Thursday 19 August 1993

Ontario Casino Corporation Act, 1993, Bill 8

Convention and Visitors Bureau of Windsor, Essex County and Pelee Island; Casino-Tourism Task Force

Margaret Williams, board chair, Convention and Visitors Bureau and chair, Casino-Tourism Task Force

Jonathan Deneau, manager, Convention and Visitors Bureau

St Clair College

Phillip R. Hale, vice-president, training and partnerships

Dr Owen Klein, chair, hospitality department

Winograd's Fashions

Ralph Winograd, co-owner

Transit Windsor

Tony Haddad, acting general manager

Town of LaSalle

Vince Marcotte, mayor

Ontario Agriculture and Horse Racing Coalition

Dr Glen Brown, chair

Hiram Walker and Sons Ltd

Karen Mingay, manager, public relations and communications


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

Prince Edward-Lennox-Hastings-Sud 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

Clerk / Greffière: Grannum, Tonia

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

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


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

The Chair (Mr Paul Johnson): Order. I'm calling the standing committee on finance and economic affairs to order. This is our fourth and final day in the beautiful city of Windsor.


The Chair: I'd like to welcome Margaret Williams, chair and councillor representing the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Windsor, Essex County and Pelee Island and the casino-tourism task force. You have someone else seated with you, obviously.

Ms Margaret Williams: I believe you've met Jonathan Deneau before, who's the manager of the tourism convention bureau, and he will be just here as a resource.

The Chair: You have 30 minutes for your presentation. You may use all of that for your presentation or save some time for questions. Would you like to proceed.

Ms Williams: I don't intend to use the full 30 minutes. I think you've probably been bombarded with enough information as it is. I will try to be as succinct as possible.

I speak to you today as both a councillor of the city of Windsor and as the chair of the board of the directors of the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Windsor, Essex County and Pelee Island. I'm also the chair of the casino-tourism task force formed by the bureau and city council to ensure that the tourism industry is well positioned and prepared to maximize the benefits of a major tourist attraction in Windsor.

First, as a city councillor who has had direct communication on a regular basis with the province's casino team, I am pleased with the methodical and workmanlike, or should I say workpersonlike, way that it has addressed the Windsor casino project. I'm not concerned about the delays and length of time it has taken and will take to have the interim and permanent casinos up and running. This is an indication that the province and the city are determined to do it right, something that was not done in other jurisdictions such as Atlantic City. Windsor, after all, is a pilot project and will be the model for future casino developments in Ontario.

I share some of the concerns of the Ontario Restaurant Association, particularly regarding the potential subsidization of food and beverage within the casino as is common in US casinos, and I endorse its request for an extension of the hours of operation for licensed establishments to provide flexibility in catering to the needs of the casino patrons.

I'm pleased, however, to note the protection implied in the Request for Proposals for the Windsor Raceway, which is already an important contributor to the tourism, employment and tax base of the area and the province.

As you have heard from the bureau's general manager earlier in the week, Windsor is already a viable destination for US tourists. They perceive Windsor and Essex county as foreign, friendly and, above all, safe. I can guarantee that we will remain foreign and friendly and I believe that the provincial government and our police department are committed to ensuring that the level of safety is maintained not just for visitors but for the residents of Windsor.

In addition to my earlier comments in support of the Ontario Restaurant Association recommendations and my support for those also put forth by the mayor, I would strongly urge that consideration be given to requiring the successful operator to commit to working with the municipality in attracting overnight visitors in addition to the lucrative day-trip market.

I would now briefly like to outline for you the planning exercises that have been ongoing and are indicative of our commitment to making the casino work and benefit the entire community.

In December 1992 the board of directors of the convention and visitors bureau commissioned the bureau administration to complete a five-year strategic plan in response to the advent of casino gaming. In July 1993 the board adopted a strategic plan which set five overriding goals for the bureau and 11 major recommendations for responsible change to achieve these goals.

I will not go into any detail of the plan as it currently sits with city council. I will, however, read to you the primary goal of the bureau over the next five years: "To ensure that the bureau is capitalizing on the opportunities provided by the casino facility to the benefit of the tourism industry as a whole."

The second major project in progress that I would like to inform you about is the casino-tourism task force, and as I mentioned, it was initiated by the bureau and completely endorsed by city council. The task force was established in the spring of this year with a mandate "to ensure that the region's tourism industry is prepared to maximize the long-term benefits of the casino facility located in Windsor's central business district."

The task force is composed of representatives of seven organizations with a vested interest in the success and spinoff benefits of the casino, and these are the downtown business association, the chamber of commerce, the Windsor-Essex County Development Commission, the Ontario Restaurant Association, the downtown hotel association, the Canada Employment Centre and the convention and visitors bureau.

Each organization has appointed a representative and an alternate, and it's some measure of the support given to the task force that many of the alternates are attending the meetings as observers. I think that's kind of rare in a committee.

The task force initially identified 28 key issues that impact on the visitor's experience. These issues range from the obvious, creating a pleasant environment through beautification and business upgrading, to the less obvious, such as the need for more public washrooms, particularly in the downtown area. The full list of these issues is attached for your information.

The task force has identified and is communicating with those departments and organizations best equipped to address these issues and has identified four areas that it will carry forward itself, because of their importance to the long-term health of the local tourism industry and the creation of jobs.

Four working groups have been formed. The first, led by the downtown business association and involving other business improvement areas and the restaurant association, is dealing with the establishment of a fair and consistent US exchange rate. This has been identified as a major cause of visitor complaints.


The second working group, chaired by myself and including representatives of the restaurant association, the police department, parking enforcement officers, Canada Customs and the downtown business association as well as the hotel association, is addressing the distribution of information to tourists so that once they get here, we can achieve the spinoff benefits by sending them to other tourist attractions and so on.

The third working group, led by the development commission and including bank representatives, the chamber of commerce and the Windsor Construction Association, is exploring the upgrading and expansion of businesses and the financing of these projects.

The fourth working group, led by Employment and Immigration Canada, is working towards a mass customer service training initiative involving all segments of the tourism industry, from busboys to taxi drivers and from sales clerks to police officers. We are currently advertising for proposals from organizations with experience in customer service training.

These four working groups will present their proposals to the task force in September. These will be incorporated into a comprehensive, planned campaign, following the announcement of the casino operator in the fall. We intend to invite the successful operator to appoint a representative to the task force.

We're confident in the tourism industry that this unprecedented planning and preparation will ensure that the entire region benefits from the casino project and that the casino patrons will benefit from a positive experience while visiting our area and then will return.

Company's coming and the tourism industry, hotels, restaurants, attractions, retail stores and everyone who comes into contact with visitors is preparing to put out the welcome mat. I'm delighted with the response of the tourism industry to the opportunity that the casino presents. The cooperation and enthusiasm has been overwhelming. Windsor businesses are not just sitting still and waiting for casino patrons to stroll in. They are prepared to join together as a team to look critically at their businesses and initiate changes to prepare for the anticipated opportunities. Windsor will be ready.

I welcome any questions or suggestions that the committee might have.

The Chair: Thank you very much. We have approximately seven minutes per caucus. We're going to start with Mr Kwinter.

Mr Monte Kwinter (Wilson Heights): Thank you very much. I'd just like to get an explanation of the problem that seems to be identified with the business of exchange rates. Is that where different merchants offer different exchange rates, or is it a problem with the general exchange rate that you have no control over?

Ms Williams: No, it varies from business to business. Some businesses don't give any credit on the US dollar. These are very few. Some may give 10 cents on the dollar when they should in reality be giving close to 30 cents on the dollar. This is a business decision that we really, up to now, have no control over.

What we're finding is that the casino is a catalyst for change. We're trying to impress -- and I think that businesses understand -- if they don't give a fair exchange rate to their customers, they're not only hurting their own business, because those customers won't return; they're hurting every other business in Windsor, because it doesn't take a lot for visitors to decide that they don't want to come back to Windsor or they don't want to come back to Toronto. One bad experience sometimes will put them off.

What we're finding now is that there is a real willingness among businesses to come together. We're looking at some kind of a program whereby visitors can identify those businesses that will give them a fair and consistent exchange rate, and that exchange rate we will probably post from week to week.

Mr Kwinter: So it's your plan to really have a universal exchange rate that's applicable to everybody in the hospitality business?

Ms Williams: That's right; those who choose. We certainly can't enforce it.

Mr Kwinter: No, I know you can't enforce it. It's going to be a recommendation. But I'm sure that if you do publicize it, it's going to put a lot of pressure on them, because the tourists will say: "How come? This isn't right."

Ms Williams: That's exactly the point.

Mr Kwinter: Another issue has not been discussed, and I notice it happens in certain jurisdictions, have you given any thought to the idea of the use of the casino chips as currency outside the casino?

Ms Williams: It hadn't occurred to us and I don't know whether we're legally able to do that.

Mr Robert V. Callahan (Brampton South): You could have Windsor dollars.

Ms Williams: Pardon?

Mr Callahan: There was a suggestion about Windsor dollars, where they would -- I'm sorry.

Mr Kwinter: No, go ahead.

Mr Callahan: -- get 125 Windsor dollars for 100 of these, instead of cash, and they could use them to spend in the community. That was suggested by --

Ms Williams: That's certainly a good idea.

Mr Callahan: That's not my idea; that was suggested by someone --

Ms Williams: We're glad of any suggestions. We're receiving suggestions all the time from people who live in Windsor, from people who are visiting Windsor, and certainly we'll add that to the list as a possibility to explore.

Mr Callahan: If you don't mind, I want to follow up on that. There's been some concern, at least expressed by myself, and I'm hoping the government will pick it up, about the question of whether they will have gambling in both currencies as opposed to changing from US to Canadian, because of the possibilities of laundering of money, particularly with the closeness you are to the United States and the ease to get back across the bridge again.

If that happened, it would be imperative that the exchange rates in each store be fair. It might also be imperative that you have something like this Windsor dollar because that might create a problem. If they've got US dollars and they're getting ripped off, you're not going to get them buying out of the stores very long.

Ms Williams: That's exactly right and it affects everybody, not just the store that does that.

Mr Callahan: It was also suggested yesterday by Fred Upshaw of OPSEU, and I must say it's given me food for thought, about the question of the government running the whole operation to ensure that there's no possibility, whether it be actual or whether it just be perceived, of a perception of the public who gamble there that there might be something funny going on.

Ms Williams: Do you mean the day-to-day operations?

Mr Callahan: Yes. It wouldn't make any difference to your convention bureau, I wouldn't think.

Ms Williams: It's kind of outside the scope of the bureau, but certainly, as a city councillor who has been working with the provincial team, I think we're quite comfortable with the fact that a private operator will be operating it. I don't know of anybody in the government who is capable of running the day-to-day operations of a casino such as this.

Mr Callahan: They run a casino every day.

Mr Gary Carr (Oakville South): They also run a big deficit.

Mr Callahan: Thank you very much.

Ms Williams: You said that.

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): Let's keep politics out of this today.

Mr Callahan: Oh, sorry, Gord.

Mr Carr: Just for the record, I don't want the government running it. I've seen other areas: You pick up the health card fraud, the Workers' Compensation Board, all the problems. I tell you that I think the private sector could do a much better job, for the record.

I'm interested in the marketing aspect of how you're going to do it. Are the bidders going to be doing the bulk of the marketing dollars in the US, and you're going to complement that? Are you that far? Do you know how it's going to work? I'll tell you why. I think, as you realize, you've got a lot of Americans across the border who know about you, but to really target some of the big dollars in places like Chicago and that, they don't know anything about Canada, Windsor, whatever. Their lack of knowledge about --

Ms Williams: You're wrong there. We already get a lot of visitors from Chicago.

Mr Carr: No, but I'm telling you, if you think that with Americans you're going to open up a casino and they're going to flock here, from a marketing standpoint, I think you're wrong. You have to spend the dollars to get them.

Ms Williams: Right.

Mr Carr: Will it be you doing that in conjunction with the successful bidder, or is the bidder going to do the bulk of the marketing?


Ms Williams: Like any other tourist attraction in Windsor and Essex county, the organization is responsible for its own specific marketing. We will not be marketing the casino per se. However, what we do in the convention and visitors bureau is a lot of co-op marketing. This will also impact on our group tours, which is a growing market that we have, bringing in the bus tours and so on. We can certainly be of help there, but as for the actual marketing of the casino itself, they will be responsible for that and we look forward to working with them and co-op marketing.

For example, we currently have a $250,000 campaign that's running in the Detroit area to try and bring people to Windsor, on TV, magazines and billboards which has been the most successful campaign we've ever had. And 40% of that money is coming from the private sector and the rest is coming from -- partly we have some government grants.

Mr Carr: What is the total budget that is spent on marketing in a year?

Ms Williams: From the bureau?

Mr Carr: Yes.

Ms Williams: About $700,000.

Mr Carr: Do you plan to increase that substantially?

Ms Williams: What we're looking at is to try to increase membership in the bureau, to get more private sector involvement, and certainly we get back to the fact that the casino is a catalyst for this. I think our successful campaign this summer is certainly going to encourage a lot more people to come in. As we get more private sector dollars, I can see we can increase our budget.

Frankly, I'm not holding my breath that we're going to get very much more money from the municipality or from the province, but if we see the returns coming, as we certainly will with the economic impact of the casino, I think it makes sense for governments to put money on to this.

Mr Carr: Because $700,000 is a fair amount of money, but in terms of marketing to even the surrounding US, there are a lot of other cities in the United States that because of their size spend a lot more than that. I would suggest to you the markets have casinos -- my suggestion would be, and I'm sure whoever gets a successful casino is going to incorporate Windsor in it, but it seems to me they're going to have to be the ones who put the dollars into it and then incorporate some of the fine work that you're doing. I really want to stress this point: I think, maybe because my background is in marketing, that a lot of people think you open a casino and everybody in the US is going to know it's there and flock there. You really have to market it, and you're right, we do have advantages of a safe city and many assets, but they're only assets if the Americans know about it.

My next question relates to the convention business. What do you anticipate, and maybe you could just talk about percentage increases, in the number of conventions coming, because that's a big market. Do you have any idea? Could you say that we're going to increase it 20% because of now having a casino? Is there any percentage increase?

Ms Williams: I'm sure it will have an impact, but it'll be a long-term impact. Conventions are usually booked two, three, four, five years ahead. In fact, I think we're booking some for 1999 now. So it will sort of a delayed reaction, but perhaps Jonathan could answer if he has any ideas of percentage increase.

Mr Jonathan Deneau: I believe that question was asked to us the last time we were here a couple of days ago and the answer we gave then was also that we don't, at this point in time, want to make any specific prediction.

We feel that it could have an impact as high as a 50% increase in the current level we have right now, but in addition to the convention business, we see even more potential in what we call the small meetings business, and that would be meetings under 100 that typically are being held predominantly in suburban Detroit hotels. In that area, we feel we're going to attract a lot of it over here. It's even beyond the convention business.

We're in the process now of trying to determine exactly what potential is out there. There's the problem that we need to have the hotel rooms etc and the convention space to be able to increase it by 50%.

Mr Carr: How are you finding competing? I mentioned last time to some people that Toronto's had a difficult time because of the high cost. Conventions comes in and then there are various things, whether it's the dollar or whatever. People come and they say, "This is a real expensive city," and they never book again.

One of the fears I have is that with all the other problems out there, the casino might not have as big an impact because convention business is down worldwide, even though we may be getting more of a share. Is there anything else the provincial government should be doing to assist you in helping to ensure that you can get some of the convention business? I'm thinking of taxes on liquor and different things like that.

Mr Deneau: We have had meetings. On Monday in fact the Ontario Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation task force was in Windsor, and one of the things that was indicated very strongly was that tourism is being negatively affected by a number of things that are being done by the other arms of the government, specifically with respect to what was called both overt and covert taxes on tourism, that being the actual GST-PST combination, which makes it quite expensive, but also the inherent taxes on alcohol, on gasoline and on other products that are basically consumed in quantity by tourists.

One of the recommendations at least from the southwestern Ontario region was that there needs to be some discussion between the Ontario Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation and other areas, saying, "These are the things we need to do in the province to make it much easier to attract tourists." It isn't always just marketing. Marketing is extremely important, but we also need to change a few infrastructure things.

Mr Carr: Thank you very much and good luck.

Ms Williams: If I could just add, as far as the PST and the GST are concerned, businesses in this area are used to and are aware that they can get a refund, but the provincial government has just excluded the refund of the PST, which seems to be contradictory to the process of trying to increase tourism. That's just an editorial comment.

Mr Carr: Did they say anything in the meetings about any changes with that?

Ms Williams: I'm sorry?

Mr Carr: Did they say in the meetings with the Tourism ministry about any changes with that? I know we've been fighting hard, because it does affect particularly border towns. Did they say they're going to talk to the Minister of Finance?

Mr Deneau: We're in the working group stage. It's a huge strategy that's involving about 500 to 600 tourism businesses and organizations. What the members or the representatives from southern or southwestern Ontario were to do is take this to the steering committee in Toronto. They'll take our comments, but the comments were meant to be taken to the steering committee, which will then put forth the recommendations, hopefully in October of this year.

