6.

Page 21, regulatory framework: The business plan of 1992 recommended creating an independent investigation and auditing agency with the mandate of external and autonomous review of security and integrity of the gaming industry. As shown in figures 1 and 2, the plan recommends that an independent agency or gaming control bureau would report to the provincial Attorney General and be separate from the ministry responsible for the casino corporation. This structure enables maximum enforceability and independence in the ongoing review of casino operations.

Much of this recommendation has been incorporated into Bill 8 and the amendments of the Gaming Services Act, Bill 26. The proposed legislation provides for the creation of a Gaming Control Commission, a director of gaming control and a registrar of gaming control. Bill 8 also provides for the appointment of investigators by the Gaming Control Commission. However, these investigators and the audit control and the investigating function are organized within the same ministry as the casino corporation. There is need for an independent authorization of investigators. A recommendation to assign the investigation and the audit functions of the Attorney General was made on the assumption that the personnel in this function, identified as the gaming control bureau in figures 1 and 2, will have extensive experience in investigation and auditing gaming operations and be knowledgeable in criminal law matters.

Page 22, extension of credit: Credit is the biggest cause of scams to the industry on a national basis. The amendments to the Gaming Services Act provide for prescribing of rules governing the use of credit extended to players of games of chance held in casinos. Casinos offer credit as a marketing tool and as a service to its preferred customers. But, as described in our business plan of 1992, extending credit is one of the most serious sources of abuse in casinos and should be prohibited in practice in Ontario casinos. The Beare and Hampton report (M. E. Beare and H. Hampton, Legalized Gaming and Gambling: An Overview, Ministry of the Solicitor General, User Report Series, 1984-13, pages 105-109) describes a series of ways in which scams are conducted in the casino credit market.

The most effective regulated approach to this problem is to legislate against granting credit for gaming purposes. Though the offering of credit is consistent with an objective of maximizing profits, costs associated with the risks of potential abuses are too great. Simultaneously, with increasing availability of banking terminals, the need to extend credit is diminishing. Providing for the granting of credit in this legislation gives the appearance that the province is placing profits and revenue maximization ahead of security, integrity and control.

When that report was done in 1984, the proliferation of banking centres was not available and today, with 8, 10, 12 or 20 in a casino, credit should not be necessary nor the resulting losses as a result of the dunning.

I take you to the summary and conclusions, which I'd like to read in full to you.

In concluding, we again congratulate the province of Ontario and the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations for taking this important step in the introduction of a new economic catalyst in the city of Windsor and the province of Ontario. We would also like to thank members of organized labour, the downtown business community and the members of Parliament, particularly the Honourable David Cooke, George Dadamo and Wayne Lessard, for helping us to see this project to its present stage of fruition.

We also congratulate the ministry in incorporating many of the recommendations of our original business plan into its proposed regulations and legislation. We strongly support this legislative initiative of the province and want to re-emphasize that the purpose of the comments and recommendations in this submission is to ensure that the pilot casino project can best accomplish its objectives, so that this important initiative will result in an economic benefit to the community as well as the province with a minimum of social risk.


The following points summarize some of the key issues and recommendations that have been addressed in this submission:

-- That there is legislative restriction placed on the expansion of casino gaming beyond the pilot project.

-- That the assignment of ministerial responsibility consider separation from other existing forms of gaming.

-- That there should be municipal involvement in the governance of the casino corporation, the setting of regulations for the industry and in monitoring the impact and success of the pilot project.

-- That the board of the casino corporation appoint a general manager of gaming operations.

-- That the act provide for an independent watchdog committee to monitor social and economic impact.

-- That the legislation provide for funding prevention programs and treatment of addictive behaviour and other social problems arising from this initiative.

-- That the control and audit functions of the industry be separate and distinct from the ministry responsible for the operations.

-- That the granting of credit to individuals for gaming purposes be expressly prohibited.

-- Finally, that the province take persuasive steps to have the exclusion of dice games removed from the Criminal Code.

There are too many recommendations in our 1992 business plan and the subsequent reports to include this in the submission. We are providing the committee with copies of those reports for additional background to this submission. We thank you for the opportunity to present our remarks to you.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Docherty. We have exactly two minutes per caucus. Mr Eves, did you have a question you wanted to raise or a comment?

Mr Eves: I would like to congratulate you on what I think is an extremely well-thought-out and presented report. I think there are several recommendations in there that you have suggested the committee and the government would do well to consider with a great deal of seriousness. The separation of responsibility I think is an excellent suggestion, the degree of municipal and local involvement.

I'd like you to expand, if you would, on recommendation number 6, "That the legislation provide for funding prevention programs and treatment of addictive behaviour and other social problems arising from this initiative." I know that's a situation that other jurisdictions, both in Canada and other places, have had to deal with and I'd just like to have you expand for a couple of minutes on that particular point.

Mr Docherty: Assuming that the revenue is in a gross of $500 million and assuming that the provincial tax is some 20%, that's $100 million off the top. That doesn't consider the profit on the operations as well, so there should be a few dollars that could be set aside out of the program to have addictive centres. We have Brentwood Recovery Home for Alcoholics in our community and it is funded in part by the government and in part by gaming operations that are administered.

That program must be upfront. We can't wait to react. You've got to act out in front, and I think the government has wisely concluded that that's a very important part of it. Of course, the initiative to get it going always follows a little behind. What comes first, the chicken or the egg?

I think they must come together in this situation so that, as a community, we're prepared. A study group at the university -- Dr Prince has followed every step of the way with me. I engaged him in February 1992 and he has a thorough understanding of it and so do some of the other people we used at the university. That kind of operation would be most important to having a win-win situation. It's going to be a winner. Everybody who comes here is going to tell you about the economic impact. We knew that a month after we introduced it. What we've got to do is make sure that those less fortunate than ourselves win too, and that's a very important part of it.

The Chair: Thank you very much. From the government caucus, is there anyone who wishes to make a two-minute statement? Mr Duignan?

Mr Duignan: We have no questions.

The Chair: Mr Kwinter?

Mr Kwinter: Yes. First of all, on a point of information, on pages 18 and 19 of your charts, there's an error that could lead to some confusion. Just so that you can remember it easily, in Ottawa they have affairs; in Ontario we have relations.

Mr Docherty: Fine.

Mr Kwinter: If you take a look, you'll see you have "Consumer and Corporate Affairs."

Mr Docherty: Thank you.

Mr Kwinter: Mr Docherty, I apologize. Who are you and why are you here? You came in and you went through this thing like a tornado, but I have no idea what your interest is.

Mr Docherty: I was born and raised in this community. I'm 61 years old with six children. I've carried on business in this community as a builder-developer since I was 15 years old. I have served on government. I was chairman of the Ontario homebuilding council for two years, 1976-77. I was chairman when warranty came in and I was chairman when rent control came in, both very active situations for Ontario.

I sit on a number of committees in this community. I chair the Brentwood Recovery Home for Alcoholics and I've a great interest in what's going on. Originally, I started this when I won a proposal for a sportsplex here, a multi-use centre. I found very shortly after winning it that the only way it would work was to put people on the street. Having been born and raised in Windsor and travelled to Toronto for all of the meetings, I came to realize very early in my life that, not quite as harshly as this puts it, Highway 401 ended in London.

On an economic basis this government that we currently have has made great strides for this community, in looking after it, because we have three elected members. I felt that perhaps there was an opportunity to bring casino gambling to the province of Ontario. If you read that business plan of 103 pages, all the history is there, the subsequent reports are there, everything is there for you.

I was interested in doing one thing in this community: putting people on the street so those of us who have risk investment and have businesses here have a chance to do something besides lose money. We have been besieged by the cross-border shopping, which has now come to an end with the return of the Canadian dollar to its high discount rates, but that's not enough. In terms of the revitalization of our downtown community, we feel this, properly done, will work. All of the elements, all of your $150,000 Price Waterhouse and all these fellows who studied it, they agree with us, and it'll work for the province as well.

Mr Kwinter: Can I just ask you one other thing? How critical is the changing of the Criminal Code to allow dice games?

Mr Docherty: It's not critical. It's something that can be done en route, because surely the feds -- and I've had some preliminary discussions with them just on my own to see what the obstacles were. I had a lawyer look at to make sure that it was doable. It's a minor amendment to the Criminal Code. There is pressure already in other provinces to do the same thing.

If we want to be a full-scale competitor with New Jersey and Las Vegas, we have to have crap tables. It's that simple. Because of the catchment area we're in of some 50 million people across the river, we will have no trouble for a year or two or three, but eventually we have to play with a full deck, if you can use that expression.

The Chair: Mr Docherty and Mr Prince, thank you very much for presenting before the committee today.

The committee will resume at 1 pm. The committee is now recessed.

The committee recessed from 1205 to 1305.


The Chair: I'd like to proceed. Dr Smedick, please go ahead. You have 30 minutes. You may use all of that time for your presentation, or part of that time for your presentation and leave some time for questions.

Dr Lois Smedick: I plan to make a brief presentation and respond to questions that members of the group may have.

My name is Lois Smedick, professor of English and dean of graduate studies and research at the University of Windsor. I am speaking today as a representative of the board of directors of the Art Gallery of Windsor, where I also serve as chair of the acquisitions committee.

I will focus my remarks in three areas. The first is a question: What has gambling to do with art? The second is another question: What's in it for us, where "us" is, generally speaking, the directors, members, patrons and friends of the Art Gallery of Windsor. The third area I want to address is a statement I don't necessarily believe in my personal life but I certainly do believe in the context of support of cultural institutions: When giving a gift, nothing beats the elegant simplicity of money.

Mr Dadamo: One size fits all.

Dr Smedick: One size fits all.

First of all, my first question: What has gambling to do with art?

Like it or no, gambling is a human activity. It was invented by human beings. At least, I don't know any other animals that gamble as human beings do. It's found in some form in many, maybe all, different cultures worldwide and it combines some of the very basic elements of human existence:

-- Desire for success and, with success, gain.

-- Congregating for a specific purpose, with or without socializing, that is, just being in a crowd. We must like it; we do it a lot. We often find ourselves in crowds, not always knowing entirely the purpose why we're there.

-- Playing something that has rules, requires skill, capitalizes on luck, involves risk, and yes, may end in victory or disaster: football, tightrope walking, playing the stock market, climbing a rockface, starting a business, getting married. All of these things fit the description I've made.

Art, too, is a human activity. It is not a product, although we hang pictures in galleries and install sculpture and various other forms of art. It isn't the product that is the essential of art but rather the making, the doing. Artists call themselves art makers. It is a universal activity. It is necessary to us in some deep, human way, and the making and saving of art so that others besides the artist or the people immediately around the artist may see it -- that is an incredibly costly enterprise. It's an incredibly costly enterprise to have a gallery, to have a museum. It is costly in terms of talent, time, effort and of course money.

So the connection of these two activities, gambling and art, is both superficial -- one needs what the other provides, namely, money -- and is also more profound. As human activities, games of chance and art making overlap perhaps more than we always want to recognize. Humanity is a complex proposition. Our activities as human beings do not fit into neatly separable compartments. The pole vaulter is like the ballerina is like the chess champion is like the jazz musician is like the expert bridge player.

My second question is, what's in it for us? "Us" here is the Art Gallery of Windsor, the board of the Art Gallery of Windsor and the members of the community who are particularly interested in the survival and the growth of the art gallery. To be absolutely blunt, what is in it for us is risk, first of all, and an incredible amount of effort by Art Gallery of Windsor staff and by their resource people in the community.

This is not an easy transition. Commitment to a future is in it, a future based on what we have come to call a legacy accruing to the art gallery from the decision, first, to locate a casino in Windsor, and, second, to rent the art gallery building as an interim location. I stress the word "building" here because the building is not synonymous with the gallery. We use one as shorthand, sometimes, for the other.

For the duration, the Art Gallery of Windsor will be elsewhere. Like a university, a gallery is not a building but a focal point for a kind of human activity. In the Middle Ages, scholars from the University of Oxford hiked off to the East Anglian fens and founded Cambridge University. So the Art Gallery of Windsor will move out of its beloved site for a while, be itself somewhere else, and then move back stronger, richer, we certainly hope, and poised for whatever is next.

Finally, the "elegant simplicity of money" that beats all other gifts: Cultural organizations and institutions are on hard times for the simple reason that our society has too much to do and too little to do it with. We expect widespread accessibility to education through the post-secondary level. It's coming to seem now as though we expect accessibility even to graduate studies, certainly through the master's level. We expect, nay, demand, superior health care and we expect services and agencies of all kinds to meet special needs. We want material goods in a quantity and of a quality that most of our forebears could have scarcely conceived.

The government dollar is hard pressed and arts expenditures are particularly vulnerable -- not, I insist, because arts are expendable; they're not. Their universality shows that art making and the products of art making are a part of our existence. But they are vulnerable because in the chorus of demands the cry for the arts is heard as less urgent: Put them on hold for a while, they'll survive and we can bring them back to health some time down the road. Not so. Art is long, but the individual arts organization or institution can die as quickly as the human being can.

What will keep it alive?

-- Implementing the provincial commitment already made to provide 1% of the construction costs of a provincial building, and that includes gambling casinos, to art, with the use of that 1% to be determined in consultation with the arts community.

-- Second, ensuring that the Art Gallery of Windsor, for example, does receive its legacy in exchange for what it has done: sacrificed its presence in the building of its choice for a period of time, ensuring that it does receive its legacy and is able to return to a strengthened, improved facility; a renewed, restored body in which its spirit can continue to thrive.

-- Third, helping the Art Gallery of Windsor to use its legacy, not just for the gallery itself but as seed money for the cultural community in general.

The thing about humanity, we humans who gamble and also make art, is that we are all in it together willy-nilly, and art, whether we know it or not, enables us to survive.

The Chair: Thank you very much. We have about six minutes per caucus. Mr Callahan.

Mr Callahan: Just very quickly, I understand that it has been in the past the practice that 1% of provincial buildings would go towards the arts, but it's also my understanding that the permanent casino is being built by private enterprise. Am I correct? It's not being built by the province. Have you been given a commitment that 1% of that cost will go to arts as well?

Dr Smedick: Can I answer that with a question? Does the province get out of its commitment to support the arts in this way by having private enterprise build the building?

Mr Callahan: That's my next question to you. I don't see it as machiavellian as that, but perhaps you see it that way. It may make a rather interesting question in the House, in fact, but I suppose the idea behind it is to try to get the entrepreneur to put up the money to build the building. But you haven't received any commitment from the minister --

Dr Smedick: I have not personally.

Mr Callahan: -- that she will treat that as a quasi-provincial building and that you'll get commitment of the usual 1%.

Dr Smedick: I, personally, would push very hard for at least 1% of the cost to be dedicated to the cultural community, but I don't have a commitment from whoever is going to work out the arrangements with the province and so on to have that money come back.

We have talked about this in other contexts elsewhere, such as green space, for instance. The commitment to green space sometimes disappears in some landscaping right around the building, and it's not accessible green space to a population to make a building fit in with its environment. I think we can't dodge what these commitments represent, which is providing a user-friendly environment for people, providing support for cultural organizations, which contribute to the life of everybody.


Mr Callahan: Are there any other activities? I know in my community we have a bingo hall. Everybody has any number of nights they can get in there to raise money for the community. Is that done in Windsor?

Dr Smedick: Bingo is very big.

Mr Callahan: So the arts community actually volunteers, commits itself to doing nights in bingo to raise money for the arts.

Dr Smedick: They certainly do.

Mr Callahan: So the survival of bingo is as essential to this community as it is to my own community.

Dr Smedick: Something like bingo is certainly essential these days, I would say, yes. We can find all kinds of ways to raise money, but we know that is one sure-fire way. I belong to the Rotary Club and it's after us all the time to go into the smoke-filled hall and preside over bingo from 6 o'clock in the evening till 1 o'clock in the morning because it gets a lot of its revenue from that.

Mr Callahan: We've heard this morning that the stats the government has are that bingo will not be affected by casinos as long as the bingos are not taken within the casino environs. However, there is a game called keno. You're probably not a gambler, so you probably don't know what keno is.

Dr Smedick: I've heard of it.

Mr Callahan: Keno is very much like bingo. I wanted to ask you the question about how important bingo was to you to try and persuade the landlords or the operators of this casino and any future ones that may take place that they would not allow keno in there or would not move the bingo into the casinos to cut off the very necessary and very time-consuming efforts that volunteers in communities throughout Ontario and Canada have put together to try to make money for their endeavours. Thank you very much.

Mr Carr: Thank you very much for the presentation. What is the status financially of the art gallery now? I'm sure it's public knowledge, but for example this year, how are you fixed in terms of debt and what's the financial position of the art gallery?

Dr Smedick: We are not in debt as such, but we have pending enormous expenditures, such as replacing the roof, such as adequate air-conditioning and so forth to meet the long term, accessibility for the handicapped, various kinds of things. After all, as people know, that was a brewery warehouse which was brought up to a level to be an art gallery and then renovated to take the asbestos out and so forth.

The demands for an art gallery or for a museum environment, let alone just the natural wear and tear on a building, create an enormous backlog of need. I think what has come home to us, certainly to me as a member of the board of directors and also as part of other cultural organizations, is that we've really got to try new and innovative ways to bring money in, instead of simply going cap in hand, as it were, to funding agencies and saying, "Give us more." For one thing, they will not give us money for capital costs from, say, a granting council, but for programming. There's a limit to what the city can do for us, to what the province or what the federal government could do.

Mr Carr: I appreciate that you were very honest, saying it is really financially driven. What has been the promise, as somebody who's on the board of directors? What's the amount you've been promised?

Dr Smedick: What figure will we put on legacy?

Mr Carr: Yes. I didn't want to be as blunt, but I'm glad you were.

Dr Smedick: I suppose if it were below about $4 million, we'd have to ask seriously, is it worth doing at all? If it were above $6 million, we would be delighted. That's where we are.

Mr Carr: What type of guarantees do you have? Not to sound political, because this could be all governments of all political stripes, but unless you have some hard, firm guarantees -- as you know, the province is in a deep financial situation, probably only to get worse. We've taken dramatic action over the last little while. What type of guarantees do you have that you're going to get anything, let alone in the range you're looking at?

Dr Smedick: I guess if we didn't have a pretty good expectation, we would have to say, "Look, this isn't worth doing."

Mr Carr: But is it in terms of a binding contract, or just commitments?

Dr Smedick: It would certainly have to be.

Mr Carr: Where are you at now in terms of --

Dr Smedick: Negotiating.

Mr Carr: Still negotiating, but as a director you firmly intend to have a negotiated signed agreement with the corporation.

Dr Smedick: As a member of the board I would, I think, demand that before we get too much deeper we have something very solid.

Mr Carr: What are you going to do in the meantime? What are your plans through the transition period?

Dr Smedick: This is one of the difficulties, that the staff really has to plan for a move before it even knows entirely the circumstances under which this is going to take place, because you don't just suddenly one day decide to walk all that art out of the gallery into a place. There are any number of concerns that exist about that. So they have to plan "as if." If "as if" doesn't come to pass, that's another story, or if "as if" is delayed for a longer period of time than expected, then there are consequences of all that.

Mr Carr: What does the staff think about it? What are their comments?

Dr Smedick: I think they're very supportive. I don't want to embarrass our present director, but I think they have a very dynamic director who has certainly rallied the support of the staff to do what is needed.

Mr Carr: What do you think is going to happen to attendance during, shall we call it the transition period, or whatever? What do you see happening?

Dr Smedick: To speak absolutely frankly, I feel that the art gallery has reached a point in its history where it has to continue to reach out to an ever broader community, and I'm not sure that an institution that is situated and has been situated as it was for a certain period of time, without radical change, is doing all it can to reach out. This is an opportunity to do that, to present programming in a way people haven't received programming, not as something you come into that building to have but as something you encounter in your daily life outside, whether it's downtown, whether it's out in the outskirts, wherever it is.

This is what art is all about. As I have quoted to people who were very concerned when this was first talked about, I said art is a verb, not a noun. Art is doing; art is being. It isn't something that you package and put somewhere.

On the doing side, I think we can do a lot out in the community. That's what I mean by coming back not just richer in the sense of monetarily better fixed, but coming back richer in other ways as well, with a renewed membership, with perhaps a different group or inclusive of a different group of members than existed.

Mr Carr: What are you going to do with the $5 million? What are the plans? Are you already actively spending it?

Dr Smedick: No. Establish an endowment. As the director has said to me personally recently, it's not as though we rush off and spend this. This is the future. This is the basis for having a future.

Mr Lessard: I want to thank you for your presentation, and I want to also thank the board of directors from the art gallery for their approach throughout this -- I guess you could refer to it as an ordeal -- because I know when the board's decision was originally announced, it was really a novel approach. I certainly wasn't convinced that it was necessarily the way we should go. However, it was something that was voted upon by the members and they were given an opportunity to decide whether they were for this or against it and they did come out in favour of it.

I also want to acknowledge the work of the university president, Ron Ianni, because I think he had a big role to play in how this was stick-handled through the process. I also want to acknowledge the work the director has done, Nataley Nagy, who is here with us today, because she's just begun and kind of got thrust headlong into this controversy in a new city and a new art gallery, and I think she's handled it very well.


I heard initially from some of the members who were opposed to the proposal of the casino being in the art gallery building, and I thought about what my grandmother might have felt about that idea. She was a member of the art gallery when it was back at Willistead and took art lessons in the coach house, and I just wondered how she might have felt about this move.

Dr Smedick: Very negative, I'm sure.

