Wednesday 18 August 1993

Ontario Casino Corporation Act, 1993, Bill 8

Windsor and District Labour Council

Nick LaPosta, financial secretary-treasurer

Joseph Comartin, manager, CAW legal services, Windsor

Windsor Downtown Business Association

Kurt C. Deeg, chairperson

Windsor and District Chamber of Commerce

L.J. Bannon, chairman of the board

Mark L. Jacques, president and general manager

Frank Funaro Men's Wear

Fran Funaro, owner

Windsor-Essex County Business Improvement Association

Bob Williams, chairman and executive director

Citizens Opposed to Casino Gambling

Rev Dr Donald Bardwell, co-chair

Rev Douglas Sly, member

Dwight Duncan

Unemployed Help Centre

Pamela Pons, director

Windsor Construction Association; Heavy Construction Association of Windsor

William McIntosh, spokesperson

Essex County Council

Tom Bain, warden

Alan Berger

Ontario Public Service Employees Union

Fred Upshaw, president

Bert Hart, organizing representative

Chatham Coach Lines

Gordon Fry, operations 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:

Mundy, Jim, member, Ontario casino project, Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations

Clerk / Greffière: Grannum, Tonia

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

The committee met at 0859 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 R. Johnson): I'm bringing the standing committee on finance and economic affairs to order. Welcome, everyone, to the third day of hearings in Windsor.


The Chair: Our first presenter is the Windsor and District Labour Council, Nick LaPosta, if you would please introduce yourself.

Mr Nick LaPosta: Seated next to me is the manager of the CAW legal services plan here in the city of Windsor, Mr Joe Comartin.

The Chair: Welcome to the committee, and if you would like to start your presentation, you have 30 minutes which you may use entirely to make your presentation or save a portion thereof for questions.

Mr LaPosta: First of all, I'd like to say that you've handled the last name very well. It is LaPosta instead of LaPasta as a lot of people refer to me. So I'm impressed right off the bat.

I'd like to say to everybody here today that I am the financial secretary-treasurer of the Windsor and District Labour Council, the house of labour here within the city of Windsor, as well as the financial secretary for CAW Local 195 in the city. Seated next to me, as announced earlier, is the manager of the CAW legal services department here in the city, Mr Joe Comartin. Mr Comartin will be giving the presentation to the committee here this morning because our president, Gary Parent, as well as Larry Bauer, president of CAW Local 444, who are actually a part of the Windsor casino project team on behalf of labour, are currently in Toronto negotiating with the Big Three contract talks that are under way. In his absence, we're pinch-hitting, so to speak.

First, I'd like to give a brief history to the committee and say thank you to each and every one of you for this opportunity for us to make this presentation. The Windsor and District Labour Council was approached early in this game when the casino talks first hit the airwaves and when it was first mentioned that a casino project team for the city of Windsor should be put together.

Obviously, labour responded, by putting together the team of Mr Gary Parent, Mr Larry Bauer and Mr Joe Comartin to represent labour at these hearings. I must say we've met with almost every aspect of the casino project from the so-called people who are interested in actually running the casino to government agencies to religious concerns within our city, the Downtown Business Association, city council, the mayor, and countless groups that are interested in seeing Windsor excel rather than revert as a result of the economy and the situation we're in.

We've been at this since the beginning. It's been a long, tiresome road. We'd like to see it really go a little bit faster, and we thank the government for moving as fast as it possibly can. We understand that once we get through these hearings we can actually get to the meat of the situation.

I'd also like to go on record as saying that the Windsor and District Labour Council is totally behind the casino, the casino project team and the Downtown Business Association in welcoming the casino here to the city of Windsor. We think it's the step in the right direction to help us get back on track.

Having said that, I'll turn the microphone over to Mr Joe Comartin, who will make our presentation in total.

Mr Joe Comartin: Thanks, Nick, and thank you, members of the committee, for allowing us this opportunity. We felt it was important. When I say "we" I should say I'm speaking on behalf of the labour movement and in many respects in Gary Parent's name at this point. It is unfortunate he couldn't be here because as with myself and Larry Bauer, we have been intimately involved from the beginning. I have cleared these statements with Gary so that I'm not speaking out of turn, although I am a little uncomfortable speaking on his behalf on something as important as this.

I want to start by saying there were two major reasons why the labour movement in this community got involved in the casino project. The first one, which I don't think will come as any surprise to any members of the committee, was the need for job creation in this community. The second one, and closely tied to it, was our view of the developments or lack of same in the downtown area. We had a downtown core that was seriously impacted, and I think I'm repeating some things you may have already heard, by a number of issues, not the least of which was the cross-border shopping and the recession we're going through. What we saw was a core that we had made attempts over the last 20 years to keep vital and we're in effect seeing it deteriorate. For those two reasons we were anxious to get involved, we were pleased to be invited to be involved, and I think it's fair to say, without being egotistical, that we played a significant role in getting the casino here.

I want to go back, then, to the issue of job creation, because if I go away today with nothing more than having convinced you about the need for speed, then we'll have accomplished why we came here. Windsor is currently faced with a Statistics Canada unemployment rate of about 14%. We're hovering at about that and we have been for quite some time. The real rate is at least several points above that and it may be into the low 20s. It's chronic because of the restructuring that's going on in the auto industry and, I guess up to this point, our inability to diversity into other types of economic activity.

We see the casino as a major step in making that diversification occur. Our initial thrust was to say to people: "There are going to be some problems with this. We believe those problems are not insurmountable and the positive side is overwhelming." We believed that when we made those statements, when we first got involved. That's only been confirmed as we've worked our way through this process.

I think it's important to try and personalize the impact, and you're going to hear some more of that today, of employment. We have a large number of people and agencies in this city who are working with food banks. I mean, it's that desperate, and we just can't seem to break out of it. So when we come with our support for the casino, it comes from that very simple base. We have a lot of people whom we know personally, intimately, who are not employed, who have few prospects for employment.

We believe it's important that the casino impact on this community be understood, and we believe we do understand what it's going to do to our community. We do not believe, however, that there is any need for further study. We think it's time to go ahead. We want the interim casino open by the end of this year. We want the permanent one built and operating as quickly as possible.

We are not being naïve; let me assure you of that. We understand some of the problems. We understand the need for security, for monitoring and for ongoing study, but there is no more need that we can see for study at this point that would delay implementation. The jobs are badly needed in this community and we're in effect asking this committee to realize that, and although you may have, individually, some reservations, put them aside, make the job creation the top of your priority list.

With regard to the second point as to why we got involved, I've already made some comments about what we saw happening, and I'm assuming that you've heard some of the figures about the number of stores that are closed downtown and the problems that the local restaurants, hotels and merchants are having in the downtown area.

What we saw was that if we get the major influx of tourists that is expected, and I don't think there's any particular doubt that this is going to occur in the 10,000- to 12,000-a-day range, on average, if that happens, there was a need to develop a two-part strategy. As we saw it, it was the initial one of being sure that the local businesses benefited immediately. We've opposed from the beginning the concept of the black hole, the self-contained unit that would have a large casino, hotels and restaurants and shops all contained within it.

For those of you who know this area, I always think, when I think of that concept, of the Renaissance Center just across the river. They literally built a wall around that, and to some extent, if you did a self-contained unit here, that's what you would be doing in Windsor. Because we advocated that position strongly as we went, we were pleased that ultimately we convinced the province that this was the appropriate way of doing it.


I think the other thing that we convinced the provincial government of as we went, even though I will give it credit that it accepted this from the beginning, was that there was a balancing that had to go on here between maximizing the amount of profit that the casino could make for provincial coffers and the need for economic development, that those two were not always in tandem, that there were times they would be in conflict.

What we were saying to the province and continue to say to the province is that if the decision has to be made to take a little bit less profit so that the local community develops, and particularly the downtown community develops, then do that. I suppose the bottom line is that what we're saying to the province and to this committee is that there is always a fear within our group of the province being too greedy. We're asking you to be considerate of that throughout the process, and I don't mean that as we lead into developing it but as we go on an ongoing basis, not only for this casino but for others that are coming elsewhere.

The other point I want to make with regard to the short-term and long-term strategy is the need to build, especially in the longer term, a strategy that would allow us to work beyond the downtown. The short-term was: Get the restaurants, hotels and merchants here strengthened; get the shops that are closed now and vacant open and operating; and as we're doing that, begin to work out and implement a strategy that will allow some of the other tourist attractions we have in the city and the county to feed off the casino so that we have the maximum amount of job creation and economic development.

I think, I suppose, of part of the pressure we brought to bear on making sure that the Windsor Raceway was viewed as a vital element in getting the casino operating here and then being able to feed off it. We all recognized, even before we began discussing the casino concept, that the raceway was having serious difficulty in functioning. We think they can make some major headway in revitalizing their industry, expanding it even, if the casino people set up the proper relationship between those groups.

But it moves beyond that. I'm optimistic. I personally, and I suppose I'm speaking beyond what Gary would say at this point, have always been interested in trying to develop further theatre in this community. We tend to rely a lot, because of the size of the city we have across the border, on moving elsewhere for our entertainment. The casino can be a catalyst for developing that industry. That's a major job creation if one studies the effect that small theatre and small professional theatre can have on a community, so we're hoping that can.

We have other tourist attractions. We have a major wine industry in this county that can benefit in the long term by the tourist industry being expanded in this county. Those examples go on. We have Point Pelee National Park that can be a tourist attraction.

The bottom line for us was that we can revitalize the downtown, can revitalize in many respects the tourist industry in this county to a significant degree. We can be a centre for tourists, recognizing that we probably will never acquire the status of Niagara Falls or maybe even Ottawa, but we can attract those two- and three- and four-day tourist visits and in the process achieve what we started out to do, which was to create jobs and revitalize the downtown.

I just want to say a few things about process. I'm doing this really specifically at Gary Parent's request. We feel that we learned some things as we developed the project here in Windsor. We believe that process is one that generally, with some flexibility, can be passed on to other communities. I don't think it's unfair or inaccurate to say that had we not built a coalition, a partnership, within this community, we would not have got the first casino.

When we started, and again I may be repeating some of the things you've heard but I want to say it, we had representatives at high levels within the business community, city council, the labour movement and community groups, including educational institutions. I think that model is one that would have to be used, with some variations depending on the demographics of the local community, in each one of the communities.

If you attempt to implement a casino -- maybe "impose" is a better word -- in another community without that process, there is going to be, I think, inevitably a very strong reaction. We never had it because I think we proceeded in a cautious way -- I was going to say "in a conservative way" but that's probably the wrong terminology to use in this committee -- to make sure that the community was with us, that it understood the positives and the negatives, what the positives were going to do for this community and how we were going to deal with the negatives.

On Gary's behalf, I want to say that if that's not done elsewhere, I would anticipate the community not reacting in an appropriate fashion. If the master plan or a master concept is not first developed before implementation, I think inevitably the downsides become more prominent.

Let me talk about the negatives, because as we saw it, and I suppose still do, there were three of them, one that surfaced fairly recently and is probably just a local one. The initial one that we saw was the security issue, both in terms of organized crime and street crime. I know you heard from our chief yesterday and I think it's important that the labour movement indicate where it is on that issue.

I think I can summarize it in this fashion: We've looked at both of the reports on the issue of how many additional police officers should be funded by the casino project, and I suppose at this point what we have to indicate is that although there are some reservations we have with regard to the police services board presentation and report from Windsor, we generally agree with it. We think the number of police officers that are being sought there are somewhat high. We feel the best way of dealing with this is to start the process. We have the 12 officers in place, they're coming into place at this point. As we go through the process with the interim casino, which of the two analyses is accurate should show quite early. By the time the permanent casino is ready to open, we should know and our position will be that at that time there will probably be a requirement for additional funding of the police forces in this community.

I don't want to be overly critical because, in many respects, we have to do the test. It's good that we've recognized the problem. It's good that we are beginning to put into place a response to those problems so they can be dealt with before they get out of control, but the only way we're going to know for sure is to proceed. So again, hankering back to some of the comments I made at the beginning, it's important to get the thing operating, to get the interim casino operating, because that's the only way we're going to answer that issue.

I feel confident that the structure that's being put in place, with regard to what we call the bifurcation process, of having controls built in at the provincial level, both on the operation of the casino and the security around the casino -- from looking at the other jurisdictions, and I have done a fair amount of research on that across North America, it seems to me we have a model that is appropriate for our history of crime and should more than adequately deal with any potential for organized crime infiltrating.

The issue of street crime: As I say, the only way we're going to know that is by starting into the process and running the test. I have every confidence in our local force that they will continue to advocate for what they need, and I'm optimistic the province will respond once it is established that in fact additional forces are required.


We are less sympathetic to the province's position with regard to the issue of dealing with compulsive gambling. I think it's fair to say that Gary Parent was the first individual I heard speak publicly about the need for the casino to fund education, prevention and treatment for compulsive gambling. I want to assure you we're not naïve. We have a lot of bingos in this community. We have a racetrack in this community. Our members buy lottery tickets. We understand that people in a small minority of cases have problems in dealing with that.

The labour movement in this community has dealt with compulsive activity in the form of alcoholism and drug addiction. They're quite capable of understanding that concept and in fact do. They similarly understand the concept of compulsive gambling and that it can be dealt with. They're supportive of that. In fact, they're insistent upon it.

One of the things we think is going to happen, and I'm sure you've heard this argument, is that because so much of compulsive gambling is hidden at this point, the opening up of the market will bring some of that to the fore and more people will get treatment who absolutely need it. We believe that strongly, but we also believe strongly that at this stage we need the casino project team and the minister to put into place funding, services, deal with it and go public with it.

I know that the minister, when she appeared here on Monday, indicated she was about ready to go to cabinet with that. We applaud that. We encourage her to speed the process up in that regard. The interim casino should not open without a commitment to funding.

I was happy to see in the Coopers and Lybrand report some support for what has been always my belief. I think I'm fairly intimately knowledgeable with the psychological, psychiatric and generally the social services that are available in this community, and I was happy to see that Coopers and Lybrand made the same response that I felt was appropriate.

We have the professional people here to deal with this. They need some upgrading in some cases and they certainly need funding, but we can deal with it in this community. Just make the commitment. That's what I'm saying to the province. Make the commitment and the people who can deal with these problems will be in a position to do it.

If I can speak directly to the minister, I encourage her to get to cabinet as quickly as possible and get that commitment made and have it made publicly.

The final point, and I have to indicate this is probably a local one and it has surfaced really only in the last few weeks, is that I don't know how many of you are aware that the city and county are going through a process of trying to reconfigure our health services. In the interim report that is out now from the steering committee, there are recommendations with regard to various scenarios of closing of hospitals in this community.

One of those scenarios includes closing both hospitals that are in the core area, namely, Grace hospital and Hotel Dieu. There is a letter that either has gone or is going shortly from the steering committee to the minister asking for information and input with regard to the impact of that many more people coming into our downtown core if we don't have an emergency room, and that's at least a possibility. So we are raising that publicly now for the first time, and we are saying that is one area.

I want to go back. This is not something that's going to require a great deal of work. We believe from looking at other communities that have casinos that we can get information fairly quickly on whether that is something that should be considered in the ultimate decision of how we're going to close the hospitals or which ones we may be closing.

There may be other ways of dealing with emergency services, I should add, but that's one that is a local problem that has to be looked at in the next couple of months.

Those are all the points I want to make. Let me conclude by saying that we are supportive of the legislation. I suppose I have to say that as a lawyer, I would like to see the regulations, and I know those will ultimately be coming. There are some comments I may have at that point, just wearing my lawyer's hat, but at this point we feel the legislative structure that's being proposed to be put into place is appropriate. It's as good as I can see elsewhere in North America. We've learned from the experience in the other major jurisdictions.

I should indicate that I personally have spent some time with the casino project team on this issue, making representations in some detail. I think that as we see the regulations come out -- at least I'm hopeful because of the attitude they've expressed to me over the last number of months -- we will see a regulatory function here that's as good as anything in North America and an appropriate one to deal with the problems.

Making that assumption, we therefore want to indicate to this committee that we are supportive of the legislation. We want to emphasize the need for speed. We do not see any justification -- again, we're not naïve -- for any further delay. Hopefully, this legislation will get passed in the fall and we will go ahead with the opening of the interim casino at the end of the month and the permanent one shortly thereafter.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Comartin. We have less than four minutes and we're going to start with Mr McClelland.

Mr Carman McClelland (Brampton North): Mr Comartin and Mr LaPosta, thank you for being here this morning, gentlemen. We appreciate your presentation. Joe, particularly. I'm not sure the time affords us much time for response, but just by way of comment, I'm not suggesting for one moment that you would be suggesting that the committee hearings be delayed, but you indicated that you had some reservations and that we should perhaps just put them aside.

Let me, if I can, tie that in with another comment you made, Joe, and that was that you made reference to not only this casino but others that are coming -- in all probability will be coming -- elsewhere in the province should the agenda of the current government be fulfilled over the course of time. I can share the sentiment, if you will, and certainly sense as we're visiting here, the importance for this community in the sense that you have to get the casino operating. But you indicated that you do have some reservations.

I can say to you that in terms of this process, we know it was driven out of a ministry that is not now handling it. It was initiated out of the Ministry of Revenue. It then went to a ministry, and then after the decision had been made, in effect, the process was put in place to begin the study and put it together. It's in that context that we are here, and we'll be travelling elsewhere, to ensure that a number of the reservations you made reference to are dealt with, whether it be in the legislation directly or some commitment -- that would be our preference, might I say -- or subsequently in regulation.

By way of example, provision for the compulsive gambling issue that you spoke of; by way of example, changing the age limit that so many people have said is appropriate; another example, if you would look to the secondary industry, the secondary economic spinoff -- we had representation from the restaurateurs yesterday.

In that context, I guess it's sort of a chicken-and-egg process, Mr Comartin, but we would say, in all sincerity, that notwithstanding the fact you may see a delay, we don't want to just put the reservations aside; we want to have the reservations responded to and answered.

You made reference to the headline you see in today's Toronto Star. You can understand that in terms of our responsibility as opposition and as legislators generally, it's not sufficient to put the reservations aside, but rather to have them responded to and dealt with. I know you understand that and I know you recognize that, but I just wanted to say that by way of comment. As we come here as the opposition, we feel there are some questions that need to be answered. We have to have some data available to fulfil our job and to do the job not only for this project, but as you so rightly say, for the rest of the province.

There is no doubt that the die in many respects will be cast with respect to what happens with the Windsor project. Much of what happens here will be pivotal for the rest of the province. Therein, if you will, lies what you may see as delay but what we see as fulfilment of a significant responsibility to ensure that it is not only done but done well and as best as it possibly can.

Thank you, sir, and I appreciate you being here and I appreciate your bringing your concerns to our attention.

Mr Comartin: May I just respond to that to this degree?

The Chair: Very quickly, sir, if you will.

Mr Comartin: Just a quick one, because I understand what you're saying, Mr McClelland, in the sense that I went through that as well. I guess I have some advantage because I've spent the last 18 months, a great deal of my time, researching this. The bottom line for me was that in some of the issues you've raised, and I won't go through them because we don't have time, there's no way of getting an answer. You're going to get all that data, you're going to get conflicting opinions on them. Because we don't know what the experience is in Windsor or in the province, we actually have to run the test.


Mr McClelland: But surely you understand that we have the responsibility to canvass those and to have as much data available as possible before a decision is made.

Mr Comartin: That was the second point I wanted to make. A lot of the things that are going on at this time in this city in these four days are a repeat. You should appreciate that. We have had a lot of hearings, if I can put it that way. I think it's really important for these committee hearings to be going on elsewhere. You're going to learn a lot, I think, in this four-day process which hopefully you're going to take with you as you go to the other communities.

Remember, I talked about that organizational process that a community has to go through. The committee hearings will help facilitate that when you go into the other cities that you're going to. People have said to me: "Why bother? We've been through all that in this community." My answer to that is, in part we're educating you so that you can take information elsewhere. So I'm not opposed to it.

Mr McClelland: That's the purpose of this. Hopefully, it's a two-way street. Thank you.

The Chair: Mr Comartin, Mr LaPosta, thank you very much for presenting before the committee.


The Chair: Our next presenter is the downtown business improvement area; Kurt Deeg is the chair. If you would please come forward, sir, and make yourself comfortable.

Mr Deeg, welcome before the committee. You have 30 minutes to make your presentation. You can use all that time for your presentation or allow some of it to be used for questions. If you'd like to proceed.

Mr Kurt C. Deeg: Good morning. Please accept my heartiest welcome to Windsor as the initial venue for these important proceedings. I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank you for allowing me, on behalf of the Downtown Business Association, to voice our opinions and thoughts regarding the casino project for Windsor.

My entire working career has been in the hospitality industry. My professional experience was gained in such markets as Switzerland, France, the United States and Canada. Since 1967, I've been operating two restaurants in the downtown core, and like so many other communities, we've seen our ups and downs, but the past five years have been the most challenging of my entire career. It has certainly been nothing short of an exercise in survival.

It is not my intention to dwell on negativity. However, I feel it is important to explain the events which have led us to today.

In the late 1980s, the extreme change in the value of the Canadian dollar versus the US dollar has led to what we now know as the cross-border shopping phenomenon, with its devastating effect on the economy of border communities.

Totally unexpected, congestion at the border crossings further complicated the situation, and since our American visitors were subjected to the inconvenience of long lineups and waiting periods at the border crossings, these visitors, who traditionally generated somewhere in the vicinity of 50% of our economic activities in downtown Windsor, were inconvenienced and changed their patterns to more convenience-oriented locations.

In our own experience, we lost approximately 70% of our US trade, which reflected in a downtrend at that time of some 35% of volume.

The onset of a very severe recession, which obviously has not ended yet, and the introduction of the GST by the federal government certainly did not add to our economic wellbeing. Therefore, when the government of Ontario, on October 6 of last year, announced that Windsor would be the site of the pilot casino in Ontario, the first glimmer of hope appeared on the horizon, and here we are.

Obviously, this announcement triggered a number of questions: Where? Why? Who? When? How? Questions of safety, security, social impact, traffic problems, law enforcement, and impact on the local retail hospitality industry and tourism sectors were only a few of the questions which needed addressing.

Under these circumstances, though, after the announcement, such a problem we should have. We welcome the challenge, and let me assure you the community is embracing these challenges. With the leadership in the hands our mayor's office and input from every possible segment of our community life, we shall make this venture a great success for everybody.

I'd be remiss in not lauding the positive partnership that has developed between the provincial government, its agents and representatives and this city of ours. It is gratifying to experience such a united and mutually beneficial effort to come into being, and I, as a member of the downtown business community, certainly appreciate this.

All this will have a tremendous and dramatic effect on the economy of Windsor and Essex county. New job creation expectations of between 6,000 and 8,000 people alone will give Windsor a great economic boost. In this vein, Employment and Immigration Canada and St Clair College are to be commended for their initiative in training and preparing skilled men and women to fill the personnel requirements of the casino and the related spinoffs.

We're certainly appreciative of the fact that the province has applied great sensitivity to the design of the casino, as it is to be a complement and not a competition to Windsor's hospitality and retail sectors. The size of the hotel, as part of the casino design, again is such that the recovery of the existing hotel infrastructure will have an opportunity to benefit prior to the opening of the new hotel facility. We do appreciate the sensitivity in designing the pattern for the project.

It is very important, though, that these terms, as outlined in the request for proposals, which have been designed to have the existing infrastructure benefit from the casino operation, are properly safeguarded. I'm referring to the relative minimal retail component, a limited restaurant component and a limited hotel component in the casino project as a whole.

Our understanding is that the specifics regarding the number of restaurant seats and retail space are defined to include the whole casino complex and not merely the casino itself. The point I'm trying to make here is that the limitations as set out in the proposal call, as we understand it, do include the whole 13 acres of the project. I've had input from some of our members that said: "Well, if the casino only has, for argument's sake, 300 seats, with 3,000 gaming places, what happens when the hotel opens? Will they then have a 1,000-seat dining room there?" So this is the point I'm trying to make, and these limitations should be safeguarded in order for the community and the infrastructure that is in place now to be able to benefit from it.

As much as we would like for the casino to have opened yesterday, we do recognize the importance of the province's and the city's attempts to be cautious, absolute and thorough in the process of bringing this project to successful fruition. I'm extremely happy to report that since the selection of downtown Windsor as a location for the interim casino, economic activities have heightened considerably. Not only inquiries but actual plans for new stores and restaurants as well as expansions of existing facilities are at this very moment in progress. As mentioned earlier that a glimmer of hope had arrived on the horizon, we at this time can see a fair amount of light at the end of the tunnel.

As Windsor's central business district, we're only too happy to continue to work closely with both provincial and municipal governments for the benefit of our entire community.

It seems that you as politicians are continuously asked to do things for others. When you do so, it is very rare that anyone ever takes the time to express thanks. I know much work has gone into this casino project, which we all know will bring Windsor the long-awaited economic recovery.

On behalf of our 800-some-odd members of the Downtown Business Association, I'd like to offer our sincerest gratitude and appreciation for the efforts which at times were well over and beyond our expectations. We are betting on Windsor. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I welcome the opportunity to respond to questions that you may have.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Deeg. We have about seven minutes per caucus. Mr Carr.

Mr Gary Carr (Oakville South): I was interested in how much, dollar-wise, economic activity you see for your group. Do you have any estimate of how much?

Mr Deeg: For the downtown business community?

Mr Carr: Yes. How many millions will be pumped in; any idea? Have you heard any figures?


Mr Deeg: I'm an optimist, but I'm a realist as well. If we can expect a 15% to 25% increase in economic activities in the area, I personally will be quite happy. Give me people on the street and it's up to me to do something with this condition. When there's nobody downtown, then outside influences obviously have an effect on my different activities.

Mr Carr: You must know the total amount. If you got a 15% increase, what would that translate into in dollar figures? You probably know what your total is now.

Mr Deeg: Again, I think there are better sources available than mine. I can only speak from my own, personal business expectations. I do not have figures that will relate to terms of economic activities. I can tell you what our job creation figures could be.

Mr Carr: What is the figure?

Mr Deeg: Job creation figures in the downtown area: It is not unrealistic to expect possibly, just in the downtown area, an increase of 2,000 to 3,000 jobs.

Mr Carr: Including ones in the casino?

Mr Deeg: That does not include the casino. These are spinoff jobs.

Mr Carr: Regarding the setup, I know people in the restaurant business obviously don't want to have competition from the casino self-contained. The district labour council is saying the same thing.

One of the problems is, I don't think anybody's looked at it from the customer's standpoint, the gamblers who are going to come across from the US. My understanding is a lot of them like to have things self-contained and don't want to go out. With not having liquor, my fear is that a lot of people will come the first time -- let's take it from the American standpoint -- come in and say, "There's no liquor, the restaurant that they do have is crowded, you can't get food, so I'm not going to come back."

I know where everyone's coming from, wanting to get the spinoff economic activity, but if they don't look at it from a marketing standpoint of what the customer wants, those people aren't going to come back. Do you have any fear that way or do you have any studies that show that the people coming in will want to go out and look around? My big fear is that there hasn't been anybody look at it from the customer's standpoint of what they like.

They may like to go out. Some people said yesterday the man may gamble and his wife can go shop. I realize that, but I just wondered, if it gets set up and with the tremendous amount of competition that is out there, in your mind is this going to be one of the best casinos to come to if it doesn't have the liquor and if it doesn't have the restaurants inside?

Mr Deeg: I think it depends on the design of the casino. Obviously we don't want an Atlantic City or a Reno or a Las Vegas type of casino. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I was in Vegas on a number of occasions. I was in Atlantic City once. I have not been to a casino since. This obviously is not what we want.

I've had an opportunity, though, within the last two months to be a member of a group that has visited the Gulfport-Biloxi area --

Mr Robert V. Callahan (Brampton South): How did you do?

Mr Deeg: "How did you do?" It was a great opportunity to see a casino that worked with the infrastructure in existence. I shouldn't say "a casino"; there are -- I don't know exactly -- either four or five, a group of casinos in about a 15-mile stretch. The infrastructure in existence all benefited greatly. I personally took the time to talk to five restaurateurs whose business increased by some 50%. I talked to a haberdasher who had a store five miles away from the actual casino. He said they're selling 25 more suits now than they sold two years ago.

I spoke to two clergy people. One was the marine- or navy-based clergy. They were greatly concerned about these casino activities and the 20,000 servicemen who are stationed in that general area. They have found that prior to, there was a tremendous amount of illegal gaming activities going on and they had much more harm on the welfare, if you want to use that word as such, of the service people than not.

At one point, I spoke to a Baptist minister and I just approached him and I said: "I'm Kurt Deeg. I'm from Windsor," and gave him the whole spiel. He said: "I don't have to tell you; I`m a Baptist." -- I just approached him as a minister -- "I'm a Baptist. I'm totally against gambling, but I'll have to tell you something: When unemployment rates drop from 14.7% to 4.3% in two years, it has had some benefits for us." Now, this is a guarded opinion, obviously.