Mr George Dadamo (Windsor-Sandwich): Margaret, in my life before politics, as you know, I spent almost 20 years in radio, and a lot of it locally. I think the second most exciting aspect of this whole process, once everything is on the road to beginning, is the selling of the casino internationally and getting the word out.

I know Mr Carr spent some time with you talking about the media blitz and things like that. I just wanted to be a little bit more specific and ask you the ideas as to how to get the word out, the packaging that you're going to do. How soon will a media team be put together? How do you see selling a Windsor casino to somebody down in Texas or Mississippi, where there are casinos already? Are there areas that you're not going to go into? Are there areas that are a preference that you want to go into? I think Gary was on -- there are places that don't know we exist. It will be a couple of years even though the casino is in full gear and operating. There will be people who still won't know where we are.

Ms Williams: Our main focus as a bureau has been in the Great Lakes states surrounding us: Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. Those states we have, over the last few years, marketed quite consistently. They certainly are aware that Windsor exists. As far as the marketing is concerned, I get back to the fact that the marketing of the actual casino will be done by the casino. Part of the Request for Proposals includes a marketing plan that they have to put together. The easiest way for them to get people into this casino is going to be advertising in Detroit. We're going to get the day-trip market. I don't want to downplay the day-tripper. They are very important to Windsor's economy. Most of our visitors are day-trippers.

But where we're going to get the long-term viability for our restaurants and our hotels is in the overnight stays. That's going to require a little more expenditure for them. Maybe they can fill the casino with people from Detroit, but it's the people from further away who are going to really be of benefit to the tourism industry in Windsor.


Mr Dadamo: Tell us if you can -- and I know it's a long way off, but still we're here and we're having a one-on-one conversation and I'm interested in what kind of a package you would put together. I hope, certainly, if you're putting videos together, that they'll be manufactured and produced in Canada. I know the convention visitors' bureau does a marvellous job of selling the city 365 days out of the year, because you have to do that, and you're marketing Pelee Island etc. What does the package contain? You're going to be dealing with people who don't know where we are.

Ms Williams: I'm going to pass this over to Jonathan, who's dying to respond to you.

Mr Deneau: First and foremost, we had told you -- and I've been here for a number of presentations -- the phenomenal market we have on our doorstep, so we have to consider that. We have said that the provincial government made an excellent decision in locating the casino in Windsor, due to our proximity to the huge population centres located within even five or six hours of here, so it would really not be prudent for us to focus on areas beyond that, because that's such a vast market. Our dollars are much better spent within the Great Lakes region.

As far as a package, there are three different markets that we have to talk about: There's a leisure market, there's a group tour market and there's a convention market, all of which require three different sorts of packaging. Leisure, which will have the most significant impact, is -- really what we're going to be doing is folding the casino as an attraction into the numerous other things we have to offer, because our goal here is to use the casino to get people to not only go to it and patronize it, but to do the many other things, like go to Pelee Island. So the package is really going to expand.

We are not going to present ourselves as a casino-only destination, and certainly there's one specific area that did that and it's -- not backfired, but they certainly haven't benefited from it. We want to take the casino and say the casino is part of a bigger picture. We also want to at least get to those people who are going into the casino and tell them all the other things to do. One of the things in our strategic plan which we're hoping to do -- and again, this is still with city council -- but it is to have a presence in the casino. We want to be able to get every patron or every customer who walks in that casino, to expose them on the other things there are to do in this area, so they either do it while they're here or they come back. We're hoping that people will have an understanding and receive information on all the other amenities and facilities that we have and, hopefully, one person who comes will come back a week, two weeks or a month later with three or four people.

Mr Dadamo: You may want to have a flashing board with those -- I know it sounds funny, Wayne laughs at almost anything -- events of the day in the area, for example; there are a lot of things you may want to look at. As I mentioned, the previous life that I had, we were always dealing with demographics and people who --

Mr Deneau: We're very interested in having people contact, too. We want the people in our industry to be able to talk directly to the patrons, to sell them on the other things to do, too, in addition to what you just recommended.

Mr Dadamo: Okay, I know Wayne wanted to ask some questions.

Mr Wayne Lessard (Windsor-Walkerville): Thank you very much, Councillor Wisdom.

Ms Williams: Williams.

Mr Lessard: Williams, sorry. I want to congratulate the convention and visitors' bureau for all the hard work they've been doing to prepare to roll out the welcome mat. Last night on television I saw a story about the preparations being made in Victoria for the 1994 Commonwealth Games and couldn't help but think that the preparations they're doing we would have been doing here in the city of Windsor had we been more successful in our efforts, but this does provide us the opportunity we were hoping for then.

When we're talking about visitors to the city, we're talking often about people from Michigan and we're talking about young people from Michigan, and this is an issue that's come up on previous occasions. I wonder if you had any thoughts about the age restrictions with respect to gambling in the casino?

Ms Williams: Yes, I certainly do. I concur with the comments the mayor has made and we've consistently said that we would like it to be 21. The reason for this is that the drinking age in Michigan is 21 and we tend to get a lot of 19- to 21-year-old young people over here. While we welcome the majority of them who are well-behaved and who patronize our restaurants and our bars, there is a minority who tend to be rather rowdy downtown. I think, if the age limit in the casino were 21, it would certainly deter those people from coming over here.

Mr Lessard: Mr Callahan had asked you about gambling in two currencies. I don't know whether you addressed that specifically, but is that something you would encourage us to provide for?

Ms Williams: I really have no comment on that. I'm not really familiar with how that would work.

Mr Callahan: You're not into laundering.

Ms Williams: No, I --

Mr Lessard: Because we do permit that in bingo and they do that at the horse racing track as well now.

Ms Williams: I think that would depend on the casino, the commission that's being set up and what kind of regulations they put in. I certainly don't have the background to comment on that.

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


The Chair: Our next presenter is Mr Phil Hale, vice president, training and partnerships, St Clair College. If he would please come forward and make himself comfortable. Welcome, Mr Hale; you have 30 minutes for your presentation. If you would please proceed when you're ready.

Mr Phillip R. Hale: My presentation will not take 30 minutes -- at best probably 10, so there'll be ample time for you either to catch up or to ask questions as you see fit.

I'm here on behalf of St Clair College. I'm one of two people. Dr Owen Klein, who's the chair of our hospitality department, is also here and is slowly working his way up. What we would like to do is speak in favour of the concept of casino gaming in Ontario.

I'm going to draw some conclusions as they relate to Windsor and the relationship thus far between the college and the gaming activity. I'm going to pose a couple of questions of the committee which I would ask you to think about; not so much about the legislation, but probably with regard to the regulations which will ensure therefrom. Then I'd be pleased to answer any questions you have vis-à-vis the relationship between the college training, general education and casino gaming in Windsor. So with that I'll begin.

I'm actually very pleased to appear before the standing committee to describe the efforts made by St Clair College to prepare for the arrival of casino gaming in Windsor. I'm sure that the activity which is currently under way underscores the college's commitment to ensuring that future casino operators and employees deliver a high-quality service to future patrons of Windsor's casino or casinos.

Since the announcement in March, the college has accepted contracts from the Ontario casino project team to develop curriculum in the areas of customer service, slot machine repair and blackjack dealing. Thus far, this has resulted in the training of blackjack dealers and, consequently, many of the charity Monte Carlo events, which currently exist in the city and elsewhere in Ontario, are benefiting from a knowledgeable, well-trained workforce.

In line with Minister Churley's comments, as identified in one press release, the proposed casino would be creating new job opportunities and stimulating economic development, especially in the tourism and hospitality industries. Once this became known, St Clair College responded immediately, under the auspices of Dr Klein, by expanding its hospitality programs in full-time and part-time areas. I want to underscore this because the infusion of a casino into a community has much more to do with lifestyle in the community than just gaming. The hospitality industry, the tourism industry, a vast number of support activities are all affected and, in my view positively affected, by the infusion of a business enterprise of that size.

As a result, the college has responded by expanding its hospitality programs in full and part-time areas and includes education and training in all facets of the hospitality industry. This includes culinary arts, food and beverage service, hotel management and travel/tourism. The first graduates of this new revamped full-time program will be available within two years at the approximate date of the opening of the permanent casino.

In the meantime, the college will continue to offer expanded career development courses in hospitality through continuing education for those currently employed or looking for upgrading opportunities. The full-time program hopes to have 80 to 100 graduates in two years and then thereto will continue producing 80 to 100 graduates each year thereafter.

To summarize some of the other activities which have taken place since the announcement of the casino: the college has undertaken establishing standards for casino training, development of a certification process as part of the dealer licensing process, establishment of a joint venture with the Canada Employment Centre designed to train unemployment insurance recipients, has developed a separate standalone training centre just for casino operations and, beginning in August 1993, in conjunction with the dealing programs, will offer programs in both slot machine repair and slot machine service, both on the casino floor and in the back room.

Throughout this process, the college has maintained close ties with the provincial casino project team and the city of Windsor, with the result that a well-ordered training program is now an integral part of the proposed casino in Windsor. Future casino employees will be well-trained, will have their competence certified and will be skilled in all aspects of customer service.

Already, benefits begin to accrue to Windsor as a result of the proposed casino. Instructors have already been employed, as have those college trainees or graduates who are now working part-time at the charity Monte Carlo events. Rental of classroom space has injected cash flow into the Windsor economy and training of unemployment insurance recipients has provided improved employment potential for the residents of this area. By January 1994, between 250 and 300 dealers will have been trained and will be ready for casino positions. In addition, 40 students will be trained to service and repair slot machines.

If I could turn to the legislation and pose a couple of things: The preceding information has been provided by way of background to these hearings to demonstrate the college's support for and participation in the partnership. I would stress the partnership between the province and the city of Windsor, which will ensure high-quality gaming activity in Windsor.

In that context of a partnership, I'd like to pose two specific considerations regarding impending legislation or its subsequent regulations and procedures which the college is asking the committee to consider. First of all, could the gaming commission, once constituted, formally designate St Clair College -- and you can read for that, if there are casinos in other centres, the community colleges in those centres -- as the training agency of record in respect of casino employees? Secondly, could the gaming commission formally designate the college as the provincial agency providing certification as to technical competency for prospective casino employees, exclusive of jurisdiction in which the training is received? This would mean that training provided by other vendors, either in Ontario or elsewhere, would be evaluated through consistent competency testing established by the college and responding to a provincial standard.

In conclusion, I would observe that, to date, the college has received literally hundreds of requests for information regarding casino training opportunities. This activity has been well-publicized -- when I say "this activity" I mean the training activity -- in local and provincial media and, to date, not one complaint has been received by the college objecting to the college offering training for the gaming industry. I would view this as an endorsement of this portion of college programming and I would anticipate that this training will continue to expand as the casino becomes part of the Windsor landscape.

Those conclude my formal remarks.


Mr Carr: I appreciate your presentation. The government has said that the number of direct jobs created will be about 2,500. I guess you assume that to be correct, do you?

Mr Hale: It could easily be low.

Mr Carr: That's based on 75,000 square feet, so there may be some --

Mr Hale: I guess once you look at all of the suppliers that are going to feed into the casino and then feed into other businesses which feed the casino, the secondary and tertiary employment, full-time and part-time, in my view, could easily exceed the 2,500. In fact, I'm sure it will.

Mr Carr: Yes, they said it will go to 6,000, for a total of 8,000. Of that 2,500, what per cent would you figure would need training and what per cent could just walk in in low-skilled jobs?

Mr Hale: I think my sort of trade answer would be all of them should be trained, but it depends on the aspect you're talking about. This industry is totally driven by customer satisfaction and it's been our experience that through existing provincial programs or through private training an individual company asks for, almost all employees benefit by customer service training. So that will be required, I think, by all employees, low and top end -- not only an initial shot, but then an ongoing commitment to it thereafter, which usually requires some continued training. So the human relations skills, everybody will require.

The actual direct employees of the casino: Certainly, the estimate range is between 300 and 400 dealers. Those clearly will have to be both trained and licensed. One of the issues we have is someone who has worked in Las Vegas who wants a job. Who does the testing to determine whether the competency is there at a provincial level? Sure, there's a certification process. There will be an upgrading process if it's required to meet the provincial standard.

Mr Carr: Will you have enough capabilities to have people trained to meet the opening, to have the 2,500 employees?

Mr Hale: In terms of the dealers, the answer is yes. In terms of such things as the law and security surveillance, chef programs, all of those things, there is actually a cadre existing in the city because those are line programs at the colleges. Probably the biggest push will be to ensure that everyone receives the customer service training, but that will be an ongoing thing as the casino develops.

Mr Carr: Because my fear is, with it being a fairly new industry here in Ontario, that the successful bidder needs to get -- on the date it opens, you can't say, "Sorry, we've got 200 dealers that are being trained and they don't graduate until January." Then there would be the potential to open it up, to bring people in from other areas, Manitoba or whatever, because they need trained people, and that would defeat the purpose of what the people think. Your best guess, knowing the time that we're going to start the casino and the training that you can do: Are a lot of the jobs going to be for people who have come out of your college, or are we going to see an influx of dealers from Manitoba because you haven't had time to train people just because of the time?

Mr Hale: At this point in time we feel confident that we will have not only enough trained, but enough for the successful operator to make a selection from those. Not everybody who gets trained maybe will get a spot.

Mr Carr: Because you say there are a lot. There are probably more people than spots.

Mr Hale: Yes. The big issue, and we've actually taken steps to address this, is offshore labour probably much more than Manitoba. We've had contacts from Atlantic City, one from Europe, from Las Vegas, from Reno, from Wisconsin, where Americans are interested in employment opportunities here. We have, in fact, a written letter of understanding and a working agreement with the Canada Employment Centre whereby we are training people. They are actually funding some of that training to ensure that Canadian residents are available for the jobs and offshore labour won't have to be brought in. If we don't deliver students who are trained, if the casino then applies to bring in offshore labour on a temporary basis, there would be no reason to turn them down, so we are very, very active in ensuring that doesn't happen.

Mr Carr: Where else in North America is some of this training being done? Are there any other colleges, presumably in the US, that are teaching courses like this?

Mr Hale: There is a casino gaming institute that's part of Atlantic Community College in Atlantic City. The university in Las Vegas has a program. The community college in Las Vegas has a program. We in fact are licensed by Atlantic Community College in Atlantic City as one of four community colleges in North America that will be delivering this slot machine repair program. We sent a faculty member for 10 weeks to Atlantic City. He went through the program and was trained -- his background was electronics -- and he's now come back. They have the only certified slot machine repair program in North America. We'll be one of four, the others being a community college in New Orleans and one in either Reno or Las Vegas. Those and St Clair College will be the only four in North America which will be certified to deliver that program. So not only will we be training for a Windsor casino or subsequent other Ontario casinos; we've already had requests from Wisconsin, from Manitoba and from Quebec to send students to be trained within our slot machine program. That's concrete, major growth.

Mr Carr: What percentage of the students coming out of all these institutions are getting jobs? I know colleges are very good at keeping statistics saying in computer science, 90% of them who come out get a job in their field. In this particular field, looking even at the US and the institutions you mentioned, what percentage of the students coming out are getting jobs?

Mr Hale: A very large number of the students in the US are already employed, so it's hard to average.

Mr Carr: It's retraining.

Mr Hale: The rate is very, very high. As I understand this -- having visited neither Las Vegas nor Atlantic City nor Gulfport, I'm not really in a position to speak with too much depth on this other than what I've been told, secondary information, but the secret to success in the industry is what's called an all-games ticket, which means that you are licensed to deal blackjack, poker, whatever. So what happens is that someone goes in and they end up with a licence for blackjack and they continue to upgrade thereafter. There's also a 10% to 15% turnover rate because it's a high burnout occupation. The net result is that employment opportunity for graduates is very, very high.

Mr Carr: Good luck.


Mr Lessard: Thank you very much for your presentation, Mr Hale. I want to commend St Clair College for the work it has been doing in preparing for the advent of casino gambling here in the city of Windsor.

You talked about other training facilities not only in the city but in the province, and competency standards possibly being set by St Clair College. I know there are a couple of training facilities that I've seen advertised in the newspaper. One of them, I've even visited: the casino training centre operated by Michael Power. He's got an actual certificate that he took a course for in Atlantic City and he now teaches the course to other students. One of the questions that I posed to him when I visited was that this is an issue that he should probably follow, because if he were going to be granting certificates, he would have to make sure that the people he was training would be of acceptable standards for the casino operator to hire.

I wonder whether there has been some relationship between St Clair College and other jurisdictions of the United States with respect to establishing standards, at least for your own training program. So if somebody were to come from St Clair College with a certificate, for example, would that person have some opportunities for employment in an area like Atlantic City or Las Vegas?

Mr Hale: The whole issue of certification is very important to the college. One of the things that I didn't underscore in the paper but that probably is worthy of note is the relationship between the amendments in this legislation and other pieces of legislation. One of the provincial requirements for community colleges at this point in time is that by 1996, I think, 30% of the curriculum in any given course has to be what's called "generic skills and general education"; in other words, technical skills, reading, writing, mathematics, as well as a general understanding of things outside the program, be they civics or geography or resource management.