Mr Lessard: I don't really know how she might have felt, but I think, after having gone through the process and hearing what members felt and the board of directors and the rest of the community, there are a lot of advantages to the art gallery. Of course, one's the downtown location. The other one is that it not only will lead to the improvement of the gallery as a physical facility; it also gives an opportunity to move from that facility out into the community and therefore reach a market that may not have gone down to the gallery in the past. It also, more importantly, ensures that the interim casino does remain interim, because the art gallery's going to want its gallery back --

Dr Smedick: Most certainly.

Mr Lessard: -- which was a fear we had in considering some other locations, that they may tend to become permanent once they are established.

Those are the advantages I see. I guess if I had a question as a result of all that, it would be maybe to explain some of the efforts you've taken to relocate the collection or to get it out into the community and what sort of work you've done in anticipation of the transition taking place.

Dr Smedick: Just two or three things: We received a grant for storage screens, which come at a very timely point. Had they come sooner, they certainly would have been extremely useful, but they are absolutely indispensable to the proper storage of the art in a facility elsewhere.

Secondly, it is going to be possible, I understand, if all goes according to plan, to have access to the permanent collection during this period. In other words, it won't be in storage in the sense of being inaccessible; it will be in storage to be drawn upon, provided the appropriate circumstances, conditions and so forth can be ensured for displaying the art.

Those things are going forward. So far as the anticipation of the interruption in programming is concerned, my understanding is that this is like an individual negotiation with the various programs anticipated. Some will undoubtedly go forward, others will probably have to be postponed and maybe we will lose some others.

The art gallery really has a skeleton staff. It doesn't have any slack but it does have a group of very competent people there who are really working night and day to make this work. So I think there's the planning, I think there's the vision and I think there's the hard work to do this in the right way.

Just to go back to an earlier comment you made, when I first heard about this over the phone, I was really in a state of shock. That's the only way I can describe it. The first question I asked was, what does the former director think of this and what does the incoming director think of this? Had the incoming director not responded as she did to the challenge and the opportunity it presented, I don't really think we could have carried it off.

The Chair: A short question, Mr Dadamo.

Mr Dadamo: I wanted to make you smile a little bit. I was just running down from a brewery, to art, to casino, back to art, hopefully. It's almost one half of baccarat. So that's where you're future's going. That's all I wanted to say.

Dr Smedick: Very good.

The Chair: We're out of time. Thank you very much, Dr Smedick, for presenting on behalf of the Art Gallery of Windsor.

Dr Smedick: Thank you.


The Chair: Our next presenter is Brian McKenzie, if he would like to come forward, please. Mr McKenzie, we have your brief before us, if you would like to start. We remind you that you have 30 minutes, of which you have, obviously, a timed brief. If we have enough time at the end, we'll have some time for questions.

Dr Brian A. McKenzie: Very good. I would like to begin by commending this committee for taking the initiative to hold public hearings, and not just in this city but in many other centres across the province.

I would also like to commend the committee for making some time available for private citizens such as myself to make presentations. I count it a privilege. It's a privilege because in our own city here of Windsor, I was not afforded the opportunity at our city council meetings to make presentations.

Our city council, I have heard, is supportive, and indeed it is supportive, but in their busy lives they don't have time to listen to people who have serious concerns. Indeed, I wrote down much of the same material and submitted it to our mayor several months ago and I've yet to receive a reply or acknowledgement. I know he received it, because I gave it in person to his secretary, so I want to commend you for doing much better and for helping to redress some of the problems. A good number of us are feeling that something might be railroaded through before it is refined enough to work well.

When the casino gambling issue was first proposed in 1992 I had no major concern or objection to it. It seemed little more than a big bingo to me. As the issue was explored in the media, however, I have been forced to conclude that the issue is much, much greater. One cannot remain complacent when casino promoters such as Donald Trump, perhaps in a bit of extraordinary candour, tells the host of the CBC business program, Venture, "From an overall standpoint, I'm not sure as to whether or not casino gambling is a good thing for a community." I'm quoting from memory from that program aired on April 4 of this year.

Since I'm not representing an organization or any other special interest group, a bit of personal background may be helpful to this committee to assess any biases that I may bring with me.

I'm a lifelong resident of Ontario except for four months of study in France and Switzerland. My doctorate was earned for research on Canadian intellectual and social history in the 20th century, but I'm only an educated layman, one might say, when it comes to criminology and the economics of gaming. I have taught at the college level and I now serve as the pastor of a Baptist congregation in this city. My church does not make use of bingos or raffle tickets or any other form of gaming to raise funds, so I do not bring an agenda from fear of economic loss. I'm married. I have three school-age children. I'm not a member of a political party, but I do vote faithfully, and I suppose I'm part of that swing group of voters who effectively determine the outcome of many elections.

Mr Callahan: Did you cause that the last time? Was it your fault?

The Chair: Please ignore that.

Dr McKenzie: I'm not going to be diverted from my material by that response, nor am I going to allow myself to be diverted by issues of talk concerning morality of casinos or of gambling in general. That issue, for better or worse, has been decided many years ago in this province. I would not be taking my time to rehash a non-live issue before you today. What has motivated me to do the research for this proposal and to clear my schedule to come here today can best be described as self-interest. I want to ensure that the quality of life in Windsor and any other city that might obtain a casino in the future, because I may well work and live in such a city in this province, will not deteriorate. Also, the optimistic -- one might sometimes say it is overly optimistic -- rhetoric of casino boosters concerning social costs suggest that I and other citizens of Windsor will end up paying the majority of the costs through increased property taxes unless Bill 8 is amended.

Now to the specifics. Each of these recommendations I present are different illustrations of the same thrust. I trust there are many better-skilled minds around this table on how to word such in legislation, and there may be different ways to actually implement it, but I trust that if the thrust of what I'm presenting rings a bell with you, you can refine it or have others refine it for legislation.

With that in mind, I'm not going to read through in detail all of these recommendations, but give you a flavour of where it's going.

Recommendation 1: Bill 8 should be amended to include a statement affirming the principle that casinos should pay the full social costs of their operations including policing, treatment for pathological gamblers, credit counselling etc.

At the very least, this principle should be explicitly stated in Bill 8, not just in arguments for or against the bill in the House, perhaps in a preamble. Below I will argue that the specific measures to implement this principle should be written into the bill itself, but others may argue that it could be best handled in the form of ministry regulation. In either case, it should be emphasized that there needs to be an explicit statement in the bill of this principle. I think it's important not only to ease my fears but for the political process in which you are participants. It would help remove the suspicion that provincial governments, present or future, will attempt to pass on the majority of costs to municipalities. Public confidence in provincial politicians, and others as well, must not be undermined any further than it already has been.


Recommendation 2: Bill 8 should be amended to mandate that treatment for gambling addicts should be paid for by the casino corporation through -- and this is a suggestion -- our existing OHIP system.

Gambling addiction treatment should be added to the OHIP schedule of billable services, if it's not already there. Doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists would then simply bill OHIP for treatment for those with pathological gambling problems. OHIP would then in turn bill the casino corporation. This arrangement would require no new administrative costs. It would ensure that treatment's available when needed; we don't have to wait to see what problem develops and two years later provide the services. It would come into place as soon as needed, and if there aren't any major needs, then we won't have wasted money setting up a structure for which there's no large need. So it works both ways: It saves money but it expands to meet the need if the need is really there.

The treatment practitioners would make the determination of whether specific cases are related to the casino, and they're going to need to know the background of the patient's gambling problem in the normal course of treatment so it's going to be no additional work for them. If need be, a dispute tribunal could be established if the casino corporation feels it's being overcharged, but I suspect that likely wouldn't be necessary.

This approach is superior to proposals I've read from other jurisdictions, where a fixed percentage of the gross winnings of a casino, and 1% or 2% are commonly suggested figures -- I'm taking this from page 53 of a report to the lotteries commission in Alberta by Professor Garry Smith of the University of Alberta. Why should we allocate 2% if only half that is really needed? That will just incur most waste and fat in the system. On the other hand, what if 2.75% or 4.25% is what's really needed? There is no way to make an accurate prediction, and there's no need to waste time and money to do so when the OHIP route would provide a more responsive and cost-effective alternative.

I have a note on public education there; I think that's one of the most effective ways. I believe that every dollar of education for preventing the growth of addictive gambling would be better spent by a private organization such as the casino corporation, crown corporation though it is, because its incentive would be not to spend so much money for, one might say, public relations, but it's going to make sure that it gets every dollar of value from a dollar it spends. I note there that $56,000 to treat each addict is the estimate from the Alberta study. I think if any corporation starts to get a bill for a few of those treatment costs, it will soon implement an effective educational program.

Recommendation 3: The bill should be amended to require casino corporations to pay the cost for welfare cases attributable to casino gambling.

Let me summarize here: The minister in her presentation yesterday made a commitment to review, not necessarily to help, but at least to review the costs in Windsor. But what about the costs in London, people coming from London? What about the costs of people coming from Sarnia, a few of whom may experience such difficulties with problem gambling that they end up on the welfare rolls of those communities? How would the government's request for proposal that I heard yesterday meet that? It would not. What needs to be is a much more direct, cost-effective approach, simply to have the social workers make note of which cases are related to the casino gambling operation in Windsor and then to have those municipalities given the right to submit an invoice for payment from the casino corporation.

Number 4 follows the same approach with credit counselling, and you'll note there that I argue we shouldn't give credit counselling agencies grants of more than they really need to do the job. Again, the direct billing as costs and services are provided is the most cost-effective route.

I want to focus on number 5, because this is the one that really has motivated me to get involved, the potential deterioration of services and atmosphere in Windsor, and relates to what I expect is the most costly aspect of my recommendations.

Number 5: Most importantly, Bill 8 must be amended to empower cities or police services boards to bill the casino corporation for increased policing costs due to the casino operations.

Here I urge the application of the same principle used for the preceding social costs: Base it not on forecasts, not on estimates, but on the basis of actual additional services that are needed. To apply this principle we must first determine what types of police services will qualify, and there are at least four approaches.

First, the minimalist approach: Only the number of police officers required to drive street crime one block away from the casino's front door will be considered legitimate and thus reimbursed by the casino corporation.

This approach is so incredibly naïve that I would not have included it in my presentation except that I heard it implied in the minister's proposal yesterday. She announced that the province would be willing to cover the cost of 10 additional police officers in Windsor. Do you realize that there are 4.5 shifts in a police service week? That means if you allow for vacations and sick days, there will only be two additional officers on duty at one time. They're going to have a hard time keeping street crime away from the front door and the side door of the casino.

What will be the case for fender-bender car accidents? That doesn't show up in crime statistics, but police officers need to address that. Indeed, a member of my congregation made three calls to our city police department one night because she had rented an apartment formerly occupied by, apparently, a drug dealer, and his friends, not so friendly any longer, came knocking on the door with guns in their hands. Her husband was at work on the night shift. She called the police. The second time she called when they hadn't responded, they said: "Lady, it's slippery out there. We have our officers out investigating car accidents." That's what she was told. She has moved from that location to another location in the city.

I would hate to have that type of atmosphere develop in Windsor so that people move out of the city of Windsor to the lower tax-based areas surrounding, out in La Salle and other locations. This is significant and cannot be ignored.

It's ill-conceived government commitments, like the one I heard yesterday, that confirm my contention that the mechanisms for billing of social costs must be explicitly written into Bill 8. As of yesterday, no resident of Windsor or any other future casino city in Ontario can trust its welfare to a minister who, after the months of consultation with the police that she claims to have had, can so naïvely believe that 10 police would be sufficient. But perhaps she has something else in mind with that statement, and that leads me to point two.

The second alternative is that there would be a negotiated approach in which city leaders will be forced to negotiate, ie, do battle, with provincial bureaucrats and politicians every year until eternity comes, negotiating what's the proper extra funding that would be required.

If the minister's statement yesterday was the province's opening position in the first annual bargaining round, it's clear this will be time-consuming and will generate much ill will. This committee will serve the province very well by amending Bill 8 so that yearly determinations of additional police funding will be based on objective, measurable criteria and not incessant bickering between local and provincial officials.

Approach C is a better alternative, built around a formula based upon the increase in crime statistics. For instance, if the crime increases in Windsor after the opening of the casino by 20% but crime in other Ontario cities of about the same size, without casinos, increased by only 10%, then the casino corporation could be required to pay 10% of the total police budget in Windsor.

This solves a lot of the problems, but not all. It does not address the problem of crime, specifically the problem of the fear of crime, because for this mechanism to work the police have to do a little bit less than is actually needed to keep crime at the same level. If they keep it at the same level they get no extra money, so they will be underfunded. Crime just has to rise a few percentage points for that mechanism to work.

So I propose D. The best alternative would be to base reimbursement on the demand for police services; that is, for example, the number of calls the police are required to respond to. This would also address what I consider the more important issue of the increase of fear of crime. Many, including some police administrators, do not realize that controlling growth of the fear of crime is just as important as controlling actual crime for a city's social and economic health.

It's not crime, for example, but the fear of crime that has hurt businesses in downtown Atlantic City. It's not crime but it will be the fear of crime that will prevent families like mine from coming downtown to the beautiful waterfront parks or to frequent downtown businesses. Here again, I admit to my personal bias and self-interest. I enjoy the crime-free atmosphere of Windsor and almost every other city in this province of Ontario, and I wouldn't choose to live anywhere else in the world.


But further, it would be increased fear of crime that would make the casino patrons hesitant to return to Windsor a second time. You see, Windsor is not Atlantic City. Atlantic City can allow the crime rate and the fear of crime to rise outside of the walls of the casinos because they are self-contained units. The proposal for Windsor explicitly rejects the self-contained concept. Patrons will need to travel outside even for food, for many who want food. The streets need to be safe for the casino to work.

Fear of crime, not crime statistics, must be the benchmark for determining what's the appropriate level of police staffing. If a police car arrives within two or three minutes of a call from a citizen or from a visitor to Windsor, then fear of crime will not rise. There will not be stories of increased crime in the Windsor Star or other papers. This should be the goal.

It would also provide an effective and highly responsive measuring mechanism. Police staffing could be increased or decreased -- because it may not always grow -- on a quarterly basis, perhaps, based on the number of calls received. The police services board would then simply bill the casino corporation for the additional calls above the pre-casino level, and of course the pre-casino level would be rated based on the experience of growth of calls in other similar-sized cities in Ontario.

Police funding based on calls for service is the best approach. It's unambiguous, so there won't be need for acrimonious debate between different levels of government, it's what the downtown businesses will need for their hoped-for economic revival, it's what the casino itself will need and it's what is fair to the citizens of Windsor. It is this and much more, but the committee should be aware that it may well be quite costly, and here I'm only going to speculate in this next. I'm not an expert in this area. I'm taking the best figures to make a ballpark guess.

I'm going to use Atlantic City because the consultant's report cited Atlantic City as being the closest parallel for the economic benefits that may come to Windsor, so I'm going to use its figures for the growth in crime as well. The number of calls -- not actual crime, but the number of calls -- police were required to respond to increased by 2,000%. That's 20 times; that's not a misprint. It's taken from the Report of Attorney General Robert Abrams in New York State, 1980. This figure we should reduce by five sixths because we're only going to have one casino and Atlantic City had three casinos operating within its first three years, the years of that study. So we're down to a 333% increase, but I think that could be reduced as well by another one sixth because Windsor is about six times the size of Atlantic City. So to be fair in our rough estimate, we're down to 55% more police calls with the casino in operation.

Much of this demand for increased police will not be actual crime but fender-bender car accidents, the sightings of suspicious people etc, but it'll be real in the sense that it'll consume police time. The real police cost will be measured not in millions but it may well be in tens of millions.

If the province is really serious about paying the cost of additional policing, Bill 8 should be amended to empower municipalities, Windsor and any others that may develop, to invoice the Ontario Casino Corp for the costs of responding to additional calls. For the province to attempt to pay less would simply be a manoeuvre to increase provincial revenues while leaving cities like Windsor with the choice we will have of bearing huge increases in police costs to control the fear of crime or of allowing much of the downtown core and its businesses to begin the downward spiral caused by increased fear of crime.

In my conclusion I note that it may well be that when all social costs are added up there wouldn't be much profit left for the government. I don't know; it may be that this committee may decide that the bill should be tabled until further studies are made, or it may be that this committee will decide that things are so pressing, both for the economic state of Windsor and other border communities and also for the provincial deficit, that we must move ahead and, one might say, take our chances that the costs will not consume all of the revenues.

In either case, I would urge this committee to adopt some type of approach that I have outlined here, something similar, so that if my fears are unfounded, it will not cost the province an extra cent. I am not saying fund our police here with 40 or 60 extra staff members, I'm not saying that, because we might not need them; my fears might not be founded. But if my fears are founded, there would be an effective safety net, and if my fears are unfounded, it won't cost the province anything.

I urge you to give careful consideration to this approach in your deliberations.

The Chair: Thank you, Dr McKenzie. We have about two and a half minutes per caucus.

Mr Eves: Thank you for your presentation. I guess you are really saying what some of us in the Legislature have been asking the minister on several occasions, perhaps not in as direct a manner as you have done. There is no doubt that I think a lot of people misinterpret the fact when people question whether all the aspects of casino gambling have been covered. They just automatically assume that you're against casino gambling or they assume that you're against a casino in the city of Windsor, and that is not the case, as we have stated over and over again.

However, if the government is going to embark upon casino gambling in the province of Ontario, I think it is its responsibility to cover societal costs that it creates. The most obvious one, of course, is increased policing costs. We had the chief here this morning. I don't know if you were present for his presentation or not.

Dr McKenzie: No, I wasn't able to be here.

Mr Eves: He almost echoed exactly what you said, that a complement of 10 really means that he has two active officers on duty at any one particular point in time. We heard from another witness this morning, an individual, that there are two police officers on the front door of a casino to make sure that underage people don't get in. There go his two extra complement right there, just to watch the front door for underage or minors.

There is no full-time gambling addiction treatment centre that I know of in the country of Canada, let alone the province of Ontario. I would that think if the government is going to introduce casino gambling into this jurisdiction, it should agree to cover the costs of such a facility. There will be, undoubtedly, an increase in welfare costs. I think that's a point well made.

As Mr Docherty said, I think appropriately so, just before lunch, we may as well meet these problems and the fallout of casino gambling head on. There will be some. I don't know if you had an opportunity to look at his brief either, but his and Dr Prince's number 6 recommendation is, "That the legislation provide for funding prevention programs and treatment of addictive behaviour and other social problems arising from this initiative," because there definitely will be them. Anybody who thinks to the contrary is really just deluding themselves. If we are going to proceed with this initiative in this jurisdiction, I think we should do it in a very thoughtful manner. I think we should plan and have these programs in order before we introduce this upon the populace of the province of Ontario.

We have asked the minister several times, perhaps not in societal costs but in strictly dollars and cents. I believe there will be fallout to charitable organizations in the province and in particular probably the Windsor area. I have asked the minister if she's going to incorporate in the legislation reimbursement to these charitable organizations. Her direct response has been, "No, absolutely not."

I've asked her if she will reimburse the horse racing industry in the province of Ontario, which currently employs about 50,000 people, and I believe some 500 people at the Windsor Raceway alone, if in fact there is some direct fallout and effect on their industry. Her response, again, is no. I think we need that commitment. I think we need the commitment from the government, if we're going to proceed with this initiative, that these costs will be covered, in particular the societal costs, because I think your point is extremely well taken.

If the government is accurate and there won't be societal costs that you've estimated or I or other people have estimated, then what does it have to fear by building this into the legislation? That's the question I would ask.


The Chair: Thank you, Mr Eves. That's your time. Mr Duignan.

Mr Duignan: Thank you for your presentation here this afternoon. In your presentation you alluded to the costs of problem gambling. This is not just going to happen because the casino is going to arrive in Windsor. This is a problem that already exists now and in fact has been a problem that has been ignored by previous governments over many years.

I'm just wondering, why should the casino bear the full cost of these programs? Why should not, for example, the lottery corporation and the racing industry pay also part of the cost of dealing with this problem? I would like your comments on that.

Dr McKenzie: I agree with you, but I would also say that you need to start someplace and this legislation is before you, it's a place where you can start. You can limit it. I believe in my comments here I refer to just the problem gamblers, only those who are related to the Windsor casino. You might not even broaden it to other casinos in other jurisdictions. So if someone goes to Las Vegas and that results in problems, that wouldn't be covered. It wouldn't be passed on through OHIP to the casino corporation. OHIP may choose to pay it, but it wouldn't be passing it on.

So I think it should be somehow measured, and in that way if the casino ends up paying for problems that it has as its byproduct, not its goal, it will have the motivation economically speaking to conduct effective preventive educational programs, and that's what I'd like to see built in through the building system. If they had to pay for lottery problem gamblers, there wouldn't be the same built-in initiative for them. They should pay for their own. You should start where you can make the first small step with this legislation.

Mr Duignan: You can be assured that this is a problem the government has taken seriously, and very shortly there will be a series of recommendations going to cabinet to deal with this problem and hopefully it will be developed along side by side.

But you also raise the issue of police costs. The minister has given a very clear commitment of whatever it takes to have the necessary police forces to police the casino project.

Dr McKenzie: I haven't heard her say whether it's whatever it takes to keep crime one block away, or is it whatever it takes to correspond to the increase in actual crime, or is it whatever it takes to handle increased fear of crime? Because in Atlantic City actual crime only went up 171%; it's what the papers did with that crime that increased the fear of crime, and that fear of crime then in turn made the citizenry uneasy so that they made more calls, one might say unnecessary calls. But they were real calls. It was related to the fear of crime, and the downtown core of that city was not revitalized. It entered a spiral that's continuing down.

Mr Callahan: I do have a major concern about the question of addiction from gambling, and it's particularly significant -- again, I hope my colleagues in the government won't think I'm saying this in a political way, but --

Mr Duignan: Of course not.