I spoke to a man in the park who told me that two years ago there were bums lying around. I spoke to a lady who lives an hour away who is working for the casino and is a driver of a little mini-bus or something, and she said, "I've never had such a good job." I spoke to hoteliers. Their occupancy rate is averaging 80% to 90%. In the area there are 5,000 rooms.

We went to the mall and everybody said that they may not obviously have a direct benefit, but economic conditions have improved to a point that their business has improved by some 25%, and the mall is eight or nine miles away from the site of the biggest of the casinos.

I went into a little shoe store in downtown Gulfport and it was a rather -- I want to be careful what I say here -- not one of the more sophisticated shoe stores. She hadn't done anything in the last 111 years to that store. I asked, "Did you get any benefits from the casino?" and she said, "Not much." "Did you sell anything to the staff?" "Well, when it first opened, a little bit." "Did you have what they wanted?" "Not really." "Did you get what the people wanted?" "Not really." "Are you advertising in the internal paper of the casino down there, because it employs some 2,400 people?" "No."

It taught me in a real hurry that we'd better prepare ourselves for what's coming and go with that market that is to be expected if we want to benefit. If we want to sit on our butts, it's the end of it all, but we have taken great pains to find out what there is and what there was, and it was a very enlightening trip for me.

Mr George Dadamo (Windsor-Sandwich): Thank you very much, Mr Deeg. The DBA, in my opinion, couldn't have found a more caring and compassionate -- aside from Ralph Winograd, I guess, who will go to bat for a lot of people and spend a lot of time in getting people together in the downtown business area. I know you've done a lot of work to bring people to the table and talk about some of the things you should be doing and the direction you should go.

As a local member and someone born and raised here, I've had many an opportunity to walk down Ouellette Avenue and down Park Street and Pelissier Street and see the stores that are closed. Some figures that came out yesterday indicated strongly that there are about 160 stores that are vacant, and it's a sad and sorry sight and one that of course we need to work on to bring people back.

I'm as excited as anybody can be to be working on this project, to be the local member and to also be part of this committee which is before you. I think the times are exciting. We're headed for an area that we of course have not been to before and we're quite excited about that.

The government is spending some time and some resources to not only venture into the casino gaming business, but also to spend money on ventures like the Capitol Theatre, which we know will be an integral part of the downtown core, in the hope of bringing live theatre back and keeping them in business. So we want to work closely with them too.

I guess what I'd like to know is, when you sit around a table and you talk to your colleagues and you say: "We've had some really hurting times, but in our heart of hearts we really believe that things are going to get better and we know that this permanent building will at some point have a hotel, have some restaurants, whatever they decide they want in the outcome," how you'll bring people to your particular part of downtown, to your restaurant or to wherever; in other words, to take them out and some of the ideas you've had.

Mr Deeg: Obviously, I'm speaking for a majority of the downtown business group. We're excited. As I mentioned earlier, the last five years have been nothing short of a fight for survival. There were no people downtown. Spending habits of people have changed because of the economic conditions, and not only in Windsor. Even to this day, people are not as liberal in their spending habits as they were five years ago, There is uncertainty about job security etc. You know all these points.


But when I talk to my associates and friends, I see a light, I see a gleam in their eyes, what we want to do. We want to be part of that casino and the benefits that it will bring into Windsor for very obvious and selfish reasons. But it is fun. There is excitement in having a project of that magnitude hit us and to be part of it and to want to make it go and want to make a great success out of it. I feel this sense of a "Let's go get it, tiger" attitude amongst the downtown community now.

Mr Dadamo: I think the record should show too that you and your colleagues downtown did a tremendous job in calling together about 600 people at the rally you had to try to convince the government that the downtown interim casino site was the only way to go. I think I speak on behalf of my two colleagues in Windsor that we felt the same way, that bringing it out to either the raceway or the Devonshire Mall would have diverted traffic and would have defeated the whole purpose of revitalizing the downtown Windsor area, and that we felt the art gallery was the answer as an interim.

We're as excited as you are to see things going, so we applaud you for that. When you gathered 600 people, that of course made vibrations at Queen's Park and certainly highlighted that we knew what your concerns were, and we hope you appreciate that we reacted as quickly as we could. I think two days before I had a session with five or six downtown, with Audrey Hanes and Ralph Winograd and some others, at a cigar shop in a back room, and I was long convinced before that that the downtown needed to have the art gallery as the interim site. I just wanted to say that.

Mr Deeg: I don't think there are enough words, Mr Dadamo, to express our appreciation for the provincial government's decision to bring the casino to Windsor and then the decision to have it in the downtown area. I cannot find enough words of gratitude and thanks to express that.

Mr Dadamo: Well, we just hope things will be going quickly.

Mr Deeg: Oh, we will make it go. I've never seen as much enthusiasm and "Go get 'em, tiger" kind of a drive, because, you know, when you get battered for four to five years, you tire. You start bending your shoulders and saying, "Is there ever going to be an end?" But it's been just great, and the help that we have received from wherever, whenever, was just absolutely beautiful.

Mr Callahan: I read in the local newspaper that the city council received a report at its last council meeting which, as near as I can interpret from what was in the paper, was that the roving casinos that have been taking place preparatory to this casino have lost -- I'm trying to think of the wording they used -- they've lost novelty. I noticed the mayor was here before. I'm going to ask that a copy of that report be made available to the committee.

My reason for being concerned about it is that with the exception of the 2,200 slot machines, which of course will be a novelty and will probably influence people coming here, if in fact the local community has lost interest in the novelty of blackjack casino gambling, what does that tell us about the caution that we should proceed with in terms of whether this is a panacea or whether this is not a panacea?

Mr Deeg: Mr Callahan, I've only attended two of these charitable blackjack or gaming casinos. One of them was exceptionally well run; the other one was rather poorly run.

I think we're really having two different markets that we draw from. A professionally operated and promoted and marketed casino will draw from as far away as a three- to four-hour car ride, and we're talking about a concentration of population of between 35 million and 40 million people.

I and my group had the opportunity to talk to six of the gaming proponents, and each and every one of them -- when they throw 5,000 and 10,000 and 12,000 people at you, you say, "Oh, you're crazy." None of them, and they're professionals, had any problem with the casino attracting these numbers.

They know the psyche of the population; they know gambling is here to stay. It is a growth industry, and I wonder whether they would be willing to invest -- I don't know how much it's going to cost, but let's say $100 million plus anyway, if you have soft and hard costs and everything included -- whether they would be willing to gamble that kind of money if they didn't know what they were doing.

The market for the professional casino is a totally different animal from a charity casino, the only game in town. There are certain difficulties because they're roving; people don't know where they are. I see a little ad in the newspaper in Detroit saying this week the ABC charity is being held at the ABC facility. It's not professional. I can't tell you why there is a slowdown or whether there is a slowdown.

Mr Callahan: I'd still like to see that report. I think you can understand my concern.

Mr Deeg: I'm quite sure that the city would be very happy to provide you with it.

Mr Callahan: Very quickly, because my colleague wants to ask a question as well --

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

Mr Callahan: Just a second, Mr Chair. You allocate --

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

Mr Callahan: Do you allocate this time equally among caucuses, or do you just --

The Chair: The Liberals have had a minute more than either of the other two caucuses so far, Mr Callahan. I don't think that's unfair in any way, unless --

Mr Callahan: I thought you --

The Chair: Mr Callahan --

Mr Callahan: A point of order, Mr Chairman: I thought you allocated -- if there's 14 minutes left, each of us gets one third of that. Mr Dadamo had all sorts of time.

The Chair: Mr Callahan, I'm not going to belabour this point. That's not a point of order, but I would like to bring to your attention that committee members have opportunities to ask questions, which I try to regulate. How the respondents respond and how much time they take is something I have no control over, and I think I do a very fair job in all the allocation, quite frankly.

Mr Callahan: I don't understand how Mr Dadamo had all that time and I didn't even get my mouth open.

The Chair: Order. Thank you, Mr Deeg, for making your presentation before us today.



The Chair: The next presenter before the committee today is the Windsor and District Chamber of Commerce, Mr Mark Jacques. If you would please come forward. You are Mr Jacques?

Mr L.J. Bannon: I'm Mr Larry Bannon. I'm chairman of the board of the Windsor and District Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Mark L. Jacques: I'm Mark Jacques, president and general manager.

The Chair: Welcome before the committee. You have 30 minutes to make your presentation. You can use all that time to make your presentation if you wish, or if you would care to leave some time for questions, which I will try to allocate as fairly as possible, you can have that option. Please proceed.

Mr Bannon: As a committee of the government of Ontario, you want to do what is right. You want to ensure that Bill 8 appropriately addresses the needs of both the community and the province. You also want to be assured that the community supports casino gambling and is prepared to make it a successful venture.

The Windsor and District Chamber of Commerce will accept no less for the people of Windsor.

Early during the process, we established a task force to provide input to the comprehensive provincial consultation process. We have spoken to our members. We have reviewed the contents of Bill 8. In doing so, we have identified areas of complete acceptance for the posture of the provincial government. In addition, we have singled out specific areas of concern that require your attention.

The government will benefit through our input by delivering a working bill that will address current and future needs of the people of Ontario. It will also be able to deliver to Ontarians a document and a system that will enhance future casino projects and avoid pitfalls or complications related to casino development.

I ask you to listen with an open mind, ask questions or make suggestions. When we conclude we would like you to assure us that our concerns will be addressed prior to third reading of Bill 8.

I will review the topic of casino gambling and Bill 8 under the following general headings: the consultative process, economic impact, crime control, operational environment, the horse racing industry, and private sector involvement.

The consultative process: The chamber appreciates the extent to which the provincial government has consulted with the people of Windsor. We believe the open door policy has provided for adequate input by interested parties prior to the drafting of the bill. The casino task force not only listened to the community, it heard us loud and clear in many areas. The most important consideration was for the casino's location. Both the temporary and the permanent casinos will be located in the downtown core, as requested.

Economic impact: Estimates project that 10,000 to 12,000 people will visit Windsor every day. What an opportunity for economic revitalization. The estimated 8,000 to 9,000 jobs created by the introduction of the casino are most welcome by this business community. The wages generated by the new jobs will bolster the businesses within this community. Our members will benefit and the people of Windsor will therefore benefit.

Crime control: The casino task force has sought professional input to address the issue of crime control. Windsor Police Chief Adkin is a professional. Chief Adkin has expressed the importance of providing adequate policing to respond to the needs of the casino. Money should be provided in order to appropriately staff and equip this force. Cost should not be the primary issue.

The security of this community, the casino premises, its staff and patrons should be the first consideration. We would hope that the government would err on the side of excess; otherwise the damage will be most costly to repair. Quite candidly, we think that issue is the one where there should not be a conflict or a major disagreement between the government, the operators and this community.

Business people want to protect their investments. Chief Adkin has stated that his professional experience would dictate that a young crowd will increase the potential for disturbances. This will increase the risk to other casino patrons and the surrounding premises. We hope this committee will heed this recommendation and make appropriate changes to the bill for the protection of all concerned.

Operational environment: The operational environment constitutes the following: traffic control and flow, border crossings, parking, transient marina construction and airport facilities. The traffic engineering department of the city of Windsor has a significant challenge in addressing the traffic flow pattern related to increased tourist traffic. We are confident that the department will respond in good order.

The Windsor chamber has a very active transportation committee. It has addressed many key transportation issues over the past few years. We have been very concerned about the improvements of border-crossing facilities in order to improve traffic flow from the United States. The recent Ambassador Bridge plaza improvements will certainly be very supportive for the increased traffic expected from the introduction of the casino. Also, plans for the city of Windsor for restructuring of the Windsor and Detroit tunnel plaza will serve to enhance that border traffic flow.

The development of adequate parking facilities is a primary concern to the community. Provision must be made for secure and convenient parking facilities for the patrons of the casino. The city is undertaking an accelerated plan to construct a transient marina in close proximity to the permanent casino location. It is hoped that the conclusion of construction of this marina will coincide with the completion of the casino. This will certainly enhance the attractiveness of the casino and the city. This will hopefully generate additional repeat traffic to the facility.


The Windsor chamber has taken a leadership role in negotiating the transfer of the Windsor airport to a local airport authority. This would result in the establishment of a not-for-profit authority that would own and manage the airport facilities. It is the belief of the city of Windsor and the township of Sandwich South that the airport is vastly underutilized. Under the direction of an airport authority, the airport would be able to respond more effectively to customer needs. This would certainly benefit those who would choose air travel as their mode of transport to the city in order to patronize the casino.

I might just add that the traffic flow and transportation and engineering problems connected with people and service industries can't be solved, with the addition of well over 12,000 people per day, by any one component, and that's why we're looking at a number of various components that we feel are integral parts, tools, to make the whole a successful venture.

Turning to the horse racing industry, without the benefit of expert knowledge, it is our belief that the two industries of casino gambling and horse racing can coexist in the same area. It will require entrepreneurial initiative and much cooperation. It will also require the province's commitment to this coexistence. We sense that there is a willingness on the part of all parties to recognize this situation. It is our hope that the casino will simply increase our inventory of entertainment attractions available to potential visitors, thereby enhancing our tourism efforts.

Private sector involvement: Windsor is getting ready. The announcement of the introduction of casino gambling has acted as a catalyst to many organizations in this community. Representatives of various business organizations have banded together to address the needs of the business community related to the increased tourist traffic. Plans are being developed by Windsor's casino-tourism task force to launch many inventive programs for customer service training, visitor information access, business improvement financing and much more.

The chamber is very pleased that the government will engage the private sector to manage the casino operations. We do, however, request that the government ensure that the casino is marketed as part of the Windsor tourism package and not solely as the jewel of the area.

In conclusion, we ask that this committee ensures that the concerns expressed within this document are addressed.

The Windsor and District Chamber of Commerce is extremely excited about the opportunity before us. We believe the government acted responsibly and appropriately in establishing a pilot project for casino gambling. This will allow the government to assess all aspects of the establishment of casinos in Ontario. Other communities and the government will benefit from this experience.

The business community has become very active in preparation for casino gambling. We feel extremely confident that the province has progressed in a responsible fashion in dealing with this new concept. We look forward with great anticipation to welcoming our new-found visitors to Windsor, Ontario.

I thank you, gentlemen and ladies.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Bannon. We have approximately five minutes per caucus and we'll start with Mr Duignan.

Mr Noel Duignan (Halton North): Thank you for appearing in front of the committee this morning and expressing your opinion in your brief. You can rest assured that your concerns will be noted by the committee and certainly by the ministry and the government.

On the question of crime control and lifting the age, it's not 18, it's 19 in the legislation, and the question whether to raise that to 21 or not was raised yesterday by the chief of police. Our advice at this point in time is that if we raised the age to 21, it would not withstand a court challenge under the Charter of Rights or the human rights situation.

Mr Callahan: That's baloney.

Mr Duignan: Well, that's your opinion, Mr Callahan.

We will be providing this committee with a written brief on that particular aspect of it, as well as the reverse onus, which was raised yesterday as well. But we have noted your concerns, not only from you but also from the chief of police and from other people as well and we are taking them seriously and we are looking at it.

Mr Bannon: Thank you.

Mr Duignan: As you may well be aware, around the horse racing industry, as part of the casino projects the deal is that they have to work cooperatively with the horse racing industry and both have to work together to enhance the horse racing industry. I personally myself can't see any problem of why the two can't coexist together and actually be very successful, but that's part of the process. The casino complex has to work with the horse racing industry.

Mr Wayne Lessard (Windsor-Walkerville): Yes. Thank you for your presentation. You've raised a number of important concerns within it. I wonder whether you had any specific suggestions with respect to Bill 8 itself. You said you've reviewed it and you've made these comments with that knowledge. I wonder if you had any specific sections or recommended changes that we might be able to make, and if you don't have those now, we would hope that you forward them to myself or the committee at some point in the next couple of weeks.

Mr Bannon: The bill, being a technical document, doesn't relate in colloquial terms to the issues we're talking about, and that's why we didn't do it. I was interested in seeing that the bill relieved the government of the responsibility for the Corporations Act and other acts that other businesses are bound by, but I assume it has its reasons for doing that.

Mr Lessard: I note as well that you made some comments about the transportation study. I understand the department of traffic engineering did conduct a survey. That may not have been made at the time that the final location of the casino was made, but they just have to expand upon that. Is that understanding correct?

Mr Bannon: That's our understanding, and once again we emphasize that that's a key, probably the leading technical document or technical requirement in the process addressing that concern, but it needs to be supported by a whole menu of other items that will reduce it.

Mr Lessard: Of course, I like your suggestion about the local airport authority. You've been able to count on my support for that all along and we continue to plug away at it. One day we may reach success. Who knows?

Mr Bannon: There are signs that is going to happen.

Mr Callahan: On a point of order, Mr Chairman: This is about the third time or fourth time that the issue of the age limit and change to the age limit has been raised. The parliamentary assistant has told us on each occasion --

The Chair: That's not a point of order, Mr Callahan.

Mr Callahan: Just a second, Mr Chair.

The Chair: That's not a point of order, Mr Callahan.

Mr Callahan: Mr Chairman, I have an opportunity --

The Chair: That's not a point of order, Mr Callahan.

Mr Callahan: I want that report filed with this committee.

The Chair: That's not a point of order. Mr Kwinter.

Mr Callahan: We're entitled to have -- don't tell Hansard I'm cut off, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: Mr Kwinter.

Mr Callahan: That is absolute nonsense. I want that report filed.

The Chair: Order, Mr Callahan.

Mr Callahan: They told us that they have a legal opinion. We're entitled to that legal opinion as the members of the opposition.

The Chair: Order, Mr Callahan.

Mr Callahan: There are questions from people such as these groups and other groups. I'm asking it be filed.


The Chair: Mr Kwinter, would you like to ask a question or make a comment?

Mr Monte Kwinter (Wilson Heights): Mr Bannon, in both your presentation and the presentation of Mr Deeg, you talk about the transportation across the bridge. In his listing of the negatives that have impacted the Windsor area, he said:

"Totally unexpected congestion at border crossings further complicated the situation, since our American visitors were subjected to the inconvenience of long lineups and waiting periods. These visitors, who traditionally generated somewhere in the vicinity of 50% of our economic activities in downtown Windsor, were inconvenienced and changed their patterns to more convenience-oriented locations."

How do you see the addition of -- who knows what the number is, but thousands, anyway -- thousands of additional cars per day coming across the border relieving that problem? Isn't it going to create as many problems as it's going to solve because people who are not coming to the casino will say: "Why would I go across the bridge to Windsor to do my shopping when I've got all these gamblers plugging up the bridge or the tunnel? I'm going to go somewhere else"?

Mr Bannon: I wouldn't disagree with the facts Mr Deeg referred to, but I would suggest that situation is well in the past, in a year or further in the past, and that the major thrust behind that problem was not related to the downtown or casino gambling. It was related to a federal issue of jurisdiction and economics on the part of the truckers.

Having said that aside, the additional 12,000, if we want to use that number, visitors to be accommodated can only be done so through a skilled traffic engineering flow and a system to support that. It will take buses; it will take the new facility at the Ambassador Bridge to help to clear some of those buses; it will take the improvements at the Windsor tunnel plaza to assist; it will take the staffing that the federal government has now committed, as I understand, to providing those services from a customs and immigration standpoint.

There are plans under way -- I didn't get into it but there are -- on the part of a local person or two to put in a shuttle service by a ferry. That will help to alleviate those problems. We will have the space to dock that ferry and will have the patrons on the US side to accommodate that service. The congestion will have to be dealt with, but it will be dealt with, I hope, and I'm going to ask my colleague to help me out here, in the process of redesigning the downtown, which is well under way, to accommodate the additional patrons in that core area around the casino and the entrances to that. So we feel that all of those components have to go together to relieve the problem.

Mr Jacques: I just might add that the problem existed where we were having return traffic due to cross-border shopping, and that created a large traffic congestion for American visitors, and also their dollar value had deflated quite significantly during that time, whereas ours had been buoyed somewhat and it made it attractive to cross the border. Today, that's not the case and it may be in the future that that again happens.

But there have been improvements to the Ambassador Bridge and they're very significant improvements, if you don't know what the old one looked like. Go check out the new facilities. You'll be quite surprised at what the facility looks like today, but it's even more shocking for us, who have been across that bridge many times, to look at the changes in the facility they have to accommodate increased traffic flow. There has also been talk of additional private investment in other methods of crossing, so another bridge or whatever there may be, and as Larry mentioned, the new ferry. We think we'll be able to address it, but it's certainly a problem we'd like to have.

Mr Ernie L. Eves (Parry Sound): As several of my colleagues have pointed out, the age restriction is an issue that continues to be brought up by several witnesses before the committee and you can rest assured that we will pursue that as the committee does its clause-by-clause deliberations on the bill in a few weeks' time.

I was quite impressed by Chief Adkin and the very professional manner in which he came before the committee yesterday. We read in the Toronto Star, and I presume in the Windsor Star today as well, some very real concerns he has with respect to the possibility of increased crime. I see that you are very supportive of the chief in your written submission. Would you think it would be appropriate that there be some direct diversion of funds from the profit of the casino project towards increased policing costs in the city of Windsor?

Mr Bannon: It's my opinion that this is what should happen. I've always felt there are specific areas that could be mandated appropriately to accomplish the transfer of some moneys to the city. I feel very strongly that this is the one issue we shouldn't be compromising on. If we're talking about six or 12 or 18 people in the context of what that represents in terms of the success of the casino operation, then it's not an issue. It can't be an issue. It has to be dealt with. If the chief is wrong, five years from now we're going to know it.

Mr Eves: Absolutely.

Mr Bannon: But I'd rather take that opportunity of addressing the problem than to have the downside.

Mr Eves: I quite agree. I just have one other point. On the issue of the Windsor Raceway and horse racing industry, the provincial government's report done by Coopers and Lybrand indicates or guesstimates that the impact on the horse racing industry in the province will be somewhere in the neighbourhood of 5% to 10%. However, for almost every other study that I've read on every other jurisdiction that I've looked into where there has been casino gambling introduced to a jurisdiction that already had a viable horse racing industry, the impact is more in the neighbourhood of 28% to 32%, or almost a third.

I think there's a unique opportunity here for Windsor to be first to not have that impact on the horse racing industry. I wondered how you would think about the successful proponent, whichever group it may be, providing some sort of direct correlation and assistance if need be to Windsor Raceway in terms of marketing, and perhaps if need be in terms of funding to ensure that they both remain viable entertainment points or focal points in the community. I wondered what you thought of that.

Mr Bannon: I'm going to ask my associate to comment too, because you've touched on the key thing. First of all, the problem with horse racing existed before the issue of casino gambling came up, and it was a distinct problem then. I think that the issues the owner of the Windsor Raceway is articulating are the right issues. He's got a problem with the government of Ontario on the return or the amount that it is taking from the operations. Having said that, we've talked to the president of Windsor Raceway, and we feel really that it's an opportunity.

In our work on the riverfront task force for the past almost five years, we were looking for that one key tourism attraction, a destination attraction to solve our riverfront and economic problems. Now with the advent of casino gambling, we have an opportunity whereby it may not be a single facility, a single entertainment venue, but rather a very harmonious collection of two or three.

We visualize the downtown, the waterfront, the casino, the twin anchor concept, and the Windsor Raceway, because there are capabilities and potential for that facility to be developed into a first-class entertainment facility. I don't know if you want me to go on. Mark, do you want to comment on the marketing end?

Mr Jacques: Yes. Our concern, and we addressed this early on, was that one of the issues with the raceway is that, yes, there should be some cooperative marketing efforts put into the coexistence for casino gambling and the horse racing industry. The horse racing industry is obviously a privately run operation, privately owned. Being people who support free enterprise, I would suggest that just to throw money at it and say, "This is what's going to help; the casino operator should just give some money to the raceway," I don't think is the answer. I think they have to work together to find a solution to marketing this area as an entertainment package, an entertainment area, and coming up with some entrepreneurial initiative.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Bannon and Mr Jacques, for appearing before the committee today.

Mr Duignan: On a point of clarification, Mr Chair.

The Chair: Mr Duignan, you have a point?

Mr Duignan: Yes. Mr Callahan raised an issue and I just want to clarify and reiterate the remarks I made earlier. We will be filing with this committee a legal opinion both on the age limit and the reverse onus as well, and that's being prepared right now. As soon as it's ready, we'll be filing it with the committee.


Mr Callahan: The reason I raised that was it seems to me that this has come up each and every time, and it's obviously something even the people of Windsor with their excitement about the casino are concerned about. Do I understand what you're saying is that a legal opinion is only in the works now? What I'm getting at is, if one was prepared before these hearings, I'm asking that it be made available to this committee now. It doesn't do us any good to leave Windsor and find out that we've been perhaps telling the chief of police and others that this can't be done. I'd have a better feeling if we left Windsor saying it can be done or it can't be done definitively.

If that report is only now in the works, can you tell when that will be available? Will it be available for us before we leave Windsor? And if it's not, certainly it should be made available as quickly after we leave Windsor as possible. I'd prefer to have it before we leave Windsor.

Mr Duignan: First of all, we take very seriously the issues raised by I think four or five police in the last couple of days, this whole issue of age limitation. We do take that issue quite seriously, and I will ask Jim here to respond to your question.

Mr Jim Mundy: We consulted with the Ministry of the Attorney General, constitutional law section, and verbally were given an opinion. As a result of the issues raised yesterday, we've asked them to prepare a written opinion, as Mr Duignan mentioned, on those two issues. The moment we have them, they'll be presented to the committee.

Mr Callahan: I don't want to belabour this, but you did have a verbal opinion then before these hearings started.

Mr Mundy: Yes.

Mr Callahan: Maybe you can't tell me this: Was that a contravened Human Rights Code or the Charter of Rights? Which was it? Or do we know?

Mr Mundy: My understanding is, and I can doublecheck this with our legal counsel, that it was both, but certainly the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Interjection: We had it on both.

Mr Callahan: I wait to see that. I don't want to be provocative, but if you can't change the limit to 21, how in the world do we have the Young Offenders Act, how in the world do we have drinking age changes as the policy decision of governments, how do we have the age requirement for marriage, how do we have the age requirement for a whole host of things if they're all in contravention of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Human Rights Code?

I don't mean to be nasty to you in saying it's nonsense, but I have to say that I just don't understand the logic of that. Whoever gave you that opinion in the Attorney General's department, I'd love to see it in writing because it doesn't make any sense. In any event, I'm finished.

Mr Duignan: Not being a lawyer, I eagerly await the written opinion of the constitutional lawyers.


The Chair: We're going to move on to our next presenter representing Frank Funaro Men's Wear, Ms Fran Funaro. Please come forward and make yourself comfortable. Welcome to the committee. You have 30 minutes to make your presentation. You can use all that for your presentation, and if not, some of that 30 minutes will be used for questions.

Mr Callahan: Ms Fran Funaro.

Ms Fran Funaro: That's correct. Frank is my father. I've caused a lot of trouble at the office.

Thank you for affording me the opportunity to speak with you in support of casino gaming in Ontario and Windsor. My name, as you know, is Fran Funaro and I wear several hats today: as an owner of property, both commercial where I work and residential where I reside, in downtown Windsor, as a second-generation owner of a clothing business which has been in operation for 35 years, as a board member of the Downtown Business Association dedicated to the ongoing promotion and beautification of downtown Windsor, as a board member of Royal Windsor Terrace, a downtown Windsor condominium where I reside whose mandate includes the monitoring of downtown's economic climate and its impact on our residents, and as an executive member of Info-Quest Corp, which is an 18-year-old management consulting firm specializing in strategic planning and financial and human resource management in downtown Toronto. I'm also a past board member of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, a member of the Windsor and District Chamber of Commerce cross-border shopping task force and a member of Windsor's waterfront development project.

I mention the above to demonstrate my diversely vested interest in any major phenomenon invading our downtown.

Let me begin by sharing a recent experience with you. I was on an exploration mission in the southern United States where, over a vast shoreline stretch, various sizes and styles of casinos are situated. The purpose of my visit was to view first hand the effects of casino gaming in a community parallel to ours in many ways and, more specifically, the immediate surrounding area. To qualify the word "parallel," what I mean is that what I viewed was not an environment where there existed a casino-only operation; rather, the casinos operated in a community within an existing infrastructure, which is exactly what is being proposed for Windsor.

At first, I must admit that I was at best lukewarm towards the concept of a casino literally in my backyard and the potential crime, noise, traffic and overall negative element which I believed, in my ignorance, would be infesting both my home and work life.

What I learned in its stead was pleasingly surprising to me. If planned and executed properly, not only would casino gaming bring new jobs through expansions of business ventures, business area beautification and promotional efforts, the filling of vacant properties and increased local business activity directly associated to the casino industry; it would also be the cause of an infectious excitement and new-found dignity of local citizens, whether those citizens have interests on a residential, commercial or industrial level. In short, it would bring fresh, positive life to us.