One of the issues that relates to what Mr Lessard is saying is if a student goes through a program offered by a private vendor which relates only to the art of dealing but, for example, does not have a customer service component built in, does not have an understanding of the legislation built in, does not have the depth or breadth of the college activity, the issue then is, will there be varying degrees of expertise hitting the marketplace in terms of workforce? The issue then becomes, how does the province, because it is the casino owner, ensure that it delivers a consistent-quality employee to the public?

There are two ways of doing that. First of all -- I'm not advocating this one -- is to insist that because the community college is the provincial trainer of record, all training go on through it, which to my mind is unfair, but it could happen; or, alternatively, that the college has two functions. One is to train students, which it will do, and the second is to test and certify that students trained by others or who have worked in other jurisdictions meet the common level of education and skill. That can be done on a one-of basis where if you or I walk in and say we have been a dealer here or we've had training from Power or whatever, you will say: "Fine. Here's a written test which deals with customer service and the legislation that you need to know about, followed by an activity where we will test you in your skill at dealing the games you claim you know how to deal. We'll measure those against exactly the same standards we put our own students through. If you make that, we will provide you with a certificate that says you've met that standard," which would be the first stage in the police vetting prior to going into the casino. We've had that conversation with the project team, and I believe they're very comfortable with that approach, so that's where we're proceeding at this point. I think Dr Klein might add something to that.

Dr Owen Klein: In respect to your question, Mr Lessard, as to our communications with the private operators, one of the first things we did was bring in the community people. I'm aware of Michael's concerns. We've met with him and spoken with him. We're simply waiting for the operator, in fact, to be chosen and for -- two things. For the operator, because the operator will have certain standards per their industry and their organization. So we have that, and we are waiting for the third stage of the training that we will do for the people who are going to be on the floor of the casino, and that is the legislation. As Mr Hale mentioned, our training of the dealers, in an effort for them to get their all-game ticket, has gone through the first two stages. The third stage is that they know the legislation, that they know the regulations, and we'll need those. I think that's why the work of this committee is important, that that material be in place so that we can take everyone who has been through the technical aspect of our training in this regard and give them the legislation. Even the private operators are in the same position. They have no idea what the legislation and the regulations are going to be. So this is a critical element in our training, that this legislation and these regulations be established and we can get on with the job, because anyone going in will have to know these, particularly with a provincially owned establishment and with the kinds of controls that I know you wish to have on it.

Mr Lessard: How did you go about establishing the curriculum that you're using right now?

Dr Klein: The curriculum was established through a process of researching all, as far as available, accessible curricula -- Atlantic City; a community college that was in the training business for the riverboats on the Mississippi; the community college in Iowa -- as well as some expertise from people who had been in the industry. A curriculum was developed at the college based on that. There were, I would say, nine months of development in that one area alone.

Mr Lessard: I wish you the best of luck. I know that not only in this area but in all areas of hospitality, St Clair College has an excellent program. I know there are a number of chefs, for example, who have come from the program who do great work, but as a result of the downturn in the economy we have right now, they've found their opportunities to be somewhat limited. I hope this provides them an opportunity to show the skills that they've acquired at St Clair College. Thanks.

Mr Hale: Mr Chair, if I could just respond once more to that question, what I wanted to stress was that from the college's perspective, the casino gaming business is being treated in exactly the same manner as if we'd developed a civil engineering technology program or a hospitality program or a tool and die program. It's seen as a legitimate career opportunity which we will prepare students well for, and they will receive a college certificate or diploma depending on where they sit. This is not, "Open up, train 'em, and when it's done, fold our tents and go away." This will be an ongoing part of college activity henceforth, and it will be driven by the needs of the marketplace, just as every other career training program the college now has.

Mr Callahan: On the question of the slot machine repair, the college itself is going to teach that, is it? I think you said there were 40 placements for slot machine repairers.

Mr Hale: In the first intake of students, which will take place on the 23rd of this month, which is Monday -- in fact, the preparatory meeting with the students took place yesterday -- there will be 20 brought in. Another 20 will come in around October 20.

Mr Callahan: Before these students come in -- this may sound horrendous -- are there any pre-checks done on their backgrounds?

Mr Hale: We've discussed this with the casino project team and it's an interesting jurisdictional question you ask, because that really is a police function. So what we have said and what has been agreed to by the casino project team, including its law enforcement people, is that first of all, we require some technical background. In other words, they have to have an electronics background of a certain standard. Secondly, we will tell every student as they walk through the door: "If you have a criminal record, you're not welcome. You will not get a job. There's no point in pursuing this." They will have to sign a waiver saying that is not a problem. We will take the results of the course and give that to the casino project team, which, as part of the police vetting process, will go through it. But we are neither equipped nor do I think it is appropriate for the college to be a part of that vetting.

Mr Callahan: I'm glad you said that, but I think maybe it should go beyond that. It seems to me it's a waste of taxpayers' dollars to train people for a job they can't possibly get. I mean, I look at things like -- and again, I hope my friends will not think I'm being political -- Jobs Ontario, where some guy who's a convicted drug dealer can get all sorts of dough from the government without it even checking him out to see if he's got a record. So I think from this point on, we're dealing with a very sensitive area, not only of integrity in fact, but integrity --

Mr Noel Duignan (Halton North): You didn't get checked out before you went into office either, Bob.


Mr Callahan: Maybe they should do that too; that might be a good idea as well. It's the type of operation that requires not just actual honesty but perceived honesty. If these kids are going to take that course with the anticipation of getting a job, then they should be pre-checked.

Mr Hale: Could I respond to that, Mr Callahan, before we go ahead?

Mr Callahan: Yes.

Mr Hale: The conundrum there -- and you raised a really good point -- is that the gaming legislation can't stand by itself. The college is also bound by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which says that certain things with regard to students are sacrosanct. You can't give them out without certain judicial process. The only way that could happen is that each student coming in would have to sign a waiver agreeing to a police check, and then the police would have to agree to do it. Their argument is that if you train 40 students, and there are jobs for 30 of them, because you want to give the employers some selection, the police don't want to have the expense of running a check on 40. They would rather do a check on the 30 who are going to get hired. I recognize your concern and I think it's valid. I don't have an answer for how to deal with it vis-à-vis the freedom of information act and the wishes of the police.

Mr Callahan: There's the other aspect of it too. Is there any contribution by the proposed recipient of this licence to run the casino? Are they going to pay anything towards the cost of educating these kids or are the taxpayers going to pick up the whole thing?

Mr Hale: Because there's no operator, the tax base carries it now. In the Request for Proposals, there was a fairly detailed section with regard to the relationship between the prospective operator and the college which will result in some financial transfer. But certainly in order for us to have a trained workforce ready when the operator is appointed, it is being done as a combination of tuition and taxpayers' expense.

Mr Callahan: How many blackjack dealers or students are being -- what's the word I'm looking for -- trained?

Mr Hale: We will have between 250 and 300 ready by January 1.

Mr Callahan: As I understand it, there are only 57 blackjack tables in the proposed Windsor casino. Who are these other people being trained for?

Mr Hale: This is going to be a 20-hour operation, seven days a week. People burn out. You only deal for so long and you have to move tables. The estimate, if I remember correctly, from the industry was that you would need something in excess of 300 dealers to adequately man 60 tables over a seven-day period.

Mr Callahan: Again there, I gather, because of the difficulties, there's no pre-clearance of these people?

Mr Hale: No. That is a police function as it stands now.

Mr Callahan: So if it turns out that 10% of them have got a record or whatever and aren't going to be hired by the casino, you're going to have to churn out some more quickly?

Mr Hale: Yes.

Mr Callahan: That's why it seems to me that if you want to be ready for the startup of this, not just the interim but the permanent casino, one would expect that would be an automatic thing that would be done. What's the point of training these people if they can't work the job? On the other side of the coin, what's the point of training only a set number if you're not going to have enough to run the casino?

Mr Hale: I'm going to duck this. I don't like to do it, but I can't think of anything else to say. Right now the legislation, either in the gaming control act, in the freedom of information act or in terms of the Police Services Act, does not allow the college to do that check. If the project team wished to open discussions with the college, to my mind one could consider a first and second brush check. In other words, if you do a broad-brush one for somebody coming into a course and then the detailed one just prior to getting hired, it might be something that would achieve what you're looking for, but we would need some change in the mechanism to allow that to happen.

Mr Callahan: I recommend to the government to look at that in terms of that issue, because it doesn't make any sense to just train the proper number and then find that 10% of them can't be allowed to deal.

Mr Duignan: As a point of clarification on that, When a student goes in to take a course, do you inform them of the fact that they will be facing a police check for a criminal record etc?

Mr Hale: Yes, and we tell them that if they have a criminal record, they should withdraw from the program. We're very emphatic about that on day one.

Mr Callahan: Yes, but that could be a record for possession of pot.

Mr Hale: Yes.

Mr Callahan: What I'm talking about is crimes of dishonesty.

Mr Duignan: If they've got a criminal record, I'm sure that would be in it.

Interjection: "Only once."

Mr Hale: "Only once, and I didn't inhale."

Mr Callahan: I would suspect that you're going to rule out an awful lot of kids, if what was going on in the 1950s and the 1960s is any indication.

Mr Duignan: There goes your chance, Bob.

Mr Callahan: Oddly enough, I haven't got one. But that does concern me. I think it's a businesslike way of doing things. As I said, and not being critical of the present government, although you probably think I am, to hand out that kind of money as was reported recently to a guy who was a drug trafficker, where a simple check could have been done, seems to me to be the height of lunacy. I think maybe we should start becoming realistic and sensible and reasonable people and start planning for it.

Mr Hale: From the perspective of the college, I guess, that's a very difficult thing to deal with, because we're getting into Big Brotherism. At what point does the state begin and end its responsibilities for checking on the background of its citizens? If we ran a check on this one, then we should probably run a check for anything where there's a licence. That would be all the engineering technologists, all of the nurses and nurses' aides.

It's a valid concern. Believe me, I'm not trying to denigrate it in any way, but where it starts and where it ends is a really difficult question that I think is a legislative issue which would extend to all activities in education in Ontario.

The Chair: Our time has expired. Thank you for presenting before the committee.

Is Mr Ralph Winograd here? If he's not, then we will recess until --

Interjection: Can't we get the other ones?

Mr Kwinter: What about the others?

The Chair: The Essex and county building trades cancelled.

Mr Kwinter: Oh, they cancelled?

The Chair: Yes. I'm sorry, Mr Kwinter; I should have announced that. I wasn't skipping; I just had that information in my head.

Mr Duignan: Just ask if there's anyone on the room --

The Chair: -- who wants to make a presentation?

Mr Callahan: Is there anybody else?

The Chair: Is Tony Haddad here? No? We're getting into 11:30, Bob, and I doubt anybody would be here.

Mr Duignan: Is there anybody here? Just ask.

The Chair: Are there any people who are here to make a presentation? No, there aren't.

Mr Kwinter: So we're adjourning until 10:30?

Mr Duignan: Looks like it.

The Chair: We're not going to adjourn; we're going to recess -- I should say that -- until 10:30.

The committee recessed from 1008 to 1030.


The Chair: The standing committee on finance and economic affairs will come to order. Mr Ralph Winograd is our next presenter, representing Winograd's Fashions. Welcome to the committee, Mr Winograd. Please make yourself comfortable. You have 30 minutes to make your presentation and field some questions.

Mr Ralph Winograd: Madam Minister Churley and members, I'm Ralph Winograd, co-owner of Winograd's Fashions on Ouellette Avenue in downtown Windsor. I have been a retailer in the downtown core since 1961, over 32 years, and a member of the board of directors of the Downtown Business Association for more than 10 years. I actively worked on the team that championed a downtown site for the location of the temporary casino as well as bringing Ontario's first casino to Windsor.

Let me thank you for decisively selecting the Art Galley of Windsor for the interim site and Windsor for the first permanent site. You will not be disappointed and your good judgement will be rewarded.

In Minister Churley's own words, "The downtown site affords a magnificent view of Detroit's skyline, is close to existing hotels and restaurants and ensures that the casino can act as a catalyst for much-needed redevelopment."

Your decisive selection of the Art Gallery of Windsor is a bell-ringer for the healthy and viable businesses that have survived two recessions, cross-border shopping, the GST and still continue to do business in the downtown core.

We pounded the pavements, we wrote the letters, we got the signatures that brought the casino project to downtown Windsor, because we know that a healthy and viable downtown is the heartbeat of our city. All you have to do is take a five-minute ride through the tunnel to Woodward Avenue in Detroit to see a sad but powerful example of urban decay, something we do not want for our downtown.

We also have over 100 empty stores and offices in the downtown core that today contribute nothing to our city's tax base. Over 12,000 projected daily tourists will pump millions of dollars into our community and these vacancies can immediately be in the forefront of tourist opportunity and make a significant contribution to our tax base.

Already revitalization has begun to take a foothold. I can identify the following positive results to date.

Smart Set, a division of Reitman's, recently opened a new store at the corner of Ouellette and Wyandotte in the 600 block.

Peachy's, a local restaurant, has upgraded and renovated its premises, also in the 600 block of Ouellette Avenue.

In the 400 block of Ouellette Avenue we will soon see a new bakery and European-style deli and a new ladies retailer.

In the 300 block already opened are Casino City Restaurant and Bar and the Coffee Exchange, an American-style espresso-cappuccino house. Soon to appear will be Caesar's Bar and Grill.

Almost ready to open in the 200 block is Zareh's Jewellery, a local businessman expanding into the downtown core. As well, there are millions of dollars of upgrading and renovations to the Howard Johnson Hotel, in the 400 block.

New owners of the Royal Windsor Motel on Goyeau Street intend to renovate and upgrade this year. New owners of the old Union Men's Shop building will be opening a restaurant in this location. Paul Lavender, a restaurateur, will re-open his restaurant on Pitt Street.

It also appears that ground-level locations at Riverside Drive East have been rented. Potential new owners and tenants appear on the horizon for the Birks building and the Toronto-Dominion building, both on Ouellette Avenue.

A new vitality is slowly, quietly but definitely beginning to appear in our downtown core. The $20-million Tunnel Plaza commitment is under way and a potential development by the Royal Bank of the Kresge property is still alive.

We are seizing the opportunities you have presented to us and we are using them as the vehicle for which they were originally intended.

Revitalize the downtown core as the first step in putting Windsor, Ontario, in the forefront of Canadian tourism, a step that will benefit our entire city.

Personally, our own business will upgrade its store fixtures and will address potential new store hours and additional staffing as we look to the future. For a change, it's nice to be able to approach these problems from a positive point of view, with potential for personal success and community benefits.

The Downtown Business Association is spearheading a committee to establish a fair exchange policy with respect to tourists and American currency. The committee includes representatives from other business associations in our city as well as representation from the hotel and restaurant association.

We are working together to ensure that our new guests will get a fair exchange rate when spending their money in Windsor. Tourists will find a business climate that is user-friendly and they will want to return here as often as possible.

Windsor has talked about diversification of industry for years, and we are now on the threshold of embracing tourism, a great new industry for our city. Windsor will become a destination for thousands of tourists bringing millions of dollars into our community. The benefits will be plentiful: new businesses, new jobs, new hope.

So, provincial decision-makers, approve casino gambling for Windsor. I'm betting on Windsor and Windsor is betting on you.

Thank you for allowing me to present my point of view and I'm prepared to answer any of your questions.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Winograd. Mr Eves, do you have a question at this point? You have about seven minutes.

Mr Ernie L. Eves (Parry Sound): Yesterday and the previous day, we've heard some suggestions by the municipality and others for some improvements to Bill 8. I'm just going to touch on a couple of issues and I'd like to get your thoughts on them. One is that there be an age restriction set on the entrance for people going into the casino of 21 as opposed to 19, although there may be some difficulty with that. I believe that both the mayor and the chief of police have indicated that would be their preference.

Another is some form of municipal revenue sharing in the casino project. I believe that with virtually every other jurisdiction in North America in which there is a casino or casino facilities, the municipality shares directly in a certain percentage of the proceeds.

The third one I'd like your thoughts on is municipal representation on the Ontario Casino Corp. Seeing as Windsor of course is the first casino in the province of Ontario and the pilot project, the thought has been reiterated here several times that it should at least have some representation initially on that corporation.

Could I have your thoughts on those issues, please?

Mr Winograd: Well, I'm a retailer and politics isn't my field. I think the experts in terms of the first question should get together and decide just what that decision should be. The police have a point of view. The people coming into the casino have a point of view. The age of adult is another question. We should resolve it in the best interests of everyone. I'm not an expert in that area.

Mr Eves: I think you're becoming a politician, though.

Mr Winograd: On the second question with regard to the city, the municipality, getting a part of the action, I think it's necessary to find some level of cooperation, because it's a big partnership that's going on here. You want this casino to be the bell-ringer so that the retailers see the advent of tourism, and you want it to be a success so that you can follow this success with five or six more successful ventures, and making the city your partner is a good investment. It will come back to you. It's necessary. It's a long-term venture, not a short-term venture, and it's a whole new industry that you're bringing here. That investment will be repaid to you plentifully. I think it's a really good idea.