Mr Callahan: You're eating into my time -- in that the government just brought forward, I think it's Bill 90, if I recall correctly, where it limits the number of times you can see a particular type of professional. Now if a person has a very serious problem with addiction, be it alcohol, drugs or whatever, that causes me concern because that means that these people -- where are they going to get that help? OHIP does not pay for psychologists. We send kids with learning disabilities to psychiatrists because the parents can't afford a psychologist. The whole thing's totally out of whack.

Finally, casinos are set up to keep people in there gambling. If anybody's been to a casino -- psychologists could make a fortune in creating these things. The slot machines have got a little bell that goes off. It's based on the Pavlov's dog theory that after a while you don't care if you win any money; you just want to hear the bell ring. Believe me, if you took a survey of people in these casinos, you would find that's all they're there for. They don't give a damn if anything comes out of the slot.

If you want to get change and you're in a hotel, you can't even get change at the hotel wicket; you have to go over to the casino cage and on the way back they give you a few silver dollars that they know you will plop into the machine.

Did you ever notice why casinos are all built in a horseshoe and why the windows are painted black? That's to keep you in there. No clocks. Have you ever seen a clock in a casino? Never. You have to go outside to find a clock. The reason for that is that all of this is to create the aura that you're sort of on a magic carpet. Adult Disneyland is what it is.

They don't want to let you realize that what is happening to you is really addictive. I've seen women and men in there pulling two machines at a time, not even having enough time to put the quarters in. If those people are not addicted to something and compulsive, I've got a problem. But the people who really get addicted to it and who are going to eat up the welfare cheques and eat up their paycheques, they're the people we have to look after. I think in one report they said 2% of the population; I think it's more than that. I've read reports where it's up to 5% of the population are compulsive gamblers.

The Chair: Regretfully, Mr Callahan, your time has expired.

Mr Callahan: Okay. You know I like your idea that the government has a commitment. If it's going to put the slots out there and collect the money, it better damn well pay for the fallout and flotsam and jetsam of that.

The Chair: Dr McKenzie, thank you very much for presenting before the committee today.

Dr McKenzie: Thank you, Mr Chairman, and thank you, members of the committee.


The Chair: The next presenter today is Alan Orman, a partner, it says, representing Freeds of Windsor and Ottawa Street merchants. Welcome, Mr Orman. You have 30 minutes, and we have your brief before us. Please go ahead.

Mr Alan Orman: My presentation won't be quite that long.

The Chair: You can expect some questions then, I'm sure.

Mr Orman: First of all, I want to thank the committee for inviting us to speak before you today. My name is Alan Orman. I'm a co-owner of Freeds of Windsor, which is primarily a men's operation, with some ladies', in the middle of our city on Ottawa Street. Today I'm speaking to you on behalf of not only our operation but the Ottawa Street merchants as well.

When appraising any situation, we always employ the good news-bad news method. Casino gambling certainly qualifies. We at Freeds are certainly very excited about the impact casino gambling will have on the Windsor and its area communities.

We all realize that until improvements and adjustments are made, we will be subject to inconveniences, such problems as traffic and what was just mentioned before, crime. We acknowledge that those things are going to happen, but we also feel that progress has its price. We do feel that the positive economic benefits clearly and greatly outweigh the social uncertainties that may also result from this venture.

Both Freeds and all of the Ottawa Street merchants feel that casino gambling opens many avenues of opportunity. The thousands of permanent and diversified jobs that the casino itself will create means greater potential of retail sales, which is our major interest of course. As a result of this stimulus, Freeds has embarked on a major expansion, it's going on right now, to be completed in mid-October, against virtually all common sense it seems, which will add virtually two thirds more selling space to our present 35,000-square-foot store. We will be expanding our men's and ladies' presentation, providing a very comprehensive and competitive selection on men's and ladies' fashion clothing. That's where the commercial ends.

The casino project has given us the confidence to invest over $2 million incrementally in our operation. This of course means more permanent jobs in our store -- part-time jobs, I might add, as well -- in addition to the temporary construction employment created.

Even though the economic climate continues to be weak in the retail sector, we feel that our new presentation will posture us to take advantage of the increase of activity created by the casino gambling. We are encouraging the merchants of Ottawa Street to follow our lead in making sure that they too will be ready for this new situation. We know it will not be easy.

Surveys have concluded that gamblers by nature are difficult to attract to retail sales. It will offer us great challenges to try and tap this resource. We are looking at convenience, product selection, quality and service along with our current aggressive style of value-driven retailing to maximize the potential of both our store and of the stores on Ottawa Street.


Having said all this, we cannot accomplish this without the Ontario government's help. If we are to truly maximize the great potential, we must ask you to examine your policies so that we all are headed in a uniform, cohesive and positive program which will create the greatest potential success.

As business people, we feel there are some very important issues to be examined and hopefully, with your consideration, altered. It's felt that the lion's share of the new influx of people into our community will be Americans. We must posture ourselves to be attractive or they will not buy commodities if they feel they can do better at home.

The elimination in the last provincial budget of retail sales tax rebate to visitors -- foreign visitors, I might add -- is a policy that is, in our view, shortsighted. If a customer perceives value, he or she will buy. Burden them with excess taxes and that perceived value vanishes. If we're going to take advantage of additional foreign trade, let's make shopping in Windsor an accommodation, not an interference.

We strongly recommend that the reimbursement of retail sales tax to foreign shoppers be reinstated -- the rebate. The federal goods and service tax is rebated; so should the provincial sales tax be.

Furthermore -- and this a very hot potato with most of the retailers, I might add -- integrating provincial sales tax at the border for returning Canadians could lessen cross-border shopping. I think the traffic is going to lessen a certain amount of Canadians going back and forth as well. But we're determined to encourage you to create, as we said here, a level playing field.

The people who shop in Windsor and come into our store have to pay provincial sales tax. The cross-border shopper does not have to pay the present sales tax. I heard that there is some kind of a moral obligation, but generally they do not have to pay. I don't think that is fair. Canadians would be more likely to buy at home. In addition, this revenue source will help offset tax revenues that I know you people need desperately, lost via rebates to visitors.

Businesses will grow, jobs will be created, more long-run and secure taxation sources will develop, a situation that we believe will have a net positive impact on our community and throughout our province vis-à-vis the loss on relatively minor sales taxes collected from visitors.

In conclusion, this most exciting adventure can surely reach the lofty potential that we think it can if we create a team of business, labour and government coordinated in a well-thought-out plan which will achieve their high goals of success. I thank you for your patience and courtesy and I'd be pleased to answer any questions.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Orman. Let me see. We have about 20 minutes, which is about seven minutes per caucus, and we're going to start with the New Democrats.

Mr Lessard: I want to thank you very much for your presentation, Mr Orman, and congratulate you for kind of defying the odds and expanding your business during the recession that we've experienced here in the city of Windsor. I know that your business has grown from a small store on Ottawa Street that's been there for how many years? I'm not sure if you mentioned that in your brief.

Mr Orman: I think it's 66, if I'm right -- 1929.

Mr Lessard: A long time anyway, and from a small store on Ottawa Street to the point where now you're going to be taking up almost an entire block.

Mr Orman: It is the entire block.

Mr Lessard: The entire block. So I want to wish you the very best of success in that business.

We heard from another one of your colleagues on Ottawa Street this morning, Mr Ordower, who also operates a store on Ottawa Street. One of the things I asked him was what sort of efforts the business improvement area on Ottawa Street contemplated in attracting tourists and people who may be attracted to visit the casino to come to the Ottawa Street shopping area. You might want to expand on that.

But something that you raised in your presentation about the provincial sales tax is certainly an interesting idea. I'm not sure whether it's something we can address specifically in Bill 8, however, that's dealing with the casino. It is something that I think is important for the government to consider.

One of the things the mayor mentioned in his presentation was the possibility of having, within Bill 8, the requirement that a community advisory board or committee be established so that there was that constant involvement from the business people in the city, from citizens and the government of Ontario, as we go through this process. I wonder if you've been involved in any way with the casino project team up until this point, or whether you thought that was a good idea.

Mr Orman: To answer a couple of your questions, first of all, going back about 10 years ago, I guess, maybe it's a little less than that, when the dollar had slipped to about 74, 73, 72 cents -- it was getting very close to a 70-cent dollar -- if you took a look at the city of Windsor, we had a very vital downtown area, and we who felt we were a little disadvantaged by being midtown -- we weren't easy to get to; there weren't direct arteries to our store; our store is a relatively large store and I will tell you that better than 10% of our business, which is a significant sum of sales, suddenly became Detroiters or Detroit- area people -- had a policy where we would absorb the duty.

The GST was not in place at the time but the provincial sales tax -- we had a form that was provided by the government; they sent that form in and they got that back. So we could really say to the new visitors, or the visitors from the United States, primarily the Detroit area, "You can come in and shop virtually duty- and tax-free." One was on our book and the other one was, of course, the government rebate of the sales tax, the provincial government.

Now, the dollar slips back, or grows stronger I should say, to almost an 88-cent dollar and that flow ceased to exist. As a matter of fact, it was at that particular time that we were faced with that horrible thing that became a buzzword around here, cross-border shopping. We made our voice known and it wasn't very popular with cross-border shoppers, by the way. Cross-border shoppers were getting a terrific deal, and perhaps even with the fallen dollar today there's still a perception that they're getting a terrific deal on the American side.

But our problem was, why is a retail shopper in the city of Windsor forced to pay an 8% sales tax and not somebody who shops in Detroit? We couldn't understand the fair-play value in this thing. We're all supposed to be equal citizens and for the life of me, in talking to business people, politicians, local politicians, I couldn't find one person being able to explain this away.

Now, with the latest budget -- and I recognize that dollars are short -- the, in our opinion, ill-conceived withdrawal of a provincial sales tax rebate is just going to shut off American traffic even more. Everyone says, or I think it was stated by the government and maybe by Mr Rae himself, that we can't afford to rebate that tax any more. I think that's small potatoes by the revenues that are going to be lost by Detroiters who will be totally discouraged -- I should say Americans, but Detroit-area primarily -- to buy here.

If the GST is rebated by the federal government, we encourage whatever you can do to make sure that provincial sales tax is rebated again, because these people are Americans and they're going to look to buy. It's going to be tough enough to sell, by the way, and that's point number two I'd like to get to. It's going to be a tough enough sell to encourage gamblers to come out and buy retail merchandise.


Sure, because the casino doesn't handle a whole lot of eating and drinking facilities, there's going to be a spillout on to the streets of downtown Windsor to pick up food product, drink product, whatever it may be. And by the way, rest assured that there is going to be a great deal of discouragement when those Americans fall into the particular eating and drinking establishments in the downtown core and find out that at the end of their bill there's a 15% -- and maybe even more, depending on what they're drinking -- taxation on it. Rest assured that's not going to sit comfortably with the American who in his experience on the other side of the border is paying only 4%. I don't care what kind of exchange on the dollar you get; they perceive in their own mind when they see tax, tax, tax, tax, tax, a level of discouragement, and the potential that will be created for the downtown core I think will be extremely disappointing.

We've got to face these situations. You've got to make it accommodating. It's like entertaining at your own home. You make sure that you do it with a full hand so your guests feel comfortable. This is primarily for guests. I recognize that Windsor people and Canadian people will be participating in the gambling situation here, I realize that, but the biggest influx of additional people is going to be coming from the United States. Take a look at it and make sure they feel comfortable. Excess taxing just won't do it.

Getting off of that for a moment, you were asking about what Ottawa Street and more specifically Freeds are going to do in terms of trying to capture what is a tough sell. It's a good question, and most of what we've been talking about right now is, without the stimulus of the actual casino being there itself, an examination of what the new flow of traffic will really represent. But I do feel that there are potentials there, and we at Freeds are taking a look at a number of things.

Having built this very big unit in the centre of town, approximately two miles away from the centre of action, it's going to be very tough, but we're going to try to find ways -- and maybe the Ottawa Street merchants will follow in our path -- of putting something into the hand of virtually every gambler. That may be difficult. Certainly the ones staying at hotels and so on and so forth, if there is a hospitality packet, we hope to be a part of that.

We're taking a look at one, two or whatever it takes in terms of shuttle mini-buses, with our logo on them, that may do a continual loop into the downtown core with accommodating, no-charge transportation back and forth to our store. We're looking at that. We think we are big enough that we can probably capture some of the attention -- we certainly will be big enough with our new venture -- of potential clothing buyers, visitors, gamblers, if you will.

These are just a few things that we've talked about, Wayne, and I know that we're going to let our imagination go. We have the resources to try a lot of things and we will do everything we can to ensure the success of our operation. That's what we are going to do.

Mr Kwinter: Mr Orman, thank you very much. I think you brought a sense of reason to the discussion. I'd like to pursue a couple of areas with you, because I have no problems with casinos; none whatsoever. I do have problems -- and I have been doing this since day one, since I've been here -- with the perception that suddenly this is going to create a lot of spinoffs that I don't think are going to happen. I just want to pursue this because I think you make some very good points.

If you were the city of Winnipeg, which is relatively isolated, and suddenly you were the only game in town and you had a casino, you would suddenly bring in, from wherever, people who want to gamble. They'd come up and you'd have a new market that you could then try to sell your goods and services to.

We have a situation in Windsor where you are across the street literally, if you look at the river as being a street -- and when you're here and you look out and you see the buildings, it's across the street -- you have a market that has been there for the longest time, that is at least 10 times -- I'm talking about Detroit alone, but the greater Detroit area is probably 20 or 30 times what the market is in Windsor, and you have been here and for some reason or other the traffic goes the other way. In other words, the people who are there do not perceive the purchases in Windsor as being a deal. You said in your own words the Canadians are going across because they think it's a great deal. It doesn't matter what the exchange rate is; they think it's a great deal.

So the deal isn't perceived to be there coming the other way; otherwise you don't need a casino to attract those people. The word of mouth would get out, "If you want to get a deal, go across the bridge and buy your stuff in Canada." They're not doing it and we heard all sorts of people saying stores are closing. There's dozens and dozens of stores that have shut down.

So my question is, what is going to change to suddenly make it a deal and why would anyone come here and go to Ottawa Street to buy something, where they can go right now if they live in Detroit and they think it's a deal, number one?

I think your point about the GST and the PST, the 15% that's added on, is terribly discouraging to anybody. They look at a menu, they think that's the price. They get the bill and they say, "Wow, how did that happen?" Because this has been added on. I think the word is going to get out about that and people will say: "Forget it. It's quite expensive." You know, if you've gone to restaurants in the States, for whatever reason, the prices are cheaper, the quantities are bigger. There's a perception that you get a better deal there than here.

So my major concern is this. You are literally in the market. You're across the street from a huge market, and you have been all along, and it hasn't worked. Now that the casino is going to be there, what is going to change, other than -- and I acknowledge your accommodation will certainly improve. People are going to have to stay here if they come for more than one day. Your restaurants and bars will improve, because they have to eat, and under the provisions of Bill 8, there's going to be only limited availability of those facilities. But what is going to make it any better for anyone to buy anything other than that that they can't do now?

Mr Orman: We did it in 1982-83 when the dollar was soft. We did it with a store that will not be anywhere near the size that it will be once the casino opens, because our planned opening, as I mentioned in my remarks, is the middle of October. You do it with service, you do it with selection, you do it with value. You give them a full -- and I mean a full, not over -- exchange on their dollar, because if you do over, they're perceiving that you're building it in somewhere anyway, so you've got to be very careful of that. You take an aggressive approach. We were able to be successful back when the dollar had slipped to its lower levels in the early 1980s.

We're excited primarily by the 2,000 to 3,000 to 4,000 jobs that Windsorites will enjoy as a new insertion of employment opportunity. Those people, we think, we have a good change of capturing. That's not the tourist.

As I mentioned also, I think the tourist is going to be a very, very tough sell, but we're confident that once we get them into our operation with our particular way of doing business -- and we've been doing business now since 1929. It was established by my father-in-law back in those days. He's still alive but certainly not active at this moment. That is, the customer is treated in a fashion that he will only want to shop there.

I will tell you that although our volume in the Detroit and vicinity area had dropped from the 10% that I mentioned down to maybe 1% or 2%, there are to this day, even with a more favourable thing over there, a group of loyal customers who have come back to us because they like the way we handle them, they like the way we service them, and we feel that we can do that.

But to capture the average gambler is a challenge that I have no answer for. I don't have the experience. Sure, I've been to Las Vegas and I've been to Atlantic City and I see what they're doing. Every time I go to Las Vegas, which is the Mecca, and you start to go to the outlying shopping centres, there's no one there. The gamblers are gambling and it's going to be a very, very tough thing to do. But there are a lot of gamblers who will come in from out of town who will be accompanied by a wife who doesn't like gambling, and she's got to be doing something. While her husband, or vice versa, is doing his thing at the tables, she's going to venture out into the community, and that community had better be postured.

The downtown core -- and we were extremely excited that the art institute was chosen -- does have an opportunity, but it's going to have to be there. They're going to have to accommodate a different hour structure. It's going to take more of an effort. It's going to be a very tough road, I might add. But if you do it with good service and good product and good value, you can do it. We've proven that it can be done. Detroit's been there all along, even in the early 1980s, and we did very well in spite of that.


Mr Carr: You said you were going to expand, which, as Wayne said, is great during these tough times. But it isn't because of the casino that you had plans to expand, I take it?

Mr Orman: To be very candid with you, what happened was that a piece of property that was going along Ottawa Street, which was at one time an A&P and then a Bargain Harold's that didn't quite make it, became available to us and we bought it. But our eyes were always looking to kind of spreading out what we've done. We've become extremely tight. We wanted to make a better presentation. Plus, the fastest-growing part of our business, the ladies' department, if you will, was really kind of dead-ended as far as space available. So we were going to do something anyway. What we were going to do was initially take half the building, then we decided to take three quarters of the building and then we decided it was in our best interests to go right to the end of the block because of accommodation of parking and so on and so forth.

We're scared like heck. We are not doing this like we did our expansion in 1984. In 1984 we came off of the 1980 recession, we were gung-ho, we were going strong, we couldn't handle the traffic that we had and away we went. That is not the case this time, and to be very honest with you, many of the barriers that have been put in front of us, and there have been -- this is not the best-feeling expansion we ever had. But we're going ahead anyway, because we've got confidence in our community, we've got a good, solid organization which is now into its third generation of ownership -- my son and my nephew are taking over the position of my partner and myself -- and we really and truly feel that that young team can take this thing to its greatest potential.

Mr Carr: What do you see in terms of your specific operation, the increased revenue? Would you be able to judge and say --

Mr Orman: I have no idea. I can tell you this, that our comptroller came to us and said, "If you do absolutely nothing else, and forgetting the cost of putting this building up and the potential benefit of that investment, if you do nothing else, it's going to cost us $350,000 a year just to stay even." So we'd better have an increase or we're going to be a bunch of sorry little puppies over there on Ottawa Street.

On the other hand, we're not going to leave it alone. Rest assured, as has been our style right along, we'll give it every shot we've got.

Mr Carr: There are going to be, as I see it, some problems. As you know, the restaurant association said it wants to have assurances that people who go to the casinos will be able to get out and go to the restaurants and the cabs. There's also the feeling, and my fear is -- and not being a gambler and not know it -- that the first time some of the Americans come across and say, "Boy, I'd like to go to the restaurant," "Oh, there isn't one in here," they're going to be shocked and say, "Who the heck organized this?" As Bob alluded to a little bit earlier there, they like to have the one-stop shopping and go to lunch and gamble as they go along on the slot machines.

So I don't know how much thought has been given in terms of the consumer, the person who's actually going to do the gambling. Maybe there are lots, like you said, who will come up and have a wife who doesn't gamble and wants to do go shopping and so on. I asked the ministry officials yesterday how much they expected them to spend and they said they'll usually buy one meal and one drink. So that may be in the casino, it may be out; not a tremendous amount of money.

With 9,000-odd people coming across the border daily -- and I think that may be high, but let's assume they're right -- how much of that do you think will go to the retail sector, where people will buy shoes and so on? You must have some idea of flows of traffic and people. If 9,000 new people are coming across, do you have any guess how much that will translate into retail sales here for the merchants in Windsor?

Mr Orman: Gary, I have absolutely no idea. I'd like to have a crystal ball and see how some of these people react, but I really can't give you an answer. I can only tell you that if I was a downtown merchant today -- if you are aware, and I'm sure that all of you are aware, our downtown has taken a tremendous beating since that dollar got strong. All you've got to do is take a look at the empty stores and some of the stores that have taken over look very temporary and not with a lot of forethought and not with a lot of investment and not with a lot of excitement.

The downtown merchants, some of whom are very good friends of ours, hopefully will take some kind of a positive nature in reinvesting in their operations so that they can be attractive. But it's not going to be easy; I agree with you. These people are gamblers, and not only that, but the type of casino I'm told this is going to be is not a Las Vegas-type casino. I recognize there are federal laws that do not allow a dice game to take place in the casino. I hope they repeal that because I think that's antiquated, especially with what we're going through in this city. If you can have a dozen establishments where people get disrobed right from head to toe and walk in front of you, I can't believe that a dice game is any worse, okay?

Having said that, the dice game really and truly attracts your best gambler, because the odds are really more favourable to the gambler than in the other types of gaming, and hopefully this casino will be eventually joined, maybe by the time the permanent gets involved.

The Chair: Mr Orman, I have to stop you there and I want to thank you for making your presentation before the committee.

Mr Orman: My pleasure. Thank you very much.


The Chair: The next presenter we have today is Mark Buckner, a board member from the Citizens Environmental Alliance, if you'd like to come forward, please. You have 30 minutes within which you can make your presentation. You can use all of that time to make a presentation or you can use part of that time and have some questions asked of you.