One could argue against casino gaming on various levels, such as the negative element casinos attract or the fear of compulsive gambling behaviour becoming a real concern or the interference of casinos interrupting the natural evolution and the very fabric of a community. In response to the above, I offer the following for consideration.

We are in the year 1993, and my interaction with formidable casino proponents has convinced me that we are dealing with honest, savvy, concerned business people who wish to work with the province and the city to ensure a win-win situation for all affected parties, including the public. It is no secret that a casino operator intends to make a profit, but the key is to acknowledge that it is not unethical or criminal to do so. If it were, businesses that employ thousands of workers would be guilty of exactly the same crime, which is of course nonsensical.

Compulsive behaviour is an unfortunate reality which exists in many circles, for example, substance abuse, eating disorders, workaholics and problem gambling, to name a few. The point is that this conduct is not unique to a casino environment, and just as there are a myriad of government-run and self-help centres available to the community for other forms of compulsive behaviour, there are parallel organizations for this very conduct regarding casino gambling. In fact, this very issue is currently being explored by Madam Churley and her very capable team, and their foresight and efforts in this vein are to be applauded. The key here is regulation, and any qualified casino operator will work hand in hand with the government and the public to combat and neutralize this serious matter to the fullest extent.

I wholeheartedly agree that, if managed improperly, a casino, as any other major change in an environment, could potentially be a cause for concern. However, if it's managed properly, the evolution of an environment is not interrupted. Quite the opposite: It's going to be heightened.

Our government is working diligently to implement stringent controls for the express purpose of the environment dominating the casino and not vice versa. Further, the interested casino operators are genuinely concerned with our environment. Otherwise they would not have pursued interest in Ontario casinos after learning the extent of our government's involvement in the process.

In reference to the economic impact a casino can bring to a community, I am certain those who have spoken prior to myself have enlightened you with the staggering figures forecast in terms of traffic generated, dollars spent, the revitalization of the surrounding area and the general goodwill from the community to the casino operator. An excellent example of this is confirmed by Mr Leland Creel, a Gulfport businessman and president of its merchants' association. At a Windsor casino information rally, Mr Creel stated:

"Casinos had a more positive impact in his community than anyone had expected. Crime rates, especially burglary, actually went down (by 80%). Unemployment rates dropped in Gulfport from 14% to 4%. The city's 2,000 hotel rooms, which had been running at about 40% occupancy, are now fully booked. New restaurants have opened and the others are prosperous."


That's the end of the quote. That was taken from the Windsor Star, and Mr Creel allowed me to say that for him.

Furthermore, the province of Ontario as well as Windsor are diligently researching and preparing for the casino. We are becoming more and more empowered with valuable information in order to understand how casino gaming will positively impact our community. This knowledge is the first step towards control of the situation, rather than the unnecessary phobia in the mindset of those who are of the notion that with a casino in our midst, we will be out of control.

Many of us have found that if dealt with in a progressive and professional manner, the casino will only augment a community's ability to be vital and user-friendly, with the end result of enhancing its overall wellbeing.

I encourage citizens in the province of Ontario to expand their horizons by sourcing out factual information from casinos that have impacted communities similar to Windsor's. I further submit that each and every concerned citizen consider viewing the casino in a progressive, positive manner. The cup, in my opinion, is definitely half full as opposed to half empty. As Windsor has been selected as Ontario's pilot casino project, it's up to us as a proud and unified community to welcome and be truly grateful for the casino's positives, which should be neither ignored nor misinterpreted, positives such as traffic generation, including the issue of traffic congestion -- given Windsor's recent economic climate, what a wonderful problem about which to boast -- unemployment rate declines, the probability of lower burglary and theft crime rates, and overall public awareness of Windsor's appeal as a viable tourist destination. To me, it's really quite simple: Prosperity begets prosperity.

In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, there are those who resist change and those who embrace it. With this in mind, our provincial government is proceeding, quite appropriately in my opinion, on a cautious and gradual basis in order to make the soundest decision possible with regard to the issue of casino gaming in Ontario.

I have faith in the democratic process and in our government to obtain and disseminate information such that the only logical conclusion will in fact be to proceed with welcoming casino gaming to Ontario and, of course, to Windsor as the pilot project. Our very capable municipal government, business community, interested associations and the public at large will certainly pick up the ball and run with it. As you know, many of us, starting with Mayor Mike Hurst and his office, city council, the Downtown Business Association, the Windsor and District Chamber of Commerce, our convention and visitors' bureau, and the Windsor-Essex development commission, to name a few, are working proactively to ensure that Windsor will be forearmed for the day when the issue of casino gaming in Ontario does become a reality.

We are a true emerging market. I respectfully submit that we rise up to meet the challenges and demonstrate our vision and decisiveness as a progressively oriented province by strongly supporting the existence of casino gaming in Ontario. If history repeats itself, we won't regret it. Please add me to the long list of those who are "betting on Windsor."

The Chair: Thank you very much, Ms Funaro. We have about five minutes per caucus and we'll start with Mr Kwinter.

Mr Kwinter: Thank you very much for your presentation, Ms Funaro. I'm fascinated by a statistic that you mentioned. I know it isn't yours, but you seem to have embraced it and think that it's a positive: that as a result of casino gambling, the general crime rate has dropped by 80%.

Ms Funaro: In terms of theft and burglary.

Mr Kwinter: Theft and burglary is fairly significant. In your discussion, is there any indication of why that would happen?

Ms Funaro: Mr Creel mentioned quite adamantly that the employment had been very low prior to the casino coming to town -- or casinos, because there are various casinos in that area -- and naturally there was a lot of theft and burglary. With the advent of the casinos coming to town, there was a lot more employment in the area; thus, their understanding of why the crime rate went down was that people didn't have to steal any more in the immediate area because they had jobs and their new-found dignity and everything else, so they didn't have to steal at all.

Mr Kwinter: Have you had a chance to discuss this with the chief of police? Does he agree with this?

Ms Funaro: With Mr Adkin, our chief of police?

Mr Kwinter: Yes.

Ms Funaro: No, I have not. This was something that had taken place in another city in the United States. I'm not suggesting in any way, shape or form that Gulfport and Biloxi are Windsor, but there are certain parallels there, which is the reason why I brought it up. But, no, I haven't spoken to Chief Adkin about it.

Mr Kwinter: Another area I'd like to discuss with you: When you talk about the considerations, you talk about the fact that it's not unethical to make a profit, and as a matter of fact there is a profit motive. That's another area of concern that I have. One of the sort of steadying themes that are going through these discussions is that somehow or other these proponents are -- you know, it's all right for them to make a profit, but their major thrust is going to be looking after the community, cooperating with the horse racing industry, making sure that all the restaurants are prospering, making sure that all the hotels are filled up before they build their own hotel.

I think there's a certain naïveté about business. The people who are making proposals for this casino have one purpose in mind, and if you don't accept that, you are really living in a dream world. Their one purpose in mind is to get a return on their investment and to make money for their shareholders, period. That's all they're interested in. Otherwise, they won't be here. They're not going to come from wherever they are if they can't make money.

The problem, and I'm just putting this out, is that if you go into this with the assumption that these are white knights who are going to come here and that their main purpose is to make sure that Windsor prospers and that everybody is happy -- their purpose is to maximize return on their investment. You're going to ask them to build a facility. You're going to ask them to run it. You're going to ask them to arrange for the financing and they're going to say: "Fine. When we do that, we want a fair return, minimum; fair return, minimum. But we're also in here because we're looking for the upside. We're looking to see how we can maximize return on our investment."

In order to do that, there is going to be incredible pressure on them to have as many profit centres as they possibly can, particularly because of the arrangement with the provincial government. There are many jurisdictions where the government is taking 20% of the win.

I think it's important. You as a businessperson, if you were to invest money, would be doing it on exactly the same basis, particularly if you're going somewhere else to do it. They're going to be out here competing, but they have capital. Capital has opportunities. It can go anywhere and it's going to go where it can get its best return. What do you feel about that?

Ms Funaro: If I may respond, yes, I feel there is nothing wrong with a business entity making a profit, and if a business entity can make a profit together with the municipality and a community and a province that is also going to win, then we should be thrilled that this is taking place because everyone wins and it doesn't have to be a win-lose relationship.

If these casino operators have put in their RFPs -- unfortunately, I don't know what is in any of them -- they have obviously done so with a great deal of thought, time and effort and of course they're going to do it with the intent that they are going to make a profit. If they can make a profit and the city of Windsor is going to become a viable tourist destination, which we have been attempting to do, and we have someone who is now going to assist in the payment thereof and the Ontario government which is going to obtain 20% of what it is they make, then I think that's wonderful.

Mr Kwinter: I have no quarrel with that. All I'm saying is that I think there has to be an understanding that, sure, they're going to try to be the best corporate citizens they can be. Every business is trying to do that, but the bottom line is that they have to maximize their return on their investment and there may be -- and it was stated by a couple of proponents -- a conflict; there may be an actual conflict because of that and I just want to make sure this is understood.

Ms Funaro: I have no quarrel with a business making money -- especially with my background -- and employing various other people in the community where you live or where you work. Again, I just want to reiterate that, although I agree with what you're saying in terms of the fact that of course the proponent is certainly interested in making money, they are also interested, in my view, in making money for the Ontario government and for the city of Windsor in terms of being part of our community.

Mr Callahan: Just very quickly, you've indicated that there's a myriad of opportunities available for helping people who wind up with a compulsion for gambling, which is a fairly high percentage of people.

According to the Ernst and Young report, the only thing available at Windsor is a self-help group that's Gamblers Anonymous. There's nothing else available.

I'm curious. Does that change your view? I say this, and my friends across the other side will not believe this, but I say this not in a pejorative or a partisan fashion, but Bill 90, I think it is, which is presently in committee hearings, is going to restrict the amount of times you can see a particular type of doctor for a particular type of problem. If that maintains its position, that will make very much less services available from a medical standpoint to help people who have this compulsion.

Ms Funaro: When I mentioned the opportunities that were available for self-help centres, what I really was trying to get at is that together with the Windsor and Ontario plans that are in the works in terms of assistance in this vein, you also have the proponents who have their own internal self-help centres.


Mr Callahan: The casino?

Ms Funaro: The casino proponent, that's correct. Now, I'm not familiar with all of them, with all of the nine that have put things in, but at the Windsor rally that was hosted by Grand Casinos, in their presentation they had an actual staff that was assisting with compulsive gambling behaviour and would monitor and let the proper parties know this was taking place, and they have in fact some types of mechanisms in place to assist in that fashion. I assume that since I saw it from Grand, other proponents have the same thing. I may be wrong, but I just went by what I saw.

Mr Carr: Thank you very much for your presentation. Percentagewise, what are you anticipating the increases are going to be for your own particular business?

Ms Funaro: I would say somewhere in the vicinity of 15% to 25%. Also, the reason I think it's high is because I intend to take the opportunities and run with them, because it isn't just going to be a result of traffic that is going to be walking around; it's going to be up to the individual business to market itself properly in order to attract what it is that's going to be on the street.

Mr Carr: How will that translate in terms of new jobs? In yours, how many do you employ now and how many do you see employed, the increase?

Ms Funaro: Unfortunately, we've had to lay off several people, so what will happen is of course those jobs will be reimbursed to the staff and hopefully more will --

Mr Carr: How many were laid off?

Ms Funaro: Two.

Mr Carr: So you think they'll be able to come back then?

Ms Funaro: I hope so.

Mr Carr: One of the interesting discussions is that as you know, 80% of the people coming over apparently will be Americans, according to the government. That may or may not be true. If so, you're going to have to attract those people to purchase. We're estimating, I guess, conservatively 8,000 coming across, the government says. How much do you think those people will spend here in, say, retail like yourself?

Ms Funaro: That's so difficult to gauge, because retail is easily put into one sector, but retail encompasses so many different businesses that I really don't have the available background to speak to that. I can only tell you what it is that I'm hoping for for my own business, and being on the board of the DBA, I know that what we're going to do is also promote not only individual businesses but the area as such. That way we're going to be able to get as much bang for the buck, so to speak, out of promotion dollars.

Mr Carr: Some of the expenditures, I guess what will really be a factor -- I know in retail, obviously attractive is a very important factor, but in terms of cost comparison, and let's take, I don't know, your number one selling product, a suit or whatever, how would you compare with the American product with the dollar as it is today? Are you in the ballpark in terms of cost if Americans come over and happen to gamble and go out at night? Are you able to compete? How is the price of your product versus the US? Is it higher, lower and how much by percentage either way if it is?

Ms Funaro: I would venture to guess that, being that I'm at a little higher end in terms of the products we have in-store --

Mr Carr: Well, compare yourself with the higher end then in the US.

Ms Funaro: If it was compared with the higher end in the United States, I would say we were very close, if not lower in price, because higher-end clothing in the United States is quite high. You pay for that high quality. Also, I think it's not only an issue of price, it's an issue of value, and if someone will come to the store, my father is a tailor, and we also have another tailor who has been in the business for 45, 50 years. Service, quality, price: Those are all components that are part of whether or not you're going to be successful, and in that regard I believe we can certainly compete very easily, if not surpass the United States.

Mr Carr: That's good news that we're in the ballpark with regard to that, and I hope it is in some of the other retails. As I understand it, some of the cross-border shopping was for things like liquor, booze and cigarettes, and gas and oil, which were substantially cheaper. Ironically, it's because of the taxes on those three commodities by governments at both levels that created it being so high that drives the people across. That's what I've heard. We had some of the people in from Tip Top Tailors in Toronto and they said: "We can compete on sweatshirts and suits. It's when people are going across for those other items, and while they're there they go in and buy a suit or whatever." So I'm glad to hear that and we wish you luck in your endeavour.

Ms Funaro: Thank you.

Mr Dadamo: Fran, thank you very much. I hope Frank is busy these days. I want to solicit something from you in a couple of minutes, but I know you'll concur with us, or with me, in relaying information to Mr Kwinter -- I wanted to do this on a point of order earlier -- that the bridge company, for example, has stepped up improvements to the area.

Ms Funaro: Yes.

Mr Dadamo: They should be applauded publicly for spending about $30 million of their money, without the assistance of any government, either the provincial or the federal government, in constructing their new facilities on the premises.

I know that we have Windsor members of Parliament who are actively pursuing the federal government to make improvements further as far as hiring more staff at the bridge company and at the tunnel is concerned, and to helping with the flow so we can get people coming and going rather easily.

I'm sure you have confidence in both the bridge and the tunnel personnel in getting people across. When you sit around your table and you talk with your colleagues, if we're talking about 12,000 people a day, we're talking about bringing people through how? Through the bridge, the tunnel, if they're Americans. There is also talk about the ferry system.

Ms Funaro: Correct.

Mr Dadamo: As parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Transportation now for three years, we've had people come to us talking about a third bridge. They're Americans and they're Canadians together, and they're not coming to us for any finances at all. These are people who will fund this on their own. What they need from us as the government in the province is to give them clearance for land where the base of the bridge will be for entrances etc, and what they need from the American side is clearances on to I-94 and 75 and those kinds of things.

I wanted to solicit a response from you and, to our committee members here and to others who are listening, the assurances that they will, at the bridge and the tunnel, be very capable of bringing Americans across and down to Pelissier Street, down to Ouellette, down to Chatham Street etc, and into your stores.

Ms Funaro: I'm hoping, and I'm positive, that Windsor is certainly going to be able to rise up to meet the challenges of the traffic, because we know that's a serious concern and we're not going to stand by. It would be ridiculous; it's not going to help ourselves to do so. We're going to do whatever it is we can do to combat that problem.

Mr Dadamo: We know that you'll go to your members of Parliament in Ottawa to have them go to the federal government and try to speed up things from their end of it.

Ms Funaro: If it will assist, by all means.

Mr Dadamo: I know you'll do that.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Ms Funaro, for presenting before the committee.


The Chair: The next presenter we have today is Mr Bob Williams, representing the Downtown Business Association, if you'll please come forward and make yourself comfortable. You have 30 minutes for your presentation, of which you may use all of that or save some time for questions.

Mr Bob Williams: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for the opportunity of coming before you today. Please allow me to introduce myself and my background in the city of Windsor.

My name is Bob Williams and I am president of R.J. Williams and Associates, marketing management, a company that specializes in the hospitality and tourism industries. I am a local businessman who employs eight full-time employees and am a member of the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association.

I am the previous owner of 300-seat dining and entertainment establishment and am a member of the Ontario Restaurant Association.

I am a past cabinet member of the United Way of Windsor and was awarded one of Windsor's highest recognitions as a Volunteer of the Year, and continue to work with the charitable community of Windsor.


I am a founding member of the cross-border shopping task force of the Windsor and District Chamber of Commerce and have consulted the International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus, with a membership represented in 25 countries. I am a member of the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Windsor, Essex County and Pelee Island and a recipient of its highest award for the promotion of tourism.

I am a member of the Metropolitan Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau and a managing partner of its hospitality services division and presently I am the chairman and executive director of the Windsor-Essex County Business Improvement Association, a coalition of 22 BIAs with a total membership of 7,000 members.

Why do I tell you these things? It is because what happens to Windsor is important to me. I care about Windsor. I care about Ontario and all of us who derive a living within its boundaries. I am here to express my opinions on casino gaming in Windsor and in Ontario and, most importantly, my views on the effects gaming will have on the Windsor community and the many organizations I am associated with.

Over the past few days you have had many issues presented to you. Some you wanted to hear, and maybe some you didn't, but the bottom line is that you are listening. I have been in this room for the most part and I have listened as well and have deduced that our community, starting at the top and working its way down, has its finger on the pulse.

Yes, it's true that we, like many other border cities in Ontario, have taken a back seat to cross-border shopping and yes, we have more than our share of unemployment, partly because of this phenomenon. But we're steadfast in our efforts to overcome these obstacles. Yes, we have a dwindling population in Windsor, and this is affecting everything from our tax base to education, to the charitable dollars available to help our community through these rough times. But believe me, Windsor knows how to roll up its sleeves and get the job done. We are survivors. This is why I believe Windsor was chosen for the pilot project. We're telling you, with the passing of Bill 8 Windsor will show you our stuff and all the citizens of Ontario will benefit.

Ladies and gentlemen, we want what you want. We want full cash registers. We want tourism to be a leading industry in Windsor and in Ontario. We want our people back to work so that they can fill the cash registers and have a better life and a better place to raise their children. You have the opportunity of introducing a new industry to Ontario, and through the passing of Bill 8 the wheels will roll to put thousands of people to work. The economic spinoffs will be overwhelming.

Most recently a group of merchants and business leaders returned from a visit to an emerging gaming area in the southern United States. We had a businessto-business exchange of ideas, you might say. What we learned was interesting, and I would like to share just a few of our findings.

We found that the crime rate in the area we were visiting had dropped drastically, which was attributed to higher employment, resulting in a newfound pride in their community. We were told that their unemployment dropped to below 4%. Our Chief Adkin has already stated that Windsor's crime rate has been on the decline in the past 24 months. Can you imagine what might happen if 8,000 people go back to work?

As far as organized crime goes, I have no report, but I feel comfortable that Chief Adkin is in control of all aspects that need to be addressed.

In the retailing community we learned that merchants were enjoying increased sales revenues from their regular customers, who now had more discretionary dollars to spend. One merchant told us that he was selling an average of 25 additional suits a month to his regular clientele, some of whom had gone back to work, some of whom had upgraded their jobs and some who had felt a comfort zone in the increased volume of dollars being spent in their community.

Others said they had experienced an increase in business as casinos were opening, but that the business had tapered off, so we went into the community and asked some questions. We also found that they were suffering from the mall syndrome. A large mall had opened about 10 miles from the downtown core. Instead of organizing, they disorganized and eventually disbanded their retail association of merchants as they moved out or closed their doors. Thus, there were no unified promotional efforts in place when casino gaming came to town.

Let me assure you that this is not the case here in Windsor and Essex county. Our business associations are strong, well-organized and understand competition, especially from across the border. We have learned to compete with each other on all levels. We are lobbying the marketing boards, we are learning better buying habits so that savings can be passed on to consumers, we are training our employees to present a better level of service and we've even instituted a value assurance award program for merchants who excel in service, fair value and fair exchange of US dollars. This program has been instituted through our Windsor and District Chamber of Commerce.

As Ontario's largest border city and the gateway to Canada, we also have a track record and a clear understanding of tourism and its economic impact. The International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus states that each visitor spends an average of US$850 for a three-day stay in our area, and we are out to get it.

The Downtown Business Association for years has been promoting itself quite successfully to the 4.1 million users of Detroit's Cobo Convention Center and to the more than three million visitors to the Renaissance Center, also located in downtown Detroit. This is done through two Visit Windsor/Visit Ontario exhibit centres that are staffed daily by Windsorites. We work every convention, every meeting, every trade show that comes to town. We do the auto show, the boat show, the cat show, the dog show, the Society of Automotive Engineers with 40,000 delegates, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers with 30,000 delegates annually and everything in between. You see, we understand that if one of those visitors makes their first visit to Canada at Windsor, more than likely their next visit to Canada will be an overnight stay.

We have already successfully, in partnership with the city of Detroit, hosted more than 20 regional conventions over the last four years, with both cities' downtown hotels filled to capacity, and we've worked hard to achieve this. Most recently, the International Chiefs of Police convention was here, with 8,000 delegates dropping millions of dollars. Yes, we have an understanding of tourism here in Windsor. We already have the red carpet to Ontario laid out.

In the world marketplace, Windsor will become a regional tourism destination. I am confident we can compete with larger American gaming cities, both near and far, for discretionary entertainment dollars, because Windsor can offer something to our visitors that those cities can't, and that is the international flavour of Canada.

In closing, let me say you're in good hands here in Windsor. We have strong constitutions; we understand cross-border shopping, as we have been dealing with it since furs and canoes were on the river. But it will only be through your diligence that this industry can create a win-win situation for all. With the passing of Bill 8, Windsor will lead the way for casino gaming in Ontario. Work with us, learn with us, as we are like sponges and we thirst for the knowledge to make this new industry, casino gaming, profitable for all.

In final conclusion, quite simply, let's do it; let's make it happen. I welcome any questions.

The Chair: We have approximately seven minutes per caucus. We're going to start with Mr Carr.


Mr Carr: I was interested in one of the figures you used, the US$850 for a three-day stay in the area. When we asked the government, specifically when the deputy was here, how much they anticipated, they didn't anticipate nearly that much. They said what they see is when people are coming over now -- I know you say for three days, but they say most people who are going over are coming back and their studies say their spending was just for dinner and a drink.

Why the big discrepancy? And aren't these figures out of whack a little bit because this is specifically for casino gambling purposes, the 8,000 coming in? How much do you anticipate people spending? There's a big difference between US$850 and what the government says, so it's probably somewhere in between.

From your best guess as a businessman in the hospitality industry, when the Americans come over to gamble, how much outside will each of them spend approximately? I know it's a guess, but what's your guess?

Mr Williams: I'll try to qualify the numbers for you. Not to discredit the government and the numbers that you were given, but I must clarify that the Detroit convention bureau is the oldest convention bureau in the world. It's over 100 years old, so they have been monitoring these programs for many years.

The International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus has done surveys in the marketplace for many years and these numbers have been given to us and have been monitored for almost 10 years in our area, more specifically in Detroit, but most recently, in the last three years, they've considered us a regional destination.

So I would almost tell you that those numbers are low, but I must share with you that included in that is the cost of an airline ticket.

Mr Carr: I hope you're right. It just seems that when you're comparing people going -- and there will be some convention business too -- but a large part of them will be just day trips coming over, so it won't be that high. We hope they spend a lot.

Another question relating to the jobs that are coming in: I notice you had put in a letter that you're representing one of the proponents, but what do you believe will be the number of actual jobs? The government has said it will be 2,500 in the casino actually. When it gets up and running, how many people do you think will be employed in the casino, direct jobs?

Mr Williams: This will be my own personal opinion. Having surveyed different facilities similar in size and similar to the style that we are going to operate and in the consideration that this will not be a hotel with a casino but a casino in itself, I would think we are somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500 jobs directly at the casino facility, taking in the valets, the car parkers, the seamstress, whatever will be onsite.

Mr Carr: With your background, being in the hospitality industry, one of the concerns I have, not to be negative about it, but there are some restrictions. There's no liquor in there. They're attempting to do a little bit different style than Las Vegas and Atlantic City, which may be to the advantage of the community not having the restaurants so we can get surrounding spinoffs and so on. But the big key -- and I notice your background is in marketing -- is, what does the average US gambler want? Because if they don't, they'll go to another place. There are casinos all over and more of them.

Your best guess of the US gamblers coming in and the way it is being set up to be a little bit different, do you think we are going to get a high proportion of the US gamblers coming back and saying, "This is the type of gambling casino I'd like to come to," knowing some of the restrictions that have been placed on it by the government and knowing they're going to compete with Las Vegas? Are the gamblers going to continue to come back here? You're probably the one with the biggest marketing expertise we've had come through. Will it work and will they continue to come back?

Mr Williams: There are a number of questions to answer and I'll try to answer them all but, please, if I don't, ask me again because I'd like to answer every one of them.

Mr Carr: That's fine.

Mr Williams: Because this is Canada, the flavour that we have here is one of the main reasons people will come. That comes from being on the front line with the downtown business association in Detroit. We literally talk with the Japanese -- although I don't speak Japanese -- but we do confront with them. We talk to these delegates. We make the decisions basically for them when they come over to Ontario. It's the charm of Canada that brings the visitors here and that's the first thing we have to offer.

As a private company, we have surveyed consumers through the auto show, through the boat show and these different consumer shows. I am not going to disclose all of those numbers, but I will tell you that of the 7,000 people we surveyed, I would think that liquor is a component in their decisions for some of the entertainment they enjoy. We also found, though, that casino gaming was not the priority on the list of 10 items for making a vacation visit, other than those who chose Las Vegas or Atlantic City as a destination.

I do say to you that the liquor laws have changed over the years from Prohibition and on to even purchasing alcohol on Sundays. This is a test and I think we should treat it as such and be concerned as to the visitor who comes to our area. But I think we can compromise at the outset and the visitor will clearly be well pleased with the alcohol consumption being done in certain areas at this time.

Mr Duignan: We have no questions at this time.

The Chair: Mr Callahan.

Mr Callahan: Mr McClelland will go first.

Mr McClelland: Mr Williams, I'm going to read into the record, for Hansard, a letter that was sent by yourself on August 13 to the clerk of the committee. I'll read only the third paragraph and ask, Mr Chair, that the letter in its entirety be made an exhibit to the hearings. I read paragraph 3:

"Please note that I am on the advisory committee as well as a paid consultant of one of the proponents bidding for the Windsor casino and will advise the committee of same at the outset of my presentation. Please be assured that my affiliation with the proponent will not be a consideration nor will it be included in any part of discussion both written and oral."

I then, sir, want to refer you to page 4 of your submission and the third-from-last paragraph which begins, "Most recently a group of merchants and business leaders returned from a visit...." I believe that visit was to Mississippi.

Mr Williams, you were here this morning. Were there other people you saw presenting this morning who were members of that group as well?

Mr Williams: Yes, sir.

Mr McClelland: Would that include people who came here, taking nothing away from their representation, Mr Deeg and Mr Funaro?

Mr Williams: Ms Funaro, yes.

Mr McClelland: Were there others who have appeared before the committee, to your knowledge, such as yesterday, who were also members of that trip?

Mr Williams: Yes, sir.

Mr McClelland: Who paid for that trip, sir?

Mr Williams: The proponent paid for the trip.

Mr McClelland: Okay, and would that proponent be Grand Casinos?

Mr Williams: Yes, it is.

Mr McClelland: Thank you.

Mr Callahan: If I can follow up on that, you're a member of the advisory committee. Is that the advisory committee that's referred to under paragraph 4 of the Request for Proposals, which refers to, "Any attempt on the part of proponents or any of their employees, agents, contractors or representatives to contact any of the following persons with respect to this RFP may lead to disqualification"?

I'm going to jump down to the one which reads, "Any members of the review panel or any expert or other adviser assisting the selection committee." Is that the advisory panel you're on?

Mr Williams: I'm on a community advisory panel here in the city of Windsor.

Mr Callahan: How is that linked with the selection process?

Mr Williams: I'm not involved in the selection process at all, sir.

Mr Callahan: Well, you felt -- and I commend you for doing it -- it was important to advise us at the outset that you were on an advisory committee as well as a paid consultant. In your capacity on the advisory committee, is that the BIA advisory committee you are talking about or is that something more closely related to the selection and review panel?

Mr Williams: I am on the advisory committee for one of the proponents on behalf of our community.

Mr Callahan: What does that entail?

Mr Williams: It involves bringing forth information regarding our charitable organizations, our business improvement associations, our chamber of commerce, whatever information that may be necessary to better understand our community.