The last question was --

Mr Eves: A representative on the Ontario Casino Corp.

Mr Winograd: It certainly makes a lot of sense to me.

Mr Eves: Thank you.

The Chair: Mr Dadamo.

Mr Dadamo: Ralph, what's happening here? What's going on? Yesterday in the newspaper there was the return of CBC television programming some time in January. I need to go on the record to say that the mayor and his office -- we rallied, remember, 6,000, on that cold December night in 1991, to bring CBC television back and it's absolutely phenomenal that this is happening. There is the proposed marina, the $40-million courthouse which is coming, the proposed arena at some point, and now the casino. I'm happy for people like Bruce Taylor, the program director at CBC television, my long-time friend and one-time roommate Percy Hatfield, Rob Miller and these guys.

I think what is happening is great, and I need to applaud you and all those who have worked extremely hard when you put forth the art gallery and it became apparent to the local members in Windsor that the art gallery was the only choice. It would have defeated the whole purpose of bringing casino gaming to the city of Windsor if we had gone to the other two, with all due respect to them and the hard work that they did in trying to land the whole deal themselves.

I guess what we need to talk about is the filling up of the stores downtown and how actively involved you are in helping to bring some people into the city of Windsor and some of the plans that you have in your own mind. You've been downtown for 32 years. I remember when you had the old store on Wyandotte across from the TD bank, years ago, so, some of your ideas.


Mr Winograd: Bringing the interim casino to the downtown core is serving the purpose for which it was intended, and that's the catalyst, the beginning. All these items that I presented to you, or listed for you, have taken hold because that interim casino is in fact going to open, and the continuity will continue when the permanent casino follows suit.

You're going to be bringing people on to the streets of the city of Windsor. Just the 25% of overnight stay, let alone the 75% of the same-day customers who are tourists, is an announcement that there's going to be activity on our streets. Retailers in other cities are going to look at Windsor with a new kind of idea that they can make money here, that they want to service these people.

One thing we have in Windsor today is opportunity. We have opportunity for children's wear, for men's wear, for gift shops, for all kinds of businesses to complement what the new kind of traffic will be on our streets. I believe, with the things that I have listed to you, that there are retailers out there who will take a look at Windsor and realize that things are changing, and that they're changing for the better, and this opportunity is going to be a breath of fresh air in our city.

Mr Dadamo: You've stayed in business 32 years. You've gone through those peaks and valleys, and you've had some real tumultuous times, Ralph. Really, my hat is off to people like you who have never given up on this city, and it's time that you get something back after all those years. You weren't here the other day when I was talking about you, by the way, on being a caring and dedicated individual and someone who loves this city, so I congratulate you.

Mr Winograd: Thank you.

Mr Lessard: Mr Winograd, I want to thank you for your presentation today. You say in the bottom line, "I'm betting on Windsor," but it seems like after 32 years, you've been gambling for a long time here in this city, because we have seen ups and downs, and those ups and downs have all been tied to the manufacturing sector, most notably the automobile industry. I guess once you've been here for that long a time, you always know that there's going to be an upside after every downside. It's just a matter of figuring out how to make it through that time period. I see in this case an opportunity to move us away from those ups and downs of the manufacturing sector.

However, there are some members of the opposition here who think that maybe we're being a little bit too optimistic here, that maybe these projections we're having -- we're sort of being unrealistic about them and because we've been through the hard times that we have here, we're just sort of expecting far too much.

But you've been here long enough to know, to take a rational approach to these ups and downs, and I wonder whether you could give us some of your thoughts about the expectations that have been built up by retailers here in the city.

Mr Winograd: Realistically speaking, what are our expectations? The employment that is going to be put forth, or brought by the casino project, that's going to be our first level of consumer. We're anticipating that the people with the jobs are going to come into the downtown core and throughout the whole city and spend money.

I look at it from this point of view: Two customers a day, coming into my store, making purchases of $50 each, is $100 a day; seven days a week, is $700 a week. You figure that by 52 weeks and you come up with $35,000 of new business from two customers a day. I don't think retailers at our level are looking at 20, 30, 40 sales. We're looking at coming back, step by step, up a ladder to success.

The tourists will bring us a few more customers, and the best part is that as these stores fill up and these stores and these offices employ people, they will make their mark and leave their money in the district they are working in, and that's what we're counting on. I think it's happening. I think the timing is right. The high dollar is keeping Canadians at home, and we have a chance to turn this around.

Let me tell you that in the last few years, we've seen an exodus of business from the downtown core. National chains such as Radio Shack, Cultures, Black's cameras and Kentucky Fried Chicken have left the downtown core. We had probably just close to two dozen first stores here three years ago; we probably have three left now. The turnover: We were seeing a total evacuation.

The casino project has turned it around. I think it's a step in the right direction, and I do believe it will get better and better.

Mr Duignan: Just very briefly, thank you for appearing before the committee this morning. Your comments, like all of the presentations here this week, will be taken seriously by this committee and reviewed.

You indicated that you would like to see someone from Windsor on the Casino Corp board.

Mr Winograd: It's a strong tie and keeps the avenues open, and at whatever entry our leaders decide to do that, I think it's a good idea.

Mr Duignan: Their order-in-council appointments can't happen till after Bill 8 becomes law. There is a retired Windsor businessman on the review panel helping to provide independent advice to the selection committee at this time, so the voice of Windsor is being heard on the selection committee.

Mr Callahan: I took my nightly walk up Ouellette Avenue and actually around quite a large part of the downtown area. Can you tell me, what time do the stores normally close?

Mr Winograd: The business hours during the week generally are 9 to 6, Friday, 9 to 9, and for those participating in Sunday shopping, noon to 5.

Mr Callahan: I'm looking at my own community where in the older downtown portion, a lot of the people own their own buildings. Is that similarly the case here?

Mr Winograd: I'm personally not a property owner, but I think it's normal. We have a mix of both.

Mr Callahan: These hours you told me, 9 to 6, is that Monday through Friday?

Mr Winograd: Monday to Thursday and Saturday, and Friday, 9 to 9.

Mr Callahan: Have there ever been any studies done by -- I guess the reason I'm asking this is that I think it creates a problem for downtown if they're not prepared to stay open longer hours, particularly if you're going to have casino people here. If they find the stores vacant and dark at 6 o'clock, they're going to walk right by, and it wouldn't matter if you had a sale on at 90% off; they're not going to come in.

Mr Winograd: In the past, we've had different attempts at opening Tuesday nights and Thursday nights till 9 o'clock. But let's face it, we've been through some very hard times, and for a lot of businesses to stay open longer hours, they felt that wasn't the way to go.

I think that we now have a challenge in front of us, but a positive one. We have something to hang our hat on. We are going to be addressing new store hours, and when the people are here and if there's business to be done, I think you'll find many of the stores staying open, particularly on the weekends -- Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night -- longer hours, maybe all three nights till 9 o'clock. There will be a reason to do it. There will be people to spend money, and that's the best reason for a united front with still better store hours.

I think that in attempting to get longer store hours, we were up against the recessionary times, a different kind of dollar and not the kind of people we're going to have on the streets. We have a very good chance of improving that situation as the interim casino opens.

Mr Callahan: How much time do I have?

The Chair: Quite a bit, Mr Callahan.

Mr Callahan: Okay, because there are a few issues I'd like get at.

I also noticed -- and again this is not a criticism, because I like Windsor. I enjoyed being able to walk around, see the kids, see that they were not offensive. They were sitting out, and good kids.

Is there any plan through the Downtown Business Association in terms of what types of stores? I found that you had a duplication -- I just offer this as constructive criticism, you might say -- of a lot of stores. You had to go a fair distance to find, say, a grocery store, a convenience store. They were way on the outskirts. That may be typical of most downtowns. You also made it difficult to find, say, a place to get a coffee without going into a bar or a restaurant. Those are really people services. I just offer that not as a criticism but as a suggestion that maybe that should be looked that.


Mr Winograd: Mr Callahan, on your next trip, give me a call. I'll personally take you around to the best coffee shops and the best little convenience stores within the area of the downtown. We've got plenty of them; you just missed them.

Mr Callahan: Could be.

Mr Winograd: Also, I think you have to understand that we've been through a recession. We were seeing a decaying downtown. We are just beginning to revitalize in these stores because the opportunities are going to be there; they are going to fill up. Retail will fill up many of the stores, restaurants will fill up many of the stores. There are terrific opportunities for men's wear, for gift shops and I do believe it's going to happen. Small business will be the leader of this rebirth in the downtown core.

Mr Callahan: There are other issues that have come up, such as the question of age. The present bill allows a person to gamble at 19. We heard from the police chief that this has caused some problems in terms of young people not being able to drink in Michigan coming over here to drink. He seemed to indicate that this might be exacerbated by them being able to gamble as well. Do you have any difficulties with this or would you feel more comfortable with an age of 21?

Mr Winograd: Once again, I'm a retailer. If they can't gamble, I'd like them to come into my store and shop. But that's not an issue of my expertise and I couldn't give Mr Eves a really good answer to that question --

Mr Callahan: He asked that too, did he?

Mr Winograd: -- but if they don't want to drink and gamble, I hope they'll bring their girlfriends and shop in my store.

Mr Callahan: I guess the other one was the question of gambling in two different currencies. That could present a problem for you people. If the government accepts my suggestions in that regard, and the concerns that were expressed by the police chief and I might also add by the head of OPSEU -- I talked to Fred Upshaw about that. He agreed that the opportunity to launder money is very significant if you have them changing their money, large amounts -- the high rollers -- into Canadian currency so they can gamble. Now that presents a problem for you people in terms of shopping, because unless you have a fair exchange policy which I note you talk about in here, you're going to find it very difficult for these people to shop. They're just going to take their money and go home. That's assuming they don't lose it all here.

Mr Winograd: If they come into my store or any other store with money, they're going to be treated in the most user-friendly fashion. We have no problem with people with disposable income. We're happy that they dispose of it in our store. Let me tell you that we keep an American float in our store and that we are a user-friendly store. We are going to use our example of how to treat a consumer properly and hope it's going to be the groundwork for other people to follow.

If they want American money as the difference, we're prepared to give them that American money. If they want full Canadian exchange, we're prepared. We're going to establish a hotline that every retailer will be able to call every day to find out what the fair exchange is, what the bank rate is so that the consumer, once he's in his store, does not have to run out to the bank to get it. They will be taken care of properly. It's a wonderful problem. It's a lot better problem to have to solve than wondering where the next customer is going to come from, and believe me, a couple of years ago that was a major problem that we faced: "Where are our consumers?" You know they're running across the border. We'll treat them properly. We'll compete properly.

Mr Callahan: I think I'd buy that; I accept that. I think you've finally convinced me of that. I have just one final thing: VLTs, which are video lottery terminals, although they've been sort of put on the back shelf, could very possibly become part of this. What would you and your retail merchants association's reaction be to these being installed in stores? Would you be for it or against it? What I'm trying to get at here is that I would like to see this operation for Windsor be a win-win situation and a good one, and I think we all would, to keep the community as it is.

Las Vegas is like that. You go into the washroom and they've got slot machines. They don't let you stop for one minute. I have some concerns about that scenario becoming -- particularly when I see signs, although I guess that's good, where you've got Ace's Coffee Shop Casino or something. It's an image that you create.

Mr Winograd: I won't be putting one in my washroom in the store. I think the careful selection and placing of these machines is the most important thing. They should complement the business of tourism, the business of casino gambling and there are experts who can speak on this. Once again I don't feel that's my area of expertise. I want to leave that to the experts who will be comfortable with it. The tourists coming in here will have some expectations, and we should try to satisfy as many of them as possible and have an open door to keep improving that situation as we go along.

Mr Callahan: I wish you the best of luck.

Mr Duignan: On a point of clarification: The legislation makes it very clear that video lottery terminals are restricted just to the casino area.

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


The Chair: Our next presenter is Tony Haddad, acting general manager, Transit Windsor, if you would please come forward and make yourself comfortable. Welcome to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs. You have 30 minutes within which to make your presentation and field some questions if you wish.

Mr Tony Haddad: I will try to do my best to allow you some additional time, since my comments will be brief this morning.

Ladies and gentlemen of the legislative standing committee on finance and economics, Transit Windsor is pleased to have received an opportunity to address you today with regard to Ontario's first casino being located in Windsor.

Transit Windsor is a company wholly owned by the city of Windsor, with a mandate to provide public transit to residents and visitors in the Windsor area. To be successful, this service must be provided in an efficient and effective manner, while responding to the changing needs of the community. In anticipation of increased traffic, social and recreational activities and demand for improved and extended transit services, Transit Windsor is positioning itself today for opportunities which we believe the Windsor casino will present commencing in 1994.

Transit Windsor currently provides regularly scheduled service between Windsor and Detroit through the Detroit-Windsor tunnel. In addition, special-event services are provided throughout the year in response to conventions, professional sporting events and other cultural and recreational activities which attract patrons from both the Windsor and Detroit area.

The major improvements currently under way at the Detroit-Windsor tunnel, both functional and aesthetic, are expected to significantly improve the flow of traffic through this particular point of entry and represent a $30-million investment over the next two years.

The delivery of regular and special-event services by Transit Windsor travelling through the tunnel will be enhanced and, with the improvements, allow for an improved flow of traffic and consequently improved service and access between our two cities.

The Windsor casino adds a new dimension to the revenue base for Transit Windsor by providing an opportunity for enhanced as well as extended transit services. These opportunities, in our view, include shuttle bus services for patrons from a variety of locations to the Windsor casino, casino employee shuttle services and the servicing of tour buses coming into this area.


Each of these initiatives is currently being studied to determine how best to introduce these services and the type of infrastructure required, such as vehicles and facilities in order to support them. In addition, and a very important consideration, are the employment opportunities which these initiatives offer. I speak of employment opportunities as they will directly impact Transit Windsor in terms of shuttle bus operators as well as maintenance technicians.

Marketing opportunities for Transit Windsor, as well as cooperative ventures with our partners in the community, dramatically increase as a result of a major attraction which the Windsor casino represents. Showcasing Windsor adds a new and exciting feature to our marketing initiatives.

These exciting opportunities require immediate response in preparation for the anticipated number of visitors to our community, as well as the development of long-term strategies in order to sustain and continually improve our servicing capabilities which the hospitality industry will experience with the opening of the Windsor casino. Transit Windsor is positioning itself to ensure maximum potential is achieved with these exciting opportunities from the board of directors to our employees to our customers, both current and future. We welcome the challenge.

That concludes my comments to you this morning. Once again I thank the legislative committee for the opportunity to address you. I would be prepared to address any questions you may have at this time.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Haddad. Mr Carr? Mr Eves?

Mr Carr: One of the concerns we've got is, if it doesn't get set up properly, you don't get a very good chance. Can you say today that you're going to be geared up and ready to go for the people coming across by the time the casino opens?

Mr Haddad: It is our intention to complete our research and be up and running with the opening of the temporary casino site.

Mr Carr: What is going to be the increased cost that you're looking at, percentage-wise, in your budget to handle the influx?

Mr Haddad: Details such as cost and infrastructure improvements, additional vehicles etc are currently being reviewed. We have not finalized our cost estimates at this time. However, we are basing our research on the projected number of patrons coming to the area, our experience in providing public transit in Windsor as well as Detroit and also on discussions we are having with partners in delivering public transit service both in the Windsor and Detroit area.

Mr Carr: So the number you're using is the 12,000 that we keep hearing. Is that the number you're using for your budget?

Mr Haddad: That's correct, yes.

Mr Carr: And obviously it's going to be part of a budget process, but percentage-wise, how much would that be in terms of ridership going up? Do you know?

Mr Haddad: From a ridership perspective, again depending on how patrons of the casino will be arriving, it could range from 5% to 10% initially, and again using the best information available to us at the present time.

Mr Carr: So how many are you handling a day right now?

Mr Haddad: We handle about 60,000 patrons daily.

Mr Carr: So 12,000 new ones, and you make a guesstimate of how many would use it and then you could figure out pretty much what your percentage will be.

Mr Haddad: Yes.

Mr Carr: One of the difficulties is that you have to gear up for the initial period, but if it doesn't anticipate, you may have an overcapacity. Have you done any of your own studies to figure out whether that 12,000 total coming in is accurate or are you just going off the government's figures?

Mr Haddad: At this time we are relying on the projections based on the reports prepared by the casino team, recognizing that the indications are that they are conservative estimates. While at the same time not conducting any of our own studies, we do feel, however, that with the size of our fleet and our ability to respond to special services, the introduction of shuttle services that we will provide can be supported and supplemented by our existing fleet initially and allow us to work through the period where we get a settling in and a comfort level as to what a more precise vehicle count would be and allow us to respond and adjust our fleet accordingly.

Mr Carr: How many new employees do you anticipate, then, coming on as a result of this casino?

Mr Haddad: Again, from very preliminary reviews we've conducted in terms of employment, it could be upwards of 50 to 100, again depending on demand and depending on our success level in attracting servicing of tour buses coming into the area combined with shuttle services we anticipate being able to introduce.