Mr Mark Buckner: I'll try and keep it as brief as possible and allow you to ask questions.

The Chair: Please go ahead.

Mr Buckner: I'm a board member of the Citizens Environmental Alliance, which is a membership environment group looking at a broad range of environmental issues. I can't claim to be speaking for the organization, because we only heard about these hearings last week, and with summer and everything we weren't going to be able to organize a full meeting. But I can assure you that a lot of my views have been discussed extensively among our members and are shared by most of them.

The other hat, or perhaps I should say helmet, that I wear is as the chairperson of the Windsor Bicycling Committee, and you ask, "What does that have to do with casinos?" Well, I always manage to get a word in about bicycles, as Wayne well knows, and I will at the end.

Anyhow, I'll start off by saying that our organization is not going to come out in opposition to gambling, which is not to say that we are in wholehearted support of it. I think the views of the people of Windsor are basically, too, that it's coming, that it's basically here. We sort of have to deal with it and the main thing now is to make sure that the costs are outweighed by the benefits, that we make sure we deal with all the possible problems and costs to us here in the city of Windsor and the province of Ontario.

Dr McKenzie dealt with a lot of the social costs, so I'll try and deal with some of the environmental things and the things that are going to happen to our downtown area, to our city, in terms of planning and how our city looks, which is all related to the environment.

This is an issue that's never been voted on or brought up in any election. It wasn't a municipal issue; it wasn't a provincial issue. If somebody would have told me when I lent my support to the governing party that it was going to support gambling, I would have said, "No, they're a socialist party and gambling is not what my view of social democracy is." Let's face it, people gamble in order to make the big score, to get rich quick. Gambling implies winners and losers. So if you're going to win, everybody else is going to lose. That's fine. We all understand that and there's lots of money to be made in gambling.

But in terms of building a community, it takes a lot more than that. It takes people willing to work together, to work hard to deal with the problems of the community, to invest time, to believe in their community, to work to make it work. I think gambling is being looked at as a real quick fix that's going to solve all the problems. Even though we've been cautioned against that, and I know the government has said that, I still hear too many people and too many shopkeepers saying, "We're just hanging on until we get gambling," as if that's going to solve everything.

I think that's an attitude that really has to be dealt with, that we still have to do the hard work to build this community and make sure our community is built along the lines that we in Windsor want it, that gambling is going to become a part of it, but that we have to make sure it provides a benefit.

Mr Callahan: You want to be the dog rather than the tail.

Mr Buckner: Right. I'm going to necessarily speak about a number of local issues here in Windsor which don't directly deal with Bill 8, but there really hasn't been any public forum in order to deal with these issues, and let's face it, it is coming. It's a fait accompli. The tenders are out, the proposal call is out for the permanent casino, so where do we in the public and in advocacy organizations get to have our say?

I believe -- it seems to be anyhow -- that there's a perception that a lot of the normal planning processes and the normal things that would go on in a development of this type, if they have not been circumvented, have definitely been fast-tracked so that we have not had the input. I think there's a lot more feeling out there among the people of Windsor that they're really uneasy about a lot of things that are happening here, but nobody wants to speak out and say, "We're against gambling." That's not the point.


I'll read a little editorial from the Detroit News and Free Press. The Windsor Star often reprints editorials such as these on gambling under the "What Was Said" column. They missed this one, but I'm not going to bash the Windsor Star today. This was on Christmas day so they missed it."

Mr Lessard: You never do that anyway.

Mr Buckner: I never bash the Windsor Star, no.

They say:

"Let us take this opportunity to point out again that gambling has limited usefulness as an engine to drive the local economy. It is an extra tax on the poor.

"As the lines at the lottery outlets in the inner city will attest, it seldom brings the thousands of jobs that promoters promise. When casinos do succeed, as in Atlantic City, they may alter the landscape in a way residents live to regret."

Be that as it may, they go on and talk about all the cities that are vying to get gambling, including Detroit, and at the time they were referring to Port Huron, Michigan. They say:

"When Port Huron and Chicago and Windsor and Memphis and Toronto and Detroit and New Orleans and Cincinnati and every old mining town in Colorado and every depressed hamlet on the Mississippi River all have casinos, what then? What one will the tourists and conventions pick?

"The winners, then as now, will be cities perceived to be safe and pleasant and possessed of other attractions, whether it be a user-friendly river front, charming historic neighbourhoods or viable retail and entertainment districts.

"With gambling or without it, the cities that pay attention to the basics will still be the most desirable locations for their own residents as well as the tourists, and you can bet on that."

I think that's a very important point. One thing they say is that the cities that pay attention to the basics will be the most desirable for the residents as well as the tourists. One thing that I've noticed in the city of Windsor is that there's been a constant brain drain, if you will. An awful lot of people, my friends, generations of my friends who are involved in the arts, in design, in science, in a lot of areas like that don't find careers in Windsor; they have to leave this town. It's very hard to build a viable town when generations of your sons and daughters have to move away to have a career.

The casino is going to bring lots of jobs but those aren't careers. I would put it to you that I don't believe the majority of those jobs in the casino are careers; they're jobs. I also think there's a very high turnover rate in those jobs, but for the people who have them that's good. It's better than no job at all, that's definitely true, but we have to do more. We can't count on the casino to just -- it's not going to create the careers that are going to make a viable city.

The types of jobs they are, I put to you, working in a casino, lend that cynical mentality and I hate to say it, "There's a sucker born every minute." You're there watching all these people cranking the machines, hoping against hope that they're a big winner. Working there doesn't exactly give you that optimistic, positive outlook.

Hopefully, this won't be true. Hopefully, those people will get involved in the community and in the community organizations and will help to build Windsor and make it a place to live. Obviously, a large number of them will, but I think the casino industry will attract a number of people who also are just there. They get the job looking for the quick buck, looking to seek their fortune there.

That leads directly to the question of crime, which has been touched on a lot. There are opportunities for crime in a lot of places in the casino, within the casino, employee crime. Hopefully, that will be dealt with by the OPP. There is obviously the problem of organized crime, and I think that's the spectre most people think about when they see crime. I'm not going to deny that there's organized crime out there ready to jump in here, organized prostitution. Hopefully, the OPP and the police have already got a handle on that.

Then there are the other crimes that happen when people take the opportunity at the gambling and all the money there to commit crimes, and crimes of poverty for people who lose their money gambling and become addicted. Those crimes are going to happen, and right now the debate seems to be hiring enough police to deal with that.

Even if the police could address everybody who commits a crime, a lot of those people aren't criminals now. What is happening is that we're creating this large opportunity for crime, and what's going to happen is that our neighbours, our friends, our sons and daughters will be committing some of these crimes, will fall into it because of this large opportunity. Well, okay, that happens in society but the point is, are we willingly going to go and invite this into our community and say that's okay if a certain percentage of our citizens become branded as criminals because this opportunity is put before them?

That, as I say, is part of the social cost as we outlined. I think Dr McKenzie outlined some of the things and we really need to look at that. It's not enough to just say, "We need enough police to arrest them." That's not solving the problem.

Beyond that, I said I was going to get into some of the environmental concerns. Directly from that, I think there are a number of things that will be happening that maybe aren't the job of the police. Maybe we need extra people to look at some of these other things.

One of the largest problems is traffic. People have talked about the order of 12,000 cars a day. If that's true or even a fraction of it, we have a huge problem with traffic. A lot of it is just being looked at in questions of parking, which is a large problem in itself. But we in the environmental community know that automobiles are the number one cause of air pollution. Having all those cars come into our downtown, which already has poor air quality, is going to add to that pollution.

That is largely a provincial responsibility to monitor and enforce those air standards, and as we know from our work, it's very lax, there's very little being done. With the social contract and cutbacks, there's going to be even less. The casino is going to be directly attracting this many more cars, auto traffic. That needs to be looked at.

We've heard that a large number of the gamblers are going to come on buses. That gives us the spectre of all these diesel buses sitting there with their engines running all day, which they tend to do for no good reason. Diesel engines don't need to be left running; they can start back up. In the air quality study that's now going on in Windsor, we're hoping to get an anti-idling bylaw so that these buses won't be left running all day polluting the air.

However, is that really the job of the police, to go out and hand out these tickets to these buses? There will be a big -- what's the word? -- push for them not to ticket these buses because we're inviting these guests to our city and the bus companies won't want to be ticketed for that. I submit that also should be a responsibility of the province, of the Ministry of Environment and Energy, to look at those kinds of things, to make sure that our standards aren't violated.

Beyond that, there's a larger question of traffic, of all these cars and what it does to your downtown. There's been the Sewell commission report, the Crombie report, a number of things looking at new planning. That's actually the title of the Sewell commission report, New Planning for Ontario. We're really coming to the conclusion that the old automobile-centred city is not the way to go, that we have to look at different ways of organizing our downtowns. "Reintensifying" the downtown is the buzzword.

I'll read you something from the city of Windsor official plan, the transportation section update, which was done in 1992. I was part of that process. "The city's transportation goals are stated as follows...(2) to promote the use of more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient modes of transportation, such as public transit, bicycling and walking."

As far as I can see, the casino is not going to do any of that; it's basically going to be dependent on cars and buses.

Mr Callahan: If you stay long enough, you might have to walk.

Mr Buckner: Yeah, well, okay. They're talking about shuttle buses to get people to the hotel.

Our transit system in Windsor is in a state of crisis, and it's in that dangerous downward cycle where they have to cut services, which means less riders; less riders means less revenue, less services. The province has a big stake in transit. Something needs to be done about that. To put this large a project in downtown Windsor with virtually no transit to serve it just is a crime in these days when we should be looking at getting away from that whole thing.

But beyond that, all the people who work there, I think we can really do a lot to encourage them to not drive and further clutter up the downtown with more cars if we look at transit, if we look at bicycling, walking, other ways for them to get to work. Here's the plug for bicycles.

One of the other things the city has said is, "The city will include commuter bicycle facilities as part of all downtown civic building projects and will require similar facilities to be included as part of other major downtown institutional, governmental, office and commercial building projects."

The province has also come out in its green plan and said the same thing, that it is going to be looking at providing facilities such as bike racks for bicycles, showers for people who ride to work or jog on their lunch-hours, things like that to encourage people to use alternative forms of transport.

There's also the plan for our riverfront park, where the tracks used to be along the river, including a bike path, jogging paths and all that. That will be right at the front door of where the casino is planned, so hopefully that will be tied in, which leads me to another point.

As I said, I feel that a lot of the normal processes we go through in the city in approving developments of this size have sort of been circumvented here. Correct me if I'm wrong; I would love to be corrected: We are still going to have opportunities down the road to look at this development. But it seems to me the decision is being made by the province, and it seems to me a lot of local control is being taken away here.

We've heard snippets of what is in some of the casino proposals. Some of them have apparently offered to pay for the riverfront park in some part, design of the building. All these things are all tied up in the proposals. If a proposal is chosen, the final one, and all that is in there, that leaves us very little avenue to offer alternatives in terms of the shape and size of the building, the traffic -- planning issues.


I'll give you an example. In a Detroit Free Press editorial they mention historic neighbourhoods. Windsor has been very efficient at bulldozing our historic buildings, but there's one very good example, and it's called the Essex Building and before that it was the Ferry Seed Building which sits at the corner of Mercer and Riverside.

Last year, it was completely renovated and redone by a German firm, I believe, who owns it. At any rate, it was done completely with private capital; no public dollars were used in that. In the midst of a recession, this building was saved, renovated. To me it should be great cause for civic celebration that we've saved one of these historic buildings. I have to tell you that this building is sitting right where the casino is planned to go.

I've heard nothing anywhere about anybody talking about saving this building. I see it that I think it could be easy for some architect to design, to save that building, put it in the corner of the casino, use that building as a way to design the casino so it would reflect some of the historic character.

I don't know. Do we, the citizens of Windsor, have any opportunity to say that, to get in on the development? Or once the province has decided what the casino is going to look like, that's it; we're going to bulldoze that historic building. We're going to pay way too much for it because they just renovated it, and we're going to have a big, ugly, windowless, white building there. That's my fear.

Of course, if I lead the movement to save that historic building, I will be branded as anti-gambling and anti-business and the one who caused the casino to stay in the art gallery for ever, but I'm not going to get into that issue.

Leading into that also is, in the whole process of looking at this waterfront park, which is going to replace the railway tracks which have been there for years, this process went on and on and it was very hard. There was no real consensus reached. However, we finally came up with a plan that most people could swallow. I think there was one thing that a majority of people agreed on. No one spoke in favour of allowing any car parking at all on this river front. We saw it as a park, as a place free from cars, pollution, traffic and noise where people could go, recreation and everything.

The first thing we hear is that's where we're going to provide a lot of the parking for the temporary casino down there and I'm afraid that this is -- once you get all those cars or diesel buses parked down there, it's going to be very hard to get them out of there.

I guess, in closing, what I want to say is that there's an awful lot more than just what we've heard about crime and the social cost. There's a lot of environmental cost, a lot of things that really need to be looked at in terms of our downtown, how we plan our city.

I know the city of Windsor has done a traffic study, but I think they've been very narrow in how they've done that. They've basically looked at how many cars are going to come, where we're going to put them and how we're going to get them to the tunnel. I think there's much, much more.

Last night I started re-reading the great classic work by Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. It's interesting; the first thing she starts out with in talking about how cities work, how they function, is sidewalks. She starts from the sidewalks and works out from there, saying they're the most important part of a lively city.

When Dr McKenzie was speaking about crime -- not crime, but the fear of crime -- I really thought sidewalks, that's it. Just for some reason, I don't have a picture of sidewalks around this casino. I have a picture of cars pulling up, shuttle buses dropping people off and they really could lead easily into that fear of crime. People don't want to be out on the sidewalk, don't want to be walking around there, and that's what you need to make a safe, lively, vibrant downtown where people are going to want to come and shop, spend their dollars and live here, move here and help to build this community.

With that, I'll leave it and answer any of your questions.

The Chair: Thank you. We have about three minutes per caucus and we're going to go to the Liberal caucus.

Mr Callahan: Does this not go through the usual zoning process?

Mr Buckner: Well, I --

Mr Callahan: This is not a provincial building. There'd have to be a rezoning, there'd have to be perhaps an official plan amendment, there'd have to be public hearings. Are you telling me that none of that was done?

Mr Buckner: I can't say that for sure. I know one thing that hasn't been done yet, and I should have mentioned this right off the top, is an environmental assessment. I would sure hope that this is basically right there -- that there must be an environmental assessment done as part of this as a major development.

I assume that, yes, all those things have to be done, rezoning all that. As I say, if the process hasn't been circumvented, it's really being fast-tracked to the point that I, as someone who I think is fairly well-versed in civic politics, have not really had the opportunity to go out and make my views heard.

Mr Callahan: That's the first thing I'd like to check out, because if that's been circumvented, that's certainly remarkable.

Second thing, this building you say that was refurbished, how old is it?

Mr Buckner: I believe it's about 100 years old.

Mr Callahan: Has anybody ever applied to have it declared a, what do they call it, heritage building?

Mr Buckner: I spoke to the city heritage planner and she kind of shrugged it off as if it was not really significant. I shouldn't say that. I don't know the process it would be on, but this is what gives me the impression that this was fast-tracked. It was never really discussed. I think the idea is that so many people are saying, "We want this casino; we need this casino; let's not do anything to derail it," that there really is a perception -- please correct me if I'm wrong -- that these processes have not been adequately looked at.

Mr Callahan: We'd like to find that out, because that certainly is trammelling the rights of citizen input, and I think it's important that there be citizen input.

I'd also like to find out who's going to absorb the additional cost of ripping down this newly refurbished building. That's going to add a tremendous cost, I would think. You'll have to expropriate it, which means you've got to pay the highest and greatest value, and if you've already identified it as a casino site, you have just jacked the price up by megabucks.

Mr Buckner: I assume as a taxpayer I'll be paying for part of that process. Yes, that's what will happen. Some might even wonder if the reason they renovated was because they knew a casino was coming and they wanted to jack the price up, but that's only wild speculation on my part and maybe it might have been speculation on the developer's part too.

The Chair: Does that conclude questions from the Liberal caucus?

Mr Callahan: Well, I want some answers. I don't know who I'm going to get them from. Maybe I can ask the parliamentary assistant. Do you know whether this went through the normal process of zoning, official plan amendment, public hearings and the whole --

Mr Duignan: It hasn't gone to anything yet and, yes, it has to follow the normal process. It's the responsibility of the city of Windsor to deliver the site for the casino, and it has to meet the zoning requirements and it has to meet environmental requirements.

Mr Callahan: Who's going to pay for the cost of removing the -- is expropriation to take place?

Mr Duignan: The price has been set as of January 1, 1993, before the decision --

Mr Callahan: Does that include the cost of removing this building, or is the province going to pay the expropriation costs for this entire process?

Mr Duignan: Acquisition of a site is the responsibility of the city.

Mr Callahan: It's an expropriation so it will obviously be done at the cost of the taxpayers of the province of Ontario. Maybe you can tell us what that cost is, if you know.

Mr Duignan: Again, as I stated, the province will not be spending any money on purchasing the site. It's the responsibility of the city of Windsor to deliver that site to the province for a casino, and as I said, it has to meet the zoning requirements and it has to meet environmental requirements.

Mr Callahan: So just to answer my own question, the taxpayers of the city of Windsor are going to pay for the expropriation costs of that property that will probably cost a significant amount of money in order to be able to deliver on that promise.

Mr Duignan: Again, the project site will be purchased at least from the city and any lease or purchase will provide a fair return to the city on its acquisition costs.

Mr Callahan: All right. Finally, that says that the province of Ontario is going to pay for the cost of expropriating this building.

Mr Duignan: The casino operation.

Mr Callahan: I'd love to know what the cost of that expropriation would be.

Mr Duignan: The province will not be paying anything for the site.

Mr Callahan: Just a second.

The Chair: Mr Carr.

Mr Callahan: I've got a --

The Chair: The clock is running on, Mr Callahan.

Mr Callahan: I need to have that clarified, Mr Chair --

Mr Carr: I'll give him a minute.

Mr Callahan: -- because on the one hand I'm told that the city of Windsor will have to deliver a site to the province and that it will in fact pay the costs of expropriating that property. On the other side of the coin, I'm told that the province will then reimburse the city of Windsor for all of the cost of the expropriations; ie, the answer that I get is that all of the taxpayers of the province of Ontario are going to pay big bucks for this expropriation. Maybe the thoughts that this gentleman has put forward should be given to the Windsor city council and it should decide to try to incorporate it into its process and save us all a lot of money when money is tough.

Mr Duignan: Mr Callahan, it's going to be the developer who has to pay the costs.

Mr Callahan: Well, somebody's going to pay it. I'm still not sure --

Mr Duignan: Remember the costs will be borne by the operator who's the developer of the site, not by the province.

Mr Callahan: You see if you get an answer, Gary. I don't understand this.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Carr, for donating some of your time. You do have a couple of minutes.


Mr Carr: I had a question along where your expertise lies in the environmental field, although the other is certainly interesting. As you know, there is talk of a lot of Americans coming across, 9,000 visitors. Assuming they're coming together and there are buses and so on, we could have 3,000 cars, 4,000. I don't know what they're planning on the tunnel, but I understand there's some expansion. Can you quantify what that's going to mean to the air quality? Are we going to see it rise dramatically here in Windsor, and if so, because your background is in the environment, would you be able to tell us what is going to happen to the air? Or is it going to be it's already in Detroit now anyway and it blows across? Are they going to see any appreciable difference in the air quality?

Mr Buckner: I'm not the expert on that. I've read figures; I don't have them with me. You can actually measure how much pollution per mile travelled from car exhaust. That's fairly well quantified. As I said, automobiles are the number one source of air pollution in the world. But there is a problem, yes. A lot of our pollution comes across the border -- speak about crossborder shopping -- comes from Detroit, so it's always very hard to measure. But, obviously, with that many cars -- as I say, pollution can be measured per mile travelled -- of course it will add to the deterioration of our air quality downtown.

But cars also add to the deterioration of quality of life in a number of other ways too: traffic accidents, just the fact that they take up so much room parking -- in Windsor you have all this vacant land that's filled up with cars and that's not conducive to people walking and shopping and enjoying the air -- the noise. There's a whole raft of factors which you're seeing more and more that cost. Let's also say that there are a lot of figures proving that motor vehicle traffic does not pay for itself, that it is in fact subsidized out of the general tax revenues. The gasoline tax and all the rest of it doesn't cover all the environmental costs of automobiles.

Mr Carr: What would you recommend be done? Would it be better to have buses? I know you're critical of buses sitting out there too, but would that be better? What do you suggest, particularly for the Americans? What can we do environmentally to get them across the best way?

Mr Buckner: Buses are better because there are more people in each vehicle, so therefore there's less pollution per mile per person, as long as they don't leave them running. That's something we really have to deal with, is that they can't be sitting there running, which they tend to do; I don't know why.

The other thing, though, is that, as I said, we really have to deal with public transit. We're talking about high-speed trains coming into Windsor and yet the train station's out in Walkerville and we really have no link. You can't get a bus from the train station to downtown Windsor after 6 o'clock on a Sunday, and it's probably worse now. We should be looking at some sort of street-rail link or something like that, so people could take that high-speed train, hop on the streetcar and be at the casino. Somebody wrote into the Windsor Star suggesting that they extend the Detroit People Mover through the train tunnel and bring them right over. I don't know if that's feasible.

The other thing too is that I did notice that somebody's talking --

Mr Carr: Maybe they could gamble on the way too.