Mr Callahan: Perhaps we should look into this. I don't want to create any difficulties, but I want to find out how he fits into paragraph 4 and how his actions as being a paid consultant for Grand Casinos are affected by paragraph 4 of the Request for Proposals, because that section says that if that's the relationship, it may lead to disqualification. I think that's something very important to determine. I'm not trying to go on a witchhunt or anything here.


Mr Williams: I'd like to clarify that I did advise that prior to my presentation last week by telephone and also in writing and was suggesting that if this was improper I would not represent our community today.

Mr Callahan: I almost stopped you before you started going into it, in fairness, because I kind of thought you were -- I gather you spoke to the clerk and the clerks of these committees are the most marvellous people in the world, but they're not going to give you advice one way or the other. I'm sure, knowing the clerks as I do, they would've told you that, that "I can't advise," that you can put it in writing and let the members know, but I have some concerns.

As I say I should've and had thought about asking the Chairman at the outset to clear that matter up before you spoke because I have some serious concerns that your connection, and I'm not quite sure what that connection is, may in fact have placed in jeopardy the question of Grand Casinos, because, if you fit in the category of paragraph 4 of the rules, then you may have in fact breached them. I don't know. I'm just asking for some assistance.

The Chair: I just want to say that I did scrutinize the letter of August 13 that has been referred to and the submission, and I think that Mr Williams made it clear that he was representing the Downtown Business Association. That in itself is not a conflict. Until you raised this point, it wouldn't have been raised before the committee at all.

Mr McClelland: That's precisely the point.

Mr Callahan: Excuse me, just a second, Mr Chair, I know what you're saying, but Mr Williams in fact indicated to us in the letter that he would advise us of this at the outset. He didn't. That gave me some concern and that's why during it I almost stopped, but I didn't want to interrupt the gentleman, and asked you for a ruling on it.

Mr Williams: May I clarify?

The Chair: I would just like to say one thing first, Mr Williams, and that was the fact that we all had this letter placed before us and he said he was going to say verbally during his submission that this was the case, I didn't know if that was necessary or not. He didn't. We all knew what he represented and he's claiming and duly has submitted that he represents the Downtown Business Association. I didn't see that as a conflict.

Mr Callahan: I have no problem with that, Mr Chairman. I'm not trying to create a witchhunt here. In fact I think the man has been quite upfront in terms of giving us that information. All I'm saying is, I know the minister was quite properly unhappy about the visit that took place. She said so in the press. What I want to find out, for the benefit of this gentleman as well as everybody else, is what he has done and is his capacity a breach or grounds for disqualification under section 4. I know it's permissive and it may well be that whoever decides that will say, "This gentleman was upfront with us. He told us what he was doing and therefore the group should not be dismissed," but I think we should find that out so we know what the grounds are.

The Chair: I'm going to let Mr Williams respond. I'd also like to add again that he made it clear he was representing the Downtown Business Association. His submission pertained to and was directly related to that. I didn't see that as a conflict. Had he raised other issues in his presentation, that may be the case, in my opinion. Mr Williams, you did want to say something.

Mr Williams: Believe me, I thought that I took every effort in presenting my association, with my community, as well as with the proponent prior to being here. If that's not the case, then I clearly am misunderstanding the procedure. I did make the telephone call. I did speak directly with the clerk on the premises here. I did advise with a hard copy of the letter on Monday on my first arrival here. I did discuss it again this morning. I did prepare a hard copy of the letter for your presence. At the outset, I would think that if anyone had an ill feeling of that, it should have been spoken at that time, before I made my presentation.

The Chair: Mr Kwinter, you wanted to say something?

Mr Kwinter: Mr Williams, I have another concern. I've been sitting listening, and I understand there are at least four, and I'd like to know from you the exact number -- there may be more -- of the people over the last two days who have been making presentations to us and telling us about their trip down to Mississippi -- I certainly had the impression while I was sitting here that this was an ad hoc committee put together by the city of Windsor to go down and investigate what is the impact on a particular community from casino gambling. I now find for the first time, after listening to this, that all of these people had their way paid to go down by a proponent, which puts them into a conflict situation.

I think they should have at least declared: "You should know that one of the proponents took me down to Mississippi." That puts some sort of an onus on them, and I don't want to put it in crass terms, that: "This is payback time. We're going to go to the committee, and to show you our appreciation for taking us down there, we are going to speak in favour of this proposal."

I have no problem with the idea of a municipal committee going down and making that investigation and coming back and saying, "Here's what we've done." But I think in fairness, and I think in fairness to the process for other proponents, to have deputations here putting themselves forward as citizens of the community, which they are, without declaring the fact that they may be in a conflict situation -- because, I can tell you, in the Legislature it would be illegal for any of us to have done that.

To have these people appear without declaring that and without letting the committee know that this was how they got there and why they were there and that there is an implicit obligation on their part because of the fact that a particular proponent paid their way down, looked after them, did whatever they did and brought them back -- and now these people, virtually every one of them, one after the other after the other, coming forward and talking about what a great thing they saw and some of the things that they did. That's the concern that I have.

Mr Williams: If I'm not mistaken, this was presented at legislation, and there are written documents and so on in place regarding this visitation. It's unfortunate that our community did not allow for the forum for our business leaders to take the opportunity to visit locations of emerging gaming. We are a small community. Many of these people should have taken the trip. If all of the proponents, I suppose, asked, we all would have gone. I don't think they felt that they were in violation of anything. They are all acting on their own behalf, representing their own businesses and their own associations in Windsor and Essex county.

Our integrity, I think, is at stake here. I don't feel that they meant to misrepresent themselves. We are good citizens in this community. Our intention is only to give you the best possible knowledge that we can as business people in our community. That's our intent, and that's all our intent ever was. The fact that we made the visit on the trip -- we would go to any city if we were invited to do that, but we weren't.

The Chair: I just want to make a comment as a non-partisan person, as the Chair should be. I have been here consistently throughout these hearings so far; I have not missed anything except for maybe a very few minutes out in the lobby. I have not had anyone come forward and say that they were a proponent or ask for support of a particular proponent. I just wanted to note that certainly I think all the committee members would agree that's been the case, and indeed you haven't come forward as a proponent either, or representing a proponent.

We're almost at the end of the time here. However, Mr McClelland.

Mr McClelland: I think it's an important point. Far be it for me to be presumptuous and give you advice, but I think perhaps we should leave that determination about the appropriateness to another time and perhaps another place, and we'll deal with that in its own right.

The question that I would ask of you as Chair is to utilize the power and the authority that you have, together with the residual authority of the Speaker, to determine how many presenters to this committee, to the best of our knowledge or from what we can ascertain, were in fact paid guests of Grand Casinos or any proponent. I think it's important that we be advised of that. I'm talking specifically of presenters we've heard to date and I'd ask you as Chair to undertake to make sure that is dealt with in the appropriate manner.

The Chair: I'll find out that information for you.

Mr Williams, I want to thank you very much for presenting before the committee today and I hope everything goes well for you.

Mr Williams: Thank you.



The Chair: Our next presenter today is Citizens Opposed to Casino Gambling, and we have Rev Donald Bardwell, if you would like to come forward and make yourself comfortable, sir. Welcome to the committee, Rev Bardwell. You have 30 minutes with which you can make your presentation. You can use all that time or save a portion of it for questions.

Rev W. Donald Bardwell: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. I really appreciate the opportunity to be here. At the end of my presentation there's a little dialogue that I'd like to enter into, and I have one of my colleagues, Doug Sly, with me. I would like to ask whether it would be appropriate, and with your permission, at that time to ask him just to join me. Would that be all right?

The Chair: You can have him come forward right now if you'd like and he can sit with you and we can introduce him directly so that we all know who he is and we'll have his name for Hansard.

Rev Dr Bardwell: I have been known on occasion to divert and stray from my text, so I'm going to read this, but on other occasions I don't always do that.

The Chair: Rev Bardwell, just before you start, if you could introduce your --

Rev Dr Bardwell: I'd like to introduce Rev Doug Sly, who has been a member of the citizens opposed to the casino project team.

The Chair: Please proceed.

Rev Dr Bardwell: This presentation represents the reflections and concerns of Citizens Opposed to Casino Gambling, of which I happen to be the co-chair. The other co-chair, the Rev Mrs Kaija Ranta, is in Finland undertaking graduate studies, else she would be our able spokesperson today. I'm joined, as I've said, by the Rev Douglas Sly, a member of our team.

Our little group was formed rather spontaneously in the spring of 1992 when it first became apparent that a modest casino was being proposed as a way of financing the anticipated sportsplex for this city. Since that time we've gathered about 4,000 signatures petitioning against casino gambling, held a public forum on the issue, had a large number of conversations with individual people who've contacted us and written numerous letters and visited several members of the Legislature in Toronto.

The editorial in Monday night's August 16 edition of the Windsor Star reflects, correctly, in our view, a prevailing opinion that any attempt now to convince others that the introduction of casino gambling is an unwise move for the long run is an impossible undertaking. However, during our deliberations and consultations we have met many people who have asked probing questions and have expressed opposition to what we feel is an ill-advised venture.

It is appropriate, however, that we should not excuse ourselves from our obligation to see that viewpoints raised by such constituents are expressed as clearly and as forcibly as possible. That is the democratic process, but the first point we raise is that the democratic principle of debate in open forum where differing views can be explored and debated before being confronted by already made decisions or action proposals has not been followed.

Ever since Windsor city council endorsed the introduction of casino gambling to this city, there's been very little opportunity to discuss in an open way some of the deeper issues that are at stake. Opposition to the proposal, which has ended up as Bill 8, has been reduced to being opposed to particular actions to be taken. There has been little opportunity to discuss government-approved and -commended casino gambling as a form of recreation that citizens of this province and elsewhere are encouraged to enjoy, other than taking an adversary position. There never was any kind of white paper dealing with the issues of casino gambling.

People who have talked with us also have raised the question of the adequacy of vision of a government getting this long-term enterprise off the ground. With all of the economic problems that we face, why do we have to settle for this? Why not something else? We are told that Ontario is behind the times in terms of getting on board with the gambling craze that is captivating North America, but there seems to be little serious leadership by the government for any reflection on the nature of this gambling fever, its causes and its possible detrimental effects.

People we talk to and have talked with us ask, in what way does this kind of activity build up a sense of community within the city? There is an expectation expressed to us of greater visionary leadership for our time. That expectation is being diluted by a certain, if unfortunate, cynicism about our own civility and also for the high office of being elected to govern.

Many believe that there are long-term ethical issues for a government to promote legalized casino gambling that have not yet surfaced, let alone been resolved. We've been consumed by the technology of the casino world, rather than its meaning and its purpose. An article in the August 11, 1993, edition of the Windsor Star by Dr Megeed Ragab, professor of business strategy at the University of Windsor, cautioned that to make the casino a success, every possible opportunity must be seized upon now that the ethical and moral issues have been put to rest.

Our lament is that the ethical consequences of gambling that pervade our society in so many forms and are now given new hype by casino gambling have never been allowed to get out of bed in the morning, let alone make their way into the living room for more civilized discussion.

If one raises the question of morality or the common good of all of this, there has been a certain spirit, if you will, of intimidation, a certain humiliation. It is the media, the television, radio and newspaper reporters, who have tried to be fair in this, and given the voices of opposition an opportunity to be heard and encouraged issues to be raised. It is members of the opposition parties as well as a few members of the government itself, one of whom has felt it necessary to resign and sit as an independent over this matter, who have tried to point out some of the pitfalls of this enterprise, but so far we have not been aware of thoughtful and reflective people being able to bring about a collective wisdom and vision on this matter without becoming adversaries and the issue becoming divisive.

We ask whether such divisiveness is going to impact upon this city. Windsor has a history and a legacy of pulling together. There has been a certain cohesiveness where citizens have sensed a spirit of belonging, and there is a fear that the consequences, both social, moral and economic, may be divisive among us.

It is that concern for a sense of what contributes to the common good that motivated the people of Detroit and Port Huron to say no to casino gambling. Our native sisters and brothers on Walpole Island have a vision and a hope and a dream that there has to be a better way than this. We ask our leaders to bring a vision of the promised land and we are presented with the technology of a temple of chance.

We now list more specific concerns that have been raised and that we raise.

There is a belief on the part of many that casino gambling is an invitation to increased crime. The question persists, as we in Windsor listen to events of crime across the river and as we read of the downside effects of casino gambling in other cities and as we anticipate 8,000 to 12,000 people coming over the bridge or through the tunnel daily, what makes us think we can be special? But it isn't only the increase of crime that is the problem; it is the perception that there will be an increase in crime and not adequate policing to prevent that from occurring that is the fear.


There is the matter of persons who become addicted to gambling and suffer serious loss of money, of home and of family. Statistics range from 3% to 5%. The costs are enormous here. What provision is being made to help persons so affected and their families? The people who can least afford it face the prospect of losing a great deal.

With the possibility of 8,000 to 12,000 persons coming into Windsor on a daily and nightly basis, what consideration has been given to the demand that will be made on our medical facilities in this city and what will be the continuing availability of those facilities to the residents of our city?

If a private American company runs the casino, what real, guaranteed assurances are there that special arrangements will not be made down the road to allow them to bring in their own people already trained at the management and operational level, leaving only the most menial jobs for our local citizens?

Finally, there is a particular concern, with all that we have heard, that the character of the city will be affected and changed. What will these changes look like? We are told that Windsor is a pilot project. There is a fear that any evaluation of this project in a serious manner will simply be overshadowed by the enormous profits and the enormous capital investment of such an enterprise and that we will be left to deal with the long-term effects.

That's why we were so interested in a conversation on the program Venture between Robert Scully and Donald Trump, aired on the CBC, April 4, 1993, which went as follows, and I would like, with my friend Doug Sly, just to take us through that dialogue:

Rev Douglas Sly: "Donald Trump: I do indeed have my eyes on a casino in Windsor. I've spoken with the mayor, Mayor Hurst, and spoken with a number of people. And if we get it, we'll do a beautiful job. There won't be anything to compete with it. It will be a beautiful job."

Rev Dr Bardwell: "Robert Scully: Now you know the fears that have always existed with gambling. You've had all these questions before, but they'll come up again: organized crime and also the social costs of the whole thing because sometimes it's not the richest people who go there to gamble. What's your answer to these two questions?"

Rev Mr Sly: "Mr Trump: Gaming doesn't come cheap and I have to agree with a lot of the critics on that. It brings crime. It brings prostitution. It brings a lot of things that maybe areas didn't have before.... There's a big cost to pay.

"I mean, most jurisdictions have considered gaming and most jurisdictions, even though right now it seems to be the craze, but most jurisdictions have rejected it. And the ones that have accepted it, many of them, if you gave them their choice again, they would have turned it down."

Rev Dr Bardwell: "Mr Scully: That's odd coming from somebody who owns three casinos."

Rev Mr Sly: "Mr Trump: No, no. I'm telling you the facts. The facts are that it's just been a very negative experience for a lot of cities and a lot of areas. And again most people -- well, they've been looking at gambling in Florida for years and Florida has correctly turned it down. Florida's a booming economy. It's doing great and they've decided not to rely on the casinos.

"New Orleans is going to do a casino and it's going to totally change that whole incredible city. It's going to change it. It's going to be a different city."

Rev Dr Bardwell: "Mr Scully: Is it going to be worse?"

Rev Mr Sly: "Mr Trump: Well, it's going to be a city much different and perhaps worse. You can't say worse, but perhaps it will be worse. I mean, the French Quarter, these areas of New Orleans, these are classic great areas. This is not a city that's got problems from the traditional standpoint. And it's going to be a very much different place. So you really have to be careful with a gaming experiment, and we'll see what happens."

Rev Dr Bardwell: "Mr Scully: But would your pitch, if I understand it correctly, your pitch to the people in Ontario might be: `Listen, it's bad, but with me it will be a class act'? Is that what you're saying?"

Rev Mr Sly: "Mr Trump: Well, I think what I would say is this. If it's properly done and properly executed it could be really good. It's going to bring certain problems. The problems can be taken care of. If Windsor didn't need it, I'd almost say, hey, maybe you're better off without it. Because it does bring problems. There's no question about it."

Rev Dr Bardwell: "Mr Scully: Isn't the market about to be spoiled in North America because everybody is hankering after it? As you say, some jurisdictions end up turning it down, but now Montreal has said it will go that route, some native communities want to go that route...Windsor...Isn't the market about to be saturated?"

Rev Mr Sly: "Mr Trump: I think the market's going to have a lot of it and you're also building a larger base. For instance, people going up to certain casinos out in Minnesota, they come to Atlantic City, they come to Las Vegas, because they want to see the real scene and really what it's like.

"And it's very interesting that you build up a market. People that have never gambled before are all of a sudden...and now I'm not saying that it's a good thing or a bad thing, I'm just saying that as a business probably it will have a positive impact because more and more people start to learn how to play slot machines, how to play poker. They learn how to gamble and, or...most people don't learn how to gamble...so you could also say that.

"But the fact is you're also opening up vast markets and from my standpoint that's probably a good thing. From an overall standpoint I'm not sure as to whether or not that's a good thing."

Rev Dr Bardwell: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

The Acting Chair (Mr Gordon Mills): Thank you, Rev Bardwell and Rev Sly. In accordance with our procedure, now we have about four minutes each for each caucus to ask some questions. We're going to start off with the government side and Mr Martin.

Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): I want to thank you for coming forward and I indeed, for what it's worth, express to you that it is important, even though it may seem like this is after the fact or the decision has been made and that you're not going to have impact, that you do bring forth your position and your concerns. I think you've raised some rather legitimate and real concerns in this paper, and certainly they're not concerns that have gone undebated or talked about in the government circle. We have indeed a lot of people in our caucus who come from places where actually a sense of moral duty was what brought us to government in the first place. I myself worked for a church and ran a soup kitchen and counselled families with teenagers and did a whole lot of that kind of thing.

Casinos weren't something I gave a lot of thought to before I came to government or even after government, because I come from a Roman Catholic background and a lot of us were brought up on bingos and found ourselves from time to time volunteering in that venue. Certainly, there were people there who shouldn't have been there, spending money they really couldn't afford to spend. I'm sure that in the casino business there will be the same thing. I guess, to suggest that all of a sudden, because we introduce casinos to the economic fabric of the province, prostitution and crime and that kind of thing will rear its ugly head -- it's already here, and I guess the question is, how do we minimize it? If we're going to introduce something new -- and I suggest that anything new brings with it the potential for abuse.

I guess my question to you would be in trying to help me sort out some of it, because I'm sure this initiative will be introduced and well on its way and a number of us, including myself, will still be questioning, I suppose, whether it was the right thing to do in the first place. But how can we minimize the social impact and how can we maximize the economic benefit to the community and make it as legitimate as possible? You'll agree with me, I would think, that the way we do business and commerce in our country and across the world has changed significantly in the last number of years. It used to be that we were counselled not to buy anything we couldn't afford to pay for. Now we all go out and mortgage homes and take out loans to buy cars on the expectation that we'll be able to afford to pay for them. In the end, some of us are not able to and find ourselves in trouble or having to change course or whatever, and that causes great stress on marriages and families and that kind of thing.

Will the introduction of casinos to the economic fabric of Ontario add significantly -- I guess you're saying here that it will -- to the numbers of people who find themselves in difficulty because they've wagered, any more than what life offers them now by way of wagering and taking a chance on the things we buy and put our money towards?

Rev Dr Bardwell: I think it's raising the stakes. It's raising the ante on it and I think, by a government introducing this and supporting it, it gives to a lot of people the idea that this is the right thing to do. With you, I share the concern. I read recently that it used to be that on our Visa and MasterCard credit cards we were encouraged to pay that off within the 30-day period or whatever. But I read in the paper about a month ago that now Canadians, and I guess everywhere -- but now it's a question not of doing that but of getting the Visa card and then the MasterCard and now the GM Visa card and the Discover card and borrowing up to the limit of those cards. So if I have $4,000 of credit on my Visa, it isn't that I will spend $500 and pay it off within the time, which I personally do, but it is rather that I will borrow up to that $4,000 limit and I will live at that. I think you put your finger on a very important point.


When you say "worldwide," there's a difference in the way we do business. I agree with that, but I think there's also a difference in terms of how the ordinary citizen is looked upon in terms of being expected to manage his finances. You talk about what we can do. I think there's a lot more education that's going to be needed. I think there's a lot more encouragement for us to be honest, caring and responsible citizens. I am really, frankly, worried.

I had one person in my study yesterday. I've known him for some time. For three years I was on the counselling staff at Brentwood Recovery Home for Alcoholics. I think Brentwood does an excellent job in terms of helping the alcoholic, it helps the person who is a workaholic and it helps a person who is sexually addicted. Those are three things that I think that resource does. I share the concern around a gambling addiction. This person came and he said: "I don't know. We've lost it as far as our family is concerned now. We're over $12,000 in debt." I think that unless we're very vigilant in this, there's going to be a mindset that this is really okay. I have concerns that the introduction of casino gambling increases the hype of all of this.

The Acting Chair: With that comment, I just have to advise you that we're out of time for the government caucus, and I move to Mr McClelland.

Mr McClelland: Thank you. I appreciate that.

The Acting Chair: You have four minutes.

Mr McClelland: I doubt if I'll use that. I just wanted to indicate, reverend sirs, that we appreciate your being here. Indeed, I think it reasonable to say that we should face reality. The fact of the matter is that the government has made a determination, and so be it. I think that at the end of the day, your concerns expressed so very well at the end of the complete paragraph on page 3 say it succinctly.

I would hope that the outcome of this committee would be that there would be some thoughtful collective consideration of the concerns that you raise. I suppose, when all is said and done, the decision having been made, what we can do and seek to do as colleagues all, as Mr Martin has so well indicated, is to try to address the problems and the concerns that you have.

I think it evident, not only from the submissions that you have made but from others, that there will be downside effects. I suppose that in fact is oft-times the reality of life: With every benefit, there is, more often than not, a potential burden. We would hope the concerns that you have raised, representing both the members of your congregations and the citizens at large of Windsor, would be addressed effectively by this process.

I know that may sound somewhat esoteric and pie-in-the-sky, but I just want to add, as a representative of our caucus, that we will do our utmost to have the answers as we are able to attain them, assurances that some amendments may be forthcoming and things that you will put in writing. Nothing is cast in stone, but we will be doing our best to have some of these addressed in a substantive, concrete manner.

Again, I just say thank you for your contribution. Rest assured that I think, in the goodwill of all of our colleagues, we'll do our best to address those concerns. If you care to add anything, please feel free to do so, sirs.

Mr Carr: Thank you very much for the presentation. I too have had a lot of letters from a lot of church groups, and you didn't touch on some of the religious reasons for gambling. Is there anything you'd like to add from that standpoint in terms of reasons, either through the Bible -- at the risk of mixing religion in politics, is there anything in it that would lead a lot of the church groups to be voicing opposition, as they have to me?

Rev Mr Sly: If I may, Mr Chairman, I am a minister in a city in the east end of Windsor, which is a lower-middle-class area, and we have in our congregation a fairly large benevolent fund that we raise from contributions from people in the congregation for people who need groceries and vouchers for various things, but mostly for food, and we have a number of welfare families in our congregation.

My concern I think throughout this whole year and year and a half has been the appropriateness of government to be in a kind of industry where people lose things. That's been part of it.

The other thing is that my concern has also been for people who are not very good at handling their money and who want to get that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and who are willing to gamble pretty much whatever they want. I don't know whether any consideration has been given that a cash-only stipulation could very well be a deterrent for people who want to make that pot of gold. If that were a kind of deterrent, it may very well be a saving device for people going into a large amount of debt. That would be one of my basic concerns.

Mr Carr: What do you say then if it is the issue of the governments taking money from people who can least afford it? The same thing of course is the case with lotteries. How do you argue when you say, "We already have lotteries and people will be doing the same thing with the lotteries"? How do you argue that, saying we already have it and we already have big deals, it's just the government doing it now? How would you counter that charge?

Rev Mr Sly: I feel that the government involvement in this is for me irresponsible in the sense of creating a sense of responsible citizenship on the part of people. That is, I would think that the function of government for me is quite different from being involved in a kind of recreational industry in which people are losing out. The whole approach to this is based upon greed, really, and it's one of the things that people can get something for nothing. That kind of approach, it appears to me, is on the part of government -- I cannot really accept the government's involvement in an industry in which this happens.

Mr Carr: Thank you very much, Reverend.

The Acting Chair: Thank you, Rev Bardwell and Rev Sly, for appearing before the committee. On behalf of the committee, I thank you. The committee stands adjourned until 1 pm.

The committee recessed from 1159 to 1305.


The Chair: I'm calling the standing committee on finance and economic affairs to order. Our first presenter this afternoon is Mr Dwight Duncan, vice-chair of the strategic planning committee, Windsor city council. Please be seated and make yourself comfortable. Welcome before the committee, Mr Duncan. You have 30 minutes to make your presentation. You may use all of that to make a presentation or leave some time for questions, if you wish. Please proceed.

Mr Dwight Duncan: I don't intend to take the full amount of time that's been allotted to me. The mayor, Michael Hurst, spoke from the official position of the city of Windsor. I will try to avoid any repetition with what the mayor has said, but there are several issues I would individually like to address to this committee and to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. I think I can summarize them in relatively short order.

I want to deal with the background of the gaming initiative in our community in the first instance. I'd also like to address two very specific concerns with respect to Bill 8 and then finally address one or two process issues in terms of the dialogue that I've witnessed in the Legislature with respect to this casino initiative in our community and our community's approach to it.

The casino came at the city of Windsor in February 1992. Prior to 1992, the city and the county and our entire community engaged in a process called Prosperity 2000, which was an economic strategic planning document that was designed from this community's perspective to help us address the cyclical declines in the automobile industry and help us achieve, we would hope, a more diversified local economy in the long term.

There were seven strategies that came out of the Prosperity 2000 document. One of those strategies was the improvement of what was identified in that document as tourism infrastructure or hospitality infrastructure.

Consultations with our local tourism industry and the hotels and the providers of services pointed out that this community lacked any kind of destination attraction or any kind of tourism facility that would cause somebody in either Frankenmuth or Parma, Ohio, or Markham, Ontario, to want to come to Windsor.

Frankly, at the time the document was formulated, I don't think anybody envisioned casino gambling being on the public agenda, but when the developer came to city council and said, "As part of the multi-use facility that you have approved, I would like to put a small casino in, along the lines of the Winnipeg casino" -- and I'm sure you know the history behind that -- city council was asked to endorse this concept. All of you are elected members. I remember when I was sitting listening to discussion and contemplating how I was going to vote, I thought: "This is a good idea. It makes sense and it falls right into line with our Prosperity 2000 initiative." But I also remember thinking to myself, "I'm going to vote for this and I'm going to fasten my seatbelt, because I have a suspicion there's going to be tremendous opposition." So we endorsed the concept.

Lo and behold, there were no phone calls the next day. In fact, the support began to mount very quickly. I should point out to you that this initiative, this endorsation of casino gambling happened a full four months before the province of Ontario contemplated it publicly. In fact, two years earlier our previous mayor had proposed a similar concept. He proposed that there be riverboat gambling using the charitable rules, and that never got off the ground.

But in any event, when it came to us, we were prepared to support it and did so with some trepidation. But what happened was that the community got behind it, and I would suspect that if you did a poll or a survey, you would find probably overwhelming support in this community.

You heard from the Rev Don Bardwell earlier today, a very good friend of mine. He and I worked together in the same social service agency for many years, and he represents a very real point of view but a very small point of view in this community. For whatever reason, for a variety of reasons, the support in the community built. Then the government listened to us and incorporated it in its budget of 1992. Then finally, in September 1992, they announced the city of Windsor as the sole pilot project.

What I want to stress today to this committee, particularly to those members who have somehow got the impression that there's a groundswell of anti-casino feelings in this community, is that they're not here. This is something that is welcomed in this community. I hope the opposition will focus its concerns on the types of issues that were raised by the mayor on Monday and recognize that this community, across all party lines, across labour and across management, supports the initiative.

I also want to point out, as a member of city council and as someone who has been intimately involved in this process, that none of us in a position of leadership in this community views this as any kind of panacea for our economic problems; we don't. This document views tourism infrastructure as one component of what will hopefully be a longer-term strategy that will lessen our dependence on the auto industry and, as a corollary of course, lessen the impact of the normal cyclical ups and downs that industry goes through.

We take great exception to the notion that somehow we're just like kids who are waiting for things to be thrown to us and that we're wiping our hands in glee. To suggest that this community hasn't thought this through, to suggest that any of us in a position of leadership don't recognize that there are problems associated with this initiative is to betray real lack of understanding of what has gone on in this community in terms of economic development over the last five years.

The point I really want to leave you with is that none of us in this community believes that the casino is the be-all or the end-all, that none of us believes that it's going to permanently eliminate problems or concerns with the cyclical downturns in the auto industry, but that it is one component of what will hopefully be a number of strategies.