Mr Carr: I ask the different groups, as members will know, how many new employees they think they're going to have and so on. Not too many can give me a definite answer. I know that's difficult to do, but you have to do that in any budget anticipation. Every year you have to make some guess. People are saying, "Oh, yeah, we agree with the 6,000 to 8,000 new job figures," but when you ask individuals coming in, none of them have been able to project.

The reason I do that is that I just want to make sure the government figures are correct, because governments have a tendency to inflate them to help their cause. I just want to get a sense of whether you believe we're going to hit those numbers. So the numbers you've heard of the increased spinoff jobs, would you be able to comment on whether you think -- it's probably not your field of expertise, but do you think the casino will generate the number of jobs that the government says it will?

Mr Haddad: I'm confident that the level of research that was conducted and the integrity of the report itself will support the estimates, based on the best information that was available to that group at the time, based on experiences that they've been able to draw from in other casino operating areas, and certainly each member of the community that will be impacted by the casinos has a responsibility to assess what the impact will be directly on them. With our experience at Transit Windsor over the last year or so, I would suggest that we will be taking a conservative approach as well in order to ensure that we can provide a quality service but at the same time ensure that we can respond to the demand levels, whatever they may be.

Mr Carr: It's tough because you have to use the government figures, but by the same token you don't want to be caught short. I don't want to put too much pressure on you, but all the work that can be done, all the marketing, and the first time people have any problems with getting around, it will sour them. So it's very difficult putting this whole thing together, but I hope the figures are accurate. As a matter of fact, I'm sure everybody hopes they're even more than that.

We wish you luck. You've got a tremendous responsibility, but from what I've seen here in Windsor, the transit and the police and the community are certainly working hard to be ready for it. The only thing I would caution you is to make sure you question the government, and I say this not to be political, but you know that in order to do it properly, you have to question and you have to push and you really have to do it properly. But I'm sure you will, and good luck with things.

Mr Haddad: Thank you.

The Chair: Mr Dadamo.

Mr Duignan: I was first.

Mr Dadamo: Wayne and I will share this -- well, probably three.

The Chair: Actually, Mr Duignan wants to have a comment.

Mr Dadamo: Oh, okay, sorry.

Tony, thank you. Those who don't live in this area are not aware that your bus goes to the US side every day on many runs. Are you licensed to a certain point to take the Transit Windsor buses beyond the tunnel on the other side?


Mr Haddad: Yes, we are. The licence that enables us to operate into Michigan allows us to operate charter services into the Michigan market as well as the scheduled service which goes into the downtown Detroit area, which requires approval at the local level.

I would also point out that public transportation in the Michigan market is not as tightly controlled and we have not experienced any difficulties with regard to adjusting or amending our routes, for example, in being able to go into the Tiger Stadium area, the Fox Theatre district, the Cobo convention centre area, as well as charters which take patrons out into the suburbs, Pontiac, the Silverdome, where the Detroit Lions play, the site of the Detroit Pistons in Auburn Hills. Wherever the customer demand requests service from Transit Windsor, we've not had any difficulty in delivering that service and working in conjunction with authorities in the Michigan market.

Mr Dadamo: So it may be premature, and forgive me for this, but there must be some sort of talk at this level now that you'll be able to go to different landing points where Americans are coming on their side. Say, for Metropolitan airport, or even their downtown bus terminal, for example, will you be able to take people from there cross-border here?

Mr Haddad: I believe service from Detroit metro airport is on a contract basis and is something that Transit Windsor does not currently do except for charters. However, we are pursuing a number of opportunities in the Detroit area, in concert with the private sector, to join forces in providing services where they may dovetail on our ability to transport passengers as well as our ability to complement their services.

Mr Dadamo: I know it'll get intricate later on, but will there be the possibility, in concert with travel agencies, of taking a charter bus in from Metropolitan airport across?

Mr Haddad: Yes, that's a possibility.

Mr Dadamo: Do you or do you not have access to the Ambassador Bridge now?

Mr Haddad: We do have access to the Ambassador Bridge.

Mr Dadamo: Are any of your buses back and forth now on a regular basis?

Mr Haddad: No. We provide our service into the downtown Detroit area and we are a good customer of the tunnel.

Mr Dadamo: I know you are, but I know that you'll want to explore different avenues when the time comes, and with the new facilities at the Ambassador Bridge now, I know they have better facilities for larger-type vehicles and I'm just wondering if that's a possibility.

Mr Haddad: It definitely is a possibility, and it is something that we have used in the past, especially for charter operations.

Mr Dadamo: Okay, that's all I have, thanks.

Mr Duignan: In the committee hearings this morning, Mr Carr indicated that the government has a tendency to overinflate figures, but our figures in fact are quite conservative in relation to the number of jobs etc for this community. So in our contention they're not indeed overinflated, they're if anything more on the conservative side of the figures.

On the whole question of ground transportation, earlier this morning we heard from the convention and visitors' bureau. They have a number of task forces in place looking at various aspects of dealing with the casino when it comes to Windsor, and one of the areas they're looking at is the question of ground transportation. I know they have under discussion a committee to identify the need for adequate shuttle services in the central business district, particularly to and from the hotels, and also it states that the chamber of commerce transport committee is currently addressing the situation. Under the heading of recommendations, they're hoping I guess to set up a meeting with the successful casino proponent, downtown hotels, the DBA and the chamber of commerce to deal with this issue.

I was wondering, have you been involved in that issue, or are you also looking at hoping to operate a shuttle system in the downtown area as well? Have you talked to the chamber of commerce or have you talked to the convention bureau about this issue?

Mr Haddad: Yes. We have participated in discussions directly with the convention and visitors' bureau and with the committee that has been established. Transit Windsor is a participant with them and we certainly expect to be working in concert with them in developing strategies for ground transportation services, not limited to the hotels but on a broader base as well with other venues in bringing patrons to the casino.

Mr Duignan: In the Request for Proposals it states that parking facilities, tour bus dropoff facilities, for example, and other related infrastructure -- the casino complex has addressed those issues and "Planning for offsite tour bus parking and servicing is being undertaken by the city." So you're actively involved in that issue.

Mr Haddad: That's correct.

Mr Duignan: You would, I suspect, also be looking at offering shuttle services from where those buses are parked to the casino in downtown as well.

Mr Haddad: Precisely. Yes.

Mr Duignan: And you're well ahead in your planning in that aspect?

Mr Haddad: Well ahead? I think we're well in progress in developing those plans.

Mr Duignan: Okay, that's all the questions.

Mr Lessard: Very briefly, Mr Haddad, for the benefit of the committee members, I just wanted to point out that you're an accountant by profession, isn't that correct?

Mr Haddad: Yes.

Mr Lessard: And you were working before you became acting general manager for Transit Windsor in the finance department at the city. Was that in the audit department?

Mr Haddad: No. You're correct. I was in the finance department as the budget director.

Mr Lessard: So you're not about to be fooled by figures, either from the provincial government or the municipal government, I wouldn't suppose.

Mr Haddad: Well, I would hope that I have an ability to recognize those figures and the validity of them.

Mr Lessard: You ended up in this position because of some difficulties with Transit Windsor. When my friend Mr Carr was asking about your capacity to be able to deal with demand, part of those difficulties were I guess excess bus service and employees. So this actually would provide an opportunity to put into service those buses and employees that are currently laid off.

Mr Haddad: That is precisely one of the initiatives that we see as a definite possibility and a positive aspect in terms of our labour relations with our employees at Transit Windsor with the difficulties we've been facing over the last year and the potential that we have, starting in 1994, assuming of course that we can overcome our difficulties during 1993 in order to be in a good position to respond to those demands in 1994.

Mr Carman McClelland (Brampton North): Mr Haddad, thanks again for being here. In your work as general manager of Transit Windsor, could you tell me the subsidy ratios or subsidy numbers from levels of government to the operation base itself?

Mr Haddad: The ideal revenue-sharing formula that has been identified for a municipality the size of Windsor by the Ministry of Transportation is for a 60% contribution or revenue generation from the fare box, 20% municipal contribution and 20% provincial subsidy.

Mr McClelland: Part of your revenue or potential revenues, I would imagine a significant portion, is in the area of advertising, bus-back advertising and so forth.

Mr Haddad: That does represent one of our revenue areas, yes.

Mr McClelland: Do you have a sense or any guesstimate, estimate, whatever the case may be, with respect to the potential increase of those revenues as a result of the increased traffic?

Mr Haddad: Not specifically at this time. However, we feel that we're already seeing signs of improvement in the advertising campaigns that are being carried on our buses, both interior and exterior, and with the increased traffic coming into the area and the exposure to visitors from both Canada and the US markets, we feel national advertisers will increase their exposure in this market and as a result will increase revenues to Transit Windsor in terms of advertising dollars.

Mr McClelland: No idea of the gross amount -- any sense?

Mr Haddad: Not at the present time. We have had discussion on a couple of occasions with the advertising agency that works with Transit Windsor. They are very excited about the opportunities and in fact are already showing signs today that the interest level has increased significantly.


Mr McClelland: I don't want to embarrass him, but I see Mr Muroff is in the room. He shared with me briefly some of the things that are happening with respect to the Windsor-Detroit tunnel. Do you, in your capacity as GM, sit on the commission or the board or have interplay with the renovations and the projects that are taking place there? The reason I'm asking is that I was wondering if you could share with some of my colleagues on the committee the impact that's having in terms of the immediate. I understand -- you might want to comment on it -- that one the catalysts towards the significant renovations and expenditure of dollars, job creation, was the result of the casino project being announced for Windsor.

Mr Haddad: We at Transit Windsor are working very much so with the administrative staff of the Windsor Tunnel Commission in terms of being one of the major users of that facility and the requirements that we have to ensure the safe passage of passengers from our buses through the tunnel and in reaching their destination, either on the Windsor side or the Detroit side. The improvements that are being undertaken are addressing needs that Transit Windsor has identified, both on the plaza as well as through the tunnel tube itself. We expect that upon completion of, initially, the road improvements our services being provided on a regular basis, as well the special events services, will increase and will allow us to more effectively promote and market that service we presently have today.

The improvements to the tunnel itself, as I understand it, commenced prior to the decision being made to locate a casino in Windsor. I believe it is a reflection of our municipality's ability and long-term planning vision to ensure that we are well positioned and capable of handling additional capacity through new attractions, whatever they may be. Timing-wise, the casino came forward and obviously will be impacted in a positive sense with the improvements that are being made to the Tunnel Plaza on the Windsor side.

Mr McClelland: I'm glad you mentioned the plaza, because I wanted to ask you about that. I understand from my understanding, just from what I pick up, that it's going to be a significant component. Basically all the improvements in the tunnel itself without the end plaza being improved really won't provide the service that you need; in other words, the flow. The traffic flow is okay; it's processing the traffic at the end of the tunnel. How much money is coming from the federal government or provincial government to help with that project? To what extent do you have commitments or do you need more firm commitments from either of the two senior levels of government?

Mr Haddad: Are you speaking in terms of the tunnel improvements?

Mr McClelland: The plaza itself. Let me reiterate; I may not have expressed that as well as I could have. The tunnel itself is all well and good, but without the plaza being done in a timely fashion, you're going to have that bottleneck in any event. So having the plaza improved, or the handling of traffic vis-à-vis customs and so forth, is an absolute necessity. Are you on stream? Are you satisfied with respect to the commitment that you require to see that taken care of, both in terms of the customs officials and all of those ancillary components of your operation vis-à-vis cross-border traffic?

Mr Haddad: I would suggest that all of those issues must be addressed and are an integral part of the renovations being completed in the tunnel tube itself. However, I don't feel I could address the level of funding and the commitment from the provincial and federal governments with regard to the Tunnel Plaza development itself, since I'm not directly involved with the tunnel commission and I have been removed from city hall with regard to the day-to-day issues of the tunnel.

Mr McClelland: If I could, Mr Chairman, I think it might be worthwhile for us just to inquire from city officials, through the mayor's good offices or whatever, just to see what we can do and ensure that every effort is made to keep things on stream and that our friends in Ottawa are --

The Chair: Which friends are you referring to, Mr McClelland?

Mr McClelland: -- in touch with the minister himself.

Mr Mills: Whose friends?

Mr McClelland: I sort of hesitated there for a moment.

Mr Callahan: After the PEI link, surely the hell they can do something with the tunnel before the election.

Mr McClelland: Without being too flippant about it, let's just make sure that --

Mr Callahan: I'm sure Kim will be down here in the next 10 minutes.

Mr McClelland: Let make sure we note that. Let's make sure that we are of any assistance we can be. Thanks, Mr Haddad.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Haddad, for presenting before the committee today.

Mr Haddad: Thank you for the opportunity.


The Chair: Our next presenter is Mayor Vince Marcotte, representing the town of LaSalle, if he would please come forward. I understand that we as well have Judy Recker with us today. If you would both make yourselves comfortable, you have 30 minutes for your presentation. You may use all of that for your presentation or save some time for questions, if you wish.

Mr Vince Marcotte: First of all, thank you for the opportunity to speak today. Just to clear the record after seeing the headlines in today's paper, Judy and I have not been anywhere with any of the proponents.

Thank you for coming to Windsor, thereby allowing the town of LaSalle to have an opportunity to speak on casino gambling as it relates to Windsor.

I understand that Bill 8 has received two readings and that these public hearings are really to assist in the final wording of the legislation. I'm not here today to give a technical opinion or position on the various facets of the bill itself. I'm sure you've had many experts and I'm sure before your hearings are over you will have many more experts who will have various views on that. Rather, I'm here today to give you LaSalle's support from a people point of view.

In the following material that you have I've included a map of the county of Essex. I'm not sure how familiar everybody is with the county and so on. I've highlighted LaSalle and Windsor in order to give you a perspective on where LaSalle is and how large it is in relation to the city of Windsor. Also highlighted are the proposed locations of the casino, both the interim and the permanent ones, and the Windsor Raceway, which does have a major impact in LaSalle, and I'll address that a little later. After that, I want to give you a little bit of history about LaSalle and then finally our support for the gaming project.

On the map you'll see that LaSalle is in pink and Windsor is in yellow. Geographically, we're probably about half the size. LaSalle has a population of 17,000 to Windsor's 195,000 plus. We are a border municipality. I just want to outline the green dot in the west end of Windsor, which is Windsor Raceway, which just about abuts the boundaries of the town of LaSalle.

If I could, our history goes back quite a ways, all the way to the township of Sandwich West. This is page 3 I'm reading from. Our first bylaw was passed in the same year as Confederation, 1867. So you can see we've been around for a long time. Since that time the municipality has undergone many changes, most notably in 1966, when, as a municipality of 35,000, it was annexed in a fierce battle with the city of Windsor. We lost that and for a while there were many sore points there. The remaining 7,000 residents who were left at that point had little industry but a strong determination to survive on their own.

Looking back to 1966, I don't think anyone would have anticipated the growth of our municipality. We are a very progressive community and, recognizing our maturation, in 1991 the township of Sandwich West ceased to exist but a new town was born, and that town is LaSalle.

Today, we are the most populous municipality in the county of Essex, excluding Windsor, obviously, with over 17,000 residents, growing daily. Over the last seven years we have grown by more than 200 households per year, a little over 1,500 households in that period of time.

Remaining independent and able to care for itself, LaSalle has its own hydro commission, water department, full-time police and fire services. That is over and above our administration, which has public works, planning, building and so on.

LaSalle is proud to be part of the upper-tier government, which in our area is the corporation of the county of Essex, and derives services such as libraries, social services, road maintenance and so on from the county.


Now, on our position on gaming, the town of LaSalle is on public record supporting gaming for the city of Windsor. Two motions have been passed, one supporting the project when it first came out months ago and another one authorizing myself to be here today to publicly state our approval.

From our history and location, I think you can appreciate that LaSalle and Windsor are very intertwined and that occurrences in either municipality have an effect on the other.

According to Statistics Canada, some 83% of LaSalle residents who are working are employed in the city of Windsor. Therefore, like Windsor, we are very heavily dependent, and have been, on the automotive industry.

Over the years we have been able to grow residentially, but we have not been able to keep up industrially at all. As a matter of fact, as of today only 11% of LaSalle's tax base is generated by commercial-industrial assessment. Really, what it gets down to, from our end of it, is jobs, and that's the personal message I want to bring to you today.

The latest economic downturn has stalled any hope of industrial growth in LaSalle, but right now, today, through the casino gambling we have an opportunity, a chance, a window, whatever you want to call it, to start a whole new industry, not only for Windsor, but for the whole of Essex county and beyond. We need the jobs that are going to be created at the casino. We need the spinoff requirements that will supply the casino. Psychologically, we need the lift that a new industry can provide to any community that's been hard hit with lost jobs. We need to keep our residents; that is, our friends, our family, our own kids. We need to keep them in the area by providing them with job opportunities.

Being the friendly community we are, we want the tourists to come. We want them to visit and to spend some of their money in Windsor, in LaSalle and throughout the county. That will create jobs.

Our community, I'm sure, like many others and communities that you come from, must have some stability and growth so that the residents can have an enjoyable standard of living. The closing of yet another plant is not the kind of news we want to hear any more. We have had more than our share of lost jobs.