Mr Buckner: Sure. There was a proposal a few years ago for a passenger ferry, which didn't happen. Hopefully now that could maybe happen, a pedestrian ferry from Detroit to Windsor, although there are problems with ferries too. There are safety problems, but I believe that on the whole they're still more environmentally friendly than single-occupant automobiles coming through the tunnel.

Mr Dadamo: Mark, you should probably set up a bike rack at the casino, I suppose, somewhere in the front.

Mr Buckner: Yes, I did mention not only the casino but the court building and the other government building. Wayne was going to look into that for me.

Mr Dadamo: Yes, and we would hope that when people come in they'll come in wearing their bicycle helmets. That's another issue.

Mr Buckner: We'll leave that one.

Mr Dadamo: Yes, that was another committee.

Anyway, when the final proposal comes in for running this casino and the decision is made later on, how much do you want these people to work on the riverfront and what would you like to see them do, being that you're an environmentally friendly kind of guy?

Mr Buckner: I think there are real dangers in allowing whoever, the casino corporation as it were, to build the riverfront. I think that process still has to be directed by the public, I mean through our elected officials. We really have to hold on to that. As I said, I still think there's far from a consensus on that, and I guess one of the things in these new planning initiatives is that there's really a move away from the megaproject, the big thing that's going to attract lots of tourists and save the city, which the casino is. A lot of people proposed that for our riverfront.

Now that we have the casino as a major tourist attraction, I think we really need to scale down that riverfront and look at it more as a green space, a place for bike paths, a place where people can go jogging. You know, there has to be some sort of small development down there, maybe a concession or some sort of museum. There are a number of things and they're all in the study. I'm not going to pretend to be the expert on that, but I think that now, with the casino sitting there right beside that, we can really look at that as much more -- I hate to use the word, but I can't think of a better one -- the antidote to that temple of commerce that we have a nice, quiet green space all along the river. As I say, also it could be used as a corridor that people could use to travel downtown from the other end of the city without having to use their cars and without all the problems of parking and traffic.

Mr Dadamo: With this casino building, and if you had the opportunity to construct, and I think construct something that would generate some sort of moneys coming in -- I mean, green space is neat and it's nice, but I don't think that brings any money in to anybody -- and without obstructing the skyline or the view, because they can't by laws and all those kinds of things, what would be the perfect segue or the complement to each other?

Mr Buckner: I guess I would say that I don't see why we need to have something bringing money in in that park. We have the casino. That's going to bring in millions of dollars and I believe we in Windsor should be seeing some of the benefits of that, however we get it, whether the casino pays for it or it comes back through the normal channels of taxation.

But I really don't see that that riverfront park has to pay for itself. I believe that's something that will be definitely needed, and it is an amenity for the tourists, for the people coming in. I think if that's there right out the front door, hopefully some of them will go out and take a walk down in the park and maybe buy an ice cream, or if you have a bicycle rental place right there, they might decide to go for a ride. I don't know. I can't believe that they're all going to sit in that building and gamble all day, although most of them will.

I don't really see why that has to pay for itself. We have the casino. That's supposed to be bringing in the millions of dollars.

Mr Dadamo: But building on the future --

The Chair: Mr Dadamo, I'm sorry, your time has just about expired. Mr Duignan would like to make just a comment or clarification, as I understand.

Mr Duignan: On the question of the sale or lease of the land, it will be an agreement between the city and the private sector proponent. Therefore, the developer will be paying the city directly for the sale and/or lease of the site, and the agreement must give the city a fair return on its investment.

I know you've raised some legitimate concerns about the infrastructure, about transportation etc, but the normal process in relation to a building permit will still be followed. Take your concerns to city council. You can raise them at city council and get city council to wrestle with the concerns you raised here today.

Mr Buckner: But as I pointed out, you see, if I take on the fight to save that heritage building, then when the process -- I mean, we're already agreed we're going to build the casino. Then I get branded as the one who's trying to stop development and stop the casino. Not that I'm afraid of a fight like that, but it's really been done in such a way as to preclude any opposition. People in Windsor see that casino as --

Mr Duignan: You still have a right as a citizen to appear in front of city council and express your opinion.

Mr Buckner: I know how to use that right. Don't worry, I'm not shy.

The Chair: Mr Buckner, I want to thank you. You've inspired the committee to go five minutes beyond the time that was allowed.

Mr Buckner: I'm very sorry.

The Chair: I do sincerely thank you for making your presentation.


The Chair: Our next presenter is Dr Megeed Ragab, if you would please come forward. I hope I pronounced that properly.

Dr Megeed Ragab: Yes indeed. You are one of the very few people who can do that too.

The Chair: Thank you very much. You have 30 minutes, sir, to make your presentation. Again, if there's time left, there will be an opportunity for some questions.

Dr Ragab: Thank you very much. Indeed I intend to leave some time. I will take about 10 minutes. I have also my research associate, Mr Jason Smith, who's going to report the findings of a quick survey that we have done here. We'll try to leave as much possible time for questions and answers, because I'm eager to answer some of the questions that I have been hearing since I have come here. So please feel free to ask.

Without any further ado, I would really like to thank you very much for giving me the chance and for starting here in Windsor. I think the people of Windsor should be heard first, because we're always heard from last. Having lived here in Windsor for 25 years, when I go to Toronto, when I go to other parts of the country, Windsor is -- fill in the space -- of Canada or of Ontario. I'm glad you have decided to start here in Windsor, because that will at least put us on the map and remind the rest of the province that we're here, we're alive, we're kicking and in fact we're doing very well.

On the casino issue, I just would like to start by saying, like any other policy decision or any other decision in life, it's a bundle of tradeoffs. You've got positives, you've got negatives, you've got pros and you've got cons. There is really nothing that is a perfect position in this world. This is not a perfect world. Everything is going to have something on the plus side and something on the negative side. But simply because a rose bush has thorns does not mean that we should forget about roses. I'm really concerned about some individuals pushing the negative side to the exclusion of the important, significant pluses on the other side.


We should also be cautious about optimism. There is no reason to be naïvely optimistic about something that's going to be a panacea for solving all our problems. But we have to understand this bundle concept, and I'm sure you understand it better than me, dealing with these conflicts on a daily basis in Parliament.

In looking at the items on the plus side that we should really be considering, number one, we need diversification in this city. We're still dependent on the automotive industry. The automotive industry is doing okay this year; next year, God knows. We've got NAFTA, we've got a number of other developments in the winds. We've got the Pacific Rim evolving. The auto industry is busy rationalizing its resources all over the globe. God knows how much Windsor is going to be keeping out of those resources. We definitely need diversification here.

I was a co-founder of the economic diversification committee and the economic strategic planning committee, and one of my main concerns as a citizen here was, "My goodness, we're a one-horse town," and we have got to get out of this trap, if you will. I do believe that the casino is an example of the kind of diversification that we need. It's a service diversification. It is different. It's balance.

Number two, from strictly a business standpoint, I counted here that there are about 130 types of businesses that could do business with the casino, existing, local small businesses in Windsor and Essex county that could do business with the casino. These range from dry cleaning to uniforms to name it, even grease and fat removal, for God's sake. In looking at the record in Atlantic City, I found five companies that specialize in grease and fat removing. My goodness, that's not bad. Five companies employing, each one of them, about seven to eight people, not bad at all. But that's just an example.

Currently we're trying to take an inventory of the businesses locally here that could benefit from the casino and we counted up to 2,000. Here is the guy who was doing the counting. He spent the last whole month developing the database for us. This is going to be a major contribution by Jason here before he leaves this city as part of the brain drain.

The Chair: Can I interject?

Dr Ragab: Please.

The Chair: Does this gentleman want to come forward and make some comments as well?

Dr Ragab: Yes.

The Chair: Would he like to come up now and sit at the table, so when you refer to him, we'll know who you're talking about. Your name is, sir?

Mr Jason Smith: Jason Smith.

Dr Ragab: Mr Smith is completing his master's degree in business administration and he happened to be stuck with me as an adviser and supervisor and all that jazz, so I got him involved in these lively things. Thank you, Jason. It will count, I'm sure.

But coming back to my point, the first point was diversification. The second point is that we're opening a brand-new opportunity for existing businesses plus another brand-new opportunity for new businesses to come and be formed; training schools, for example -- look at the contract that St Clair College got -- and other things that might come for the first time. And, yes, counselling services for those who need counselling. Why not? That's a business opportunity, no doubt about it, just like medicine is a business opportunity.

Item number three, of total importance here is downtown Windsor. Downtown Windsor, as the previous speaker from Freeds has outlined to you, it is really sliding down fast because of cross-border shopping and the recession etc. Something has got to be done about downtown. The important thing to be done about downtown is to have a new business theme for it. So far, downtown has been a traditional retailing centre, a typical downtown. Now I think downtown, in order to evolve and grow, would need a different theme. With the Capitol Theatre, the sports complex and the casino, perhaps a recreation-leisure-culture theme or a combination thereof might develop which will create a whole new collection of businesses that will emerge around here, and that perhaps will be the key for the revival of downtown. I honestly believe that.

Number four, the jobs that the casino would be creating, I heard estimates ranging from 2,000 direct employment to 8,000 direct and indirect employment. I hope those projections are true. I took a look at the input-output study that was done by the ministry. Assumptions of the model seem to be right, the model is done according to the proper economic theory. I have no reason to believe that those numbers would not materialize. In all likelihood, they will, so that the jobs that are here are needed to compensate for the losses we had in the automotive industry which, as you know, has gone automation and high-tech all the way and doesn't need people any more.

What are we going to do with these citizens? Do we just send them to the 401 and say goodbye, to Toronto, where they collect more unemployment over there, or what are we going to do here? Jobs are jobs. The previous speaker was talking about careers. What careers? This is the age of rapid change. People are talking about changing their jobs or changing their careers three, four or five times in their lifetime. There is no more career in the age of rapid change and the high-tech, rapid pace we have right now. You will really have to cross this bridge when you come to it, and you have to change jobs and change careers as the need may be.

Finally, on the positive side, we cannot ignore the public finance impact of the casino. Again, from the city point of view, there are property taxes, business assessment taxes, other sorts of public revenue that will come here; for the province, badly needed revenue with the looming big deficit that we have plus the losses of revenue due to the recession. We cannot ignore that contribution there.

However, to make my presentation balanced -- I like to be a balanced individual; as an academic, I'm supposed to be objective and I honestly try to be objective on this one -- here are some of the negatives that we have to look at.

The morality issue: I don't really see this as an issue, because we do have gambling. So I don't see any reason why this is going to add more to our immorality or make us immoral or unreligious or whatever adjective anybody would like to use. We already have it, so that incremental addition there is not going to add much.

Furthermore, I honestly, as a citizen, don't believe anybody should go and tell other people how moral they should be or how they should live their lives. Beyond the basics, "Thou shalt not kill" etc, I think let's keep it at this minimum and leave the rest for human creativity and the interpretation of their lifestyle the way they do. The same goes for the ethical side of it too.

Number two, some people are concerned about crime, as we have heard from the previous speaker, and side crime from organized crime and so on and then street crime. Essentially, what we're having here is just one organization. I honestly don't believe that one organization is going to dramatize and traumatize the crime scene in Windsor. True, we're going to be having a lot of people who are coming to visit, but that is just essentially one organization. When you think about it, the crime comes primarily from unemployment.

What worries me are some crime elements from outside Windsor that will be coming here, but these are easily controllable. Their activity can be easily checked, as it has been continuously by our excellent police force down here. So I don't really see crime coming as a problem. Besides, when we analysed some of the statistics about the cities that had casinos, I was surprised to find out there wasn't any significant impact on crime in those areas. There are things that defy common sense, and regretfully a lot of people come and argue points based on common sense, like what I am doing right now, but sometimes when you refer to some research you will be surprised as to what you can find there.

Number four, some people are worried about the social ills of gambling addiction, taking advantage of the poor etc, etc. I don't really know what percentage of people in Windsor are going to be gambling. I take it that if we're going to be getting five million to six million coming here, they're going to be coming from outside Windsor.

Whatever social ills they develop, that is going to be the business of whatever municipality they live in; it's not going to cost Windsor. If someone is coming from Toledo to gamble here and he or she develops a problem, we're not going to be paying for this problem. As for Windsorites, they have been gambling all along. If we had a problem with gambling and social ills with gambling, it would be apparent by now. I haven't seen lots of social ills on the state of gambling that we have right now.

Finally, there are definitely the legitimate concerns, as the previous speaker said: the traffic jams, parking, security etc. These are serious problems, pollution, but they have to be solved as we go. For every problem there is a solution. Like any situation in life, it does involve problems. This is not a perfect world. In an imperfect world we're going to be having some undesirable consequences, but we don't simply run away because we're going to be having some undesirable consequences.


Imagine if the people said, at the time of the Industrial Revolution, "Well, you know, we're not going to be dealing with those machines because they make noise, they scare us, they shake, they vibrate and they make a bad smell." We would not be where we are today; similarly with the high-tech revolution, like all human change, it does involve problems, but as humans we must believe that we are smart enough and capable enough to solve any problem as we encounter it. There is a solution for every problem, and everything is done incrementally.

I really would like to emphasize, again, the whole bundle concept. it just happens in this case that when you look at the bundle of negatives and positives, this is a very clear-cut situation where the positives outweigh the negatives.

At this point I'm to stop and I'd like my colleague, Jason, just to give you a brief overview of the findings of a survey we have done here in the small business community just to show you how they feel about the casino issue and so on and so forth and how it's going to impact to give you some additional facts.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Doctor.

Mr Duignan: Are you making a copy of that survey available for committee members?

Mr Smith: Yes, I am. I brought five of my papers. They will actually contain the findings and the survey itself.

The research that we conducted specialized on the Windsor existing downtown small businesses and their strategic response to the announcement of the coming casino. It was conducted mostly through May to June 1993: 13 key informant surveys, 45 minutes each, semistructured. There were 500 questionnaires distributed through the DBA's Recorder, which is their newsletter. It was all with prominent managers and owners of the establishments.

Our brief findings were that in regard to visitors, these individuals surveyed believed there would be between 5,000 and 8,000 a day. That's in a 24-hour period. That's smaller than most quotes. They anticipated that it would be polarized within two types: the hard-core gambler who would tend to stay for a shorter period of time and remain in the casino, and the recreational gambler who would ideally arrive with family, have a longer stay and be more outgoing into the community.

They expressed cautious optimism regarding their own business -- that could have just been an attempt at being modest -- 5% to 10% growth was expected for all of them with the exception of a few who expected much greater. They felt that the key success factor is other business that had made them successful currently and would continue to make them successful. Their major fears centred on, as is no surprise, traffic, parking, crime and the timing of the actual event, that it did take place and that it would follow through on the calendar dates mentioned.

We also found that there was great camaraderie among the DBA members. They expected this camaraderie to continue with the casino as a major player in this community. Most believe that the event would benefit Windsor, and they thought that the casino should promote Windsor itself as part of the attributes which the casino could offer. They also took quite a large amount of pride in the ownership of bringing casino gambling to Ontario and were quite pleased with the fact that Windsor would be one of the first pilot projects.

The key elements that we really found came across time and time again was foot traffic and the need for advertising and promotional space. Naturally, it's interesting that we are talking about sidewalks. The restaurateurs and the businesses felt the same way. They really emphasized the need for pedestrians on the streets. They often cited this as a major reason for casino support. The restaurants are expected to benefit a small amount greater than the shops.

The advertising and promotional space was a large concern of theirs. They felt that it would be very important to them to be able to have the opportunity to draw the customers out of the casino. They were worried about access to the casino, everything from display cases to humidors within the casino to attempt to draw them out.

There was concern over competition for the space and the cost of the space in the casino would be an issue. They were generally averse to the use of handbills and flyers with 10% etc coupons, but they would use them if they needed to, although they recognized it was litter and less prestige than actually advertising within the casino. That's all I have to report on.

Dr Ragab: We are happy to take any questions.

The Chair: Thank you for your presentation. Okay. We are going to start with the Conservative caucus. Mr Carr, we have approximately five minutes.

Mr Carr: Terrific. Thank you very much. I notice you talked about 5,000 to 8,000 visits a day at the end, and the government is saying there'd be 12,000 visits a day. Why the big discrepancy?

Mr Smith: Sir, that is actually what the business community that we interviewed expected. They tended to think that the numbers were overinflated. Their reasons, I didn't investigate.

Mr Carr: So they were just guessing because --

Mr Smith: That was their gut feeling.

Mr Carr: Obviously, I can't ask you why the government thinks it could be potentially twice as much if --

Mr Smith: Yes. I have read many of the same materials: 11,000 to 12,000 a day.

Mr Carr: So you know what you've got here. You've got Windsor being told that it's going to be an economic benefit and then they say it could anywhere from 5,000 to 12,000. There are huge discrepancies now. Let me get into more specifics. Can you tell us what you anticipate the revenue will be to the shop owners, for example, how much increased revenue they're going to get in terms of millions of dollars a year?

Dr Ragab: At this time, like the previous speaker, Mr Orman, said, it's very difficult for anybody to estimate it. This is the first time around for something like this to take place, but the input-output model I referred to earlier is projecting about $47 million in retail sales.

Mr Carr: Is that $47 million total?

Dr Ragab: Just assuming that 20% of people will walk out or will walk around.

Mr Carr: That's retail, and then you've got the restaurants.

Dr Ragab: Then food supplies etc.

Mr Carr: Will be slightly higher?

Dr Ragab: A lot higher. Food supplies will be a lot more than that too.

Mr Carr: What are you looking for the community coming in? You're doing some best guessing. You're using the models. In one year, what will be the economic impact total to the community?

Dr Ragab: I can't recall the number. Maybe Mr Alfieri might have the results of the output study, but the numbers, like I said, are fairly big and significant. The most important thing is that they are all based on conservative assumptions.

Mr Carr: But the average layperson hears about the models and so on and hears the number of jobs, but it would be very helpful if the average person wants to know. They can understand $80 million, $100 million, $10 million, whatever it is. I know when you make predictions -- you sit on the finance committee; everybody, economists, predicting what's going to happen with the economy -- it's difficult, but if the public could have some idea here in Windsor what the economic impact would be.

My fear is that not hearing any numbers and people saying it's very difficult, everybody says, "Whoops, maybe it isn't going to be that great or maybe they're going pull figures out of their heads." I know you wouldn't because you've got economic models, but it would be very helpful if you could come up with some type of bottom-line figure where the people of Windsor are saying, "The doctor believes that we're going to have an $80-million impact." I think that would be helpful for everybody whether they are in favour or opposed to the casino.

Dr Ragab: I can't really make that statement because I was repeating the findings of the input-output model that was used by the ministry. It was developed by the ministry and it was used by them. They can't attribute this number to me, but again in this life a lot of times our estimates are always exceeded by realities. Just this morning, I was working with a company that three years ago was out of business: first-year sales, zero; third-year sales, $20 million.

Mr Carr: What about in terms of the actual jobs created? Again, we've heard 2,500 in the casino, a total of 8,000 in the community. The people want to know bottom-line numbers. What do you anticipate the number of new jobs created are going to be?

Dr Ragab: Bottom-line numbers: the 2,500 in the casino and the hotel; that's seems to be very logical and reasonable. Other numbers in the community, the remaining 6,000 indirect employment.

Mr Carr: Six thousand?

Dr Ragab: The total is about 8,000 approximately, if I remember correctly. The remaining 6,000 is in indirect employment, I would say, over the next two to three years. It will materialize. It will not materialize the first year.

Mr Duignan: There is a line in your conclusion that I quite like and quite agree with and that is: "There is a sizable opportunity here, but we should not take it for granted. Just because the casino will be constructed here does not mean that the economic and business mentioned above will automatically materialize."

There's a famous movie called Field of Dreams. In that movie, there's a line that goes something like, "Build it and they will come." I believe what we've done here is give the city of Windsor an opportunity or a catalyst or the tools to build a brighter, more economic, secure commercial downtown. We believe we're handing the city of Windsor a magnet and we believe it's up to the city and the business community in the city to begin to market the attraction of Windsor.

I don't want to misquote the mayor, who some time ago said, "It's time for the Windsor business community to roll up its sleeves and get down to the task of promoting Windsor, start marketing the city to the people who will visit the casino."


Mr Callahan: Do you want Shoeless Joe to come?

Mr Duignan: That may be an attraction. However, what we've done is to give a catalyst to the city of Windsor to promote itself, not just the casino, but looking at Windsor as a whole, looking for the opportunities that will come with the casino coming here. What do we need to have the family stay two or three or four days in Windsor? Here's a golden opportunity. We believe we've handed Windsor this opportunity.

There's another line in your presentation, in the conclusion. It says, "Windsor entrepreneurs have proved over and over again that they have the resilience" -- and integrity -- "and ingenuity to survive economic adversities and capitalize on new opportunities." I have faith in the people and the business of this community to take this opportunity, run with it and make it work, not just for the benefit of the people of Windsor but for the benefit of the people of this province.

Dr Ragab: I agree with you 100%. In talking to a lot of them and talking to many members of the business community --


The Acting Chair: Mr Lessard, briefly.

Mr Lessard: In the bottom line here of your presentation, you say, "Can our businesses exploit this opportunity?" We heard from Thom Racovitis from TBQ's other place this morning talking about the same thing, about what sorts of quantities of foodstuffs, for example, we might be expected to need. I wonder whether you've been involved personally with any of the efforts to try to ensure that business in this area is prepared to supply the market.

Dr Ragab: I'm glad you asked. There's a database of 2,000 enterprises that we're developing right now. Guess what the next step is? The next step is that we're going to be getting to them and say: "Hey, there is an opportunity here. You better get them going forth." This is going to be one of the projects of the small business committee of the chamber of commerce which I chair. We're just going to make sure in the small business committee that we're going to go after everyone to make sure that they are mobilizing and gearing up for it. This database is going to be used as a tool to ensure that every business here is out to get the casino business.