Another strategy that was announced in the Prosperity 2000 document was government jobs. We of course were very disappointed that we lost our Ministry of Labour jobs. That hurt, even in light of the casino initiative. We will continue to fight not only the provincial government but hopefully the federal government for commitments to locate either central jobs or more regional jobs in our community.

This process has been well thought out in this community. There's nobody in this community who believes it's the be-all or the end-all. It's something we're prepared to deal with. This community is not represented in the opposition benches. I would hope that as members of the opposition contemplate their position on this issue, they will take into consideration the fact that our local labour council, our local chamber of commerce and our local municipal council have all unanimously endorsed this concept and are prepared to fight for it and are prepared to stand up for what we believe is in the best interests of this community.

With respect to the specific concerns in the bill, I think a number of us on city council feel probably much like a parent who has had to give up a baby for adoption. We let the genie out of the bottle, if you will. We had some specific ideas of our own, and now a lot of it is out of our hands. The two concerns I have with Bill 8 specifically are: In terms of the Ontario Casino Corp, there's no provision for local representation on the board of the Ontario Casino Corp. Given that this corporation, at least over the next couple of years, will be a Windsor corporation -- and where the government goes or future governments go in terms of casinos I'm not concerned with at this point -- given the fact that this corporation will be a major employer in the city of Windsor and will be the major crown corporation presence in the city of Windsor, my hope would be that the legislation would be more specific in terms of the order-in-council appointments to the board. I would feel much more secure if provision was made in the statutes as opposed to simply being silent in terms of order-in-council-appointments to the board of that particular corporation.

The other issue that I will stress again, and that I think the mayor made very clear, is the question of revenue-sharing. It is not my view, nor the view of tax experts I've spoken to, that getting a cut of the revenue is a form of taxation that would be conceded to the city of Windsor and wouldn't be conceded to other localities. The city has, in my view, provided a meaningful method by which the municipality could receive more compensation, that being through business licensing and business taxes.

I would ask this committee to consider that issue carefully and look at alternatives that have been presented to you by the city of Windsor and hopefully recommend to the government that it try to recognize the importance of this.

The provincial sales tax rebate issue is a really important one. Given the nature of this initiative in Windsor -- and presumably if you do do other casinos, some of them will be in the border towns -- that's an important thing in terms of happy tourists. I've travelled to countries in Europe where, when you're leaving the country -- Ireland comes to mind -- if you keep your receipts, you'll be given a complete refund of your value added tax. There I believe it's 25%, and when you go out of the country, having spent $100 or $1,000, whatever it is, that's a nice chunk of change to have in your pocket. At least it will pay your cab fare from Pearson to downtown Toronto, I suppose. But it does say a lot about how we treat our tourists, and I would hope the government would recognize that.

Finally, I am very concerned about the process for selection of the ultimate operator. I would think, if I were a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, I would be concerned about that as well. There is virtually no opportunity for the Legislature to influence that choice. There is no opportunity whatsoever. This will be a done deal when you find out about it. There's no opportunity for local input. The call for proposals sets Windsor's objectives out very clearly, but there's no opportunity, in my view, for meaningful local input. I don't mean municipal council input; I mean local input into the selection process.

You will be selecting somebody to operate a facility that will cost anywhere from $300 million to $500 million in our downtown. It will be a very prominent facility, not only in terms of our city, but in terms of this province. The Legislature has no meaningful way in which it can influence the selection of the operator.

I would hope that this committee will make recommendations to the government that will allow for more meaningful input, not only on the part of the local host municipality, but also on the part of the Legislative Assembly.

In conclusion, then, I'd like to say that we as a community and I believe I speak for a large number of people in this community, support the initiatives. There are problems. The mayor has enunciated them -- the policing question, the revenue-sharing question -- and we hope this committee and the government members and opposition members will address themselves to help our community as we strive to create employment and lessen our dependence on the automotive industry.

This really is a local idea that caught the attention of the province and can really work for this community. Our hope is that a lot of the hyperbole that we've heard about the comparisons with Atlantic City and how the sky is falling will be put into context and that we can recognize this is something this community, through all of its elected officials and its major interest groups -- labour, management -- has endorsed and is prepared to face the challenge on. We're up to it, we hope the Legislature is and we hope the government is.


The Chair: Thank you, Mr Duncan. We have just slightly less than five minutes per caucus.

Mr McClelland: At the outset, Dwight, it's good to see you again. I have a request on behalf of my colleague Mr Callahan. We had some reference to reports earlier with respect to the shrinkage of, if you will, the draw to the roving casinos. Through the office of city council, or your office, if that could be made available, we'd appreciate that report that was sent to the city. Specifically, on behalf of my colleague Mr Callahan, I make that request.

You brought up a point that I wanted to pursue, and I think you did it more than adequately. I asked the minister a question at the opening of these hearings, if she was aware of any jurisdiction in the United States where casinos are in operation where there was not a provision for direct financial compensation for the costs associated to the city. I did not receive a response to that. I do know that you and others have indicated that this community has done extensive and exhaustive research.

Are you, sir, aware of any jurisdiction anywhere in North America that operates gaming where the city does not get a direct benefit, whether it be in the form of a licensing fee or a percentage of gross or a combination thereof, that ensures that the city's needs to deal with the very real problems that you acknowledge are adequately financed?

Mr Duncan: It's quite the opposite. My understanding is that virtually every other casino initiative, and they're springing up all over the place, virtually every other example shows that there's direct municipal or local benefit from the proceeds of gambling. The studies that I have seen indicate that, interestingly enough, the big winner from a financial perspective in all this will be the federal government. I can't give you all the reasons why, but the numbers I've seen, and I'm rounding now, are roughly $190 million on an annualized basis to the federal government, $140 million to the provincial government and roughly $14 million to the city of Windsor.

The other avenue that the province has given us the opportunity to realize some potential profit is in the question of the lease of the permanent site and how that's either sold or leased to the operator. In my view, it's very nebulous at best, and the ultimate purchase price of the property will influence the actual rate of return that we experience as a community.

My understanding, to answer your question specifically, is that there is in fact no other jurisdiction where the direct municipal recognition is present.

Mr McClelland: Just for the record again, the mayor did not have an opportunity, because of the time constraints, to get into the resolution of October 1992 that was unanimously endorsed by your council. I wonder if you might expand briefly on point C of that resolution and the importance of point C to the resolution, that being specifically referenced to direct financial compensation to the city.

Mr Duncan: I guess the only way I can address it is that, like I said earlier -- I personally feel like a parent who's given a baby up for adoption. We conceived of this idea, we supported it, we had some problems in its initial conception and frankly we've welcomed the input of the senior provincial officials who have done extensive research, but we certainly envision very direct monetary and financial benefit to the city of Windsor.

The job creation and the property tax benefit are important, and we acknowledge that. Our hope would be that the Legislature recognize that the argument with respect to treating any cutoff at the top has been a form of taxation being conceded to one municipality and not the other is really a canard, and that there are probably a lot of creative ways to more directly compensate Windsor. We acknowledge that there will be problems. It's problematic, obviously, and we can manage those problems, but in our view the split between the federal, provincial and municipal levels is out of whack. That's the best way I can answer your question.

The Chair: Mr Carr or Mr Eves?

Mr Eves: Sorry I missed the very first part of your presentation. As I walked in, I noted that you alluded to -- at least I thought you had said that some opposition members had indicated that the city was against the casino. I don't know of a single opposition member who has ever said such a thing.

Mr Duncan: I think what the opposition -- I've watched question periods quite carefully and followed this. It's been alluded to -- I didn't say that members said; I said members have indicated their strong opposition within the city to the initiative, and there is opposition within the city. But the point I tried to make, and you did miss that early on was that in 1988 we set upon an economic strategic plan. There were seven strategies that came out of that plan. One of them was the development of a tourism infrastructure. Frankly, at that point in time I don't think anybody contemplated a casino, but it is a form of tourism infrastructure.

I think the point we're trying to make is that the municipal council acted, in my view, diligently and properly in endorsing this concept and reflected the views of this community, as did our local labour council, our local chamber of commerce. There were members of all three political parties who made representations to the government on the casino initiative initially in 1992. I hope the characterization that somehow any of us views this as a panacea to all of our economic problems or that we think this is going to be like manna from heaven, I hope that characterization can be dispelled.

I think what motivated our local council, our local labour council, our local chamber of commerce and virtually every other major group in the city was our belief that this will be one component of a number of components that will help to foster economic growth and development and ultimately jobs in this community, recognizing that there are problems with it.

We think things out; we think them out very carefully. We've learned a lot in this process, with the help of your officials. The casino project team has provided invaluable assistance and guidance, and we would hope that the issues are brought into clear focus, that they're very specific related to this bill and related to the process.

Mr Eves: Exactly, and nobody's said otherwise.

Mr Duncan: I guess that's a matter of interpretation.

Mr Eves: I would like to deal with some of those concerns. I think it's my duty as a legislator, not only for the community of Windsor but for the entire province of Ontario, to make sure that Bill 8, which is not only going to apply to the city of Windsor but could apply to any one of the 872 municipalities in the province of Ontario --

Mr Duncan: I hope we do away with the canards and the hyperbole about Atlantic City and things like that. We looked at that very carefully and we're quite --

Mr Eves: Can I finish my question?

Mr Duncan: -- prepared to say that this city recognizes the problems and then we're prepared to deal with them.

Mr Eves: I would like to talk about some of the very concerns that you have raised. The concern about the input that the Legislature or the local people, for example, are going to have in the ultimate selection process -- some of us on this committee, in a steering committee meeting, suggested to the ministry that we could hear from the nine proponents in an in camera session.

The answer we got back from the government was that no, that will not be permitted even if it's in camera, which there's plenty of precedent for in the Legislature of Ontario in other committees. As a matter of fact, our request for proposals specifically prohibits any of the nine proponents who submitted proposals from talking about or divulging any of the specifics. How can we as legislators and how can you as local municipal representatives have any intelligent input into who the successful proponent will be when you're prohibited up front from even discussing it? That's my question.

Mr Duncan: We've said that. That's why we're here. I regret the fact that there is no opportunity either for local input or for input from the Legislature into the selection process, be it in camera or public. Frankly, I tried to logically decide why they would come up with that process and I can't for the life of me understand why. Normally, when you deal with items that are outside of the public domain, you're dealing with legal or contractual matters.

I suppose you could make an argument along the negotiations phase, because this is largely a subjective process. But I think what distinguishes the approach we've taken is that we have been very clear. Our objectives are reflected, as I'm sure you're aware, in the call for proposals.


Ultimately, my hope would be that the government will concede the opportunity certainly for the Legislature, or this committee in camera otherwise, to have some input into that. I would have hoped that we would have some input into the final selection as a municipality, or at least local input, but I don't believe and I'm not satisfied that there's been enough or adequate representation.

Again, as I say, this process, if you look at the documents very carefully, at the end of the day is going to be very subjective and there are going to be a lot of judgement calls made. There's no opportunity for local judgement. We've got one person appointed to an advisory group. I have attempted over the last few weeks to get more clarification with respect to the absolute defined role of that advisory group, but it's really very nebulous. My hope would be that the arguments and the Legislature will focus on those kinds of issues and not strictly on the issue of yes or no to casinos.

Mr Lessard: Thank you, Mr Duncan. I agree with many of the submissions you've made. I guess that's not all that unusual, considering that we both represent, as elected officials, the interests of the people here in the city of Windsor. Sometimes we might disagree philosophically, I guess, but as you've indicated, for the people in the city of Windsor it is a non-partisan issue.

I'm glad that Mr Eves mentioned the part about the selection process, because that was one of the things I'm not clear that I agree with you completely on, because it's been set up for, I would think, some valid reasons that the selection process be free of political interference. I think there's some merit to that argument as well. However, I think it is something where we could try and see whether there's some room for further input from the city of Windsor, possibly not from elected officials, but at least some input from the city's perspective in that selection process. That's something that maybe we could take up when we have an opportunity to speak with the minister again.

I share with you as well your concern about not having the Ministry of Labour jobs eventually come here to the city of Windsor, but I point out that in Bill 8 the Ontario Casino Corp will be established and a Gaming Control Commission will be established as well. I've been lobbying with the minister to consider Windsor as a location for the offices for those groups as well. I hope you will join me in those efforts.

Mr Duncan: You're aware, no doubt, that the city has asked the government for that officially. I'm quite confident that the government will respond in the affirmative to that. I know that your efforts will bear fruit.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Duncan. Regretfully, our time has expired. I appreciate your presenting before the committee.

Mr Duncan: Thank you. Have a nice stay in our city.

The Chair: Our next presenter is Jane Schultz, if she would please come forward. It doesn't appear that we have Jane Schultz present.

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): So we'll go on to the next one?

The Chair: Well, we're going to wait just a couple of minutes and then, if not, we'll proceed to -- is Pamela Pons here?

Interjection: No.

The Chair: She's not here either.

Interjection: She was here this morning but --

Mr Mills: I suggest we go on to someone else, Mr Chair, whoever it is.

The Chair: We will go on, Gord. Is Mr William McIntosh here? The committee's going to recess until we have someone able to come before the committee. We're just going to take a recess, just very temporary.

The committee recessed from 1336 to 1345.


The Chair: Failing the appearance of one of our presenters, I am very pleased, Pamela Pons, that you're able to start at this time, 15 minutes early. Pamela Pons, the director of the Unemployed Help Centre in Windsor, welcome to the committee. You have 30 minutes for your presentation. You may use all of that or a part thereof and leave some time for questions. Please proceed.

Ms Pamela Pons: We would like to thank the members of this committee in coming to Windsor and in hearing the response from this community.

One of the interests of the Unemployed Help Centre is for a quick response to the needs of this community in terms of our tremendous unemployment problem. The Unemployed Help Centre was established in 1977 by the Windsor and District Labour Council's community and social services committee. We obviously have a keen desire for diversification to come to this community and we see the casino as one of the responses to that effort. We clearly support this in terms of its job creation and the rebirth in the downtown business sector.

In our community we have bandied about the rates of unemployment, those that are officially produced by Statistics Canada and those where we see it, as the agency that's most importantly dealing with unemployed workers, as Statscan is one of those areas that consistently underestimates the rate of unemployment --

Mr Callahan: Is that just recently or is that --

Ms Pons: Since 1980, when they first funded us to take a look at where the problems lay in the statistics. The rate of unemployment in our community, in Windsor and Essex county, truly lies more accurately in the 20% range. Obviously with this crisis, and it has been an ongoing crisis in our community, we look to the casino as one of the answers to our problems.

We understand that there have been some difficulties in the concept of the casino and in terms of the regulations and the legislation that is put forward. We urge this committee to bring a strong message back to the government that we do not want to continue to create barriers for unemployed workers and that we prefer to see the interim casino off the ground in as quick and as short a time as possible. Our needs for unemployed workers are today. They will still be there in six months, but we need to start reducing the rate of unemployment in this community now.

We recognize the minister's effort to look at the impact this casino may have on non-profit organizations and we understand that you will be quickly bringing this to cabinet. We urge your support in this committee to be drawing not just attention to a situation of perhaps dealing with a gambling addiction. While we suggest that there are far more pros to a casino, we are realistic. We know that there will be some downsides and we request that the government recognize those downsides. Many non-profit organizations will have some negative impact on their present budget allocations in terms of servicing the workers and those people who may be adversely affected by the casino.

We are recommending and suggest that you support the concept that the city of Windsor has laid out in terms of its request for a licensing fee. Should the city be granted this, we have the support of the mayor in that part of those licensing funds would be directed to non-profit organizations that will have to deal with some of the adverse effects. We strongly support his recommendation and that of city council and would hope that this would be dealt with in the minister's submission to cabinet.

We would also like to draw attention to the diverse opinions on the security of the casino and the request for the number of police officers. We have two different theories, one in the report that says we need 12 additional police officers, and we have the chief of police, Jim Adkin, requesting 30. We suggest that none of these figures are put into concrete and that we clearly look at the interim casino as a guideline towards the number of police officers that are necessary. We will not be devastated by crime in this community, nor the infiltration of organized crime. We will of course have some downside to this, and we're asking that this committee bring forward that we have some leverage in terms of the policings that are available to the city of Windsor's police department.

We would like to see this project go ahead as quickly as possible. We understand that there is some debate in terms of legislation and regulations. However, one of the responsibilities of this government is also to be responsible for its unemployed workers, and in response to those unemployed workers we need to proceed with that casino now and the interim must be up and running as quickly as possible.

We need to alleviate the human suffering that is caused from unemployment and the lack of jobs. Our community over the last five years has suffered greatly as a result of plant closures. They are not indefinite layoffs, as we experienced in the early 1980s. Those plants are shut with no hope of opening back up. We need to diversify. This casino has been a godsend to many unemployed workers who over a year ago pinned their hopes on and looked at the golden ring as an object to having a job within the casino or those industries that may be close to the casino process. We ask that you put them as your priority and that we start this casino immediately.

I'd like to thank this committee for its interest in our community. We feel that Windsor can play an integral part in leading the way for this province in the aspects of casinos. We feel that there will be a lot to be learned from the Windsor experience. We have wonderful community support to date and I would suggest that would be continued throughout the process. We ask that our interim be used as the guidelines for future planning for casinos, but we cannot rely on studies alone. Our experience will lead the way in future casinos. We ask that you clearly send a message back to the provincial government and to the minister responsible so that we may get re-employment under way in this community, and we thank you for attending in Windsor today.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Ms Pons. We have about eight minutes per caucus and we're going to start with the government caucus.

Mr Martin: I'd like to say thanks as well and let you know how much we appreciate you coming and sharing with us how important this initiative will be to the people you obviously serve.

I was wondering if you might perhaps be a little bit more specific in the numbers of people who come to your door and who at this point in time you aren't able to direct to gainful employment and what kind of skills they might have at this point in time that would be advantageous to them in gaining employment in the casino business or, as you've said, the attendant spinoff opportunity that will be there.

I also noticed this morning, as maybe some of the other members did, that there were some sheets on some tables out there that spoke of some training opportunities that are now being made available in the city for people who may not have the particular skills that will be required but who would like to gain them to prepare themselves for this job. Maybe you might share with us as well perhaps some of your involvement in developing some of those training opportunities, if you've had any, and perhaps describe to us a little bit about that and how that is happening in the community. Are any of your people actually signing up for those courses and participating in some of those training venues?

Ms Pons: We calculate that for our client service intake for 1993 we will have assisted some 15,000 workers in trying to accommodate the need for training, the need for literacy and upgrading and the need to get back into employment opportunities. We have been involved with St Clair College as one of the training vehicles for potential directly related casino employment opportunities.

We were also fortunate enough in 1993 to be granted special funding under Jobs Ontario Training for the community economic development sector. We have been in operation and have gone through our second intake in this particular program. We have two classes that are scheduled to intake 12 individuals at each and every intake process.

The concept of this program is to aid those people who are interested in either developing self-employment or developing small businesses where they may have the potential to hire other unemployed workers.

The program has been to date far more successful than we anticipated in our first initial presentation to the provincial government. We have in some few short months aided people in our community in establishing 15 businesses, some of which have already hired other unemployed workers.

So in terms of the casino, it's clearly important that these businesses see that the interim gets up and running and we continue to foster the development of small business enterprises that can take high advantage of the casino and the diversification of industries surrounding it. There are a number in the service sector, a number in the restaurant business and in other service agencies.

We suggest that the quicker this casino is up and running, the more we can develop the offshoots to the casino and clearly increase more employment opportunities as a result of the casino. So it's quite important to us and to the growth of the program.

Mr Martin: There's been some suggestion that this initiative is a tax on the poor, and I've had, myself, a lot of contact with the unemployed in the community that I come from, Sault Ste Marie. I'm sure, your experience -- unemployed people are poor people if they're unemployed long enough, normally, and there's a question of the morality of this whole exercise. Certainly we as a government, an NDP government, have been criticized fairly broadly by some folks who have some real difficulty understanding how we could support or bring forward this kind of initiative. I'm going to ask you to maybe share with us perhaps some of your thought processes, but as a person who worked with the poor, certainly I struggled with this issue trying to come to a position that I could support and have. That's why I'm here today and supporting my government in this.

The question of the morality of setting up an opportunity for people to gamble versus the morality of sitting back and not doing it and realizing that you're probably denying some people an opportunity to be gainfully employed by doing that -- for me, it certainly weighs more heavily in favour of going ahead and providing this opportunity and doing whatever we can to minimize the social costs that probably will come with it. Do you have any thoughts on that, coming from the unemployment help centre?

Ms Pons: For those who may suggest that it is immoral to dangle a carrot in front of a community that's been devastated by unemployment, I would suggest to them that it is much more immoral to deny people access to employment. The casino will bring to this community thousands of jobs. Is it our responsibility as a provincial government, as a municipal government and as a non-profit sector? Our responsibility is to create employment opportunities. From that we will eliminate the number of people who are working-poor or who are strictly poor because they are unemployed. The responsibility is to create employment.

The Chair: Thank you very much. Mr Callahan.

Mr Callahan: I note in the report by Coopers and Lybrand that they talk about workers' compensation and employment assistance programs. I presume that you do the same thing as the good people in my community do; they help us out with Workers' Compensation Board hearings and so on. Do you do that?

Ms Pons: Our help centre in Windsor does not deal with Workers' Compensation.

Mr Callahan: It does not? Okay.

Ms Pons: All other areas, we do.

Mr Callahan: Because there is a concern, and this is one other area which you've not impressed on the government of the day to look at, which is the question of the increased Workers' Compensation cases that will ensue according to Coopers and Lybrand. At page 69, they say:

"From the employers' perspective, one possible impact of pathological gambling is injury associated with impaired judgement and poor concentration. Another impact may be on employee assistance programs. Training for staff of these programs is suggested."

So you might want to consider that as an additional item. Also at Coopers and Lybrand under page 69, it says:

"Domestic and child abuse hotlines and shelters will likely benefit from information and training about the relationship between gambling problems and domestic abuse."

They're forecasting that at least among pathological gamblers there will be an increase in abuse such as we have seen through the frustration of being unemployed as well. That has created a significant impact on the services provided. That's just a suggestion that, if you do any further lobbying of the government, you might want to include.

The other one is that you talk about these jobs created by the casinos, and you will probably be able to tell from what I'm about to say that I enjoy the turn of a card here and there. At one time, being down in a casino in Reno, I think it was, we inquired of the blackjack dealers how much they were paid. They got $3 an hour and they were to a large extent to rely upon the tips they made.


We've heard also from the parliamentary assistant -- I think you said it; I wouldn't want to misquote you -- that there would probably be union activity and that this casino would become unionized. Do you have any information you can share with us on that in terms of whether you see that as the type of jobs you're looking for? Obviously you're not looking for jobs at $3 an hour, I wouldn't think. In fact, I think they'd have difficulty, with the minimum wage being about $6, but who knows? But do you envisage that, that this will be a unionized operation at some point?

Ms Pons: I would certainly hope that through the unions' efforts, that would be the case, and that the individuals working for the casino would be paid a reasonable standard of living. I think that if they do that in Nevada, that makes all the more difference between Canada and the United States. We do not do as the Americans do; we do what is right for Canadians and, in this case, what is right for Ontarians. We would not support continued employment at the expense of the working poor, so for them to be paid something less than minimum wage and to continue to rely on the tip system, as unfortunately many waitresses and --

Mr Callahan: That's right. I was just going to raise that. We do have that existing in Ontario already, where particularly young people are required to perform services and they may be paid a very minimal amount and they're expected to make the balance up out of tips. That's a concern I have in terms of these jobs that we're talking about, particularly from your perspective of the unemployed.

I guess what I want to do is now turn to the parliamentary assistant, because I've looked through the proposal. Although I've seen employment equity in here, I've not seen anything in terms of the people who are making proposals to the government for the casino in any way, shape or form being made aware of the fact that the wages would be those that might be generated through a collective agreement in a unionized shop. Is there anything in here you could maybe point to for me that would demonstrate that the people who are bidding on this thing understand that? Because if we are getting bidders from milieus like Reno and places like that, they're obviously anticipating that it's going to be you get a minimum amount and you collect the rest of it from the tips that you get from the lucky or unlucky blackjack players or whatever. Can you help me with that? If not, can you perhaps undertake to get that information to help us so that we can provide it to this young lady here as well?

I guess that's politically incorrect. I shouldn't call you a young lady; I should call you a person.

Mr Duignan: Mr Callahan, first of all, you are correct. I think that was the minister's code.

Mr Callahan: All right, that's fine.

Mr Duignan: I don't mind being associated with it; it's a good code. However, I will undertake to get that information.

Mr Callahan: All right, and maybe you can provide it to these people, because I think it's of some significant importance to you, dealing with people who are unemployed, to ensure that before the spike is driven into the ground and the deal is sealed, these jobs that are going to be created for the people you're servicing -- a very real need and you have my complete sympathy; I see it in my own community -- are going to be jobs that will take them out of the poverty level and perhaps even induce them to get a job as opposed to remaining on welfare, which has always been the tragedy, because the money you can get from that is better than the money you can get from some of these so-called jobs.

Ms Pons: I would clearly not support that unemployed workers are happy to sit back on welfare. They are not.

Mr Callahan: I'm sure they're not happy --

Ms Pons: As I understood your comment, it was that --

Mr Callahan: -- but some of them, when they have a choice, and this has been a problem of the welfare system in the past, have decided, "Why should I go to work and have the government claw back that additional amount?" These have been problems with the way we've set up these programs, and instead of helping people, we've been in some respects -- all governments, not just the present government.

Ms Pons: But statistically there are only 3% of the population that receives social services who are in abuse of the system. We concentrate far too greatly on 3% than on the efforts to get 97% of them back into the workforce and on the training that will put them into remunerative positions.

Mr Callahan: Well, you're probably better on that than I am, but I want the government to provide you with that information because I think it's very important in terms of what you can anticipate.

Mr Duignan: However, Mr Callahan, the proposal does ask for the proponent to describe its policy in relation to staff relation policies. Page 20, request for proposals: number 11.

Mr Callahan: "Describe the proponent's staff relations policies." Well, I don't think, with all due respect, that talks about money.

Mr Duignan: I would suspect the proponents are well aware --

Mr Carr: Page 19, number 3.

Mr Callahan: My colleague is at page 19, number 3. The final part is "total estimated salaries and benefits," so it will be interesting to see, if they give you that figure -- that's what they're betting on, and they might very well be very surprised if it's not specifically spelled out that these people will have the right that every Ontario citizen has to unionize. That concerns me.

Mr Duignan: Certainly under Bill 40, the people working in the casino complex have a right to organize and bargain with the proponent in relation to a collective agreement.

Mr Carr: If I could help a little bit with that, I think when we asked the ministry staff, they believed the average salary is going to be $25,000 to $30,000. I think it was the deputy minister who answered that question for me. Is that your understanding, or do you know what the rate of pay would be? Would that sound reasonable, $25,000 to $30,000 for the employees?

Ms Pons: I'm sorry. Number of employees or annual salary?

Mr Carr: No, annual salary. The average --

Mr Callahan: Mr Carr, you're not being heard.

Mr Carr: Oh, okay. I was wondering why you were looking at me, staring at me blankly. That happens quite a bit. I thought I was in the House again making a speech.

Mr Callahan: We want them to be able to read those words back to you some day as we do to them, you see.

Mr Carr: When we were speaking with the deputy, she said the average salary would be -- her understanding was it would be $25,000 to $30,000. Do you have a figure? Do you think that would be realistic, or do you have any idea?

Ms Pons: We've certainly heard those figures being bandied about. I would clearly support a position of where they would be making $30,000 and over.

Mr Carr: Some people have come in and talked about the unemployment rate and then the real unemployment rate here in Windsor. What's your best guess with a casino? You've heard some of the numbers that have been bandied about. How much of a reduction in percentage terms do you think we'll see in the unemployment rate here in Windsor when the casino comes in?

Ms Pons: I think at that point, Gary, I would need a crystal ball. We certainly never expected this community to suffer the number of plant closures and the high numbers within those industries, so how far we would decrease the rate of unemployment would also be based on the hope that not a single other small business, larger corporation or plant would shut down at the same time. But I would suggest that with the numbers of employees that we would have in the casino, it could certainly continue to support those industries that we do have here, or the services that we do have. So while at the same time it may create unto itself employment, it may also save employment in other areas that currently exist or for those that may be considering a closure or downsizing. Hence our request for the expediency in terms of establishing the interim casino so that we can at least put a Band-Aid on what's happening to this community at this point and start to recover.

Mr Carr: I guess we could work it back because you may know the actual numbers of unemployed. I was thinking percentage, but do you know, in a city of 200,000, what are the actual numbers? The percentage we could probably figure out, but do you know the actual number of unemployed?

Ms Pons: Actually, the way in which they're calculated out, Gary, is that we are taking into consideration the economic region which goes beyond Windsor itself.