LaSalle, the city of Windsor and the rest of Essex county are ready to accept the challenge with casino gambling. We are looking forward to that challenge. Therefore, overall, LaSalle supports the casino idea.

We do have three reservations. One is security, which is being looked at by all the policing agencies, and that's the Windsor police, as well as the RCMP and the OPP. It's also being looked at by our own police service. What effect it will have in LaSalle we're not sure of yet, but it is something that we are watching, and it's fair to say that our police and the Windsor police do talk on a daily basis.

Secondly, some people are going to need help to assist them through the gaming addiction, and we would want continued assurances that this is being properly addressed.

Thirdly, and probably the most important one for the LaSalle area, is the impact on Windsor Raceway. As I showed you on the map, Windsor Raceway does abut the municipality of LaSalle. Even though it's in Windsor, it does provide us -- I'm talking about people in LaSalle -- with hundreds of jobs as cashiers, parimutuel clerks, servers, parking lot attendants etc, and also hundreds of opportunities in the racing end itself.

If I can just digress for a moment, you may or may not have seen in the paper that in the history of horse racing -- it's harness racing we're talking about here -- the barrier of one minute and 50 seconds for the mile has been broken only nine times in the history of racing. Four times it has been done by a horse trained by Bill McIntosh, who lives in LaSalle. Need I say more?

We need a strong and vibrant Windsor Raceway to complement the newest attraction in town, casino gambling.

Therefore, recognizing those three concerns, I and the corporation of the town of LaSalle, through its council, fully support casino gambling. As a neighbour, we are very pleased that Windsor was selected for this initiative. We'll work with the city to make all of Essex county, and indeed the province of Ontario, prosper because of it.

Thank you very much. We're prepared to answer any questions.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Marcotte. We have approximately seven minutes per caucus. We have three members from the government caucus who would like to speak. Mr Dadamo, you're first.

Mr Dadamo: Thank you very much; it's good to be first. Mayor, thank you very much. Judy, thank you for being here this morning.

Let's talk about the correlation between the town of LaSalle and the city of Windsor and how cohesively we're going to have to work together once casino gaming comes to town. Can we talk about the policing aspect of it all and how you feel you'll be part of it, or will you be part of it?

Mr Marcotte: When the initial information started to come up, our then police chief, Jim Lepine, met with the Windsor police and went over some of the concerns that we have or may have. We work in close contact with the city right now. We have a detective, we have plainclothes men, police officers who work with the city in major areas, and obviously casino gambling is going to have to be one of them.

In reviewing the whole process, we don't know what that impact is going to be in LaSalle but we have those doors open and negotiation will continue on. If it becomes a major problem that there is an impact in LaSalle, then we will have to readdress it and that would probably be through the city.

Mr Dadamo: So, geographically speaking, LaSalle is just right around the corner from the city of Windsor, for those who don't know, or as we've seen on the map now.

Discussions about getting people to LaSalle -- I have eight family members there and they've always expressed to me that they don't want to come back to living in the city for whatever reasons. They feel it's quaint, it's quiet and those kinds of things, and property taxes are a bit lower in LaSalle. Are they wanting the hustle and bustle of tourists coming in, aside from the businesses, but people who live there who don't have a business?

Mr Marcotte: When council obviously made the motions they were at a public meeting and there wasn't a whole lot of response, even though the local papers did pick them up. But every response I did get was on the positive side, and they were looking at the jobs. We're sort of fortunate enough that we're close but not right in the hustle and bustle. We won't be in the hustle and bustle of right downtown. Roadways in and out of the city of Windsor to LaSalle and through LaSalle are very well built-up highway systems. From that end of it I think it's not going to be a problem.

Mr Dadamo: So since the germ of the idea that casinos were coming and we began to talk about that, you must have forged a relationship with Tom Joy at the Raceway, as we have, and you must have had intimate conversations with him and his staff as to what was going to happen to their industry and how we could best help them out.

Mr Marcotte: We really haven't talked to anybody about the horse racing end of it. As you know, Mr Joy has a lot of other ideas for his complex. I don't know if other members of the committee are aware of that, but he's considering things on his space, on his land, and we are dealing closely with him on some of that development. I honestly have not talked to him directly of the horse racing industry, but it is a concern for us.

Mr Dadamo: You may want to take the opportunity to spell some of those things out. I had mentioned to him through a private meeting about a year and a half ago the possibility of an outdoor concert. The radio guy came out and we talked about music and all sorts of things and he thought that was a good idea and I think that's coming to be, hopefully. There's also talk about maybe building a shopping plaza or something like that. You might want to go on record to talk about that.

Mr Marcotte: Some things we wouldn't be as happy about. A shopping plaza would obviously take away from our shopping plaza, which is just about a quarter of a mile down the road. We'd rather people would come up to our little plaza. However, obviously anywhere we can generate traffic is going to have some benefit for the south.

For many years a raceway was the only game in town situated on that piece of property. Certainly his ambitious plans for an arena, if he follows through with that and everything else, will have obvious benefits for LaSalle. The commercial, we would appreciate it if he would keep it a little lower than he might be, but that's only for selfish reasons, within the town itself.

Mr Dadamo: Okay, good. Thanks.

Mr Duignan: In your brief before the committee you raised three issues: security, gambling addiction and the costs to the horse racing industry. As you know, the government is committed to running a very tight ship in relation to both internal and external security at the Windsor casino, and already we have allocated 10 extra police officers to the Windsor police force and any other officers deemed necessary as well.

On the question of gambling addiction, on page 19 of the Request for Proposals it states: "The proponent should outline the types of public education and problem gambling prevention strategies that would be implemented as part of its operation of the casino complex. The proponent should outline the type of problem gambling prevention and education strategies for employees that would be implemented in the casino complex."

As you know, the minister, in the very near future, will be presenting a set of proposals in relation to this whole area of problem gambling to cabinet, and indeed we take that very seriously, so I hope the casino complex and the whole area around problem gambling will develop side by side in future.


The last concern you have is the Windsor Raceway, and I again draw your attention to the request for proposals. On page 18, the proponent is asked to describe the operating and marketing plan for the casino complex:

"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 operations based on cooperation and collaboration should be included in proposals."

We believe we have a unique opportunity here that didn't happen in other jurisdictions around North America, by getting the two sides to sit down and work out a proper strategy in relation to marketing and cooperation, because you know the problem with the horse racing industry was that it was in a decline even before casinos were mentioned.

There are some problems with marketing strategies etc, and hopefully this will be a catalyst to stop that and put in proper marketing and cooperation that actually, hopefully, will benefit the horse racing industry in Ontario in general, and in particular in your case, and that both sides may have to sit down and work something out that both will be very profitable organizations for the benefit of Windsor.

Mr Marcotte: I am fairly satisfied that those issues are being looked at, and as I say, there is the ongoing communication with my police chief and so on. From the committee's point of view, I just don't want that to be lost anywhere in the shuffle. Otherwise you're right that those issues have been looked at and there has been a lot of press, but those are the things we just want to make sure aren't lost somewhere. We appreciate that they are being looked at and we're fairly satisfied, as of today, that this is happening.

Mr Duignan: Your concerns have been noted.

The Chair: Mr Lessard, you have about a minute.

Mr Lessard: One of the issues that's come up in questioning previously has been with respect to revenue-sharing with the municipality. When I say "municipality," I would assume that would mean the city of Windsor, because that's the area I represent. How would the town of LaSalle feel if there was a proposal to share revenue from the casino with the city of Windsor?

Mr Marcotte: I guess a lot of that depends on what is revenue-sharing. If it's revenue-sharing to pay certain bills which are directly related to the casino, then they probably are worthy of going just to the city of Windsor, as opposed to the police or whatever else. If, on the other hand, it's a windfall and you're getting 10%, then not only LaSalle but the whole county of Essex I think should benefit.

Mr Lessard: Thanks.

The Chair: Mr Callahan.

Mr Callahan: Thank you for coming, Mayor.


Mr Callahan: Okay. Mayor, can you give us a definitive number of people who are employed in your community from Windsor Raceway? You've said hundreds, but --

Mr Marcotte: I'm sorry, I don't have that figure.

Mr Callahan: I'd like to get some order there. Would it be 500?

Mr Marcotte: I would think 500 overall would probably be on a high basis. At the time when the Windsor Raceway was going full tilt and it had its maximum employment, I would say there were probably about 300 or 400 people or in that area; I would say 200 to 300. A lot of those jobs are part-time, by the way, I might add. A lot of our retirees are actually filling those positions.

Mr Callahan: You've indicated that industrial hope of expansion in your town is limited or not going to happen. So those jobs are very precious, I would think, to your community.

What really gives me a stir is that the parliamentary assistant has referred you to page 18 of the proposal, which says proponents must outline a strategy that indicates how the casino complex will work with Windsor Raceway.

I think the thing you have to understand here, and this is not speaking against the casino, is that Windsor Raceway will be affected by all the other raceways throughout Ontario. I think there are some 48 or something like that. Those jobs are threatened because this is not going to be the first and last casino. There is a policy in place that's going to make this a much more expansive operation, and as that happens, the impact will be even greater on Windsor Raceway.

Would you not feel more comfortable if instead of saying, "The proponents must outline," the government itself would provide a cohesive and clear statement of how it's going to maintain the viability of the raceways and also the tremendous number of jobs that are stake?

Mr Marcotte: You're asking me for a personal opinion, if I would feel better if the government would be the one negotiating rather than the proponent?

Mr Callahan: Yes, or setting out a plan, preparing a plan so that we know that these 500 jobs in your community and jobs throughout the province would be protected.

Mr Marcotte: It's hard to say, because I don't know what kind of agreement would come forward.

Mr Callahan: What they're saying here is that they're leaving it up to the casino operators to come up with a plan as to how Windsor Raceway will continue to survive. Now, with all due respect, it's kind of like of throwing the fox into the henhouse. I mean it's small potatoes, because it doesn't recognize the spillover effect that will occur throughout this province as the government takes this pilot project and multiplies it, not just within the framework of communities that have been suggested, but also allows native communities to have these facilities.

Mr Marcotte: I guess I might just respond by saying that obviously the government, as a third party, would not have the same biases as the proponent in negotiating any kind of agreement or coming up with a settlement. That's obvious. Now, whether or not we would get a better deal by the government being there, it's hard to tell, but obviously it wouldn't be coming from the same interest point of view that a proponent would be.

Mr Callahan: It's more important than that, actually. It goes beyond that, because what they're asking the proponents to do here is to simply look at how they can help Windsor Raceway in this small area in relation to this pilot project in Windsor. They're not looking at the big picture.

The big picture is that if all the stuff I've read -- and I must say I'm a little disturbed by that report; Coopers and Lybrand didn't bother to go out and get its own stats. They relied on the stats of the report that was done for the government by a professor at the University of Toronto, which tried to put the number of jobs on the low side of 18,000 as opposed to the higher side, which in fact all other reports have indicated it is. That tells me there's a very serious problem and it sort of flies in the face of the minister's promise.

The minister promised that as Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations she would try to find a correct gaming mix of lotteries, bingos, racing and casinos. In fact, what she's done by putting it in here is to say: "We're going to do it on a piecemeal basis. Piece by piece we're going to let the casino operator rely on his good faith to do it in just the small picture and eventually the small picture will disappear."

I would suggest to you that if the government doesn't take a look at the full picture, the larger picture, and do something definitively for the racing industry, your 500 jobs will be gone. If that hypothesis is correct, does that not concern you, as the mayor of that community, where your industrial base is not going to grow and you're going to have to rely on -- you know, you're going to lose those jobs?

Mr Marcotte: Any process or lack of process that would result in losing 500 jobs at Windsor Raceway would certainly be a concern to myself --

Mr Callahan: I suggest to you and I notice as well -- the chairman, the warden of the county, who is a horseman -- we talked about it -- should put out a very definitive statement to the government that you're not satisfied with simply the proponents being the fox in the henhouse and that in fact the government should take a look at the big picture and should decide to come to terms with the racing industry in protecting all those jobs.

If you don't, it will not only impact on your community but it will impact on a whole host of the agricultural sector which is already being, if I can use the word, raped by the inappropriate withdrawal of funds, the entire process of dealing with the farming community, and this is a very essential part of the farming community, as I'm sure you understand. It's not just the jobs at the parimutuel windows; there are people who supply the grain, there are people who train the horses, there are the people who make the saddles or the buggies, the hardware for it.

Those jobs are all at risk if we allow the government -- and perhaps the government has just overlooked this, but I somehow don't think so. I think what they'd like to do is put all their eggs in one basket and say, "Casinos, lotteries and VLTs are going to be the wave of the future; we don't have to pay anything back to the industry," whereas here they do. They have to rebate money from the taxes that they collect.


So I urge you -- and this is not putting down or saying that I'm against or my party is against the establishment of a casino. But I think, as a matter of fairness and as a matter of dealing with it in a businesslike fashion, you and all the people who represent this community should be sending a hard, loud message to the government that we're not satisfied to let the fox run the hen house. We want to preserve those jobs.

Now, rather than having asked you a question, I've tried to put you on notice that that's a significant danger.

Mr Mills: I thought you were supposed to ask questions.

Mr Callahan: My good friend from the New Democratic Party says this is the time to ask questions. I suggest to my friend from the New Democratic Party that now is the time to get the full message out in front of the public so that they know the full picture and can make decisions and make their elected representatives properly put the case before the government of the day so that it can properly look after and protect what is a significant part of your community.

The Chair: Mr Callahan, you've quite effectively used all your time.

Mr Callahan: Send me a copy of that letter. I'd like to see it.

Mr Carr: What was the vote on council for the resolution? Do you remember, offhand, the numbers?

Mr Marcotte: We are a council of seven people, and it was six to one.

Mr Carr: Six to one?

Mr Marcotte: The reservation was not so much casino gambling; we wanted more information.

Mr Carr: The concern that some people have expressed is similar regarding the Windsor Raceway. I'm looking at headlines from my Burlington Spectator: "Casino Could Kill Flamboro"; "Business Fears Casino Impact" the next day. Don was out there, but I'll share that with some of the members. There is some real concern out there.

If the casino comes to Windsor, and being somebody who's so close to it right now, and notwithstanding the fact that the government has said, "Let's cooperate, let's work with them," all these wonderful, nice thing that anybody would say and that anybody would hope, if the casino comes in, do you think the Windsor Raceway will close?

Mr Marcotte: I really don't have any idea of Mr Tom Joy's financial position, how the racetrack would have more of a negative effect. I don't really know what the dollars and cents are. Obviously it's more competition. He has a lot of competition from the US now. This would be an additional one, obviously, that he would have to address.

I also believe that at times you can take a negative and make it into a positive. If we're going to be attracting that many more people to the area, how many can he draw? How many can the Windsor Raceway draw there?

Mr Carr: See, they may be different than Flamboro, because of course Flamboro's a lot farther away and a lot depends on financial conditions. The parliamentary assistant has alluded to the many problems that are in that area. So it's very difficult.

I was amazed, in reading the article, and we've got some presentations coming up, at the number of spinoff jobs that are related to that industry as well. My fear is that when we're talking about the new jobs -- and we're all hoping, on all sides, that Windsor Raceway can survive and the casino will and these will be all new jobs. But I want to flag it that we may be just exchanging jobs. That might not be bad if in fact -- because I'm not too familiar with the racing industry. The parliamentary assistant just stepped away but said there are some major problems; that industry may have problems surviving anyway. I'm not familiar with it. So having a casino come in and replace the jobs is better than having nothing if it's going to die. It's a very, very difficult situation. Windsor Raceway, we're all hoping, will benefit and prosper. The same with Flamboro. Flamboro may die before Toronto gets one, according to some of the headlines.

Other than the good words that the parliamentary assistant says of working together and putting in the RFP that you'll do it, is there anything concrete that you know -- because you've got a lot of people from your community working at the Windsor Raceway -- anything else concrete the province can do other than nice words saying "hopeful" and "cooperate" and "We'll try and help"? Is there anything they could quantify and say, "This is what you should do to help that industry"?

Mr Marcotte: At this time, I really can't answer that, in all honesty. Whether it's a statement or a question, whatever has been posed to me, I think is worth taking back and looking at again. I really don't have an answer. To my knowledge, I have not been involved in any specific conversation or dialogue with anybody in the industry as it relates to [inaudible] in the racing industry.

Mr Carr: I appreciate that because obviously the people to ask are some of the people who are coming up in that area, and I hope it will be done. I think what you've indicated is what, being nonpartisan, all parties want: somehow to do it, and to do it right. I just wanted to voice some of those concerns.

Another question is the number of jobs that are going to be created. You've heard the figures, I presume, the direct 2,500 and the spinoff jobs. Is your best guess that this is indeed what will happen in terms of the number of jobs that will come to the community?

Mr Marcotte: I would certainly hope so. I think some of those numbers -- I've heard 25,000 or 30,000 in spinoff industries. I am not the expert; I'm not an economist. I looked at those numbers understanding that there is some fallout and that and one job creates other jobs. Basically, that's why I talked about not the casino as an employer but casino gambling as an industry. That won't even make up what we've lost over the last couple of years in job loss, but I would certainly hope so. A professional opinion, I don't have.