My objective is that as a citizen of the city, I'd like to see at least 70% of the casino business done locally. I don't want someone to come and say, "I can't supply one million pounds of chicken because I don't have the facility." Fine, we'll put you together with nine other people and the two of you can do a consortium to supply the one million pounds of chicken, whatever the case may be. This business of thinking alone has got to stop, and we'll do our best to make sure the people develop coalitions and consortia in order to take advantage of this phenomenal opportunity.

Mr Callahan: I have to say, first of all, that we are not against casino gambling.

Mr Duignan: You'll have to reassure yourself.

Mr Callahan: No, no. Our role is to ensure that we have all the information available that will allow us to ensure that when it does take place, it's not going to destroy a community like Windsor.

Earlier today I said I have been in Windsor on a number of occasions. I have two sons who graduated from the University of Windsor and one from the law school, so we were down here a lot. I really enjoy your city. As I said this morning to some gentleman, I'd like to come back here and know -- and I was out walking last night at about 10 o'clock and young people walking on the street safely and so on.

What concerns me is the fact that this morning your chief of police was asking for a specific type of legislation to place the onus upon a scenario that I'm about to state: a businessman seen in the park, talking to a known underworld figure on more than one occasion. The minister yesterday, when we questioned her about this, sort of pooh-poohed this idea, that there's no organized crime, everything's going to be safe and aboveboard and so on.

I understand today that the stories, and I may be wrong, in the Star and in the Windsor Star will be to the effect that the assistant deputy minister, when he was asked about this issue, said they did have knowledge of organized crime people appearing in Windsor.

I as an opposition member and my colleagues in the opposition find it passing strange when we as members of the Legislature are told: "Don't worry about it. There's nobody here of that type." We have the police chief come in and say what he says and then we have it confirmed that there are in fact these types of people who are showing up in Windsor.

You have to worry too, because if that's the kind of information we're being denied, how much more information is being denied us to ensure that Windsor is, 10 years from today, as safe as it is now? Because that's what you want; that's what I want, or certainly I would want if I were living in this community.

That's where we're coming from. I find it really amazing that this information would be pooh-poohed by the minister as being irrelevant and not happening and then suddenly, surprise, it's happening. That scares me. When I hear that, I begin to wonder what other information is being denied all of us in order to make a proper assessment that this is going to ensure that Windsor remains the very wonderful place it is. I understand your reasons, where you're coming from; I understand all the business community's reasons, where it's coming from.

We also had the restaurateurs this morning, who indicated to us that they expect people will go out and eat at the restaurants. Anybody in this room who has been to a gambling facility anywhere in the United States -- even though they have much larger restaurants in these facilities, and I understand the legislation wisely has a 300-seat restaurant in this facility.

Casinos are there to make as much money as they can. In fact I remember at one time in Las Vegas they used to have slot machines on the way to eating. They didn't want you to stop for one minute. You get gamblers in there who get crazed with the slots and so on and find: "I can't get a seat at the 300-seat restaurant. I'll hop outside and grab a hot dog from a hot dog vendor, and back in to the casino."

Mr Kwinter raised the question -- I have real concerns too -- that you don't put all your eggs in one basket and think this is going to be a panacea, because unless there are very definitive ways that we can ensure that these people are going to go out and see these shopping centres or these shops that you're going to put up, that they're going to eat in the restaurants and so on and aren't going to get back on the bus and beetle back across the border and only bring the bad things with them, as opposed to the good things, then this really becomes a real non-blessing in disguise. So you understand where we're coming from.

Dr Ragab: Of course I do understand. I also would like just to caution about something that is called paralysis by analysis. Let us collect all the facts. Let us get all the information. In this life -- I teach business strategy and I counsel a lot of people on strategizing on things like this. The last thing you want to do, the last trap you want to fall in, is paralysis by analysis. One can collect all the information, one can create all sorts of fears and then you end up saying, "Let's not do it."

Personally, as a citizen, I don't really believe that the casino is going to create the big crime problem we're going to be hearing about. This is only one organization in town. My first fear was, "My goodness, we're going to become like Atlantic City," but then when you look at the crime statistics in Atlantic City or Nevada, they're not really that different than Detroit, and Detroit does not have a casino yet. So I don't believe that one organization is going to turn Windsor into a combat zone like downtown Boston or something like that. I just don't believe this way.

Mr Callahan: I'm not suggesting that.

Dr Ragab: Some people do, though.

Mr Callahan: I'm certainly rooting for a win-win situation for Windsor. But your thesis --

The Chair: Time has expired, Mr Callahan. I've got to be very strict here. The day is definitely going to get away with this. Mr Ragab and Mr Smith, I want to thank you very much for making your presentation before the committee today.

Mr Duignan: Sorry, Mr Chair, on a point.

The Chair: A point of order, Mr Duignan?

Mr Duignan: A point of maybe whatever.

The Chair: Mr Duignan, we'll continue with the next presenter.

Mr Duignan: The whole question of reverse onus -- I remember a month ago the opposition demanding the head of the Human Rights Commission of Ontario because of a report that stated that you're a racist until you can prove otherwise. I believe the issue that has been raised maybe is better dealt with when we're going to clause-by-clause. In the meantime, let's give it very, very careful consideration, what's being requested here.

The Chair: That's not a point of order, Mr Duignan, but it's interesting to hear that information.



The Chair: Our next presenters today are the Windsor-Essex County Development Commission. We have a number of people before us. I know you have a presentation here too that I saw. We have the chair, Mary Penfold, the development commissioner, Paul T. Bondy, and the manager of commercial development, Mr Jim Lyons. Am I correct?

Ms Mary Penfold: Yes.

The Chair: Thank you very much for being here today. Whoever is going to speak first, you have 30 minutes for your total time before us. You have a written presentation, and I expect there will be some time for questions.

Ms Penfold: Thank you, Mr Chairman and members of the panel. My name is Mary Penfold. I'm the chair of the development commission and I'm here to submit our presentation to you. On behalf of the Windsor-Essex County Development Commission, I would like to take this opportunity to present to the government of Ontario standing committee on finance and economic affairs our position on Bill 8, the Ontario Casino Corporation Act, 1993, which, if passed, will establish the Ontario Casino Corp.

The role of the Windsor-Essex County Development Commission is to maintain and attract employment and economic development in our community. In these recessionary times, this has not been an easy task, yet the Windsor community is currently experiencing industrial and commercial investment totalling approximately $4 billion, with an estimated 3,500 new jobs being created.

Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, the University of Windsor and the Windsor Western Hospital Centre are a few examples of projects currently under way. All of these projects did not materialize on a whim. They were hard-earned by the citizens of Windsor who work there and by the vision of these corporations and organizations in recognizing that Windsor is a good place to do business.

Keeping this community spirit and corporate loyalty in mind, however, these investments have and will not address or influence the current state of affairs that exists within our commercial sector. A recent survey of Windsor's downtown business district disclosed approximately 160 vacant retail and commercial establishments. In addition, many existing businesses are for sale, and some owners are cashing in RRSPs to keep their operations alive, waiting and hoping for better times: better times that a new industry will bring. The reality of years of cross-border shopping, due to the high Canadian dollar combined with the GST legislation, has devastated our community's commercial viability.

But then, almost out of nowhere, comes the word "casino." It's a six-letter word that nobody really understands -- yet. When the province of Ontario embraced the casino concept and chose Windsor as the pilot city to operate this first casino, it put Windsor back on the map once again. In a sense, it's like putting a spark plug back into an idle engine that's been in the scrap heap for a long time. That engine can now roar once again and energize new life into a commercial sector that has been dead for years.

In a review of the request for proposals issued April 19, 1993, the objectives as set out by the province are to act as a catalyst for community economic development, to create jobs, to promote the tourism and hospitality industries, to establish a viable new industry in the province and to provide revenues to the province.

Additionally, the city's objectives are to ensure that the casino complex assists in the revitalization of the city's central business district and acts as a stimulus to commercial development and to ensure that the casino complex is compatible with the city's waterfront master plan, civic square urban design and twin anchor concept.

We at the development commission believe that the establishment of a casino in the Windsor community will easily achieve all of these objectives.

In order to substantiate fulfilment of the province's objectives, the development commission has conducted missions to Atlantic City, to Joliet, Illinois, and Las Vegas, Nevada. There we met with representatives such as economists, city planners, academics, casino operators, including purchasing personnel, gaming equipment and suppliers.

We witnessed at first hand the successes and the failures which this powerful industry had on these communities. This has helped us to develop a promotional strategy unique to the Windsor community which will assist in our efforts to maximize the overall impact of this industry in the Windsor-Essex county area.

With this in mind, we can present to you with confidence the business sectors which we believe will be positively influenced by the establishment of casino gaming in Windsor.

The most immediate and obvious impact will be realized within the local construction industry and by building materials suppliers. It certainly will be refreshing to see cranes and building activity on Windsor's horizon once again.

With respect to the retail sector, which includes restaurants, we believe the vacant storefronts downtown will begin to fill up. Already we have had six new businesses either open or opening soon, such as Zareh's Jewellery, the Sports Zone, Blackjack's Saloon, Caesar's Bar and Grill, Casino City Cafe and Jokers, which is undergoing expansion. I think they're getting ready.

Additionally, we have received over 30 inquiries ranging from the development of restaurant to entertainment interests, and our campaign to lure more has barely begun. Soon we will be implementing a promotional campaign targeting over 300 fashion, gift stores and restaurants not currently operating in Windsor in hopes that they will seize this opportunity and expand their business to our community.

In tourism development, the list is almost endless. New forms of entertainment venues are sure to develop and our theatres, the Chrysler and the Capitol, will become much more active for local citizens and tourists alike.

Attractions such as Bob-Lo Amusement Park, Colosanti's Greenhouse, historical destinations such as the Baby House, the Black Heritage Museum, Fort Malden, and manufacturers such as Hiram Walker, Chrysler, Heinz and the local wineries, as well as countless others, are all planning on how to attract this huge new audience to their properties.

There will be opportunities in development of transportation systems, such as taxis, car rental agencies, bus transit, increased train and airport usage. Undoubtedly, new shuttle operations will service casino patrons, hotels, shopping centres, other city and county attractions, and link public transportation lines.

In the service sector, there loom opportunities for advertising, accounting, and legal firms, banks, computer suppliers, photographers are among others to gain.

In the category of wholesale and distribution for products and/or services directly and indirectly used by the casino, the opportunities are staggering. Foodservices, beverages and perishable supplies, such as meat, poultry and seafood, will be required in large quantities.

Maintenance services, such as landscaping, carpet, dry cleaning, florist, janitorial and window-washing opportunities will exist. Linen, office furniture, office supplies are also a few examples of durable goods in need.

As well, there is the inevitable development of a "new" business sector in our community in casino gaming equipment and supplies. Distribution, maintenance and delivery for products such as slot machines, roulette and blackjack tables, coin sorters, playing cards etc, all represent opportunities for existing local companies or new companies that will be established in Windsor-Essex. On a long-term basis, we are hopeful that manufacturing opportunities for casino gaming equipment, as just mentioned, may materialize within our community.

Of course, all of these opportunities are not about to fall into the laps of our Windsor-Essex business base without considerable effort and planning. The development commission's promotional strategy has been designed to conduct a series of programs which will create awareness, elaborate on opportunities, educate businesses with vested interests and attract new businesses within our community.


We are planning to launch a campaign to attract new retailers and restaurateurs into the central business district. A target list of 300 firms will be contacted in the upcoming months, informing them of this opportunity.

With respect to the supplier/service sector, we have scheduled a casino business opportunities seminar to take place on September 15 at the Cleary International Centre. We have invited the casino proponents -- hopefully, a short-list group will be available -- to send a representative of their purchasing department to sit on a panel to answer questions regarding the practices of their organization from a procurement standpoint. Also available for questions will be two independent professionals who currently work in communities where casino gaming is present. We are asking each of these individuals to cite examples of economic development within their community.

Our audience for this forum will consist of retailers, wholesalers, suppliers, banks, real estate firms, and so on, from the local business sector, and our promotional campaign for this event will begin this week.

We are actively working with suppliers of gaming equipment. We have had personal interviews with a number of slot machine manufacturers and distributors of gaming products within the past few months. Additionally, we are planning to meet with more suppliers at the World Gaming Congress and Expo in September of this year in Las Vegas. To date, 26 half-hour appointments have been confirmed.

Our hopes are that we will be able to identify and assist companies who may be interested in supplying the Windsor casino and beyond from a Windsor distribution or manufacturing base.

Finally, when the announcement of the actual casino operator is made we intend to establish a strong working relationship with their purchasing team. By doing so, we will play a matchmaker to assist in identifying local suppliers who can fulfil their needs.

To date, we have registered the interests of approximately 93 local suppliers and we will personally see to it that each of these companies is acknowledged by the proponent and is offered the opportunity to bid on some of the work or contracts that arise.

We realize and believe that the Windsor casino will be the largest commercial investment and stimulus for this sector in the history of our community. The number of direct jobs equal that of some of our community's largest manufacturers. Indirect employment successes will, however, be much more dependent on the desire and the spirit of each individual company to rise to the occasion. As such, expansion or renovation of their operations may be necessary, therefore requiring additional capital investment.

Of great concern to many of these local businesses is the availability of the financial resources to make these capital improvements possible. As you are likely aware, commercial lenders have been less than flexible during these recessionary times. With this in mind, a financial working group consisting of the community's largest commercial lenders has been formulated. Discussions are under way to develop a campaign whereby all local businesses will be able to present their business cases in a more definitive manner in the hope of obtaining the necessary financing to help these businesses through the upcoming period of high growth.

In this high-growth period in particular, and in consideration of the long-term viability of a new and expanding tourism-related business sector here in the Windsor community and elsewhere in Ontario, we believe consideration should be given in developing the legislation to include provisions for government financial support for these tourism-related projects, and that they be managed consistently with the current policies and practices of the Ontario Development Corp.

In conclusion, we are quite confident that a casino complex in Windsor will meet all of the objectives as stipulated in the request for proposal. We have been informed by many of the proponents that the Windsor casino project represents the most attractive casino gaming opportunity in North America. The importance and the level of interest expressed by the proponents in developing a first-class facility within which they will conduct their business is not their only concern. We feel each proposal will exhibit a strong commitment to community development, illustrating continuity with the city's master plan, complementing each other to create a synergy within our downtown business area.

With this in mind, we intend to use the casino project as leverage to redevelop retail, tourism, supplier and perhaps even contribute to our manufacturing base. We are hopeful that the standing committee on finance and economic affairs will look favourably on the development of this new industry within our province and also that the committee will support the establishment of the Ontario Casino Corp so that we can begin rebuilding our community's commercial sector into a profitable venture for both private and public investment alike.

Thank you very much, and the three of us are available now for questions.

The Chair: Thank you very much. We have four minutes per caucus. We'll start with Mr Dadamo.

Mr Dadamo: You've done a wonderful job. No question about it. Thank you. We, of course, want to help you out as much as we can.

I want to direct your attention to page 8, if I may. You've laid out part of a mission statement. I just want you to take two or three minutes and elaborate, if you will, that you're planning to launch a campaign to attract new retailers and, of course, restaurateurs, that you have a target list of about 300. Are there any specific kinds of different groups that you're targeting, or is it just a general, "Come on, we're open for business" type?

Ms Penfold: I'll let Jim Lyons answer that. He's been specifically involved in that aspect of the project.

Mr Jim Lyons: Absolutely. We've taken the resource from a Maclean Hunter publication called the Monday Report on Retailers which summarizes the activities of many of the franchises operating within Canada and the US and specifically targeted those that are, we'll say, medium to upscale. So they're definitely going to be on the list, and those, of course, that have expressed an interest in expanding into southwestern Ontario.

In addition to that, because we have such a large number of people coming from the US, as predicted, we are going to be targeting a number of independent and chain-oriented restaurants, retailers in terms of clothing, giftware etc, from the US market, specifically in Michigan. So if it's Charlie's Crab we used to frequent in the past, then we're going to see if we can get those people over here, as an example.

Mr Dadamo: Mary mentioned earlier on in the report that there were about 160 empty stores in and around the core area. Are you going to go after these to try to fill categorically? If somebody comes to you and says, "We need x amount of square feet," you must have a checklist or something, or a balance sheet?

Mr Lyons: Actually, the 160 that have been identified really have been identified only as vacancies. We know the address. We really don't have too many specific numbers in terms of the number of square feet in that property, who's listing it. We do have owners. What we are anticipating is working with the planning department in mapping out each of the locations of the retailers in the current downtown mix and, as well, identifying those vacancies.

In our follow-up information with a potential retailer, they will be getting this package and they can have a chance to sort through the area in the downtown core and perhaps pick out a vacancy that may be of interest to them and we can help them from there.


Ms Penfold: May I add one point to that? I'd just like to add that there'll be a two-tiered process. We are trying to ensure that, first of all, the businesses in Windsor and Essex county are first made aware of the opportunities, and then we go out from there.

Mr Lessard: Do I have any time?

The Chair: Yes, you have about a minute.

Mr Lessard: You had mentioned in your brief that you visited Atlantic City, Joliet, Illinois, and Las Vegas, Nevada, and you've just generally, I guess, used some experience to come up with the strategy that you have. Can you give me some specifics about things you found there and you know what to do and what not to do?

Mr Paul T. Bondy: Perhaps I can start. On a one-day visit, Wayne, we spent some time with the chief economist for the county of Atlantic, spent some time with a survivor in the supplier side of the industry and spent a considerable amount of time with one of the major operators there, and basically each of them dealt with the issues, the things that were not done properly in that particular jurisdiction, and certainly talked about issues related to planning, community/provincial relations -- or community/state in their case, or in their case a lack thereof.

There was an attempt made from that information to avoid those kinds of pitfalls. I'm not saying that we have all the answers, but certainly it's an attempt to learn from those problems and try to make sure that it does not happen in this community.

Plus, if I could add, there's a very dramatic difference between that one-sector community and a highly infrastructured community like this one which could, in our own case, help to increase the benefit to the community and the province ultimately. Because we are well infrastructured, there could be situations where suppliers benefit here, whereas in Atlantic City those benefits accrue in Pennsylvania -- in other words, 100 miles away -- rather than in the community itself.

Mr McClelland: I'd like to refer to the first complete paragraph on page 11, if I may, and ask for some expansion or perhaps some particular suggestions that you might have. Yesterday I had asked in a rather lengthy, I suppose, discourse, included in one of the comments, a point that has been raised from time to time, my point being made that, as far as I'm aware, there's no jurisdiction in North America where the host community of a casino project does not have a direct benefit in the form of either a licensing arrangement or a percentage of gross or some combination thereof.

The minister didn't respond, and I say this with the greatest respect. I didn't have an opportunity to put that question to the mayor today. Knowing Mr Duncan as I do, I will not get a chance to do that tomorrow. From the city's perspective, and I know that you've been working very closely in harmony with the city, I wonder if you would expand on the basis of your point here that you're looking for financial support. You're looking at it in terms of designated funds, funds that are, if you will, siphoned off, apart from general revenues, to pursue the theme that you have laid out in your first point, first full paragraph on page 11.

If you do have time, and you may not, maybe you could have a comment in terms of your assessment of the advisability of a fixed-cost return to the city to provide the infrastructure services that may be required.

Ms Penfold: The first part of that, I would just like to indicate that in the trip at Atlantic City, one of the major problems that business did experience was the fact that they were not prepared for the volume and the effects that would have on their cash flow. The majority of the firms that originally started operating with casinos eventually did not succeed, and it was because they did not prepare themselves with their bankers and with their other financiers in terms of the cash flow and the improvements and the growth that they were going to experience. That's the important aspect that we looked at and we think needs to be dealt with with the financing industry.

Paul is more technically oriented in terms of this ODC and how he expects that to work, so I'll let him answer the rest of that. That's why he's here.

Mr McClelland: Thank you, and if any one of you could comment on the concept of putting moneys aside.

Mr Bondy: I'm not sure that's within our purview --

Mr McClelland: That's fine.

Mr Bondy: -- but if I could just continue where Mary left off.

Mr McClelland: Please.

Mr Bondy: Obviously the ODC, the Ontario Development Corp, presently, and has for years, supports activities in manufacturing, processing and tourism. I think what we're trying to say here is that perhaps if there was a statement made in the legislation which suggested that if, for example, the three of us were seafood suppliers and we were part of the casino industry -- in other words, suppliers to the industry -- and we had to approach ODC with a request for some assistance based on the fact that perhaps we're putting in a third of the equity and that we need some government support before we can get the final support from the chartered banks, for example, if the language is already covered in the legislation, it might just make it simpler to access that eligibility as opposed to having to prove to ODC that we are indeed a part of the tourism industry.

The program already exists. We're just saying that if you include casino-related suppliers in tourism, then it becomes a little more, say, automatic or a little easier to access --

Mr McClelland: To access that particular envelope for funding.

Mr Bondy: That's right, because the funds are already there.

Mr McClelland: So effectively you would equate, in a broader designation, tourism to include suppliers of the tourism front line, if you will.

Mr Bondy: Exactly.

Mr McClelland: Thank you. That helped.

Mr Eves: We've heard from a number of witnesses today, ranging from the city to the chief of police, the Ontario Restaurant Association, Mr Docherty and Dr Prince and Brian McKenzie, to name a few, and they have all requested some very specific amendments to Bill 8.

I wondered, other than your concern that you just talked about to Mr McClelland on page 11, if you have any amendments or changes, or improvements is perhaps a better way of phrasing the question, you would like to see to the proposed legislation.