Mr Carr: Yes. Like in Halton, you can't pick out Oakville -- the same as my region. You also know that the figures that they've talked about are 2,500 directly in the casino and then 8,000 spinoff jobs, and the government thinks they're realistic. What's your best guess as somebody who deals with it? Do you think that amount of jobs can be created in terms of all the spinoff jobs? Because 8,000 is the number we're hearing.


Ms Pons: Our anticipation is that those numbers may be on the low side and, once we have our permanent facility, we may be quite readily able to increase those numbers, not just straight in the casino itself, but within those industries that may be attached to its servicing that casino or for the tourists who are coming as a result to that and maintaining our current employment levels. So if our people are back to work, they continue to buy the cars we build.

Mr Carr: And, hopefully, we'll build more cars and export them to the US, which we're doing. Fortunately, too, it will help them sell even more than we have people in the country.

I wanted to follow up on what Tony asked regarding the training, because one of the problems we've got, even with the high unemployment rate, is there are some jobs out there and government at all levels have had trouble matching up skills with the jobs that are available.

We now have a little bit of lead time. Notwithstanding the fact that you're saying, "Hurry up with the casino," we have a little bit of lead time. Is there anything we can be doing in terms of training, working with the people who are doing the proposals so we don't have a lag time afterwards in training people so that when the casino does open -- because I think it is going to open -- we can have some people who are working and training? I know there's been some mention of the college and their input. Maybe you could just fill the committee in on what's being done. Are they specifically coming to you to get some of the people who have been unemployed the longest? How do you see it working in terms of who will get the jobs here in Windsor?

Ms Pons: We have had a very good partnership with St Clair College in terms of referrals to the organization for training and in terms of them referring back to us looking for trainees or in the process to get individuals into training programs. I would suggest that this kind of spirit of cooperation will certainly increase with the upcoming casino.

The casino industry is not the answer to the problems of all unemployed workers. For some, a casino may be -- those that would be leaving -- perhaps a position of lesser paying and going into the casino, and then we can backfill more of the unskilled jobs, that we continue to move people up through the process.

For others, we have a high degree of skilled labourers in this community that, (1), could go into administration or other aspects of the casino and, (2), that we still have viable training vehicles. I would suggest we need clearer direction in terms of the skill qualification for those who would be directly involved in some of the areas such as the blackjack, the roulette and the baccarat.

Those funds need to be allocated to the college, so we can ensure that we have quality training in a community-supported organization.

Mr Carr: How many requests -- now that the casino is coming in and I was thinking in terms of people with the direct jobs, the 2,500 in the casino. Are you having people that you're dealing with every day saying, "Now, what can I do to get those jobs?" Have you formed any type of list, numbers of people who come in? Because I would imagine a lot of them are saying, "What can I do to try and get first in the line?" Has there been any type of lists for interviews and so on accumulating and what are the people saying to you? Are they coming in and saying, "How will I get some of the jobs in the casino?"

Ms Pons: Clearly, we have thousands who want to know how they get into the casino and I think that's no different than what we recently experienced when Chrysler did some hiring. There were thousands of workers lined up for 48 hours trying to get an application to get into the corporation. I think that says a lot about how long and how hard this community has suffered with unemployment and the fact that it is not a short-term rate of unemployment, it's a structural unemployment and that we need resolves.

We are not going to be opening up more factories in this community. We are not going to be continuing the increase to the auto industry. This clearly is a solution for some of our unemployment problems. It is not the answer to everyone, just as Chrysler, Ford and GM are not the answer to everyone, but we support the process and we would like to see it get under way quicker -- sooner rather than later -- so that we are addressing the human cost factor to unemployment.

Mr Carr: Thank you very much. Good luck.

The Chair: Thank you very much. Our time has expired. I want to thank you, Ms Pons, for a very informative 30 minutes.

Ms Pons: Thank you.


The Chair: Our next presenters are the Windsor Construction Association and Heavy Construction Association of Windsor. Would William McIntosh and Joe Lepera please come forward. It says William McIntosh is the executive director and Joe Lepera -- I hope I pronounce that properly -- is the president. Welcome to the committee. You have 30 minutes for your presentation and please proceed.

Mr William McIntosh: As representatives of the Windsor Construction Association and the Heavy Construction Association of Windsor, which associations have a total membership of 325 companies consisting of contractors and suppliers, we appear before you today to fully endorse the provincial government's proposal to build and operate a casino in the city of Windsor.

Our industry not only supports the proposal; we also appreciate the bidding opportunities it will bring to our members when it comes to the building of the casino, the hotel and also the numerous renovations and additions that will be required by the general business community.

The main reason for our endorsement is because of the benefits the casino will bring to our city. We are told it will bring 2,500 direct jobs in the casino, 6,500 indirect jobs providing goods and services to the casino and its patrons, property and business taxes to the city of Windsor, infusion of millions of dollars from increased tourism and, finally, the revitalization of our downtown business district.

We would also note the jobs and revenue that will be created by the building of the downtown marina which will serve transient boaters who wish to visit the casino.

It's a well-known fact to anyone who visits Las Vegas that an average of $200 is left in that city by every tourist.

Mr Callahan: Those people are winners.

Mr McIntosh: Our experts tell us that our casino will draw approximately 12,000 visitors per day, or 4,380,000 per year. When you consider everyone must eat and ladies love to shop, we believe it is not unrealistic to estimate that if the average left in Windsor by each visitor was only $50, it would mean an infusion of over $290 million worth of business would come into our city. This would not include gambling.

We must consider what this will do towards the revitalization of our central business area. Surely there can be no doubt that our core area is in need of an attraction. We believe the casino will not only serve that need but will, as time passes, help it to grow far beyond the area we now consider downtown.

Some people will say that the many advantages that will be derived from the casino will be offset by disadvantages; one being increased crime, among others. We cannot agree with that scenario. We believe Windsor has one of the finest police forces in Ontario and we believe that with the cooperation of the provincial police, and given the required extra manpower to be proactive instead of reactive, any increase in crime will be kept to a minimum.

We could fill many pages with reasons why a casino situated in Windsor can bring many benefits to the city, but we are positive, by the time these hearings are over, you will have heard them all many times over. However, suffice it to say that we, as a construction industry, are prepared to put a shovel in the ground tomorrow and get this project under way.

We thank you for the opportunity of being allowed to make our presentation to you today and trust that our government will cautiously proceed as quickly as is possible to build the permanent casino. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr McIntosh. We have a little more than eight minutes per caucus for questions. We'll start with Mr Callahan.

Mr Callahan: You addressed the question of increased crime. I think this has been one of my major concerns as I come here to Windsor. It's rather delightful to be able to walk out of here at 10 o'clock at night and go to Ouellette Avenue and walk up the street and see young people who can --

Mr Duignan: He's looking for an offer.

Mr Callahan: Oh, that's not nice. But young people who can be out on the street on a summer night with impunity, with no danger of what might happen in some big cities in the US. It's particularly significant when you live across the river -- I hope there's nobody here from Detroit -- from a city that purportedly, at least, in its inner core is devastated by crime and violence.

I want to ask you a question about the age of people being allowed to gamble in this casino. We have heard evidence from the police chief that he would prefer to have it at 21. He's expressed -- I think it was him or perhaps one of the other proponents expressed -- the problem, because of the drinking age here being lower than it is in Detroit, you have the problems of young people coming across over here to drink and perhaps causing difficulties for the police. They've been able to deal with that, I gather, successfully, because Windsor is still a very excellent place, as I've indicated, being out on Ouellette Avenue.


What would your association's feelings be in terms of what age you think the government should require a person to be before he or she can gamble?

Before you answer, for your benefit and also that of the government, I remember when the drinking age was changed from 21 to 18. It lasted for a very brief period of time and then it was jacked up to 19, because many of us felt that young people who look older than they are could slip into a bar and we found that 16-year-olds were getting hammered during the lunch hour from the local high schools.

Recognizing those factors, that it's more difficult to ascertain an 18-year-old from a 16-year-old -- although we're supposed to have in place and I don't doubt that there will be an effort to do that, an attempt to identify these people and keep them out of the casino -- what would be your position? Would you prefer the 21 or the 19?

Mr McIntosh: Quite frankly, I feel the association would back the chief and say the minimum age should be 21.

Mr Callahan: Okay. We've been told there are some difficulties in that and, with all due respect to my good friend the parliamentary assistant, I've challenged that. I'm really waiting with bated breath for this confirmation in writing of the verbal response from somebody in the Attorney General's department. It must be an articling student. I can't believe they'd give that type of a view, but I appreciate your comments on that. I'm going to do a little survey of this because I think that's a very important aspect of it.

The other side of the coin is the question of the number of police available. There were reports saying 12. One of the reports says 12 additional police officers, which again boggles the mind, particularly in view of the number of people who are coming over, unless they're going to be locked inside buses and led into the casino and then taken back out and put in the bus. There was a statement by the minister -- and of course we're all honourable members -- that the policing needs of the community would be met in terms of financing. Would you feel more comfortable if the legislation -- not regulation but the legislation -- itself specifically spelled that commitment out?

Mr McIntosh: I guess it would maybe make the chief of police a bit better if he had it spelled out in the legislation. But we feel that there is no one more qualified than Chief Adkin to determine what he feels is required to properly police the city after the casino --

Mr Callahan: So the government, if it was wise, would listen to the chief of police as being the best source of information in terms of how he could ensure the maintaining of the degree of civility and safety that you have in this city?

Mr McIntosh: Yes.

Mr Callahan: All right. He's also indicated to us -- and it's a matter that we've raised and you've raised it sort of indirectly by saying you don't think it will increase organized crime. We've already heard the police chief here tell us that there have been instances through their intelligence of organized crime figures from some place meeting with local businessmen in scenarios that would lead one to believe something was amiss. I gather you accept the police chief's statements in that regard too.

Mr McIntosh: I think it shows the proficiency of his force, but you already know that.

Mr Callahan: Yes. And yet, that was something we have raised on numerous occasions -- and again, as I say, so everybody knows where we're coming from, and I believe the third party's of the same bent -- that our job is to see this pilot project has the best effects on Windsor and the least deleterious effects in the final analysis, and that's our concerns about why we're raising these issues.

Finally, I guess, in terms of the question of problem gamblers, I don't for one minute want to put a stereotype on your occupation, but when I was going to university I worked in the construction industry and quite a few of my colleagues whom I worked with liked to play various games of chance: the horses, cards and so on. I can recall that there were quite a few of them who actually would duck getting the call for the day to go out on the job so they could go to the track or play cards. I would hope that would be a concern, not just of your particular industry, but also of all industries.

Are you satisfied with the commitment by the government to deal with this very serious problem of compulsive gamblers, particularly recognizing that there is a bill before the Ontario legislative committee right now that, if it remains unamended, will tell you how much treatment you can get from a particular doctor? Would you want to see that specifically spelled out for the benefit of those people who might wind up as the flotsam and jetsam of our endeavours to try to solve an economic problem?

Mr McIntosh: Personally, as human beings, we all have many weaknesses: alcoholism, you name it. If we closed down every bar in Ontario, we wouldn't cut out alcoholism. They would find it somewhere. I don't think opening a casino is going to increase the numbers of compulsive gamblers. People are going to go in there and make a mistake; they feel that if they spend their last $100, they're going to win that $1,000. But they'll learn, as everybody learns when you go gambling. I don't think the Windsor casino is going to create any more of these people than we have now, at racetracks and every other place.

Mr Callahan: I understand presently that the only facility available in Windsor to service the needs of people who are addicted to gambling is Gamblers Anonymous. In fact, as I recall -- maybe it's changed, and if it has, I'm sure the parliamentary assistant will be quick to correct me -- it seems to me that when this bill was originally introduced into the House, it was introduced against a background of a significant withdrawal of funds to groups such as Gamblers Anonymous that were set up to try to help people with this type of addiction.

The Chair: Your time has expired.

Mr Callahan: Has it? Okay.

Mr Carr: I appreciate your comments. I'm also very impressed with the high esteem which the community feels for the police chief. I think it's quite an honour to him, and also the community, that it seems to support him in his recommendations. He came before this committee and basically said he won't give his approval if he doesn't feel he and his police force can do a safe job. As you know, there's some debate over it. He said he won't give his blessing unless he can give his personal assurance that it will be safe. If he doesn't give his approval, because he doesn't get the numbers, would you like the casino to still proceed?

Mr McIntosh: I would hope that surely between the provincial government and the police force some arrangements could be made to meet the needs to properly police the city when the casino is here. If we had a massive fire in Windsor, although the fire department is on a budget, I don't think it's going to say, after it's put the fire out in the first two buildings: "Just leave the other three burn. We don't have the money."

Mr Callahan: They might if they're across the river.

Mr McIntosh: I doubt that.

Mr Carr: The problem, though, is that it's a policing numbers game. He doesn't have the numbers. So if the crime goes up, there isn't anything you can do short of deputizing Wayne and George. That's the issue, the number of people. Again, and I know it's sometimes a difficult question, I was very impressed with the chief as he came in. He was very blunt, very honest, which is difficult to do because he reports to a police service board that may want to have it, because of political influence, pushed through. They're appointed by politicians. I was very pleased that he gave us his personal assurance that he wouldn't give approval. You're right, you would think it would be simple to get the governments to agree to that, but it may not be. If we do come to that, and hopefully we don't, would you then say, if he doesn't give his approval, that we should not proceed?

Mr McIntosh: If we believe everything that's in the papers, the amount of money that the provincial government is going to make out of the casino, surely to God there's got to be enough money to properly police it. Because if they don't, they're going to have to pay to clean it up.


Mr Carr: But the problem we've got -- you heard the parliamentary assistant say there will be, and the minister said it -- is that the person I trust is not the politicians, who are not going to be here during that period of time; I trust the professional, in this case the chief. I also trust him because I think he has gone out on a limb. Some other police chiefs would not have gone as far as he did. He was blunt and he was honest, and I think the people of this city should be very proud of that. Here's a man who potentially is going out on a limb for doing that. I won't push on that, other than I think the whole community needs to make that decision.

We may not get to that point if it comes down to it -- it may be negotiated; maybe the province will give them the extra police -- but I would say, even to the Windsor members, that if he does not give his approval, then I would not feel it would be safe and that any member of the legislature, on third reading, would have a difficult time voting for it.

I want to go on to another issue too which may be more to your background, because I know the whole issue of crime isn't your expertise. With the number of jobs that are going to be created in your industry, are there any guarantees that some of the jobs will come to you? What's your understanding, that when some of the different construction takes place it just won't be Ellis-Don and some of the big Toronto firms that get some of the contracts? Are there any guarantees? Are you looking for any?

Mr McIntosh: No, sir, there are no guarantees, and we as an association don't want guarantees. This is a democracy. You tender the job, and if the tendering is done fairly, wherever the cookie crumbles, that's the way it goes. We want to be able to bid in Toronto, Ottawa or anywhere else. Therefore, we must in turn allow these people to bid in our city. We know the labour force in this city will be used, regardless of who the contractors are. Therefore, that's one very large, important issue. But knowing the competitive nature of the contractors in Windsor, we won't maybe get them all, but I think we will get our share.

Mr Carr: Good luck to you.

Mr Martin: In front of this what I see as probably a fairly huge opportunity, with the building that will happen, for your industry, are you working at all with or have had any discussion with the construction trades association around support for this initiative, the union group?

Mr McIntosh: We are in constant communication with the union regarding anything that is in the form of construction.

Mr Martin: And they're supporting this effort as well?

Mr McIntosh: Naturally, yes.

Mr Martin: I don't think you mention it here; I don't remember seeing it. What is the potential benefit to this community, just looking at the construction opportunities that will --

Mr McIntosh: Being conservative, I believe the construction industry will benefit by about half a billion dollars' worth of work throughout the whole process.

Mr Martin: I guess the next question I wanted to ask was probably the same one Mr Carr asked. What you said was that you didn't need any guarantees, that you could compete. Is there any concern about people coming in from across the river and taking some of that? Can you compete with them as well?

Mr McIntosh: I don't know if the word is "concern." I think you have to parallel it with the Quebec situation. Quebec can come into Ontario, but Ontario can't go into Quebec. We have Canadian contractors who perform work in Michigan. The ball game has to be equal. If they can compete here and comply with the necessary immigration laws and employment laws, it's fair game.

Mr Martin: Thank you. I appreciate that.

The Acting Chair (Mr Gordon Mills): Mr Lessard.

Mr Duignan: What about me?

The Acting Chair: You're sitting too close to me.

Mr Duignan: You raised the question of crime and the matter of policing in the city. It's worth repeating what the minister said in her opening statement here on Monday. She said basically that right now they have 10 new police officers who have been paid for by the casino project, and that is just the first step. She said, "We will pay for any more officers who are shown to be necessary." We are not going to take any shortcuts in relation to the casino project. If more police officers are shown to be necessary, then there will be more police officers.

Now, on the question of organized crime, our position has always been that organized crime does exist in Windsor. Our position is that we will have appropriate processes, regulations, investigators etc in place so that organized crime will not find or play a part in the casino project here in Windsor. Let me make that position extremely clear: This city will continue to be a safe place for the community to walk any of these streets here at night. I just wanted to say that particular point again. As you know, the OPP are also very active in this area here and I'm sure that if the local police here see what they may perceive as an illegal activity, they will more than likely pass that information on to the casino team.

Mr Lessard: Thank you, Mr McIntosh. There was just one statement that you made that I thought might be subject to some correction and that was, "Everyone must eat and ladies love to shop." I know there are some men who to shop too. I hope there's an opportunity for men's shopping here to improve when the casino does arrive in the city of Windsor. I guess we just like to shop for different things; I like to shop for hardware and things like that.

I wonder if you could just give me some idea of what the members of your association have been through in the past few years, as far as what their employment opportunities have been is concerned. What's it been like?

Mr McIntosh: Prior to about a year ago, Windsor was one of the lower construction cities in the province. We didn't have a lot of work. I think I can safely say now that we are about the busiest city in Canada and looking forward to being that way for the next three or four years.

Mr Lessard: That's great; I do too. Thanks.

The Acting Chair: Thank you, gentlemen. It was very good of you to appear here and we thank you for that.

The next presenter is the warden of Essex county council, Mr Tom Bain. Is he present? He's not here yet. Is there an Alan Berger here? I know Fred Upshaw isn't, but is Gordon Fry here? Not seeing anybody, we stand adjourned for five minutes.

The committee recessed from 1438 to 1442.


The Chair: We have Mr Tom Bain, warden of Essex County Council. Welcome to the committee. You have 30 minutes to make your presentation. You can use all of that for your presentation, or part thereof you can save for questions from committee members. Please proceed.

Mr Tom Bain: I probably won't take the full 15 minutes for my presentation. However, I feel a lot of what I have to say has some very important points, many of which you may have already heard from other delegations, but some of these points may be new in that they're representing the county and not necessarily the city of Windsor.

I might note before I start my presentation that as warden, I'm representing the county, but I have also, for better than 25 years, been a horseman, so I have an interest in that end. I'm a school teacher, but I've raced horses for about 25 years and also I guess I could be classified a gambler. So I've really got myself tied into this and have been following along.

Mr Carr: If you're a politician, you're a gambler.

Mr Bain: The Essex county council has passed a motion wholeheartedly endorsing the city of Windsor receiving a casino. It is felt that a casino in the city of Windsor can be a tremendous shot in the arm to the local economy. The creation of jobs is probably the foremost and immediate area wherein we can actually visualize positive results. Our present economy could certainly use such a boost. Many county residents are presently unemployed and are either on UI or drawing direct welfare benefits. The introduction of a casino can help to take many of these people off public assistance and put them back to work. This would also help to rejuvenate their self-confidence in their ability to be a productive part of our society as opposed to continually drawing on it.

The creation of new jobs also helps ease the burden of those who are presently working and have to contribute more as unemployment figures continue to rise. The creation of these new jobs centred around the casino industry will create a greater purchasing power and thus more dollars changing hands among local businesses and merchants.

Members of my own family who have been previously employed for a number of years have suddenly found themselves laid off and forced to look for a new line of work. Such a task is certainly not easy in today's economy. The creation of jobs and new businesses is probably the biggest factor going for the development of the casino industry here in Windsor and Essex county.

Along with this point goes the fact that the casino industry will help to rejuvenate a once booming tourist industry. The city of Windsor and Essex county, through the tourist and convention bureau and other local business groups, spend large amounts of money each year attempting to attract American dollars into our country. However, our GST and PST tend to work against us, driving tourists away instead of encouraging them to spend their tourist dollars at home. The highly inflated rates of our travel and accommodations as compared to American costs also discourage travel in Ontario.

We need to begin to turn this around. The creation of a gambling casino in Windsor can do that. We have, across the river, a potentially untapped market. While on flights to either Las Vegas or Atlantic City, many Americans, upon realizing that I and my party were Canadians, have repeatedly asked, "When are you going to get your casino? These long flights are too exhausting."

We have at our fingertips a huge Michigan and Ohio market, to say the least. However, before they can spend their tourist dollars in Ontario, we need to get them here. Once we have an American neighbour here on Canadian soil, we can then encourage them not only to gamble but to spend some of their leisure hours in our stores, in restaurants, viewing some of our beautiful sights and visiting some of our famous attractions.

Windsor and Essex county have a great deal to offer. Tourism pumps a great deal of money into our local economy. The spinoff effect from the casinos can help to infuse new life not only into Windsor but into Essex county also. Many of our local merchants need this added business and they count on it to keep their doors open.

A successful casino operation here in Windsor can set the stage for similarly run operations in other parts of Ontario. This in turn will continue to create jobs and bring in tourist dollars for other cities.

I should also note that these jobs are not only dealers or pit boss jobs; they include a whole realm of skilled labour, as well as unskilled personnel. Fixing a non-functional slot machine cannot be done by just anyone; it requires a very knowledgeable, skilled worker. The local restaurants and hotels will also require an increased number of staff, thus creating more jobs.

As much as I believe the casino will be a definite plus for both Windsor and Essex county, I would be remiss, as warden, if I didn't pass on concerns which have been extended to me. These are, however, concerns which I don't feel are insurmountable. They are concerns which require addressing in order to make casino gambling a successful operation in Windsor. These concerns I pass on to you.

Probably the first and foremost, and one which I'm sure you've already heard, is that of safety and of keeping out the criminal element. I'm not going to dwell on this issue, but only add that most county residents live in the county because they enjoy the peace and tranquillity and would not enjoy seeing a rise in the crime rate, for it would most definitely move out of the city and into our local towns and municipalities.

Las Vegas has, I feel, done an excellent job in making it safe for anyone to walk down the strip at any time. I feel confident that a similar situation could be set up here in Windsor. If people feel they would not be safe, you can be guaranteed they will not come.

My second area of concern is for those involved in the horse racing industry. By that, I don't only mean those working directly at Windsor Raceway, but the many agriculturalists who grow the feed products for the horse industry. Many of these farmers who supply the hay, oats, straw and corn live in Essex county. If the horse racing industry is not included in some manner, be it compensation or whatever, many will lose their jobs and their sources of income.


There are various methods of approaching this problem and I'm certain that it can be worked out. As a horseman, I can testify that it is a very difficult business in which to succeed. If horsemen are not included, many will cease to operate, and as this occurs, many spinoff jobs will soon fail to exist. This is a situation which warrants immediate attention.

A third concern, and one which is not as serious in nature but requires addressing in order to result in a more complete, rounded operation is that of the banning of dice. Provincial legislation should be changed in order to allow the use of games involving dice. It makes little sense to ban such games as craps, when allowing roulette and blackjack. Craps is one of the most popular games in Las Vegas and Atlantic City and regular gamblers all know that your best odds, of all the games, is craps.

The house has the least chance of beating you at the game of craps. Cutting out dice games will cut out much of the potential market. These would-be customers will continue to make the trips to Atlantic City and Las Vegas just to play their favourite game. This concern has been expressed to me by both Americans and Canadians on many occasions.

A future consideration should be that of expanding the operation into a number of buildings. People enjoy moving from one casino to the next. The feeling is often that one casino is not lucky but they can walk next door and their luck changes. The atmosphere may be more to their liking even though the two casinos are side by side.

In summary, I wish to thank you very much for allowing me to make this presentation. The concerns I have expressed are very real to the many residents of Essex county. This casino venture is one which can be, I feel, a very successful one. It can render to both Windsor and Essex county a definitely needed economic boost. It can bring into the area many more tourist dollars and, along with that, a host of jobs which are so badly needed. Not only will it help to bring in tourist dollars; it will also help to stem the tide of so many Canadian dollars going into the United States. It will favour Canadians spending many of their tourist dollars in our very own area.

Once again, thank you for this opportunity to speak to you and I would be most willing to attempt to answer any of your questions.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Bain. We have approximately seven minutes per caucus.

Mr Eves: We've heard, I think, several constructive suggestions as to how perhaps the legislation could be improved or how Bill 8 could be improved, ranging from suggestions by the city, the mayor certainly made a few, Mr Duncan earlier this afternoon I think made a couple of excellent suggestions to the committee, the chief of police I think made some excellent suggestions to the committee, as indeed did the chamber of commerce. The more significant ones just recently have been some form of municipal revenue-sharing; consideration of provincial sales tax rebate; an age restriction on the casino of 21 as opposed to 19, although there's some debate as to whether there's legal difficulty with that or not; inclusion of municipal representation on the Ontario Casino Corp; perhaps some local input and legislative input into the selection process of proponents; and some increased policing costs.

I realize that's quite a mouthful. I wondered what your thoughts were on some or all of those. If you choose to pick one or two that you'd like to elaborate on, I'd be interested in hearing your opinion on them as well.

Mr Bain: On the age factor, I guess probably I would have to go around the age of 19. I don't really see it being a problem if the policing is carried out properly. I guess it means going to an extreme is my contention, and this will tie in with my thoughts on policing.

I guess a prime example is, I'm one who's up early in the morning. I'm out for walks at 6:30. So when I'm in Vegas, I'm up early, and I guess if there is a quiet time, it's maybe around 6:30.

Mr Callahan: That means you went to bed, did you?

Mr Bain: Two hours. I went for a walk in behind Caesar's Palace and the police picked me up. I mean, I --

Mr Eves: You don't have to tell us the rest of this if you don't want to.

Mr Bain: I was only out for a walk with my shorts on and a shirt.

Mr Lessard: Say no more.

Mr Bain: I know I look notorious, but -- and they told me: "Back to the strip. We don't allow this kind of stuff." I was out walking back near the expressway in behind the casino. I guess that's kind of like an extreme, but I've been going to Las Vegas for a number of years, and the security they have within the casinos, they just don't allow anything. You don't see people who are intoxicated and you don't see people who are rowdy or causing problems, and I think that's got to be a key element here in regard to the policing.

I think if that kind of thing is done, you can still get away with having 19-year-olds or whatever allowed in and gambling and not having to raise the gambling age. But if we're not really strict and run what I call a tight ship, then I would say we better raise the age, because that's the age where they're out to have fun, and drinking's probably a big part of life for them at that stage. If that's so and if we can't have a really tight ship, then I'd say we'd have to raise the age to 21 or whatever.

Mr Carr: I had a question I asked the last people and it was one I wanted to ask the mayor too, because it's a difficult one. The chief is very well respected. He said he won't give his approval to the casino unless he gets the numbers that he feels are safe. If he doesn't give his approval, do you think the casino should still proceed?

Mr Bain: I guess it's a question of what kind of casino you want to have. I go to Atlantic City and certainly it's nothing that I would compare in safety to Vegas. I would have no concerns about wandering around Vegas at 3 or 4 am in the morning, but in Atlantic City I wouldn't want to wander too far off the boardwalk. I wouldn't want to wander two or three streets back in in Atlantic City at that time of night.

Mr Callahan: Without your helmet and your gun.

Mr Bain: Without my helmet. Yes. I think we're going to need that extra policing. I feel we really need it. If not, your casino is going to reflect it and you're not going to get the people. As I stated in my presentation, if the safety's not there, you're not going to get the numbers, and you're not going to get the crowds that I'm sure you want.

Mr Carr: Because you know what's happened? The minister or the parliamentary assistant will probably reaffirm the fact that they're committed to it, but, again, the chief is very well respected by the people who have come in. I trust his judgement more than I trust the minister or, over here, the parliamentary assistant. As I said earlier, he's gone out on the limb with this, because it's very difficult, when your city wants it and your police chief, who reports to a police services board, to sometimes do what's right, but I think the people of Windsor are well served by the chief.

So that's my question. Hopefully it'll be ironed out, but if they do not, if push comes to shove and he says, "I can't give my approval," do you believe your council, and would you personally, I guess, because you can't speak for the council, withdraw your approval if the chief does?


Mr Bain: I would think that you need to work out something with stronger security than within the casinos themselves. I don't see it as an insurmountable problem. If it can't be done in the policing and the policing is less, then the casinos themselves have to come out with stronger enforcement within each of the casinos.

Mr Carr: But you wouldn't advocate giving up some of the policing authority to the casino? Surely the Windsor police have to have the final authority.