Mr Carr: I guess the big question is that jobs are evolving in all industries. It isn't just like this thing in the steel industry. Jobs are dying and you've got to move into other industries, so this isn't unique. As a matter of fact, what's happening here is similar to a lot of industries, and you've got to be ready to evolve. If the wave of the future is casinos, then that's the way you have to go. But I did want to raise some of the sensitivities which I'm sure you're aware of in the horse racing industry.

But just in terms of your background dealing with the provincial government, one of the other big concerns that has been voiced is that the community may lose control through the people running it. One of the reasons is because it isn't just going to be a Windsor casino; it's going to be the province, and the province will appoint, and will presumably appoint some people from this area. Is there anything else you think can be done in order to ensure that the community involvement is there? I think the community has done a great job. Everybody we've heard, right from the transit people to the police to the mayor, has done a pretty good job. I quite frankly trust them a lot more than I do the provincial government just because of the size. I don't want the shots to be called out of Toronto. Is there anything else the community could ask of the provincial government to ensure the people of this area remain in control of what happens with the casino?

Mr Marcotte: I'm sorry. I really don't have a good answer to that either. The involvement of as broad a base as possible is really what I think is going to be needed because it affects everybody in a different manner. Really, other than that, I'm sorry; I don't have an answer.

Mr Carr: Thank you very much and good luck.

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



The Chair: Our next presenter is Dr Glen Brown, chair of the Ontario Agriculture and Horse Racing Coalition, if you would please come forward, sir, and make yourself comfortable. Welcome to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs. You have 30 minutes within which to make your presentation and field some questions. When you're ready, please proceed.

Dr Glen Brown: Than you, Mr Chairman, members of the committee. I'm the chicken in the hen house, I guess, and I'm looking for the fox. He's on his way, I'm afraid.

I'd like to first of all thank you, obviously, for the opportunity to present the deep concerns of our industry that emanate from the Ontario government's decision to introduce casinos into an already crowded gaming field here in Ontario.

In the printed material that I've supplied, the first exhibit after the centre divider in the package lists the member organizations of our coalition. Their combined memberships total some 47,000. Their involvement covers everything from the growing of feed to breeding, care and training, and eventually to the provision and staffing of the actual racing facilities. It was all created and funded by the private sector.

Government itself, often through its agencies, has stated in the past that about 50,000 people derive income from our industry. The July 28 issue of Casino Update suggests that perhaps as many as 28,000 Ontario residents have full- or part-time jobs in our industry. We have not reviewed these studies, but we do know the most exhaustive study ever done on the Ontario industry was that of Rowland Dunning completed in 1987 for the government of Ontario. It indicated our industry had 45,000 full- or part-time workers. It described the industry as a labour-intensive resource industry. It revealed that our industry was responsible for $2.2 billion in annual economic activity in Ontario, with $350 million in purchases from Ontario's farmers and $500 million in wages. It described the numbers employed in Canada, of which Ontario is the largest part, as exceeding those in logging and forestry, mining or fishing.

I'm not suggesting the Casino Update's guess is incorrect at 28,000, but in view of the devastating impacts our industry will suffer from casinos, that number probably is just a little premature. Given that this government has adopted the most aggressive gaming policy in North America, our total industry soon will be just 28,000. But whether it's 45,000 or 28,000 or 18,000, how many industries in Ontario with 18,000 or more jobs is the government presently setting out to destroy? Only the horse racing industry.

Keep in mind that this government spent $340 million over five years to protect 300 direct and 1,500 indirect jobs at de Havilland. It spent $50 million and $110 million on loan guarantees to save 5,000 jobs at Algoma Steel. Studies have indicated our industry will lose between 9,500 and 18,500 jobs with the opening of casinos.

The Premier said to me in a letter on January 25 of this year, "You have my assurance that maintaining the viability of horse racing in Ontario is a very important priority and will receive the serious attention it deserves." The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations has given similar assurances. The July 26 Casino Update states, "The government is fully committed to the horse racing industry remaining a full and active player in the gaming industry."

We have had all the assurances; what we lack are details. Being told it will be done absolutely differently in Ontario is not sufficient. Unlike New Jersey, we are told, there will not be a 33% decline in wagering. Unlike Atlantic City, where crime increased 75% in five years after casino introduction, we are told Ontario will be squeaky clean. The Windsor chief of police and Donald Trump, for that matter, seem to disagree. There has not been a single plan presented by our government to prove the end results will be any different in Ontario, other than the request in the RFP that was referred to in the last presentation to have the casino look out for Windsor Raceway in particular and the Ontario industry in general, and again we're back to the fox in the chicken coop.

We've dealt with the early initiatives suggested by the government on page 3 of our submission. These early initiatives were suggested last year. They cover a four-year tax rebate, a move that has kept Fort Erie open but has done little for the other Ontario tracks. Continuation of existing rebates, as they describe it, is absolutely essential, but they have been there for years. This is no new initiative to offset the impacts of casinos. Expansion of intertrack and simulcast activities certainly offer some growth potential, but not enough to double Ontario's wagering, as has been suggested. Indeed, the 1993 wagering may come in slightly less than 1992 after many of these initiatives have been implemented.

We had hoped, in view of the time spent and the number of deputations that have met the minister in the Ontario casino project, that some accommodation could have been developed for the horse industry. We gain no comfort when the government says, "Trust us," while at the same time it hires consultants and commissions studies to prove that what has happened to racing in other jurisdictions will not happen here. The 28% drop in attendance and the 33% drop in wagering experienced in New Jersey will occur here.

Both the Meadowlands and the Garden State tracks have joint promotions with casinos in Atlantic City and have had for years. This is nothing new. This is not revolutionary. It didn't save them there, it certainly isn't going to do it here, but this is offered as the big, new, in thing: The casino's going to help us out.

Then, with respect to the studies, Dr Hosios, who was referred to earlier in comments, from the University of Toronto, on the first page of the study that he did for the Ontario casino project, a study that was referenced in Coopers and Lybrand, as pointed out, makes an incredible statement that reveals his total lack of understanding of our industry, and I quote, "However, since the demand for jobs concerned with the care, training and breeding of racehorses depends on the stock of horses or number of horses and does not respond to fluctuations in track attendance and wagering, it is inappropriate to convert projected wagering reductions into proportional employment reductions."

Since a $2 wager is the sole source of income for the horse owner to pay his employees, a 33% drop in wagering means he has to cut back on the number of horses he trains, on the number of people he employs. It is so ridiculous. There is no other option for the person unless he wants to sustain incredible losses. If I could give you an analogy, this is no different than saying with respect to the automobile industry, which we're familiar with here in Windsor, that a reduction in the sale of mini-vans will have no effect on employment at the plant because it still requires the same number of man-hours to build one. It is this type of irresponsible research material that alarms our industry and that the government has relied so much upon.

What is also so disturbing is the fact that the government and its study organizations have almost totally ignored what has happened in other areas where casinos were introduced. Casinos closed harness racing in Manitoba and reduced wagering on thoroughbreds there by 30%. Casinos closed Canterbury Downs in Minnesota. Riverboat casinos opened a year ago in Illinois reduced wagering at Illinois teletheatres by 40%; all this in addition to the figures cited in New Jersey. Just this week we've learned that the Paducah track in Kentucky also took a 40% hit from some new riverboats in its area.


The Coopers and Lybrand study does address the problem of overlap in terms of gambling preferences. They suggest, "The largest potential impacts identified by the survey would be on horse racing." They suggest only 11% to 23% of the patrons would decrease their track attendance, a much lower experience than in New Jersey. However, the study was based on exit interviews of only 565 people over three widely separated racetracks. Their impact assessment addresses attendance only, not wagering or frequency of attendance. In this case, the whole assessment is seriously flawed in this respect. If the loss were only 11% but that 11% represented your largest bettors, the racetrack would be crippled. So to address attendance levels only and not take into account the level of wagering those people might do or the frequency of their attendance is flawed.

It's been suggested by many of those making presentations on behalf of our industry that the Ontario tax rate on parimutuel wagering is excessive. At twice the North American average and 10 times the New Jersey rate of tax, where racing competes with casinos, Ontario is only exceeded by thoroughbreds in California in terms of its tax rate. Now the industry sees its regulator, the government, introducing casinos with the tax rate for racing nearly twice what it will be charging its own casinos. That's right. We're going to continue to pay the existing tax and it will be nearly twice the tax rate they're going to charge the casino. That tax rate was set when racing had 100% of the legal gambling in Ontario. It now has 27%, thanks to the government's ventures into gambling. We are no longer a monopoly and no longer should be taxed as one. Fairness would go a long way in putting some confidence back into our industry.

Studies performed for the Ontario casino project suggest changes to the tax rate. Ontario should follow New Jersey's lead and tax racing at a half of 1%. This would not negate the impact of casinos, but it would leave Ontario's racing industry in a position to rebuild improved patron facilities and regain the ability to compete with a new casino threat. We are often criticized, as I've heard here this morning, for a lack of advertising and promotion. Perhaps we are guilty, but the high-profile, Don Cherry types of promotions that we see on television are very expensive, and the government agencies that produce those do so because of very high budgets which are beyond our means as an industry. I say this to those who criticize our publicity and promotion: You shouldn't do it; government shouldn't do it when it's rendered impotent this industry through its own policies. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much. We have five minutes per caucus. I'm going to start with Mr Kwinter.

Mr Kwinter: Dr Brown, thank you for your presentation. Although you didn't read from your presentation per se, I read through it while I was listening to your presentation and some of the others. I think there's a certain naïveté in some of the assumptions about horse racing. They talk about this new industry that's coming to Windsor, this casino industry. There is one basic industry, and that is the gaming industry, and the gaming industry has subsections in it: It has lotteries, it has horse racing, it has casinos. As I said on the very first day we were here, the amount of money available for gaming is not inelastic; it's elastic. The figure that you quote is $417 per resident in 1991.

It isn't the sort of thing where people have to gamble, unless they have an addiction problem; it's a matter of, "Am I out of work?" Then you'll find people buying lottery tickets because they're looking for that one big hit that they think is going to solve all their problems. We know the chances of winning the lottery are less than getting struck by lightning, but that doesn't stop people from doing it. I think to assume that just because in your Request for Proposals you say to the proponent, "You've got to deal with the Windsor Raceway situation," you're asking a competitor, because you're all competing for that exact, same dollar, to say, "Look, you've got to come in here but you've got to look after your competitors, you've got to look after the restaurants, you've got to look after the hotels, you have to look after all of these things" -- you know they're going to put in what I call weasel words, where they're saying they're going to use their best efforts, but certainly from the experience you've talked about in Atlantic City, that is not in their interests. Their interest is to maximize their return not only for the province but for themselves.

I think it's important to understand that there's a tradeoff. If you have the casino, there's going to be some kind of a reaction: You're not going to have possibly the Windsor Raceway, but unless something is done to deal with it in a way other than giving lipservice that you've got to sort of cooperate with them, you're not going to have them both. You're going to lose one for the other. I think you make a very good point about the taxation so that at least it minimizes the inequity that is there.

You know, I've heard several comments about the fact that racing is going down the tubes anyway and it's not relevant and this is the new wave; this is the thing that's going to really take control of the gaming industry. What is your feeling about that? I know you're concerned, but what is your feeling about the viability of the racing industry in Ontario provided all of the right moves are made so that it can be compatible with casinos?

Dr Brown: I think there will be some restructuring of racing. Obviously we have to have a tax adjustment. We cannot survive in this province being taxed effectively at almost twice as much as the casinos at taxes twice the North American rate. At least in New Jersey they cut it down to a half of 1%. We're paying 10 times that much.

In New Jersey, right now the Meadowlands just closed a very strong meeting, Freehold racetrack opened last weekend and had one of its strongest openings on record, so racing is viable. They're getting an intelligent, a fairer treatment there from the state of New Jersey and they're doing quite well.

I think we can survive here. I think there will be some tracks that will not survive. I think too, if I could comment on the fact that they have restricted more or less the proponents doing something for Windsor Raceway, that Windsor Raceway is important, but it's a small part of the total Ontario picture. To help Windsor Raceway and not do something for the rest of the province will destroy us.

In New Jersey, where we cited the 28% drop in attendance and the 33% drop in wagering, you have to remember they kept all the casinos down in one corner of the state, in Atlantic City. The Meadowlands racetrack is 105 miles away and it was impacted to that extent, so don't think that just the Windsor racetrack is going to be hurt.

When you talk about the employees at the Windsor racetrack, as the previous person did, he was only talking about those employed by Windsor Raceway. He wasn't talking about the hundreds who are looking after the horses and working for owners and trainers in the back stretch. That seems to be overlooked all the time. There are a lot of people in this industry responsible for the care and training and, as someone pointed out earlier, the feed and the equipment and all that sort of stuff. So those people have to be considered, not just the employees at the racetrack. Yes, they're important, but I'll tell you that those people on the back stretch are not part-time as described about the mutuel clerks on the front side. Virtually all of them are full-time and they have no transferable skills. These people are welfare cases. There's no other way.

I've been 35 years in this business and I've met thousands of them. Those people are usually high school dropouts. They start to work for their father or their uncle or a friend, grooming horses. They work their way up. They may become trainers, they may become drivers, they may become tremendously successful or they may stay at the level they're at. They're very skilled at what they do but they have no other skills, no transferable skills. If you start talking about $100 million coming from this place and you start talking about anywhere from 8,000 to 18,000 jobs and start paying the welfare tab, how much is left for the province?

A lot of these things have not been researched, and to me, this is a joke, to have a study come out from Coopers and Lybrand when we gave evidence before those people back in the first week of April, with the study due to be completed the middle of April, and it is now presented to everyone, you and the world, after second reading and after they have the bidding process going. We asked for an economic impact study at the outset of this thing. You know, a lot of these groups, as you all know -- you've all been involved in this -- how often must they say, "What time of day do you want it to read?" They'll tell you anything you want them to tell you when they go and do these studies.


Mr Callahan: That's called consulting.

Dr Brown: That's consulting.

Mr Kwinter: No, the classic definition of a consultant is, a man borrows your watch and tells you what time it is.

Mr Callahan: Or tells you what time you'd like to have it at.

The Chair: We'll move on to Mr Eves.

Mr Eves: I'll try not to talk about watches.

I don't know if you've had the opportunity to see this presentation that was made by the ministry to the committee this week. I'll read you a few paragraphs from the impact, as they call it, key considerations, impact on horse racing industry, wagering and employment. They use the University of Toronto professor's numbers to a certain degree. In it, it states:

"The number of full-time equivalent jobs does not exceed 25,000 and may in fact be less than 18,000; decreases in wagering in the order of 5% to 10% at a maximum; proportional job losses in the 900- to 1,800-job range."

It talks about:

"The above effects are estimated in the absence of mitigating efforts including expanding and improving the gambling product offered at tracks, introducing offtrack betting at casinos and joint marketing efforts. With such mitigating efforts, the effect of casino gambling on the horse racing industry will be minimal."

The next page goes on to state:

"The health of the horse racing industry has been in decline for the past decade -- before a single casino has opened. The government is committed to introducing casinos on a cooperative basis with the Ontario horse racing industry, not in competition with it. The Request for Proposals in the Windsor casino states: `The casino complex is expected to work cooperatively with the Windsor Raceway, in particular, and to be sensitive to the Ontario horse racing industry, in general.'"

Those are a few of the primary paragraphs in what would be appear to be at least the ministry's and the government's point of view on the horse racing industry. Could I have a couple of comments from you on those broad statements?

And in case I don't get to ask another question, I would like to put it to you now. I understand that it's probably the horse racing industry's wish that there not be casino gambling in the province of Ontario. However, being a realist, you must surely have come to realize by now that I think that is probably wishful thinking on the horse racing industry's part. Assuming that casino gambling in the province will be a given, what steps do you feel the province of Ontario should take to protect the horse racing industry as it exists in the province today?

Dr Brown: To answer your first question, I want to make one comment on something you read out of that which is a little different than my understanding of what was said earlier about what the casino people are supposed to do with Windsor Raceway. They're expected to work, not required to work.

Mr Eves: That's a direct quote.

Dr Brown: Interesting wording.

I think that what the horse racing industry obviously needs, number one, it's got to have that tax adjusted. That's got to be done or there's no hope of our survival. Secondly, I cannot see the need -- of course I'm not in treasury -- to have casinos dotted all over this province. As I said earlier, they kept them down in one corner of New Jersey and at least they only have the policing problems and the other problems in one community.

I think that if there was an enlightened approach to taxation, if the casino was confined to Windsor, the enlightened approach to taxation would allow the better tracks -- let's face it; some will not survive. I can't see, close to here, Sarnia, Dresden, even London, as far as that goes. They're too close to the casino. But some tracks will survive throughout this province if they kept it confined down here, and with the enlightened tax approach, those tracks could become competitive. Yes, their racing could be marketed in the casino. But they could become competitive. They could finance the development of teletheatres and other things throughout Ontario and leave that market to them and support those jobs.