Ms Penfold: Not specifically. I'm aware of some of the comments that were made by the mayor and the chief of police and I believe as a citizen -- I speak as a citizen -- that it is something that's reasonable given our proximity to the US and I would support that.

Mr Eves: Okay, thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much for your presentation.


The Chair: The next presenter we have, and I hope I pronounce this properly, is Sandra Stanciu, representing the Old Riverside Business Improvement Association, if you would please come forward. Did I pronounce your name properly?

Ms Sandra Stanciu: You sure did.

The Chair: Good. You have 30 minutes to make your presentation, and if there's time left there will be an opportunity for questions. Do you want to proceed?

Ms Stanciu: Certainly. Mr Chairman, hearing board members, fellow Windsorites, good afternoon. A personal welcome to all visitors. I hope you have many reasons to frequent our beautiful city again and again.

I am here as a pro-Windsor Windsorite, a 20-year veteran of the fashion industry as well as chairperson of the Old Riverside Business Improvement Association.

I have made myself as informed as I can be about gaming, the rules by which the games will be played and the potential players. This information I have amassed over the last year.

Information has blown the images I had of casino gambling out of the water. Even the subtle name change: "Gaming" is now the buzzword. Being very nervous here, if I use "gambling" again it's a grave error. "Gambling" conjures up all kinds of images: good movies, racy novels, life in the fast lane and all the related vices and profits associated with that old-time image. No wonder we need to change the name if we want to understand the new way.

Information has always been the key to understanding. Usually information disperses fears and uncertainties. In the Windsor casino project, however, in my opinion, it has become the worst nightmare from an accurate information point of view. It has been beaten to death by all forms of media, often bringing up valid points, often points and fears that even remotely are not likely to become a factor. yThe everyday Windsor person who I think I represent here today is befuddled. If we sound confused, we are. Some of the stuff we hear and read about would make anybody fearful.


I have had the opportunity to see and hear Marilyn Churley speak on the casino. On her first visit, I was here when she sat in a downtown conference room with her back to a large window and a wonderful view of Detroit. She addressed cross-border shopping. She interrupted herself numerous times to look out that window and say, "Wow, I didn't know it was so close and I didn't know it was right there." My kind of person: honest and sincere. She went home, the Border Zone Advisory Committee got its funding, community leaders launched their programs. This was due, I am sure, to a minister who had the visual information she needed -- again, information.

Having this same lady overseeing our casino project makes me very comfortable. She made it clear she will not settle in any way or succumb to all the pressures that would have it otherwise. I believe when it opens, later rather than sooner if need be, it will be worth the wait. We will have the kind of operation all nine proponents claim they want to run. We will have suitable regulations with teeth in them.

The next time I saw Marilyn Churley, she sported a shopping bag stating she is gambling on Windsor. Perhaps it might have said, if it were large enough, "I am gambling with Windsor," and on the flip side, "We can all be winners."

My personal research tells me that the management force that comes to town will be well educated, well rounded, community oriented, probably family people. It is the way of all big business. It is the way of corporate life and it's certainly the way of new casino management.

We are all well into change for a rollback in lifestyles, back to basics and home and hearths. This change has swept North America and it's reflected in the homes and clothing we buy, the cars we drive, the food and beverages we drink or we don't drink, the vacations we take, the kind of fun we have. Family people have demanded these changes. Most of us love the attitude change. Communities will be better places for it. Our province is on the cutting edge of this fashion change and we know it.

In respect to the casinos, we are the only place I know of to be able to bring in this new way and not have to change existing images and facilities. We have the opportunity to create what we want and what the customer wants. The homework has been done. We know the package we can give and we can give it all. This casino will be run cleanly, efficiently and very profitably. In fact, as I see it, there will be so much profit to be made by all that there is not a great deal of incentive to do anything other than follow the law.

I would like to take this opportunity to read you an article that if I were an editor I might be preparing a few months down the road. Please bear with my fantasy. It's sounding a little corny now, but I'll continue:

"In Las Vegas, a resort is opening called Treasure Island. This is a strategy in a large war to maintain tourist economy. They will try and market Las Vegas as a family town. In the meantime, as Windsor steps into its future, we expect that someone in Las Vegas some day will have an idea that features the magnificent skyline of a foreign country, divided by the busiest fresh waterway in the world.

"Ten minutes from Grand Prix racing. Ten minutes from world-class hydroplaning. Five minutes from the world's largest auto show; an early summer art show that has attracted artists from all over North America; an afternoon away from a wine region expected to rival Napa Valley. All major league sporting events are represented in this area. We are a boat ride away from a unique amusement park. People from all over will flock to this visitors' Mecca. They will call it the Windsor of the southwest." End of my article.

I was fortunate enough to visit Gulfport, Mississippi, and see how that casino ran and affected that town. I visited Biloxi and saw how many casinos were run and how the ripple effect ran through that city. I went armed with a 17-point questionnaire and interviewed 50 people from very different walks of life, examples being a police chief, two beat officers, fellows at a fire hall, a gentleman who runs a private hospital, women's wear retail store owners and clerks, owners of a 50-year-old family outfitting business and an educator, to name a few.

I would like to run through my questions. I was very pleased and often surprised at the answers given. This is my list as I presented it to each of the 50 people I interviewed.

(1) Profile your downtown visitor before and after casinos.

(2) Comment on the hangouts for downtown street people. Have they changed? Has this population increased?

And to the retail:

(3) Who was your customer before? Has that changed? Estimate the percentage of increase in business.

(4) Hours of operation before and after: Is there uniformity in hours? Are they enforced by bylaws or by whom? Percentage increase in operating costs, fixed and staff, due to these mandatory extended hours.

(5) What do you see now as the needs and desires of the visitors? Has this changed from what you were told when you expected a casino to come?

(6) Where do you and your family live? If you don't live in the core, would you want to? Would you raise a family downtown? Comment.

(7) What transportation is offered? Have public transit ridership numbers changed since the casino?

(8) Is your private life much the same as it was before? What changes has being part of a casino town made in your quality of life? Is it better? Is it worse?

(9) If you could go back and plan all over again, what would you do? Would you support this project? Comment, please.

(10) Going back, what would you ask of the casino company?

(11) What would you ask of your city?

(12) Are you pleased with the way law enforcement has changed to handle the changes here? What would you do to improve in that area?

(13) If you could open a new venture to capitalize on visitors, please name and describe it. Where, in relation to the casino, would you place it?

(14) In your opinion, how much does downtown really benefit from the increased traffic? Does the surrounding area benefit? How and why?

(15) What are the casino's commitments to the community? Do they reinvest, improve roads, support sports etc? Is this an act of goodwill or is this a documented agreement?

(16) Would you describe casinos as good corporate citizens? Do they beautify, promote, do they educate?

Number (17), and most important to me, is what the feeling of the educators was: Has there been a social impact of any kind on children? Is it negative? Is it positive?

And then I left each person room for personal comment of any kind.

I am here today to support wholeheartedly all our city and province have done so far. I feel we are in very good hands. I do have some concerns, and I would like to cite them.

Traffic control: We can predict, project and plan, but until we see and feel these problems I hesitate to spend or act on them or even to worry too, too much about them. They can be solved when they are real, in the areas in which they are real. How much of an inconvenience will it be to run a bit behind, for a limited time, due to traffic in a downtown that is thriving?

My second concern is crime. Since Windsor is the pilot and we will be seeing casinos in other Ontario cities, why don't we have an Ontario Provincial Police team, trained for this project, who will come in and operate under the jurisdiction of our chief, out of his facility in numbers he's comfortable with and for a term decided upon, while we are preparing and adding to our own force in appropriate numbers? The amount of time would be predetermined and then the casino force would move to the next appropriate marketplace. With the amounts of dollars going to be realized, I feel to overspend in law enforcement, as some would say, is not overspending at all but simply buying insurance. Anyone who has been through a problem knows there is no money better spent.


My last concern is unique to border cities and towns. I hope the province frowns and frowns hard on cities, their chambers of commerce and their business people who do not somehow enforce fair exchange and treatment of customers. All the advertising in the world cannot stand up to word of mouth. I think Windsor must set the standard by which all other municipalities are measured. I think we must come out on top and truly become the customer service capital of Canada to the smallest detail. I thank you all for your time.

The Chair: We have about five minutes per caucus, and we're going to go to the Liberals.

Mr McClelland: I don't have any questions right now.

The Chair: Not ready to go? Mr Carr.

Mr Carr: Thank you very much for your presentation. For your membership, how many new jobs do you think will be created?

Ms Stanciu: By the casino coming in, probably none per se, casino visitors; by the attitude it will generate, the optimism and positiveness by the 9,000 people it will employ -- and in fact if 9,000 new jobs are had, each dollar turns over in our municipality five to seven times before it leaves. Pull up our socks, present things people want, and sure we'll be busier. That's a lot of money, just with people who live here already.

Mr Carr: So there won't be any new jobs, though, added?

Ms Stanciu: No, but as chairperson of our BIA, we're very much concerned and involved in efforts to have this loop I think Mr Orman was talking about, with an old-style San Francisco car bringing people to different commercial areas. We're in the midst now of an ongoing beautification project which is just getting off the ground in Riverside, making it very attractive for visitors and residents alike. The upbeat, positive attitude that new jobs and opportunities are going to bring is going to help our area survive and thrive. I know it will.

Mr Carr: How about in terms of increased revenue? What would be the dollar amount that your members can expect to have in increase? Do you know?

Ms Stanciu: I couldn't even begin to guess.

Mr Carr: The government is saying that there will be 8,000 new jobs. There's been some difference. I think Dr Ragab, who was in, talked about some lower figures. What's your best guess at the number of jobs that are going to be created?

Ms Stanciu: I would side with Dr Ragab. With his experience, his concern for the community and the kind of research he does, if that's what he said, that would be so, in my opinion.

Mr Carr: One other question too: The government is saying that a lot of the people will be coming over here from the US and that there will be some spinoffs in terms of retail and restaurants. In terms of cost, how would you compare, and let's just talk of the retail sector percentages and then restaurants, versus Detroit? How much percentage lower or higher are we in retail and restaurants?

Ms Stanciu: Those are not figures I'd be comfortable even guessing at. I guess my thoughts run a little simpler than that. We each and every one of us have to make ourselves more attractive and more appealing to the tourists and to the people at home. I think, as in any negative situation or circumstance, you develop an attitude. We have merchants and business people who, justifiably so, have had a down attitude. I think you're going to see cleaner windows, better merchandise, better preparation of food, happier help, and all of that will work.

People, tourists from all over North America, want to have fun. That's the whole name of life in the 1990s: have fun. They're educated, they're family oriented. Provide a product that's first class, quality and an experience and they'll be there. As a city, we'll work together and do that.

Mr Carr: What do you think the public's perception is? We heard today, I think it was one of the presenters in answer to one of Mr Kwinter's questions who said, "Regardless if it's right or not, the perception is that some of the problem of the cross-border shopping is that it is cheaper across." What do you think is the people of Windsor's perception and the people of Detroit's? Are we perceived here as being cheaper or more expensive?

Ms Stanciu: More expensive, but we have done it to ourselves through bad-mouthing ourselves in the media. I am a very positive person and I think life every day should be approached with a positive attitude. When we had provincial funding and had a program called the value assurance program, I chaired it for two years. The purpose of that was to give Windsor merchants an opportunity to compete for an award, establish a level of quality of service, along with quality of product, value for your dollar, that would make Windsorites want to stay home and in the long term attract US interest. It's worked, because we've been asked to put together similar projects for cities throughout Michigan.

Mr Carr: In terms of some of the things that we heard in terms of why people go cross-border, some of the retailers, when we've heard some of the presentations, said the big factors are the fact of the taxes on the booze, cigarettes and fuel. Mr Clinton may help with his new tax plan increasing the fuel, but has it been your experience that those are the three big items that people go across for and that we do lose some business because while they're over there they'll buy? Nowadays, of course, with the underground market, they're saying a lot of people aren't buying cigarettes in the States any more; they're just getting them from the black market here. But are they the three big items we're losing people going across for?

Ms Stanciu: Definitely, yes, and in the beginning that was the sole reason to go. It's gone on so long it's become part of the lifestyle. Hotels and entertainment complexes have capitalized on that. We won't get a lot of people to stay home, because it's part of what they perceive as a social experience. The savings to them represent an opportunity to stay in a motel, dine out twice more than they could have at home, and it's fun.

We all like to go away and have those kinds of experiences. I think now we have to realize the status quo -- it's levelled off -- and work in reverse, attract US visitors here visiting our casino and all of the things I mentioned that make this area so unique and special.

Mr Carr: Thank you.

Ms Stanciu: You're welcome.

Mr Lessard: Mrs Stanciu, I want to thank you very much for taking the opportunity and the time out from your business to make a presentation to the committee. I wasn't here when you first started out, but did you indicate the name and the location of your business?

Ms Stanciu: No, but I'd love to, the Village Boutique on Wyandotte Street East, in what was old Riverside.

Mr Lessard: I should give you an opportunity to put a plug in for your business. The committee members are here for a couple of more days and they might have an opportunity to come down and visit.

You've said that you went down to Biloxi, Mississippi, and you interviewed 50 people. You must have been fairly busy while you were down there.

Ms Stanciu: I was there for three days as a guest of the Grand Casino. I took the opportunity, for the city, I thought, for myself particularly, to develop an understanding of casinos, casino business, that would never have been made available to me otherwise. So I spent the whole time doing that.

Mr Lessard: Did you have any preconceived notions that you had before you went there that may have changed after you came back?

Ms Stanciu: Oh, sure. All those good books I've read, all those movies I've seen: They don't exist.

Mr Lessard: I don't know the books you've read or the movies you've seen, so maybe you could elaborate on that.

Ms Stanciu: Fellows with big necks from Chicago, that kind of thing. These were corporate managers. Most of their managers are younger than I am, 35 to 45, family people, community-oriented. They don't have to be anything else. They don't want to be anything else. If they weren't running a casino, they'd run General Motors or RCA. That kind of people were in charge of casino operations.


Mr Lessard: In your list of questions that you asked, there are a couple I was fairly interested in and we as legislators are interested in because it ties in with what we're trying to do with this legislation, and that is, you asked, "What would you ask of the casino company and what would you ask of the city?" I wondered what some of the answers were that you came up with from that and whether you have any advice to us, as legislators, of the sorts of things we should be asking of the city and the casino company.

Ms Stanciu: In both Biloxi and in Gulfport they were very pleased that they had developed into their agreement the fact that yes, they were going to be good corporate citizens. It was nice to perceive them as nice guys. They're being forced to be nice guys by the way it was written, percentages to be donated to different causes. Even the religious people, that being a very Baptist-oriented area, have pulled in their horns and are realizing that money does make a difference in some of the changes they've been trying to make to make life better for people, so their attitude changed. I would just say write in what you want, write in all those things. They did and they're delighted.

Mr Lessard: We look forward to hearing any other suggestions you might have if you want to provide those to us in writing later on.

Ms Stanciu: I have lists and I can talk to you.

Mr Duignan: You are so positive and upbeat. I wanted to give one of my "Build it and they will come" speeches again, but I will resist that temptation. However, it is so nice to see such optimism and upbeatness, not only from your presentation but from the previous presentation and from many people here today. They're seizing upon the opportunity that we're providing the city of Windsor. Because the casino is not the end; it's a beginning. It's nice to see people like yourself and the previous presenters taking that opportunity and making it work, revitalising the downtown and using it to promote business opportunities in this city.

You raised a point about crime etc. As the chief said this morning, it is the legal responsibility of the Windsor police to deal with all criminal acts. The OPP will provide that internal surveillance etc, but when a crime is detected of course the Windsor police will be brought in. The OPP will be doing all the background checks etc on the individuals. That will be the role of the police.

Also, I want to clarify that our position is not that organized crime does not exist in Windsor. Our position is that we will have the appropriate processes, regulations, investigations, investigators in place so that organized crime will not find a place in the casino, indeed will not find a place in the suppliers to the casino, in fact anywhere in Windsor. Our message is very clear: If you're involved in that activity, don't come to Windsor, because you will not get any part of the casino operation.

Ms Stanciu: I don't live in such a protected environment that I don't realize it's not already here, but I guess I like to see advantage, and the fact that here we are, the first in the province, it may not be the place to come at all. It's being watched too closely. You're bringing opportunity, and most of us in Windsor realize that, but most realize opportunity knocks and it doesn't knock heavily. You have to open the door, let it in, grasp the chance, do what it is you do and do it well.

Mr Lessard: Exactly.

Mr Kwinter: Sandra, I'd like to outline your worst-case scenario. I'm just curious to know what you and groups like you are going to do to counteract it. Earlier today we heard someone mention the fact that people can come here to gamble, and they might bring their wife who doesn't like to gamble and she can spend the day shopping. The scenario I'm trying to portray to you is that this happens, but the wife spends the day shopping at Hudson's, and at night the gambler says: "Let's go out for dinner. We're going to go to Greektown." This is a reality. It's a reality of the proximity that we have to that situation. What is the guarantee that all of that is going to stay here and what is the community doing to ensure that happens?

Ms Stanciu: Nothing in my life has ever been guaranteed. I guess what I would think about is that in the evening, when they met with their friends, I would love to hear something like this happen, the wife of the friend saying: "Gee, it's too bad you didn't come with me. I went to lunch at the Hilton," or the Compri. "Windsor fashion business has organized the fashion show there. They're free; they're with lunch; they provide transportation to their places of business. You would've really enjoyed it. They have different things, pro-Canadian things, designers who are strictly Canadian. I've done some fabulous shopping."

If she were here day two, she'd probably come. We need to do that kind of promotion we're talking about. It will happen. We'll keep her here. If we don't get her the first day, we'll get her the second day or the next time she comes back. If they go to Greektown, let's hope they served a better dinner at the steakhouse, again with the same philosophy that if we don't get you today, we'll get you tomorrow. Our service and the quality of products we provide will be such that people will see that for themselves. Those are educated consumers out there.

The Chair: Thank you very much for making your presentation before the committee today.

Ms Stanciu: You're welcome. Thank you for listening.


The Chair: Our next presenter is Jonathan Deneau representing the Windsor Convention Bureau. If you would please come forward. Obviously there is someone else assisting you with your presentation.

Mr Jonathan Deneau: Yes, actually I have with me Mr Sergio Grando, who is the general manager of the Cleary International Centre. We're sharing our presentation, and collectively we will take about 15 minutes and then be able to answer any questions. I'll let Mr Grando proceed first.

The Chair: Very good.

Mr Sergio Grando: Thank you, Jonathan. That may not be the case. Since I have the mike, I may take the whole 15. But I do appreciate your allowing me this opportunity.

The Chair: However, you have 30 minutes altogether.

Mr Grando: Yes, we understand that. I was joking.

Good afternoon, members of the standing committee on finance and economic affairs. My name is Sergio Grando and I'm the general manager of the Cleary International Centre. First of all, I'd like to welcome you all to Windsor and thank you for the opportunity to speak to Bill 8, the Ontario Casino Corporation Act, 1993.

My interest in this issue is both professional and as a resident of this fine community. As a general manager of the Cleary International Centre, which is a convention centre and a performing arts facility, I'm looking forward with great anticipation to Windsor becoming the pilot project for casino gaming in the province of Ontario.

What does this mean to the Cleary? In terms of the convention and meeting business, casino gaming will significantly improve our opportunity to increase business, thereby creating a positive ripple effect throughout the community. This potential new business will protect the provincial government's original investment in this facility, which was about $5.8 million. It'll also protect the city of Windsor's investment. They contributed $24 million. This increased activity will also reduce our annual operating deficit, which again helps the city of Windsor and by extension helps the provincial government's social contract, believe it or not.

Another positive benefit relates to the opportunity of expanded programming in the Chrysler Theatre, which is, as I mentioned, a 1,200-seat performing arts centre. By capitalizing on the anticipated large influx of visitors to the city, the Chrysler Theatre will afford the opportunity to showcase the very best talent from a wide variety of entertainment categories. These performances will be geared to both delight and stimulate our audience.

This is not to say that our community will be dependent on gaming for our cultural enrichment. However, by attracting new and larger audiences, our programming can become broader and more frequent, while providing a higher level of entertainment value.

All this increased activity fits perfectly with one of the main reasons why casino gambling is coming to the city of Windsor, and that is to revitalize the city's downtown. As this committee can appreciate, the Cleary is very dependent on a vibrant city centre.

The provincial government made a very wise decision by introducing Bill 8. Casino gaming is fast becoming an increasingly accepted form of entertainment in North America, as it has been for decades and perhaps centuries in Europe, the Far East and other parts of the world. For the province to sit back and do nothing as countless Americans and Canadian jurisdictions vie for gaming licences would be sheer madness. Why be a spectator when we have the chance to be an active participant, to participate at the threshold of establishing a brand-new, viable industry which continues to exhibit unparalleled growth potential?

A good example of this growth potential is the Foxwoods Casino in Leylard, Connecticut. I'm sure some of you may be familiar with that operation. This facility is located in a catchment area or basin, if you will, similar to Windsor. It's experiencing phenomenal growth. The casino posted gross revenues for the month of June alone of $41 million; $20.4 million of that was profit. On an average for the month of June, that's larger than most casinos in Las Vegas. They estimate that by year-end they'll generate revenues of $500 million.

Having such an opportunity as this is truly exciting and this type of business is desperately needed if we are to fuel economic diversification.


We've all heard the question, "Why Windsor?" The counterquestion to that is of course, "Why not Windsor?" Windsor's perhaps one of the few, if not the only community in the province that makes sense as a gaming centre. The logic that bears this out, actually, can be reflected in a recent casino article that appeared in the Windsor Star which quoted a member of the provincial government. Here's how the quote goes, that "a casino will basically pick the pockets of local people."