Mr Bain: Oh, right. They have to have the final authority. I mean, it would get to a degree. I really can't answer your question now because it would be a degree. To what degree is this policing going to be withdrawn? If it becomes detrimental to the public, then yes, I would withdraw support for it.

Mr Carr: Let's hope the province will come through. Good luck.

Mr Mills: As a sort of deputy Chair, I've been trying to remain impartial in this discussion. It's not for the want of things to say. Thank you, Warden, for coming here. I've read your presentation and I want to touch on the horse racing, because, believe it or not, in part of my previous life I used to be a test inspector for Agriculture Canada at the raceway, and you know what that jobs entails, as a horseman.

I can remember being at the inaugural startup of Barrie Raceway. I think it was about 1976, 1977, and the crowds there were just phenomenal. You couldn't get a parking spot. Everybody was sort of going wacky there. Over the years that I worked there, albeit on a part-time basis in the evenings, I got to know horsemen and horsepeople very well. I noticed that from 1977 through until about 1982, when my wife forced me to retire from this activity every evening, the attendance dropped at Barrie Raceway significantly. It dropped so drastically that in about 1992 we would have racing nights there Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and then they were dropped off, first of all, to Wednesdays and Saturdays and in the end right down to Saturdays.

This is leading up to my question to you, Mr Bain, about your concern about the horse racing industry. I think it would be fair to say that the horse racing industry has been in deep trouble for a number of years and I would like your comments. The suggestion is that the casino maybe is the cause of this and I don't think it is. I just wondered how you'd like to respond to that.

Mr Bain: If I gave the impression it's the cause of it, no, but it's a factor in it is what I'm saying. I think the cause of it has been there are too many alternatives out there now: the bingo for the ladies so that you don't have them in to --

Mr Dadamo: The men too.

Mr Bain: The men too, right. I won a couple times, George, but I quit. But it's the bingo, it's all the raffle tickets you can buy, the lotteries, the Wintarios. There are so many forms of gambling. I think that's why you've seen the decrease in people going to the racetrack and betting. It's your diehards who are at the racetrack now and betting.

I guess I'm looking at, if casino gambling comes to Windsor, it could be very detrimental to the horse racing industry, to the horsemen, to the many people out in the county who are supplying all the grains and feeds to these people. The answer I really don't know, but somehow they need a piece of the pie. It may be in the video end of it in that races at Windsor Raceway are pumped into the casino such as they do in Vegas, and now Atlantic City has just recently gone to the same thing where they didn't have horse racing. Atlantic City has horse racing in a large number of their casinos down there now where you can go in. So Windsor could somehow pick up money from the video races being in there, pick up a part of the money that's bet there.

Casino gambling's just going to put horse racing farther out of the picture, and I think it's not just the horsemen, it's all the others who are depending on it too.

Mr Mills: I was going to give you that, but I think the parliamentary assistant has some answers about the sharing of the --

The Chair: Mr Lessard.

Mr Mills: Well, he was shouting at me.

Mr Lessard: Thank you for your presentation, Mr Warden. I appreciate it, because it's not only coming from a municipally elected politician but also from somebody who has some experience in attending casinos in various locations, I take it, from your presentation.

I'm going to just limit my questions to one area, because I know the parliamentary assistant wants to address the issue of the regulation of dice and police protection as well, and ask you specifically about municipal cost-sharing, because Mr Eves did mention that and other people have done that. For myself, as a representative solely within the city of Windsor, and I'm sure that the mayor would seize the attraction of municipal cost- sharing as well, if we were to come up with some ability to do that, how would we restrict it? As a county politician, how would you feel if it were a sharing only with the city of Windsor, for example?

Mr Bain: I'm sure that if it comes about, we would be looking at a piece of the pie. It may be a very, very small piece, but there is municipal sharing, and I guess if it was decided we didn't get any, we didn't get any, but there are costs that come about with wear and tear on your roads and other types of things we would have to pick up.

I think all we would really be looking at -- and I certainly don't have those answers now, but we would look at, what costs would there be to us if it comes in there in the area of, as I mentioned, crime moving out more to the county, so we may have to pick up some added police. It may be very minimal, it may not, but I think we would have to look at the entire picture of, how much more is it costing us? It may be very small, it may be a large figure, and I think all we would want to do is break even. I don't think we would be looking at a game of trying to rake in big money or whatever, but I don't think -- in fact I know we wouldn't want it to cost us money.

Mr Lessard: You understand our difficulty in dealing with that issue then. Thanks.

Mr Duignan: Thank you, Warden, for coming this afternoon. You indicated earlier on that you would have concern if we were not running a tight ship. Well, the government is committed to running a tight ship with respect to internal security, surveillance, external security policing, and we will make sure we have the regulations governing the casino and investigators of those who seek to participate in any position related to the casino industry whatsoever. I just want to assure you of that, and, again, to repeat my point, we will pay for any more additional officers that are shown to be necessary for the police force of this community, Warden.

You also talked about the horse racing industry. If you look at page 18 of the request for proposals, it makes it very clear what the proponents have to do in relation to the Windsor Raceway:

"Proponents must outline a strategy that indicates how the casino complex and the Windsor Raceway can work together for their mutual benefit, since the ministry expects the casino complex to work cooperatively with the Windsor Raceway, in particular, and to be sensitive to the Ontario horse racing industry, in general. Strategies for marketing and operations based on cooperation and collaboration should be included in proposals."

I think we have an unique opportunity here, as I think somebody else said this morning, to do something that hasn't been done in other jurisdictions in relation to the horse racing industry.

You also raised the point about allowing dice in the casinos, and you indicated that was provincial legislation. Craps is basically outlawed by the Criminal Code, which is a federal regulation.

Mr Callahan: Ever since you rolled the dice.

Mr Duignan: We have noted your concerns, like we've noted the concerns of everybody who has made a presentation in the last couple of days, and we take seriously the concerns raised here in your presentation before the committee.

Mr Callahan: I want to go to your comment about how Vegas tightly controls the safety on the streets. You didn't even have to tell me you were a gambler, because you seem to know what goes on in these places, but in Las Vegas, as you probably know, and I don't want anybody to infer anything from this, prostitution is strictly enforced and not allowed within the strip limits. Do you know how they deal with that problem?

Mr Bain: That's one end I don't get into.

Mr McClelland: Good question. Good dodge, Tom. That wasn't answered either, Tom, that's for sure.


Mr Callahan: I understand that it's well publicized in Las Vegas. They hand out circulars in the street. They deal with it by way of putting it outside of the strip. The reason I raise that issue is that you come here as the warden of Essex county saying, "We want to be definite that there will be no spillover from the city to the country where people go out to live and maintain their sanity, and here's the way Las Vegas did it." I'm not for one minute suggesting that's what will happen here, but it's a potentiality. The way things are going in this world, next year everything will be legal, from what I can figure. I have to tell you that's one way they deal with it and I would hate to think that this would be the way it might work out here.

In any event, the age: The parliamentary assistant has promised we will get a written opinion from the Attorney General's department backing up a verbal one he had before, that for some strange reason to raise the age from 19 to 21 is contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the Ontario Human Rights Code, which I've already said and I won't repeat. But I can't understand it, because there are all sorts of statutes of Ontario: how old you have to be to marry without consent, the Young Offenders Act, a whole slew of things that legislators do that in fact discriminate on the basis of age.

In any event, far be it from me to believe that the reason this is being done is that the voting age is 19 and we have a by-election coming up in this community and perhaps they're going to wait until after that takes place to decide to make it 21.

Mr Duignan: You have a great imagination.

Mr Callahan: I'll tell you that unless you can give me a legal opinion showing that you can't do it, that's the only reason I can believe in. I have to say to you I'm in tune with the police chief too. I think the fact that you can't drink in Detroit until you're 21 means that you already have young people coming over here to drink in the establishments here. I'm sure the people in this community, restaurateurs -- well not restaurateurs, people who own bars, because that's where the young people would probably go, are probably happy about that.

Let's take two components, and I think the chief of police put them together very well when he said, "You now have them coming across the border to drink, to gamble and who knows what else." Is that a wise thing to keep Ouellette Avenue, which I have praised throughout my stay here and I'm sure there are other areas of Windsor that are the same, where kids can walk freely and safely? Should that not be the thing the citizens of Windsor should demand of the government, that it be 21 as opposed to 19? Why exacerbate the problem, as the chief has said it will?

Mr Bain: Certainly the first point I want to make is that I'm not an expert in that area.

Mr Callahan: Which one's that, the countryside operation or the age?

Mr Bain: Either one, the age or the countryside operation. In fact, I don't drink. I do gamble but I don't drink and I don't run around with the countryside gals either. But we don't want that out in our area, that's for sure.

As far as the age goes, I realize there's a problem. Like I said, I don't frequent even bars in Windsor, so you wouldn't find me there, so I probably don't realize the extent, but I have heard from many others that there is a problem with the younger Americans coming over. I have a son who's 21. He's at that age right now where's he's out frequenting bars once in a while and says he's seen many a scrap and whatever, and it's Americans versus Canadians, so I really don't know the extent of that problem.

Mr Callahan: You're just lucky they're both Detroit fans or you'd have it even worse.

Mr Bain: If it's a problem, then I guess I would move my decision to moving to 21 years of age. It could become a lot worse. Moving gambling in could bring a lot more, and that's something that's going to have to be worked out with others than myself who are more expert in the area, such as the police chiefs.

The Chair: Regretfully, our time has expired.

Mr Callahan: Can I get five minutes?

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

Mr Bain: Okay. Thank you very much.

The Chair: I would like to ask if Alan Berger is here. He's the next presenter on our list. I don't see him here and I don't see Fred Upshaw, whom I know, representing OPSEU here. Is there anyone here representing OPSEU? No?

I guess we'll do a 10-minute recess right now.

Mr Callahan: Mr Chair, could we move on to the next one?

The Chair: If Gordon Fry, the manager of Chatham Coach Lines is here, he's welcome to come forward, except that he's not expected to present until 4:30, so I think it's highly unlikely he is.


The Chair: No, not that I'm aware of. We're going to take a 10-minute recess and see if we can get a presenter.

The committee recessed from 1516 to 1526.


The Chair: Order. The committee will come to order. Our next presenter is Alan Berger. Welcome to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs. You have 30 minutes to make your presentation today, and if you would like to proceed, please.

Mr Alan Berger: Thank you very much. My name is Alan Berger. I come here to speak as a private citizen and also as an independent business owner.

The casino in Windsor will be a winner in all aspects. There will be a tremendous increase in tax revenues, both directly and indirectly, and there will be a tremendous boost to our ravaged downtown business area. Existing restaurants, hotels, bars and retail outlets will be much busier and the long-term vacancies that have plagued our downtown will finally be filled.

The result, when tied with the casino jobs, will be an increase in business and property taxes to the city and an increase in corporate taxes through business profits to the province. These are profits that a lot of these businesses haven't seen for two, three and four years, and besides, the province's share of the casino revenue, the PST coffers, will finally hit the jackpot.

If this committee has any sway in regard to PST collection, I'd like to suggest an effective method of collecting PST be found for the cross-border shoppers returning from Detroit and that the PST for non-Ontario residents be refunded. I think this is an issue that has to be addressed again. The tourists, and we're talking about 8,000, 10,000, 15,000 a day who will be coming to our city, shouldn't have to pay the sales tax. If they do, they should be refunded at one point or another. The GST is refunded to all non-residents. The province should follow suit.

An area of concern that hasn't been discussed very much is the level of consumer confidence affected by good or bad news. I've spoken to Wayne Lessard about this on a local level here, and it just showed that when there are positive discussions on the confirmation of the Windsor casino taking place, the general attitude of the consumer was one of spending, but when the provincial budget came down in May of this year, a lot of businesses felt like someone had just turned the tap off.

What we need now are some firm decisions. We need a final selection of the operator, and construction of the casino to begin as soon as possible. The temporary casino placed at the Art Gallery of Windsor is part of this process, and the sooner the casino opens, the sooner the revenues will roll in for both the city and the province.

There has been a great deal of planning, from different points of view, in this city and provincial partnership, and it follows that we use the expertise and the experience of professional consultants, whether they are Canadian or American or from any other part of the world. We want the best casino possible for today and tomorrow.

I just want to wrap up with a couple of final suggestions. If the committee has any sway, again, in regard to the federal government's control of legalizing the craps tables, I think this is an area we should look at opening up. Liquor should be allowed in the casino, in my opinion. Also, the increase in the cost of policing that the city will incur should be offset by either the province or the casino somehow. That's pretty much it, guys and gals.

The Chair: Thank you very much for your presentation, Mr Berger. It was very good. We have about eight or nine minutes, I guess, per caucus. We're starting with the government caucus.

Mr Lessard: Thank you, Mr Berger. I think the record should show that the business you operate is Brotherhood. It's on Ottawa Street as well, right?

Mr Berger: Right.

Mr Lessard: I can tell from your submission that you have met with your other colleagues, two of whom we've heard from, from the Ottawa Street business improvement area. They also mentioned the provincial sales tax rebate for people shopping from outside of Ontario. Mr Orman expressed that yesterday, and I indicated to him that was a good idea but something that I think is beyond the parameters of Bill 8, which we're discussing at this point in time. But it is an important aspect with respect to tourism.

You mentioned some of the benefits that will accrue to businesses in our area. One of the ones that you mentioned was bars. We do benefit a great deal from the American market with respect to bars, most notably people who are 19, 20 and 21. When the chief was here yesterday, he expressed his concern that the age for gambling would be 19 and that it would include the Americans who come over here to enjoy our licensed premises. He felt that the age to be permitted to gamble in the casino should be 21. I wondered whether you had any feelings with respect to that.

Mr Berger: I've read some of the articles, and my opinion is that the age of 19 should stand as it is. If that's the legal drinking age in the province, then I can't see that we bar them from a casino when we're stating that in the province's opinion they're old enough to judge when they can drink and when they can't drink, when they've had enough. It will be up to the casinos to control the policing of any individuals who might be causing problems. I think that if the casinos are run properly, they'll know who the rabble-rousers are. If they've caused trouble once, the casinos are going to know once they come in a second time. These are not amateurs we're dealing with as casino operators.

Mr Lessard: I'm sure that the parliamentary assistant might have some comments with respect to drinking in the casino. I don't know whether he wants to respond to that, but I just really wanted to commend you for your success in business up until this point. I know it's been a difficult few years, but you've been able to do well. I hope, with the introduction of the casino business, that will improve.

Mr Dadamo: Great store.

Mr Berger: Thank you.

Mr Dadamo: I know you have stiff competition; they were here yesterday. We applaud you for tenacity and being able to stay in business during recessionary times in this town. You've done extremely well and you work and operate on a great street. I asked the same question to those others who are from the Ottawa Street area. I'm sure you're part of their business association.

Mr Berger: Yes, I am.

Mr Dadamo: I just wanted some personal views from you as to what mode of operation there was going to be coming from you to attract people from the downtown Windsor area final site here to try to get them into Ottawa Street.

Mr Berger: I'm part of the Ottawa Street business promotions committee. There's a group of three that basically does general planning and then we go to a further committee for decision-making. But in our discussions we felt that Ottawa Street doesn't have a great deal to gain initially from the tourist sector of the casino. What we're looking at are the 8,000 to 10,000 to 12,000 jobs that will be created. If these people are working, they'll be spending. If they're working, they need clothes. They'll need food; they'll be going out to restaurants. They'll be needing shoes. This is the portion we're looking at. I think anything beyond the group of workers that is created, the people we are taking off the unemployment lines and off the welfare rolls, that's what we want. If we see that there's an area where we can gain business through the tourists, we've discussed possibly printing up some kind of brochures.

We've seen this in other areas, not necessarily getting our books into the hotel rooms, but more so the little four-page high-gloss folders that you see in the hotel lobbies. You can pick it up and it explains some of the history of Ottawa Street, the fact that we're third- and fourth-generation owners in our businesses, that there are 60 businesses and some fine restaurants, some ethnic restaurants. This is how we're going to approach it. But it's going to be a step-by-step issue. We're going to take it gently on the tourist end of it but aggressively on the new employment created.

Mr Dadamo: But you'll still get, I'm sure, at the end of the day when the shuttle services are in operation -- because I think that will be the key to a lot of success here.

Mr Berger: That also will possibly take place, but I can't see it being a negative. If anything, we have a lot to gain and nothing to lose.

Mr Dadamo: You're into clothing and those kinds of things, so obviously you're going to want to attract people to spend that little bit extra to buy some clothing.

Mr Berger: Absolutely. In my particular business we specialize in leather jackets for men and women. This is an area where some of the American tourists still might have the impression that they're going to come to Windsor in the middle of July and are still going to need a leather jacket. So this is an area that we can pursue.

Mr Dadamo: But you've also interjected a lot of your personal ideas, I'm sure. You have a partner, don't you?

Mr Berger: My brother is my partner, but I speak for both.

Mr Dadamo: So you've interjected with some personal ideas as to getting people down.

Mr Berger: Absolutely.

Mr Dadamo: You're quite actively involved in sessions with --

Mr Berger: I'm very active in the Ottawa Street Business Improvement Association.

Mr Duignan: The whole question of liquor has come up again. As you know, the casino will be subject to the liquor regulations like anybody else, and those present regulations don't allow liquor at the tables. However, the charitable casinos have an exemption under that act, and like anything else, regulations can change.

Mr Berger: From what I've read from Madam Minister Churley, the outline was no alcohol on the casino floors, but there was room for adjustment once the casino was up and running. I think that we have to go into this with our eyes open. I have been to Las Vegas; I've never been to Atlantic City. But to sit at a machine or a blackjack table for two or three hours, it's not bad to sit and have a drink in your hand.

Mr Duignan: But I understand that the experience of the charitable casinos was that hardly anybody drinks at a table. My experience in Las Vegas -- and there they serve free drinks as long as you continue to gamble -- is that very few people were actually drinking. I was the exception.

Mr Callahan: He was also losing.

Mr Duignan: I noticed that the dealer at the table got rather upset that I wasn't concentrating on the cards, that I was actually drinking. But that's generally the experience, that not many people at all are drinking at the tables.

Mr Berger: I was just in Winnipeg in May on business and I had my travel agent book me into the Crystal Casino in the Fort Garry Hotel. I wanted to take a firsthand look at the operation. In my opinion, it's small potatoes compared to what we want to do here. I was a hotel resident at that point. I went through the elevator to the eighth floor, where the casino is, and they wouldn't let me off the elevator because I didn't have a tie on at first, which I felt a little insulted by, considering I'm in the hotel paying the fare. I explained I just wanted to take a look, poke my head in the door and see if it was worth coming up. They said, "I'm sorry, you can't come in." Later that evening I did some business and I came back and put a tie on and walked in. It's a small casino, but the format was that it was almost one of the weekend amateur formats that I've seen up and running in Windsor quite a bit and now, I understand, in other cities too. I think that the Windsor casino, both temporary and of course permanent, has to be strictly professional.

The Chair: Just for the record, if you happen to go to Freeport and play blackjack there, they supply you with all the drinks you can drink while you're playing, for free.

Mr McClelland: With your permission, Mr Chairman, I just wondered -- it's simply a request -- if you'd let me know when we have three minutes left, so Mr Kwinter can --

The Chair: I will.


Mr McClelland: Thank you very much. I don't want to take this lightly, Mr Berger, but I wanted to just indicate in response to the parliamentary assistant's comment that he is truly an Irishman, not only in name but in spirit as well. No offence to my Irish friends; you'll note from my name that it's my heritage as well.

Mr Callahan: Careful.

Mr McClelland: Yes.

Mr Berger, you made a point that I think is very, very telling -- two points, actually, but they're hooked on the same item, if you will. One was that you felt there should be alcohol served at the table. The follow-up to that was that it's inevitable, it's just a matter of time. I've heard a number of people say that. They're saying: "Come on, let's be realistic about this. Let's get the shop up and running. It'll change and it'll evolve."

Therein lies a bit of a dilemma. Here's the problem: We've heard from the Downtown Business Association people, restaurateurs, some of your colleagues in business and friends around the community who say that one of the fundamental desires, if not requirements, is to have the traffic out and about in the downtown area. You also have, at the same time -- and you're a businessman -- a private sector operator with private money whose motivation, rightly so, is to turn a profit. Part and parcel of turning that profit is we know you make good numbers on beverage alcohol sales.

I just want to throw that out. It may or may not elicit a comment, but I think we have in there a bit of a dilemma. The restaurateurs and association are saying, "We want effectively in the legislation, in regs, some relatively tight prescribed ratio of seating and square footage and so forth available for the serving of food and" -- I think from a business point of view equally important, perhaps more important -- "alcoholic beverages."

We do have that dilemma. I don't know how to come up with a solution to it. But I think the point you make is very, very telling. I think that you're just being upfront and honest. It's a matter of time and I think we have to consider that over the course of time the pressure will be there to turn that profit, to make it viable. Let's face up to that and deal with it right up front. I appreciate your forthrightness on that.

Mr Berger: To follow up on that comment, we can only make a first impression one time. If we have a tourist travelling 200 miles from Cleveland, Cincinnati, the Toronto area or northern Michigan, if they come in here once and they're left with a bad taste in their mouth -- for whatever reason; it could happen for any reason -- they might not come back. But if they come down here and have a good time -- that doesn't necessarily mean that alcohol relates to a good time, but it just kind of eases the situation along, I think, in the mode of gambling.

Mr McClelland: Not to beat it to death, but I just think you've flagged it very well. You just can't simply say: "Oh, it's okay. We'll limit it in the casino and then people will go out and spend their money and shop elsewhere." I think we've got to be real about this. I think it's inevitable that the pressures -- whether we succumb to those pressures or not is in the collective wisdom of the government -- pressures are going to be there and they're going to mount extremely quickly.

Mr Kwinter: Mr Berger, were you part of the trip to Gulfport, Mississippi?

Mr Berger: No I wasn't. One of our Ottawa Street associates, Norm Ordover, who spoke earlier, was and he told me about his experiences.

Mr Kwinter: Do I have time, Mr Chair?

The Chair: Sure, you have lots of time.

Mr Kwinter: You make an interesting point about your visit to Winnipeg. The thing I find interesting is that some of the proponents are equating the fact that Winnipeg has got this casino and we've got to have the same kind of thing, and you're saying that we don't really want that kind of a casino, that we want a casino that is different from the casino in Winnipeg.

That sets up a whole other series of concerns as to at what level -- we had the presenter just before you suggesting that in his opinion we need a whole series of buildings so that people can go to one casino and, if they feel unlucky, can go to the next one or, if they feel unlucky about that, can go to the next one. The question then becomes, what are we talking about? Are we talking about one casino? Are we talking about a whole extension of casinos? What is too little and what is too much and who determines that? Do you have any comments on that?

Mr Berger: One of the comments I made near the end of my speech is that we definitely take advantage of the professional consultants, the expertise and the experience that these people have in consulting, and let's incorporate it into the plans that the province and city are planning. If the Coopers and Lybrand study tells us that the six or seven casinos could generate X amount of dollars and be a tremendous success and increase employment, then I think that we should listen to them. If we're paying them through provincial taxation, we should listen to their input.

My personal opinion is that a city of our size probably should start out with the one casino. If the province sees that it's up and running, it's successful, there's room for two. We do have a very unique marketplace. We're across the river, a mile away from a different country. We're a mile away from the fifth- or sixth-largest marketplace in the United States. We have a travel time of three hours to incorporate, I think, 35 million or 40 million people; I don't know the numbers exactly. But we do have a unique point of view.

I was born and grew up in Windsor. I have a lot of people from Detroit, friends of mine, who all they talk about is, "When is the casino going?" I'm talking judges, I'm talking lawyers and doctors and educators and factory workers, and they want to come over. The Windsor market is going to aim towards the American side, and in that way we're not necessarily competing with possible other casino sites in Niagara Falls or in Ottawa. What we need here is one to start and possibly two or three. And if 5 or 6 or 10 years down the road, it's successful and there's room for more, then we look at it further. But I think there is room for probably more than one in Windsor eventually.

Mr Carr: One of the concerns that was raised is with regard to the issue of crime, and you've heard some of the debate with the chief and the number of police he needs and so on. One of the things that makes your area such a good potential is that it is safe, versus right across the river where the crime is -- I think in some of the discussions this morning people were trying to say, well, with new jobs there would be less unemployment, less crime. I'm not as worried about the criminals here as I am the ones from Detroit coming across, because they have a massive problem with crime there.

Do you have any suggestions on what we can do? Are you worried about the criminal element coming over? I'm not even talking about the organized crime. I'm talking about the street level, where people say: "There's a casino. There are a lot of people carrying cash. I'm right across the river and nobody goes to downtown Detroit. It's 12 o'clock at night. The best place to rob somebody is to go across and around the casino." That would affect your area and potentially ruin it. Are you concerned, and, if so, what should be done to make sure, as a person in the immediate area, that your community remains safe?

Mr Berger: The province, in my reading, has okayed the hiring of 10 extra officers for training, and I think there should be funds set aside for training the officers who are presently on duty into casino patrol or casino control. Again, this is where we look at consultants, whether we look to the Las Vegas people or we look to the Minnesota people or the Gulfport, Louisiana, people, and we ask how they handle it. We ask their chief to tell our chief what different measures they use since gambling came in.

It's funny that you can go to Las Vegas and you can gamble and leave your money in a machine and walk away and grab a drink or, you know, say hi to a friend, and come back a few minutes later and your money is still at the machine. Somehow they've controlled the gambling, whether --

Mr Callahan: I wouldn't try that too often.

Mr Berger: I wouldn't do it as a practice, but I think that's as much a rule as any.

Mr Carr: Of course, the big problem is that Las Vegas doesn't have Detroit right next door. That's my concern, and nobody seems to be raising the fact about that.

You raised the issue of the number of police. Where we're at is the province is going to give them 12, the chief wants 30, and we're in negotiation now, as you've probably read; it's been in the paper and so on. I've said I would listen to the chief over anybody else. Is that your feeling too, as somebody who has worked with the police here, that the chief should be the one to decide and not the --

Mr Berger: I'd see a compromise somewhere along the way, but I like the input from our Windsor police chief. He's asking for the 30 officers, that we should be ready at hand with trained officers if the need is there. The crime factor coming over from Detroit is going to exist. We've lived with it all our lives here. I'm sure there is going to be a greater element of crime crossing the border with the casino in operation, but again this is something that we have to aim at; we have to prevent it. We have to look at it with our eyes open at all times, starting today.


Mr Carr: Good luck.

The Chair: Thank you very much for presenting before the committee today, Mr Berger.


The Chair: Our next presenter is Fred Upshaw, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

Mr Callahan: An old friend of yours.

The Chair: Indeed you're right, Mr Callahan: an old colleague and friend of mine, Mr Fred Upshaw. If you would please come forward, Mr Upshaw --

Mr Callahan: He's got a delightful brief, too.

The Chair: -- and Mr Bert Hart, the organizing rep for OPSEU. Please make yourselves comfortable. You're no stranger to committee hearings; I know that, Mr Upshaw.

Mr Fred Upshaw: That's true enough.

The Chair: You have 30 minutes to make your presentation. Please proceed.

Mr Upshaw: Thank you very, very much for the opportunity to be here today. I appreciate that, and I want to say that I'm the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, representing about 105,000 members in the province of Ontario.

Sitting alongside me is Bert Hart, who will answer any technical-type questions that you may have, given the fact that I've been spending most of my time lately on what you call the social contract. He'll respond to your technical questions and I'll respond to general-type questions.

I'd like to start out by saying that Ontario is suffering from the disastrous economic and social policies of the federal Tory government. The 105,000 members represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union see the resulting problems every day. In their working lives they see the children and families in crisis, the breakdown in our educational system, even the pressure on the province's correctional system. As neighbours and citizens in their communities, they know the depth of despair being felt in this province.

OPSEU members know the answer is not more cutbacks. The Ontario government has been wrong in repeating Tory economic policies that benefit only the wealthy. Wrenching $6 billion out of the Ontario economy with an expenditure control plan and the so-called social contract is bringing no relief to the people of Windsor.

The introduction of casino gambling has the potential to create many of those jobs, directly and in the ancillary tourism and service industries. It also has the potential to create vastly greater problems for a city already reeling from a decade of ill-conceived economic policies.

Border communities such as Windsor, Sault Ste Marie and Niagara have been hit terribly hard. Millions of dollars continue to drain to the American side through cross-border shopping. They are attracted by lower US prices, a reflection of lower US taxes which support vastly inferior US social services. Unfortunately, it also drains tax revenue from Ontario, contributing to our current economic difficulties.

A casino in Windsor will attract American customers and return some of the money presently lost to us through cross-border shopping. Visitors who come for the casino will also patronize restaurants, hotels and motels, and other tourist services. Think what an estimated 12,000 daily visitors could do for the retail economy of a community such as Windsor. That would further regenerate the host of other businesses that supply the retail and tourism industries.

This committee's review of the merits of casino gambling in Ontario comes at a crucial juncture in the province's history. An aggressive campaign by advocates of a lean and mean neo-conservative economic agenda is confronting Canada's long-held belief in a caring society, a society based on a central role for secure, universal, properly funded public services and programs.

Against a backdrop of severe cutbacks and stern warnings about the need to compete internationally, it would be easy to believe that we have no choices. In this context, casino gambling is presented as an enterprise that must be privately operated. OPSEU believes this is an extremely dangerous option and that we have a better alternative that is more in line with our social traditions.

In Canada and in Ontario, we have chosen public enterprise to deliver a wide range of services to citizens and visitors. In Canada, it is the government that operates the liquor stores, that insures medical services, that runs our electrical utilities, that provides education to our young people, protects our environment, supports senior citizens, operates federal and provincial parks, provides the highways and other infrastructure of society and so on. Government is a very real and legitimate part of our lives every day. We see government services as important and integral to our way of life, and the more risky the enterprise -- risky in terms of potential danger to our citizens and our communities -- the more we are inclined to want it provided within the public sector. Gambling is by its nature such an enterprise.

Ontarians rightfully demand a very high level of scrutiny for any operation like a casino that could attract unethical operators. We expect vigilant protection of the interests of those who will participate in casino gambling, and we want to ensure that all revenues to the province are duly paid. Will we be assured of this if our first casino experiment involves the government only as an arm's-length regulator? We don't think so.

In many other jurisdictions, casinos have raised legitimate concerns for safety and security, concerns already expressed by community groups and law enforcement agencies. Their experience points to the need for Ontario's pilot casino to be run by the public service. OPSEU recommends that Bill 8 be amended to achieve this.

As evidence, we point to the years of successful operation of the Crystal Casino in Winnipeg, Manitoba, its predecessors and the two other new entertainment centres there. The Crystal Casino as a gambling operation has had virtually no impact on the Winnipeg crime scene. In fact, this casino is also unique in being the only fully publicly operated gambling establishment on the continent. With a take of $26 million last year, half as profit for the provincial treasury, it was a very lucrative public establishment.

Ontario has tacitly admitted its concern about violence associated with a privately operated casino by agreeing to fund 10 additional officers for the Windsor police force. The Windsor police say the casino as planned will require the addition of twice as many officers as the province is willing to support. The Winnipeg model has proven to have minimal impact on the need for policing. Why is there such reluctance to take this obvious solution?


We would agree with the comments of Peel Regional Police Chief Robert Lunney, as reported in Hansard on July 26: "If you're going to proceed, bear in mind that you're going to have all sorts of problems, but if you're bound and determined to proceed in the face of those problems and somehow feel you're going to be immune from them, for heaven's sake make sure it's completely government-run and government-controlled with no private gambling firms as partners."

Most gambling authorities believe government-run casinos are operated more honestly, cutting our avenues for corrupt practices. Senior law enforcement officials agree. When the Crystal Casino was set to open, the assistant commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Winnipeg told the Canadian Press that its unique concept was not attractive to the criminal element. The long-standing, crime-free status of gambling at the Crystal Casino was unfortunately not the case at two other large gambling centres in Manitoba now known as entertainment centres. In their case, where private entrepreneurs were operating bingo games, there was evidence of game rigging and related illegal activities. The Manitoba government solved those problems by bringing the entertainment centres under the wing of the public service, providing the public with renewed confidence for crime-free gambling activities. We should learn from the experiences of our neighbouring province and not repeat its mistakes.

A casino in Windsor with a good reputation, free of the problems associated with Nevada and Atlantic City, could be a very attractive drawing card to help spur a local recovery. We must make certain that the benefits are not offset by the sad experiences of other jurisdictions with privately run casinos: increased crime and deterioration of the community. Windsor and its workers deserve the benefits of a government-run casino akin to the Manitoba casino model. A public service casino has its place in an integrated government approach to tourism, recreation and related ministry services. The casino, as an Ontario public service function, can dovetail with a wide range of services to visitors and be the impetus to expansion of related business in the private sector. The government has already recognized the casino will be a quasi-public service by granting the operator an exemption from paying the GST to the province. It should take the next step, which costs the province nothing, and make the casino a truly public enterprise.

The government is now offering a plum to Windsor, but its myopic view excludes the reality of the problems associated with privately operated casinos. As a result, this government will shortchange the city by giving it unnecessary problems that will prove very costly, economically and socially. Windsor deserves better. It deserves a safe and responsibly run casino, a casino run by the government and accountable to the people of Ontario.

The Chair: We have five minutes per caucus.

Mr Kwinter: Mr Upshaw, I was really interested in your comparison of the Winnipeg operation, the Crystal Casino, and the experience you've had. Just before you came in -- or maybe you were here -- the presenter before you talked about his experience there.

I think one of the problems we have is that we are not talking about the same kind of operation. When you talk about the Crystal Casino in Winnipeg, you said its take was $26 million last year, half profits, so the profit to the province was $13 million and it ran the whole thing. The projection for the casino in Windsor is that the provincial government's 20% share of the net profit is going to be, according to its estimates and according to the figure you used in your presentation, $140 million.

So to be able to compare what is happening in Winnipeg and to suggest that the situation is well in hand, without a problem; when you consider I think it's on the eighth floor of a hotel -- the only access to it is by elevator -- you're talking about a totally different kind of operation. It's an operation that, unless the government was running it, would not be attractive to too many people, other than a local person who would generate some fairly good revenues.

My concern is that I'm kind of attracted to your proposition that this should be a totally government-run facility, because I think that would eliminate a lot of the problems. But it will not eliminate the kinds of problems of a social nature that will occur, not because it's poorly run; just by the sheer size of it. We're just talking a different animal than what we're talking about in Winnipeg. Do you have any comments about that?

Mr Upshaw: Yes. I have been to the casino out in Winnipeg, I've been into many nightclubs throughout this country and also the United States and I have been in some of the casinos in the States. I want to tell you that when I walked into the casino in Manitoba, I felt completely relaxed. I had a fantastic evening of entertainment. Just as many women as men were there who were having a fabulous time, with no concern of any kind of hoodlumism going on. It was a perfect, relaxed evening, and I believe the reason for it was because it was being run by the province.

I believe that the citizens of this province have come to believe that in the public sector, they rely on the honesty and the professionalism of the people who work in the public sector because they're not there for profit; they're there to provide professional service and to ensure that those who want that service get the best possible.

If the citizens of this province realize that the government, through the public service employees, are running the casino, I believe they'll have much more confidence in what's happening in that casino and I believe it will be in fact a deterrent to the criminal element to realize that this is being run professionally by law-abiding -- no pre-perceptions of those who are running the casino as being tied in with gamblers or this, that or any other thing -- the perception that these are next-door neighbours with a high quality of service who will be the ones running the casino.

So I suggest to you that just the mere perception that it's being run by the public service would be a cause for criminal elements to stay away.

Mr Kwinter: Mr Upshaw, just one last question so that I get an idea of what we're talking about. In your estimation, because you've been there and I haven't, how many employees does the Crystal Casino have and how many people would it accommodate at any one time? I understand there's a turnover, but what would the fire regulations allow in the way of occupancy of that casino?


Mr Upshaw: Personally, I didn't ask how many employees worked there. I would guesstimate probably around 150 employees; that's a guess on my part. But I also tell you that I've been there several times and conventions were being held there and the people who were frequenting it were out-of-town people. I can tell you that on the three floors there were times when you had to line up. When they reached a certain number, you couldn't get in, and also the dress code was strictly adhered to.

I can give you a really good example of one of my own friends who wore a shirt, a tie, a jacket and a pair of jeans. This is his mode of dressing up. He was refused entrance because he had jeans on, even though he had on a white shirt, tie and jacket. That's how stringent the policy of running that casino was. Because it was run by the public service, all the administrative policies had to be adhered to.

Mr Kwinter: Thank you.

Mr Eves: Mr Upshaw, carrying along somewhat the line of the questioning that Mr Kwinter was operating on, I think that you may well have a valid point. Would you view the province's undertaking in a Windsor casino to be the same size, which I think is a fairly substantial undertaking, what it's talking about now, as opposed to the Winnipeg experience? Would it be your intention that such a public service-run casino would be the same size and magnitude that it's talking about, which of course would be a very substantial capital undertaking on behalf of the province if it were to own and operate it itself?

Mr Upshaw: Would I agree that it be the same size as the one in Winnipeg or --

Mr Eves: No, the one they're proposing to build here, which I think is fairly substantial.

Mr Upshaw: I don't see a problem with the size if it's properly staffed by professionals who care less about profit but more about service, and then the government sets the guidelines and everybody adheres to them.

Mr Eves: I think one of the problems the government may have now is that of course it has put out a request for proposals. Operating on that basis, several undertakings have submitted proposals, the cutoff date has occurred and for the government to try and change that now or backtrack may be fairly difficult for it, to say the least.

Did OPSEU make any representations to the province before the request for proposals went out, or indeed even after it went out? Have you been in consultation or discussion with the government about this?

Mr Bert Hart: If I could respond to that, Mr Eves, we had written to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations and asked her to consider making this a public service venture and the reply was in the negative. I don't want to go into that too much --

Mr Eves: Okay.

Mr Hart: -- but, yes, some time ago. In fact, I believe it was in early spring that we actually brought this up.

Mr Eves: Okay.

Mr Duignan: Thank you, Mr Upshaw, for appearing in front of the committee this afternoon. I've just got a couple of questions. In your brief you've stated that for security and safety, the casino would be better operated by the public service. It has always been the tradition in Ontario that the gaming industry has always been kind of a public-private mix. I was just wondering, should the horse racing, the Monte Carlos, bingos or lotteries then also be run by the public service?

Mr Upshaw: I guess if I had any say in it, I'd like to see it run that way, yes. But having said that, I'm using an example of a casino in Canada that's run by the province, and the results far exceed the results of casinos that have been run by private entrepreneurs in terms of the criminal element. That alone should be cause for this government to consider modelling the type of operation from the Crystal Casino in Manitoba.

Mr Duignan: I'm just wondering if you could comment, for example, on British Columbia, which has 12 casinos. There they are charitable casinos and, again, it's a public-private mix and they seem to operate in a pretty efficient manner, a safe manner.

Mr Upshaw: Our statistics show that there is less criminal activity surrounding a casino that has been running provincially, and our statistics also show that where it's been a privately run casino in the same province, the element of criminal activity was increased. To solve the problem they switched the other two casinos over to being run by the province, so why should we make the same mistake when we can learn from what's happened in one of our sister provinces?

Mr Duignan: Given your assumptions that public ownership equals, basically, safety, if the casino was operated by the public service, would there be any need for increased police services here in Windsor?

Mr Upshaw: I believe if you look at the brief it's quite explicit that the experience of a casino in Winnipeg run by the province decreased the criminal activity from those casinos run by private enterprise.

Mr Duignan: You didn't quite answer the question. We're dealing with a casino in Winnipeg that is some 17,000 square feet in size compared to 75,000 square feet in size here, or for the Windsor area, and we're building a free-standing building in its own right. Again, if it was run by the public service, would there be any need for an increase in the police force here in Windsor?

Mr Upshaw: I would say there would be a need for increase, but not to the extent that's now being proposed.

Mr Duignan: What would be the number, in your opinion?

Mr Upshaw: That's a beautiful question. I'm not a law enforcement officer. I would suggest to you that our statistics show less criminal activity associated with a casino run by the province than casinos run by the private entrepreneurs.

Mr Duignan: I appreciate your comments. You made a remark that the casino would be exempt from GST. I think the ministry has told the proponents -- it's in page 7 of the proposal -- that they must comply with all the legislation regulations at all levels of government. There's been no exemption promised or offered. In fact, the proponents have been told to assume the opposite for purposes of their proposal.

The Chair: We are out of time, but if Mr Upshaw or Mr Hart would like to respond to that --

Mr Upshaw: It's been reported in the press that there will be no GST.

Mr Duignan: Do you believe everything the press says?

Mr Callahan: Can I just have clarification, Mr Chair, on one item.

Mr Upshaw: I take it for what it's worth.

Mr Callahan: The one item that was raised, I think by Mr Upshaw or perhaps one of the members, about the ability of the government at this late stage to go the other route, I think it's important that at page 7 it be clarified that they do have that option, they can get out. I think that's the case. Maybe the parliamentary assistant would help me if my reading of section 13 is correct that they can in fact, "...that the ministry doesn't bind itself to accept any proposal and may proceed if in its sole discretion it determines following receipt of proposals..."

I want to know if they still have the option to get out. If they don't, then considering even what Mr Upshaw said, maybe just pie in the sky, but I tend to like the idea too.

Mr Duignan: You are correct.

Mr Callahan: Is that right? Well, okay, just to clear the air on that --

The Chair: That concludes our time, unfortunately. I'd like to thank Mr Upshaw and Mr Hart for presenting to the committee today on behalf of OPSEU. Thank you very much.

Mr Upshaw: Thank you very much.

The Chair: Our next presenter is Chatham Coach Lines. Gordon Fry is the manager. If Mr Fry would please come forward.

We're going to recess until 4:30 because Mr Fry, representing Chatham Coach Lines, is not here at this time.

The committee recessed from 1621 to 1630.


The Chair: Order. I'm bringing the committee to order. Would Mr Gordon Fry, the manager of Chatham Coach Lines, please come forward. Take that chair right there where the microphone is glowing red, Mr Fry. Welcome to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs. You have 30 minutes within which you can make your presentation, and if you choose to leave some time for questions, that's quite allowed. Would you like to proceed.

Mr Gordon Fry: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today. My name is Gordon Fry. I'm the corporate operations manager for Chatham Coach Lines, a company owned and operated by J.I. DeNure Chatham Ltd, formed in Chatham, Ontario, in the late 1940s and moved to Windsor in the late 1970s.

Firstly, I'm not for or against casino gambling. However, from the reports I have read, whether it be in the newspaper or studies, it's certainly a gaming sport that many people enjoy. I also know, from our business aspect of it, that many people do participate in this, as we have actively engaged in transporting persons en route to Las Vegas as well as Atlantic City. In fact, one weekend, we operated some 13 charters to Atlantic City alone from this area for persons to participate in gambling. So why not have it locally? Many persons will come to the area if it is local, and the benefit that we as business people in the area will derive will be to our businesses. That's why I am here.

We have a transportation company, and when large numbers arrive in an area to participate in any event, transportation is needed. Because of the fact that we're in the transportation business, we as a company can stand to benefit, as well as put people to work in various areas.

We have an authority to operate charters from an area in Ontario from Owen Sound down through to Kitchener, across to Brantford, on through to the lake and west. Many of those persons are within an area where they could take a one-day trip to the city of Windsor. Perhaps some might choose to do longer. We also have a licence with the Ontario ministry to operate a fare-planned activity where the persons could participate and buy individual fares on such a trip.

In addition to that, we operate several line services. The one's that most affected by casino gambling in Windsor would be our line run from Metro Detroit to Windsor. This is a service that the company started back in 1983. For many years the fares on that service would cover the cost to operate the service. With the poor economy that we've had in the later years, it's been a money-losing proposition for us. We've continued to provide the service, as it is a service to the people of this area, but with the reduced trips that we had to do to save money we did put some people out of work. There was one full-time staff let go, plus two part-time people. Fewer riders again proved that we had to decrease the service. In February of this year, we began to operate on a reservation basis only. Again, that put a full-time person out of work and it's only operated by a part-time person at this time, although we are able to cover our costs on it.

But we feel that if the casino were to be established in this area, it would certainly increase the need for such a service, as many people would arrive by air and would need transportation for the most part. We should be able to put our two persons back to work, plus six or more others. We should be able to put perhaps four to six part-time people to work.

We would need more buses to provide the service. The buses we've used are Dodge or Chrysler product vans, whether they be mini or maxi, and locally built -- more business to the locality.

It would also prove to be of added benefit to persons in this area, whether they be business travellers, vacation travellers or others. They could leave their car at home and have better service to and from the Detroit metropolitan airport if they chose or had to fly out of that. They would save paying a parking fee to a US company. It would not give them an opportunity to fill their tank up in the US. There would be more choices of time for them to travel.

Our company, in particular, had the backbone of the school bus business throughout the years. Although this may not be related to casino gambling, I do want to touch on it, because with the funds reduced to the boards now, it has meant less service. They've got less money to spend. As a result, they're reducing their runs. It's certainly had a dramatic decrease in the volume of business done by our company in this city.

Needless to say, when business goes down, and revenue, you still have overhead costs. Certainly, the company now is faced with perhaps thinking of moving out of the city. Their tax dollars would move from the city and perhaps relocate in another area, or some other drastic measure to save some costs.

I really feel that if casino gambling were established here in the city of Windsor, it could perhaps take up some of that void left in other areas and would certainly mean more business to our company, which would result in more persons being put to work and as a result would of benefit to the area.

My presentation may be a little shorter, but I hope you're not disappointed at the end of a third day. That's about all I have to say.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Fry, for your presentation. We have seven minutes per caucus for questions.

Mr Callahan: I particularly like the idea of some talk about the airport here being enlarged to bring in the traffic that usually is required in terms of distances in excess of, say, three hours to get here. It's interesting that in the United States you can fly from Midway in Chicago to the Detroit City Airport for, I think, in the neighbourhood of about $40, if I'm not mistaken. I know they did have a round-trip airfare of $108 out of their US -- if you tried to fly from Chicago to Toronto, it'd cost you very much more than that.

With your type of service, if a casino operation were here, in terms of people coming from, say, Chicago or points west, they'd be able to fly into places like that and be picked up by a bus service of yours and brought over here at a very much lower cost than the traditional cost of flying even to Las Vegas. It would eliminate the necessity for having to have a major airport expansion, for which, of course, the feds don't have any more money than the province does.

I like the idea. I understand there's also going to be some type of shuttle service from points to avoid the congestion of parking in the downtown area and so on. I think it provides a number of services. I like the idea of that and I'm glad to hear that you do have those types of licences to be able to operate under those circumstances.

Mr Fry: Yes. I might add to that. When we started operating into the Detroit metropolitan airport, much like many of the city's airports, it's a service that you have to have approval for from the Department of Transportation. A company in Detroit holds that. We're a subcontractor to that company, so we have full authority under their operating authority as a subcontractor to provide that service.


The Chair: Mr Carr.

Mr Carr: Thank you very much. I appreciate your presentation. You mentioned I think the figure was 13 buses going down to Atlantic City. When was that?

Mr Fry: I mentioned that as a part of what our charter operation was involved in providing. We did at one point -- it's about two years ago or three years ago -- transport 13 busloads over the course of one weekend. There were various departures involved from Thursday through to Sunday. They all went to Atlantic City for gambling.

Mr Carr: Was that a particular group or --

Mr Fry: No, I think many of them bought their fares individually. We operated it for a travel company. They rode the buses all night to go down there to gamble all day, so I think people will travel to gamble.

Mr Carr: There's some feeling that as people are gambling, they get to know more of how to do it and so on and it actually increases the gambling. Do you think that will kill some of the business going down there or do you think this will enhance it, that people will go here and then go down there and just do more of it?

Mr Fry: I've never been to Atlantic City, and from what I can understand about it, the focal point of Atlantic City is the boardwalk and the gambling and if you're going there for gambling, why would you ride the bus all night if you could do it locally? I guess that's my own personal opinion of it. I would think it would reduce the volume of persons travelling, and we operate out of Detroit as well, the metropolitan area of Windsor and Detroit. Why would they ride all night when they could have the opportunity to do so locally?

Mr Carr: But obviously, financially it's better for you to have it here than to lose -- you wouldn't mind losing some of the 13?

Mr Fry: Well, that's a revenue-means-producing force as well, the charters, but it hasn't been as big a draw of late as it was at the one time.

Mr Carr: Obviously, people would -- most of it to Vegas is flying. Are you familiar with how many excursions go down there? You might know.

Mr Fry: I'm not familiar with numbers. All I know is that we operate some charters for agencies which have planned trips to Vegas. We take them to Metro; they fly out and we pick them up and they return. Some of the riders on our service to Metro airport, on an individual fare basis, we know are also going down there. That's from word of mouth in them saying to the driver, "Oh, I had a good weekend in Las Vegas," or something of that nature.

Mr Callahan: What do they say on the way back?

Mr Fry: Some of them come back disappointed and some come back happy.

Mr Callahan: I hope they pre-paid their fare.

Mr Fry: But it's a popular destination.

Mr Carr: Thank you very much, and good luck.

The Chair: Do you have more comments? Mr Duignan?

Mr Duignan: I think you've yet again proven the point that there is a demand for a casino here in the Windsor area. Do you anticipate that when the casino opens here in Windsor, you will be, for example, running charters from Toronto to Windsor on the same basis as you do charters down to Atlantic City?

Mr Fry: Currently, we don't have a licence to operate out of Toronto, but the area I did mention to you which includes Kitchener, Waterloo, Brantford, and from Owen Sound that line down through to the lake, yes, we anticipate that there will be a need by persons for transport, whether it be one-day or weekend trips to come to this area.

Mr Duignan: You have no idea of the numbers --

Mr Fry: I'm sorry, I don't at this time. I don't know the numbers.

Mr Duignan: It proves another point and that's been something that's been repeated quite often in the last number of days, that a casino here in Windsor is just a catalyst to economic opportunities here in the Windsor area, for expanding existing businesses, bringing in new businesses to cater to the expected tourists coming in, bringing in again new businesses to expand the range of entertainment activities in this area here, revitalizing the downtown core.

What's happening here, as we said or what the minister has said, is that a casino isn't the be end-all and end-all. It's a catalyst and it's a tool for economic revitalization of the Windsor area and gives that catalyst to start building up new businesses and start re-employing some of the people who have been laid off in this particular area, and in the long run the revenue from the casino will also benefit the people of the province.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Fry, for making your presentation today.

We have some committee business that we need to deal with. Just for the interest of the members, if you've got your revised agenda for tomorrow, we will be finished here tomorrow at 1 pm. For those of us who are flying out and catching the planes, we have taxi pickup at the hotel front door at 1:45 pm. There will be two taxis available. They are mini-van taxis.

If in the morning you would like to check out early, there's a place for you to store your luggage in a holding room; all you have to do is see the bell man or the porter for that.

Now we have something quite important that we do have to deal with. That is the fact that in Sault Ste Marie -- I'm sorry that Tony Martin isn't here right at this moment.


The Chair: Yes, would you please?

We have had no further people requesting to attend our committee in Sault Ste Marie, therefore the second day is still vacant, and on the first day we only have presenters until 2 pm, which would be until 2:30, I guess. So I'm in the hands of the committee as to what you think we should do with regard to --

Mr Kwinter: Is that on a Monday?

The Chair: The first day is a Monday, yes.

Mr Kwinter: Is it possible to move everybody to Tuesday so that we don't have to be away the Monday and then kill some time to go to Ottawa on the Wednesday? if we could move everybody on Monday to Tuesday we can then go Tuesday and then go on to Ottawa.

The Chair: Tony, I'll just let you know that we've had no further applications to attend in Sault Ste Marie. That means that at this point in time, Tuesday is still not required. We still have indeed five places on Monday that could still be filled at this point in time. I just wanted to let you and all members of the committee know that. I'm asking now what the committee members would like to do.

Mr Kwinter has asked, is it possible to move all the attendees one day farther down the calendar so that we --

Mr Duignan: In relation to that, I wanted to ask a question of the clerk of the committee. I notice in Ottawa all the time slots are full and I was wondering, is there a waiting list of people in Ottawa?

Clerk of the Committee (Ms Tonia Grannum): We've got four people on the waiting list.

Mr Duignan: Four people on the waiting list in Ottawa, so would there be a need to expand the time down in Ottawa?

Mr Dadamo: That's what I was thinking.

The Chair: I'm in the hands of the committee. It's whatever we collectively decide to do. Any good advice or any advice at all, for that matter, I'm willing to hear.

Mr Carr: Why don't we go out of the Sault on the Monday and schedule some for Tuesday? We could go out of the Sault on Monday after the presentations are finished and then expand it on Tuesday in Ottawa, unless Tony knows of anybody else who's coming.

Mr Martin: All I can say is that we're working on some other folks. I'm in contact with the economic development corporation. I told them yesterday and this morning that we had extended the deadline. One more came in, and I believe they've got a few more they're trying to help in preparing some briefs, but I know we can't put this off for ever. We still have a week before that happens, if you would maybe give us just a couple more days.

The Chair: I'll make the suggestion and see what people think. If we should go to Sault Ste Marie on Monday and there are some additional people who would like to attend and they can fill in later in the afternoon on Monday, if we stay in Sault Ste Marie Monday night -- is that the plan at this point in time?

Clerk of the Committee: Yes.

The Chair: Then if we could get to Ottawa in a timely fashion on Tuesday, we could meet some people in the afternoon.

Mr Martin: My really strong wish, and I don't know how the rest of the committee feels, but I would personally really like just to have you see the operation in Sault, Michigan. It is quite impressive and for an isolated area very, very successful. The economic development corporation is working on making arrangements to have everybody go over and have a look and meet some of the folks who run the place so you can ask them some questions.

The Chair: Can we do that in the evening on Monday?

Mr Martin: Yes, if we stayed overnight.

The Chair: That wouldn't interfere with the plan I've suggested.

Mr Martin: That's right.

The Chair: Is that something the clerk can manage?

Clerk of the Committee: Yes.

The Chair: Okay. Well, if everyone agrees with that, we'll do that. Hearing no objections --

Mr Kwinter: I'm sorry, what are we agreeing to here?

The Chair: What I suggested was this: Because there apparently are a couple of more presenters that would like to speak, although they haven't contacted the clerk at this point in time, I suggested that we continue with the plan as it's laid out here and go to the Sault for Monday. We will have a couple of more people, I suspect, in the afternoon. Tony has suggested that arrangements are being made for us to do a tour of the casino in Sault, Michigan, Monday night. Tuesday we can leave early in the morning and we can meet some of the demand in Ottawa by putting some people on the schedule for Tuesday afternoon in Ottawa.

Mr Kwinter: Can I suggest that you're leaving yourself wide open to some interesting comment in the media about a parliamentary committee going out to a casino in the United States at public expense? I think you're going to have a few little problems with that kind of perception.

Mr Martin: I'm not talking public expense, Monte, I'm talking the economic development corporation of the city of Sault Ste Marie extending an invitation to individual members who can go if they so choose. It's not anything that this group is formally organizing or setting up, but it's something that I've talked to the economic development corporation of the Sault around them doing, and they certainly would be agreeable, because they'd like us to see it.

The Chair: It's our choice then.

Mr McClelland: I think the best I can say at least at this point in time as critic is that we appreciate the extension of the invitation as individuals and we'll leave it at that for the time being. I share the sentiment wholeheartedly with Monte.

Mr Martin: Yes, and so do I.

Mr McClelland: I want to make it very clear that our position as opposition is that we would not be prepared to go as part and parcel of the committee.

Mr Martin: That's right.

Mr McClelland: It would be individual and personal invitation that would be involved. Leave it in that light.

Mr Callahan: If I could just add something to this, I have been there. My recollection is that there are no slot machines in that facility, or blackjack tables.

Mr Martin: Are slot machines the one-armed bandits?

Mr Callahan: Yes.

Mr Martin: Yes, there's lots of them. There are. I was there once.

Mr Callahan: Have they just recently done that, because we were there, I guess --

Mr Martin: They've had three expansions in the last year, I guess, and one of them was to open a whole floor of slot machines.

Mr Callahan: Otherwise I couldn't see any real reason for going. All you're going to do is -- no, no, no, no, don't get the wrong impression. But all you're going to see is tables, and anybody who has been to a charitable operation would see the tables, but if there are slot machines --

Mr Martin: It's quite an impressive facility, Bob, and we're trying to also have you meet some of the folks who run it and also to show you the benefit that it's been to the community, the native community.

Mr Callahan: It's run by a native reserve, isn't it?

Mr Martin: Yes, it is. It's just been a tremendous boost to their own personal economy and the kinds of things they've been able to do as a community for their people and I think it would be important to see that. Another piece is to see Sault, Michigan, itself and the impact it has had on that community in terms of the streets, the question of crime and all that kind of thing. It's negligible, and it would be interesting for you to see.

The Chair: I just want to interject and say with regard to the scheduling that I suggested, there wasn't any outstanding negative comments, so I suggest then that that's okay with everyone?

Mr McClelland: I don't see a problem, but I would ask that perhaps the clerk could give us something a little bit more definitive, and I think, in fairness to her, that we say subject to. I'm sure that's understood. As a courtesy, I think we should make sure that it's understood that that's subject to not making her life miserable and --

Mr Lessard: More miserable.

Mr McClelland: More miserable -- thank you, Mr Lessard -- than it already is.

The Chair: Yes, I asked her that.

Mr McClelland: Thank you, Mr Chair.

The Chair: This meeting's adjourned unil 9 o'clock tomorrow morning.

The committee adjourned at 1654.