The article also states that we should be building an upscale casino to attract the Japanese, Germans and wealthy Americans. This is a very fair and reasonable argument to make. In fact, this statement encapsulates precisely why Windsor by far is the best of all choices. After all, Windsor has access to the largest urban population of any Canadian city. Neither Toronto, Montreal nor Vancouver can lay claim to such a large resident market.

We have 4.5 million people within the Windsor-Metro Detroit area and over 6 million people within one hour's drive, and that includes a half a million people 30 minutes down the road in another state, Toledo, Ohio. Oakland county, which is just north of Detroit, with its 1.2 million residents, is reported to be the second-richest county in all of the United States. As you can attest, we are on the doorstep of an international market. The pockets of our local people will not be picked but hopefully will be filled through gainful employment. With this market potential, we may not even need the Germans or the Japanese.

It is anticipated that 80% to 90% of casino patrons will be foreign visitors bringing new dollars into our community, and that's very critical, the term "new dollars," as we can appreciate. In a city like Toronto or Ottawa, and I'm not picking on those two cities, but just as an example, you would indeed be picking the pockets of local people as well as merely recycling existing dollars. In fact, some people have stated that in the larger centres there would be no gaming space because all the space would indeed be occupied by locals and the visitor market would be virtually excluded. In Windsor, with such a large American market, you indeed have a bona fide source of foreign exchange.

Casino gaming will undoubtedly create a new and exciting industry for the province and the city of Windsor. This industry will provide a major boost to the tourism sector, which provincially has experienced little or negative growth over the past several years. Locally, it will rejuvenate our hospitality and retail industries, particularly in the aftermath of cross-border shopping and a lingering recession.

I mentioned earlier that it would be economically ludicrous for the province to stand on the sidelines while other jurisdictions enact casino gaming legislation. Let me share with you but a few recent industry headlines:

"Hilton Hotels to Build New Orleans Riverboats;" "Kentucky May Take Position on Casino Gambling;" "Gambling Operations Move Closer for Rhode Island;" "Oklahoma Proposes to Establish Sports and Gaming Commission;" "Indiana Towns Hope for Casinos;" "Ballys joins Philadelphia Riverboat Speculation;" "Gaming Proposed to Fund Boston Stadium Complex;" "Missouri Casino Law Upheld;" "Harrahs Eyes Kentucky Derby Home for Casino Location." These are only about a quarter of the headlines that I extracted just from July 19 to August 9 of this year.

Clearly, if the province doesn't react, we will simply be surrounded by American and Canadian gambling jurisdictions. Such a lost opportunity is something that this province and city cannot afford to let happen.

It's understandable, even democratic, to have and allow for opposition on such a profound matter as casino gambling. However, I find it somewhat puzzling, interesting, if not ironic, that the Ontario Jockey Club has been one of the most vocal organizations opposing casino gambling, yet it has entered into a joint venture with ITT Sheraton Hotels to explore gaming opportunities in Ontario. I also understand they are one of the nine bidders for the permanent Windsor casino. I make reference to this only to reinforce my earlier point: There appears to be a wild feeding frenzy with respect to casinos. Everyone, including those vehemently opposed to gambling, is jockeying for a seat in the casino. I thought it was important to make that point.

In the matter of Bill 8 itself, I would concur with the suggestions and recommendations as presented by Mayor Hurst earlier today, which include issues like local representation on the Gaming Control Commission, the current age restrictions, and other language adjustments that, sincerely, this committee hopefully will take into consideration.

In conclusion, on behalf of the Cleary, I would like to thank the provincial government for selecting Windsor as the casino pilot project and, in particular, downtown Windsor as the interim and permanent site of the casino. Finally, I sincerely hope the government makes a sound business and economic decision by allowing Bill 8 to receive royal assent. Thank you for your indulgence, and perhaps I can answer questions after Jonathan makes his presentation, if that's okay.

Mr Deneau: I'm the general manager of the convention and visitors bureau and today I speak to you on behalf of our board of directors, which represents the views of the entire tourism industry, which includes Windsor, Essex county and Pelee Island. Our board is comprised of representatives from the hotel, festival, attractions and event sectors of the tourism industry and additional private and public sector organizations.

I must categorically state that we are in favour of the introduction of casino gaming within the province of Ontario and in favour of Windsor being selected as the site for the first pilot facility. In my address to you this afternoon I will outline for you why Windsor is an excellent location for a casino facility and why casino gaming in the province of Ontario makes good sense from a tourism perspective. I will not address the bill itself, only to say that we support the recommendations and comments made to you and provided to you this morning by Mayor Hurst.

First let me deal with, "Why Windsor?" Clearly, from a market standpoint and demographic standpoint, for anybody who does their thorough research, Windsor makes complete sense. We are a gateway city to the province from the United States. The bordering states of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois alone represent a vast potential market with a combined population of approximately 37 million. Certainly, my figures may differ 1 or 2 million from an estimation standpoint from earlier presentations, but it's safe to say that it is a vast market of many millions of people.

One only needs to walk out the front of this facility and look north to see the phenomenal market that Mr Grando referred to earlier, that being Detroit, sitting only five minutes away, even less than that through the Windsor-Detroit tunnel and the Ambassador Bridge.

In Detroit we have Detroit Metro Airport, which is only 25 minutes from downtown and boasts 14 scheduled international outbound non-stop flights daily and over 100 non-stop domestic flights daily. Detroit Metro Airport is the United States' 12th- largest airport in terms of volume. It ranks 18th in the world and 14th in North America for landings and takeoffs. I bring that point to you just to show you the access that we have to the rest of the world and certainly to the rest of the United States, and I haven't included in those figures Detroit City Airport or Windsor Airport, which certainly would bring those numbers up substantially.

Comments have been made with respect to the tourism-related amenities and facilities located within our region. Our ability to provide tourists who are visiting or patrons visiting the casino with other things to do has been questioned, and I will let the facts speak for themselves. I've provided you with a copy today of an article written in Michigan Living magazine, which is the premier travel publication in the state of Michigan and has a circulation of a million.

The facts are that our area boasts 54 hotels and motels, with over 3,100 rooms. We have 435 restaurant establishments, 92% of which are locally owned and operated and reflect the flavour and cuisine of our region. We have over 600 retail establishments. We have an abundance of viable family, cultural and environmental attractions right now at this point, including Pelee Island, Canada's most southerly inhabited point, Point Pelee National Park, Fort Malden National Historic Park, Colasanti's Cactus and Tropical Gardens, the sites that comprise a North American heritage tour, our wineries, and the list goes on. If you refer to the attractions and the events listed in the guide that I've also provided you, you'll see that there's quite a bit additionally to what I've just indicated here.

In Windsor we're not blind to the fact that we're not, and I paraphrase, as of yet a "destination of choice" for the majority of Ontario residents. We are, however, very well aware that we are a desirable destination for our neighbours in the bordering midwest states, and this, as I previously illustrated, is an extremely vast market. Again, read the article that was written by a resident of Michigan, a travel writer from Michigan, on this area, and it will give you a nice look at what their feelings are towards this area as a destination.


The statement regarding our positive image in the US market I have just made is not based on perception or speculation but on factual information. A recent study of the economic impact of tourism within our region indicated that we host in excess of three million visitors on an annual basis. Four studies completed between 1983 and 1992 consistently demonstrated that over 70% of our visitors come from the United States. The majority of these visitors originate from the state of Michigan.

In addition, 87% of all current group-tour motor coach activity to this region originates from the United States Midwest region. The primary purpose for those visits is sightseeing and touring. Again, for a destination that really isn't a destination, the perception from certainly individuals within the province of Ontario is that the number one reason for coming here is sightseeing and touring; two, visiting friends and relatives; three, shopping and dining; and four, visiting our attractions.

Collectively, visitors to the region spend in excess of $316 million on such goods and services as accommodation, food and beverage, retail, transportation etc.

I'd like to now focus on the issue of casino gaming itself. I'd like to provide the committee with a few facts about tourism in the province of Ontario.

Spending by Ontarians on tourism accounts for 10% of disposable spending on goods and services and 8% of their disposable income. Tourism is one of the province's most important industries, ranking fourth in export earnings and sixth in income-multiplier effects. It accounts for over 6% of provincial tax revenues and employs 6% of the employed persons in the province of Ontario -- more than agriculture, utilities, mining and forestry combined.

In other words, tourism is an extremely important component of the economic health and vitality of the province. However -- and this is a very, very large and ominous "however" -- since 1984, Ontario's share of the total US tourism spending has declined. It's been declining at a dramatic rate and at a rate which has caused the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation to institute one of the largest programs ever of working with the private sector and all of its partners in developing a new strategy for tourism for the province. It's a fast-track method due to the fact that tourism in the province is in such dire straits.

In 1981, Ontario captured 75% of Ontarians' spending on tourism; in 1990, this figure was 61%, and it's gone down since then. The combination of more Ontarians travelling outside Ontario and fewer Americans travelling to Ontario produced a provincial tourism deficit of $3.3 billion.

I should note that the figures that are provided and the facts that I just gave you are from a June 1993 report entitled Ontario Tourism in Perspective which was prepared by your own Ontario Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation. In other words, these are not our figures; these are the figures that are provided by the Ontario provincial government.

Clearly, one of the reasons this is happening, as outlined by this report, is the fact that we are being out-manoeuvred, we are being out-competitored by our neighbour the United States. In other words, they have been expanding their competitive tourism product and the province of Ontario hasn't.

One of the ways to reverse the trend is to provide tourism products that are desired by both US and Ontario travellers. Introducing casino gaming in the province of Ontario will not pick the pockets of Ontario residents. It is a proven, viable tourism product that we believe will attract large numbers of US visitors and generate significant new dollars into our local and provincial economies and will provide a new tourism product that will entice Ontarians to travel within the province.

I should note that over the last two years the main strategy for the Ontario ministry of tourism, the Breathers program, was designed for domestic travel. In other words, the marketing strategy for the province has been Ontarians. In here, what we're saying is it's an excellent product to keep Ontarians in Ontario travelling. I emphasize that point with this fact: 20% of Canadians who stay in the US for more than two days do so in order to gamble. These are extremely large figures.

The last point is that it will diversify and enhance our inventory of viable tourism amenities that will reduce or eliminate our unacceptable tourism deficit. I think we all agree that a $3.3-billion tourism deficit is completely unacceptable.

There are many good examples of the positive effect of casino gaming. Unfortunately, in the press we haven't heard that many. There are only a few bad examples, from which we should be learning, and we are learning.

We urge you to support Bill 8 and to support our community in its endeavour to prosper and benefit from the many features that casino gaming will bring. The city and the province really can't afford not to.

The Chair: Thank you very much. We have three minutes per caucus.

Mr Kwinter: I'm delighted that I finally have some people who represent the tourism industry. I was interested in your comments about the deficiency in tourism revenues over the last few years. In the Windsor-Essex area, what has been happening to tourism, let's say this year vis-à-vis last year? Up? Down?

Mr Deneau: Over the last 16 to 18 months we have seen a gradual increase in the level of tourism. There are many reasons for that, many reasons that we can control and some that we can't control. Certainly the exchange factor right now being at the 30% rate is helping out.

In addition, part of the reason that we have seen a gradual increase is because the city itself, the county and Pelee Island have made a commitment to making this area a more viable tourism destination, and also spending a lot more money and allocating a lot more funds to tourism development.

This city has seen tourism as a viable tool for diversifying our economy. They've gone with it and they've run with it. They have supported the convention and visitors bureau to a great extent in operating funds. They've also made the $24 million -- I believe the figure was used previously -- to expand the Cleary International Centre that we're in right now. That alone has seen, last year, a 24% increase in convention trade in 1992, and so far the city is up marginally in 1993.

We are marginally better. We're not anywhere near where we should be. Our hotel occupancies are at 48% or 50%. That's totally unacceptable, from our standpoint. We're working on getting it higher. We're looking at this as a real opportunity to take what we're planning and take what we're doing and make it even better.

Mr Kwinter: Given the attractions in the Windsor-Essex area, how do you account for the fact that you only have 48% occupancy rates?

Mr Deneau: A lot of it has to do with the level of supply of the hotel rooms. Certainly, since 1984 we've seen more than a doubling in the number of hotel rooms in this area. Another thing that's happened is that the level of corporate travel, which is very important to the hotels, has declined dramatically since the mid-1980s. The corporate travel isn't there, and that's one of the reasons you're seeing the problems with the airline industry, particularly the commuter aircraft, and why its numbers are actually down. Corporate travel just isn't happening any more.

We're also across from Detroit. Where you used to have the choice of staying in downtown Windsor or downtown Detroit if you were a corporate traveller, now you have the choice of hundreds of hotels in the outskirts of Detroit, and actually very nice hotels that service their clients quite nicely.

So we've increased our supply -- there's been a phenomenal increase in supply lately, over the last four or five years, in this entire region -- and it's also that the level of corporate travel has declined significantly.

Mr Kwinter: The reason for my questioning is that I have a concern and I've been expressing it all day long; that is, there may be a blip in Windsor if you're the first guy out of the blocks with your casino. If there's another casino that opens up in Michigan, particularly across the river, then it's a wash between the two and then you're back exactly where you were. You may have a marginally increased effort because you've generated more facilities and things, but the point I'm making is that all of the market is there now, all of the benefits that are in the Windsor area are here now; the only thing you're going to add is a casino.

Now, if you add that casino and you're the only game in town and the only game in the region, I agree: I think it's going to be fabulous and I think in the short term you may see some activity. I think you gave a list of all of the casinos that are proliferating all over the place, so my concern is what happens when it gets to the point there's nothing unique about a casino being somewhere, that everybody's got a casino. Then you're back to exactly where you were: What have we got to offer that someone else hasn't got to offer? Just because you say "Well, my casino is better than your casino," that may or may not be so. That is my concern.


Mr Deneau: One of the things we're trying to address here and bring forth is that, first of all, the reports have been very clear that in this area there is demand. I can't question those reports, because I'm not an expert in the casino industry. However, the experts in the casino industry who have done the studying and have made the recommendations have indicated that there is more than enough demand in this area for one casino of 75,000 square feet located in this city. In fact, it has been stated that a casino located in Detroit would actually be complementary and, as opposed to reducing our impact to a marginal impact, would actually increase overall the impact both on the city of Detroit and on the city of Windsor.

Part of my presentation to you today -- the feeling is that there is nothing else here but a casino when it opens up, but we're here to say that we're a viable tourism industry. We have some very, very good amenities and facilities that, coupled with the casino, will make us a very, very strong destination. Somebody can open up a casino in Highland Park, but I would have a lot of difficulty in accepting the answer that a Highland Park casino will compete in any way, shape or form with the casino in Windsor, based on our additional amenities and the view that we have, the positive position that we sit in as far as a desired tourism destination within a five-hour drive from this area.

Mr Grando: If I may add to that, just to put it in perspective, in Las Vegas, Nevada, which is, as you know, the mecca for casino gaming, they've experienced phenomenal growth in the last five or six years, and it's within the last five or six years that you're seeing all these other jurisdictions get into the industry. There's just a tremendous pent-up demand for that form of entertainment. Like it or not, that is the reality of it.

Mr Carr: In terms of dollar figures, how many millions do you think having a casino is going to mean to your community?

Mr Deneau: We'd have to refer to some of the reports that have been provided. I could say that if we doubled the tourism trade, which is currently at three million, those three million will spend approximately $316 million in the region. So if you were to double that, I think we're looking at an incremental expenditure of -- using basic figures, if we were to double it, we'd double it to an additional $316 million.

Mr Carr: You think that's what will happen with the tourism and convention business, that it will double as a result of the casino?

Mr Deneau: Our projections are that our consumer market and our group tour markets are going to go up dramatically, and in addition the convention market -- the only thing that may hold us back is that we don't have enough hotel rooms or enough space. Part of it is also how we take the casino itself as an opportunity and run with it. Time does not allow, but we have the chairperson of the convention bureau who will be speaking to you in two days, I believe, who will outline to you the massive planning and work that's going on within the industry to make sure that we are prepared for the casino and to maximize the benefit, not only for the casino itself but for the central business district and also the entire region of Essex county and Pelee Island, which is part of our mandate.

Mr Carr: You mentioned that the Cleary centre has had an increase of, I think, 24%. I guess it's similar to the hotels. What's your occupancy rate? How much of the time are you engaged with --

Mr Grando: To put it in perspective so you'll have a clear understanding, last year was our first full year of operation since we went through a $33.5-million renovation and expansion program. To put it in the context of occupancy after only year one is not very fair in the sense that we have nothing to compare it to other than previous years, and previous years were dismal.

Mr Carr: In the year, 365 days, how much was occupied? Seventy-five per cent of the time you had something going on?

Mr Grando: No, we're not fortunate to be at that -- I mean, there is a lot of room for growth. We're probably in about the 40% mark.

Mr Carr: With regard to conventions, which I think would be a big business, I know in Toronto the problem is that they're being beaten out because of cost. Toronto is a high-cost city versus some of the others. They just can't attract them, because when they come here and see the price of liquor and dinners, they never come back, unfortunately, for a lot of reasons.

But with regard to what we can do in terms of bringing conventions here, how much of an increase do you think we're going to see in that market, where people will say, "We have to have a convention, but we'd like to go to a place with something for the people to do, with a casino"? Specifically on conventions, how much do you think we can increase convention business coming into this area?

Mr Deneau: We're very optimistic on what we can do with the convention trade. We haven't come out with any specific projections yet on what's going to happen.

Mr Carr: Can we double it?

Mr Deneau: It's going to go up dramatically.

Mr Carr: Double like the tourism?

Mr Deneau: I could use that as a rough estimate, and we can't exclude the small meetings market, which is quite abundant. The Detroit area -- as you're aware, the automotive capital of North America, potentially of the world, and all the feeder industries -- has an abundance of corporate meetings that are going on at any point in time. You only need to look at the hotel inventory, particularly in the suburbs, and see the level of activity.

What we're feeling is that we're going to get quite a lot -- I'm not wording it very properly -- we're going to get our fair share and a substantial level of small-meeting business. The people who typically would meet in Southfield will come over and say: "They've got the casino in Windsor. Let's go over there. Let's have the meeting for the day, and then we're going to go and enjoy the casino."

That is certainly what has happened, particularly with the river boats in Illinois, that the corporate meeting business of those cities has gone up dramatically.

Mr Grando: If I could add to that, it would be a door opener, big time, for us. Right now, realistically, Windsor's not a mecca destination for convention centres; we're aware of that. We've only been marketing it in any meaningful way the last four or five years since we knew that this facility was going to be built. That's when we really started to push forward with our plans back in 1988. It does take time and a while to get everybody acclimatized that we exist. Having an entertainment forum like a casino or gambling in this area will perk people's attention. There's no question about it, and the fallout from that I think will be dramatic.

Mr Duignan: I had the pleasure of listening to most if not all of the people making presentations here today, and while some people have expressed some concerns about some aspects of Bill 8, whether it's in relation to the crime aspect or exact number of people who are going to visit this city over a period of time, I have been struck by the optimism and the enthusiastic support of people wanting to get on with doing something. Here's an opportunity to do something.

I know my friends in the opposition here have expressed that they're not opposed to casinos. Well, let's get on with it. Let them come out today and say, "Yes, we support bill 8. Let's look at the structure; maybe we can do something with that. We support casinos. Let's support Bill 8. Let's support the people of Windsor and get on with building the commercialism back into the centre of this town again."

I just want to ask, following up on some of the questions, for the record, what size conventions does this convention centre hold, roughly?

Mr Grando: The market we're going after is somewhere in the 500- to 750-delegate range, which is just below the midrange of your norm in terms of market segmentation.

Mr Duignan: How large a market is that in the United States? What's the dollar value?

Mr Grando: That's the growth market; small to midrange conventions is the growth market. That means a convention that has 10,000 delegates is not going to get 20,000 delegates. It's going to be 10 or thereabouts. It's the small to midrange that is the growth market.

Mr Duignan: How big is that market in the United States, in dollar terms? Do you have any idea?

Mr Grando: In the United States? You hear and read about figures that range anywhere from $80 billion to $280 billion and everything in between. To put a handle on it, I don't think they've ever really done it in any scientific way other than to guesstimate.

Mr Duignan: Even a small fraction of that business would be an enormous boon to this community. I think you have the ability and certainly the city of Windsor has the attractions to get that business. Are you formulating any plans right now to go after that particular business in the United States?

Mr Grando: Actually, we've been going after that market for some time. We have a convention sales representative out of the convention and visitors bureau that strictly promotes convention business to the city of Windsor in the Chicago and Washington, DC, association markets. We're dedicating a lot of funds and a lot of effort in that area. This person began this process I believe in January or February of this year, and we're already starting to see some future bookings as a result. We've been doing that for some time.

The Chair: Thank you very much for making a presentation. Mr Lessard, I've been very generous -- we've gone over -- but if you could be very quick.

Mr Lessard: One brief comment. Being a long-time resident of the city of Windsor, I've always gotten this perception that the difficulties we have attracting tourists is that nobody's aware of where we are and what we have to offer. All we need, really, is an opportunity to get them here in the city and see the place and experience it, and they'll tell their friends and want to come back.

As to the argument about what about a casino in Highland Park, I would think that if the committee members took a trip to Highland Park, they would get the idea that it doesn't have that same attraction that Windsor has. Those are my comments. Is that short?

The Chair: Thank you, gentlemen, for your presentation today. That ends the hearings part of our committee today.

This committee is adjourned until tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock.

The committee adjourned at 1710.