In the numbers that you referred to, or you read, Mr Eves, from that report prepared by the person at the University of Toronto, of course he chose to totally ignore the owner, because he said the owners aren't employed. So they're a nothing, they're a non-entity. I'll tell you, if you were in the horse business, it does not survive without the owners. The owners pay the bills. But he totally ignored them in that study, besides saying that a reduction in wagering doesn't affect employment levels at the track, which is just incomprehensible.

In terms of the decline you referred to over the past decade, racing had its heyday and we'll never go back to those days, I'm sure of that, to the level it once was, but it enjoyed that heyday at a time before government decided to get into the gambling business with lotteries. Pro Line sports, introduced last fall in Toronto, dropped the wagering at Greenwood racetrack 7% in the first week, and anybody from the casino project team or any other of these hired guns who write these reports who tell you it's a different crowd or they're not affected by these others is off base. They're all wet. Pro Line dropped wagering 7%.

I mentioned in my statement that the most aggressive gaming policy in North America -- it is the most aggressive. Pro Line sports is banned in 47 states in the United States, but we're gung-ho. We're going right through it. It's the most popular extracurricular activity in all of our school system right now, and you all know that. But it's generating some money.

Mr Callahan: It's better to buy that than lunch money, I guess.

Mr Dadamo: Sir, let me preface my remarks by saying that I have the Windsor Raceway in the riding which I represent at Queen's Park, I've had extensive conversations with Tom Joy, the owner, I've been in and out of that raceway for the last two and a half years, so I kind of know what I'm about to say.

In an article from Eugene Martin Christiansen, "Harness Racing and the New Competition, or What to do About Lotteries" -- Mr Christiansen is special assistant to the New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. Now, these are his words. He says:

"Given the way the public is treated at many harness tracks, given the gambling and entertainment alternatives, the wonder is not that harness racing is losing market share. The wonder is that the sport is doing as well as it is."

I can't help but feel that your industry has been in peril for many years and that you're using the casino or the founding of this idea to lay blame on the government, and I take offence at that, sir.

I've spoken to Tom Joy. Tom came from the steel industry for many years. He's well over retirement age, God bless him. He spent time in St Catharines. He sort of stumbled into the racing industry. But I find Mr Joy to be creative, ingenious and forward-thinking.

I want to lift some information from the Windsor Star, dated this week, Tuesday, August 17, 1993. The reporter says:

"Thirteen racing and horse industry groups intend to address the casino legislation committee over the coming weeks. Windsor Raceway's position is not represented by any of the groups. Mr Joy says: `They want us to fail. Then they can point to us and say, `See what casino gambling is doing to the industry.'"

What I'm asking you is, how forward-thinking are you and what are you about to do to react to an idea that is mainstream North America, that casinos are coming, and what are you going to do?

This article, by the way, was written in 1985. What's happened since 1985 to respond to what's happening to your horse industry?

Dr Brown: Well, I'm sorry, first of all, that you take offence about what I said about government's role in our decline, because if you check the historical facts, our decline commenced when lotteries started. It wasn't this government, it was another government or two governments ago, but that's when the decline started.

It goes right back to something that was mentioned here earlier -- someone read a portion out of here -- the $471 per cap in the province of Ontario. There are only so many wagering dollars to go around, and you introduce another factor and you have to affect the others. You're going to affect the lotteries. You're going to affect a lot of other forms of gambling. The charity casinos that are presently almost going on uncontrolled in the city of Toronto at least, and in other communities as well, have to be impacted.

I'm sorry; I may have missed the last part of your question.


Mr Dadamo: I'm just wondering, when you sit around your table, and, you know, you're sitting with some movers and shakers, for heaven's sakes, what do you talk about? I mean, what are we going to do about this industry?

Dr Brown: What do we talk about?

Mr Dadamo: People want casinos. I mean, what do you do now? Do you eliminate lotteries?

Dr Brown: How do you know people want this thing?

Mr Dadamo: People want casinos.

Dr Brown: How do you know people want this?

Mr Dadamo: Well, 71% of the people --

Dr Brown: This government --

Mr Dadamo: Just a second, 71% of the people in this city are waiting for casinos, I say to you, and as I said earlier, it's mainstream. People want it. What do you say now to people who buy lottery tickets? If you lay some of the blame on people who spend money on lotteries, do we do away with lotteries?

Dr Brown: No.

Mr Dadamo: You can't do that.

Dr Brown: I didn't say that, but I don't know how you can possibly say that the people want it or quote statistics when in fact this government will not hold a referendum. It has been challenged whether they legally can hold one or not. I don't know. They held one on Meech Lake. There's been four across the river in Detroit and they've all lost. I don't know how you can say, without that type of backup information, that the people want it. And must we restrict the people to just the people of Windsor? What about the rest of the province? They haven't been sampled. Maybe you've had a sample in Windsor and there's 71%. You haven't sampled the rest of the province, and we are all one province.

Mr Dadamo: There are major cities in this province which are waiting for casinos. Sir, this is a pilot project. Pilot means that it's to be tried out, and if it works here, there are other cities that are waiting for casino gambling to come to town. I mean, that's a reality. I don't know where you've been. It's there.

I'll walk you hand in hand down Ouellette Avenue here. I'll take the mayor with us, and we'll ask people what they're saying about casinos to Windsor. I'll guarantee you that nine out of 10 people are going to say, "When is it coming?"

Mr Callahan: What about the employees of Windsor Raceway?

Mr Dadamo: People want it.

Dr Brown: You know, it's funny, I read a quote of what Donald Trump had to say on Venture. He said that those that have it, if they were asked again, would vote to throw it out.

But you asked what we do when we sit around in our councils. We're concerned. We're very concerned about an industry that we have spent -- myself, I've spent 35 years in helping develop this industry. We employ quite a few people at our own operation. I look at those people, and I say: "Where are they going? What are they going to do?" And all because we've got some tax-driven initiative that is going to, in the minds of some people, solve all the problems of the city of Windsor, which in fact it hasn't done in other communities where the casinos have been introduced.

So what do we do when we sit around? We're damned worried. We're concerned, and we're more than concerned by the fact that we're only getting lipservice from the government. How can they spend all winter -- the minister and the casino project team sat there and talked to everybody in our industry; everybody on that list has been in there to see them and hear all of our complaints -- and not come up with a single constructive idea or plan to do anything for us? That's what concerns us, and that's what concerns everybody in this industry.

Mr Dadamo: But, you know, to all those good people at the Windsor racetrack, I say to you this, and I show you this in the newspaper on Tuesday: Look at the sketches, and look how they're reacting to a casino that is coming directly on their turf. They're saying, "This has got to be a win-win situation." These are people who are not going to back down, are not going public in even criticizing the government. They're saying, "Fine, if the mainstream says that casinos are coming to the city, then we're not gonna roll over and play dead." There are many hundreds of people who work at the racetrack, and they're about to do something like concerts and they're going to take the land that they have at the Windsor Raceway and they're going to use it. So why can't you follow the people like Tom Joy and say: "Hey, this not bad. This is what we want to do. We want to create something new and exciting."

Dr Brown: I got a letter last winter from the minister, and the minister said even Tom Joy feels that he's going to have increased attendance at his racetrack. I picked up the telephone -- no, as a matter of fact I didn't. I faxed the letter to Tom Joy and I said: "Could you possibly have believed -- what is different about your racetrack than any other racetrack in the world that has had a casino dropped in next door that you can possibly increase your attendance?"

It was a Sunday morning when I did it, and I didn't realize that Windsor Raceway was open that afternoon. I got a call that afternoon from Tom Joy and he denied that he'd ever said that. He said he has told the casino project team and the people in the ministry that the casino would close his racetrack. He may have changed since then. There's a lot of water gone under the bridge since then. I don't know.

This that you read, the people are embracing it, is it Tom Joy or is it the employees at Windsor racetrack? I didn't read the story.

Mr Dadamo: It's Tom Joy, and let me say to you that Tom could have closed the track three years ago and chose not to because he believed in the community. He believed in Windsor, he believed in La Salle, and he didn't want to put all these people on welfare or unemployment. That's why he's still in business.

Dr Brown: I believe Tom Joy --

Mr Dadamo: I don't think it's the track; I think it's what's --

The Chair: Unfortunately our time has expired. I want to thank Dr Brown for presenting before the committee today.

Mr McClelland: Point of order, Mr Chair: Surely out of courtesy you'd let the gentleman respond to the question.

Mr Callahan: That's sort of a rhetorical question hanging out there.

The Chair: I want to say that I allowed that to go on. The Chair has been very generous. I want you to know that, and we've heard conversation many minutes beyond and we have another presenter.

Mr McClelland: I understand, but it seems common courtesy you don't leave somebody hanging without an opportunity to respond to somebody's rhetorical --

The Chair: Mr McClelland, I just want to let you know. With the dialogue that was taking place, I was waiting for someone to conclude. That hasn't happened. We could go on continually, I suspect, with someone expecting the next person to respond.

Dr Brown: You're correct. We could go on.

The Chair: Yes. Thank you very much, Dr Brown, for attending today.

Dr Brown: Thank you.


The Chair: Our next presenter is Hiram Walker and Sons Ltd and Karen Mingay is public relations manager. If you would please come forward and make yourself comfortable.

Mr Callahan: Is that lunch?

Mr Duignan: A few samples?

Ms Karen Mingay: You won't believe what's inside.

The Chair: Ms Mingay, you have 30 minutes for your presentation. You may use all that for your presentation or leave some time for questions from committee members.

Ms Mingay: I actually intend to be quite brief. Can everyone hear me fine? I'm not used to these microphone systems.

Honourable Chairman, members of the committee, good afternoon and thank you for the opportunity to present to you today the views of Hiram Walker on the issue of casino gambling coming to Windsor. I understand that you have already sat through 35 presentations over the past three days from various members of our community and that you most likely have been bombarded with facts, figures and opinions relating to this very hot issue. As I have the dubious honour of bringing up the rear, you may breathe a sign of relief, knowing that I will attempt to be very brief.

My name is Karen Mingay and I'm manager of public relations and communications for Hiram Walker and Sons Ltd, located here in Windsor. I do not intend to debate the specifics of Bill 8. Should the legal age be 19 or 21? Should the promises of Minister Churley regarding limited casino foodservice be enshrined in the legislation or not? We leave these issues in the hands of the politicians, who we believe will put the best interests of the community forward.

Hiram Walker has always been a responsible producer and promoter of distilled spirits consumption and we intend to continue this responsibility. However, we are here today to show our full support of the initiative for casino gambling in Windsor and I will spend the new few minutes explaining why.

Hiram Walker has a vested interest in the future prosperity of Windsor and surrounding communities. I'd like to begin by giving you a brief profile of our company so that you may put our views into perspective.

Hiram Walker and Sons Ltd, which has been in business in Windsor for 135 years, is a producer of quality distilled spirits which are marketed throughout Canada and around the world. Our flagship brand, Canadian Club, is the most famous and is one of Canada's best-known exports. In case there's any doubt in your mind as to just how good this "made in Windsor, enjoyed around the world" product is, I brought some samples for each of you to take home and as a souvenir of your trip to Windsor. I bet you nobody else has done that.


We are a major employer in this community. Hiram Walker and Sons Ltd currently employs 573 hourly and salaried people in our Walkerville headquarters and we have an annual payroll in excess of $8 million. Additionally, our other Hiram Walker affiliates, located alongside us, account for another 341 employees. That totals over 900 able bodies and minds who work for Hiram Walker companies in Windsor and who live in the area.

We are also a major contributor to the coffers of local municipal governments, paying approximately $6 million annually in property and other business taxes.

We consider ourselves good corporate citizens, generously supporting local cultural, educational and charitable facilities.

As I said, Hiram Walker and Sons Ltd has a vested interest in the future prosperity of the Windsor and surrounding area as it affects our employees and their families. When Windsor hurts we all hurt, but when Windsor booms we all prosper.

Unfortunately, business is not booming for us these days. The future viability of the distilled spirits industry in Ontario is severely threatened by a spiralling decline in sales, fuelled primarily by high retail prices which are the result of exorbitant and unfair taxes. In this province, distilled spirits are taxed at a rate of 83% of the retail price compared to 58% for beer and 61% for wine. By way of contrast, taxation on spirits in the USA accounts on average for 42% of the retail price, half of that in Ontario. The subsequently vast price differential between Canada and the US has resulted in massive smuggling and illegal production among Ontarians. The LLBO estimates this loss in the range of $726 million, or two million cases of spirits per year.

A bold alternative has been recently proposed by the Association of Canadian Distillers to the Ontario Minister of Finance to help the distilled spirits industry in Ontario and the over 6,000 jobs that are directly and indirectly generated, but this is an issue for another discussion on another day. I address this issue simply to make a point: In view of the fact that many government initiatives seem to result in bad news for our economy, it is extremely refreshing to know that the operation of a casino in Windsor will provide the opportunity for millions of lost dollars to come home.

You have heard from Mayor Hurst and Mr Deneau of the Convention and Visitors Bureau as to why Windsor is such a prime choice for the site of the first permanent year-round casino in Ontario. We heartily agree that not only does Windsor stand to benefit greatly from the increased number of visitors to the casino, but also that this area has a lot to offer. We at Hiram Walker are very excited about the potential increased exposure for our company and our products and I can tell you that we have preliminary plans in place for developing our distillery tour and visitor program to make it a destination of choice for some of the 12,000-a-day new visitors to this city.

Our industry is closely tied to the hospitality business. The location of the casino in the downtown core will certainly be a catalyst for the rejuvenation of existing restaurants and licensed establishments and offer the opportunity for growth and expansion. We believe the key word here is "opportunity." As Mayor Hurst put it so eloquently, success is the intersection of opportunity and hard work.

No one has the right to expect success to fall into their lap, and evidence shows that this community will work hard, very hard, to earn the economic benefits which are key to our prosperity. We at Hiram Walker are very excited about these opportunities and we will be working very closely with our licensed sales rep to make sure that every potential consumer knows that he or she is visiting the home of Canadian Club.

The increased jobs will be a very welcome relief to this community and the increased economic activity can make this town boom. We are not blind to the potential negative effects but we do believe that our community leaders have done and will continue to do everything in their power to minimize the downside.

The introduction of casino gambling in downtown Windsor will breathe new life into this community and give us the chance to once again prosper. Hiram Walker is a big part of this community, and we herald this initiative.

Casino gambling in Windsor is not the solution to our industry's problems. As I said, that is another discussion for another day. However, Hiram Walker will be seizing every opportunity to maximize any benefit and, heaven forbid, Minister Churley, we may even dare to have fun.

The Chair: Thank you very much for your presentation. It's unfortunate that you followed a presentation that caused some controversy because it seems that everybody's left. But, trust me, we take your presentation very seriously and we have approximately a little more than four minutes per caucus to ask Ms Mingay some questions.

Mr Kwinter: Ms Mingay, there's an issue that I'm sure Hiram Walker has a direct interest in and it seems to come up quite regularly by most of the presenters, and that is the whole issue of the provision of the age of 19 for access to the casino. The proposal is that it be 19. The mayor, the police chief and many others are suggesting that it be 21. Do you have any feeling on that issue?

Ms Mingay: Our position is that we are a responsible company. Nineteen is the legal age of majority in Ontario. However, there does seem to be a lot of substantiated support for it to be increased to 21. Again, as I said before, we leave that up to the community leaders. We believe that if that's what they believe the community wants and needs, then we would support anything the community wants.

Mr Kwinter: What about the issue of allowing drinking at the tables, do you have a feeling about that?

Ms Mingay: Once again, we operate in the province of Ontario. As much as I have perhaps done a little bit of government bashing here, the LCBO is our largest customer in the world. We operate within the guidelines in the province of Ontario and if that is the law, which it is, then we will operate within that. We believe there is so much opportunity out there that we don't need to worry about the negative things like: "You can't do this. You can't do that." We believe there's enough "can do" opportunities that we can take full advantage of and that is where we will be putting our emphasis.

Mr Kwinter: Just so you understand, the purpose of my questioning is not to try to get your statement as a representative of a distillery. The point is, you are in the industry and I know, in the same way that you're not happy with the taxation, you comply. You're law-abiding, good corporate citizens; you pay your taxes; you may not be happy about it. It's the same thing. You follow the LCBO and the LLBO regulations and if the age of majority is 19, that's fine; if it's 21, that's fine.

What I'm trying to get from you is -- notwithstanding those are the laws -- as an industry, and you represent a specific industry that is directly impacted by Bill 8, because the main purpose of the 19, that went from 18 to 19, had primarily to do with liquor consumption. The problems that have been identified by the police chief are that, because the legal age for drinking is 21 in Michigan, the 19- to 21-year-olds come to Windsor because they are eligible to drink here. That also is going to mean that, according to the proposed legislation, they're going to be able to come into the casinos as well.

I'm not asking you as a law-abiding citizen, are you going to abide by the laws? I just take that as a given. What I'm trying to find out from you is that, notwithstanding the law, as a spokesperson for your industry, if you had your druthers, what would you like to see?

Ms Mingay: Why don't we split the difference? No. This is a very sensitive issue. We don't believe you can have one age of majority in one particular location. Is this then something that they are advising would be all across Windsor licensed establishments or would it be only in the casino? Again, our position would be, if the community says it is important enough that we restrict the casino to 21, we want to do what is responsible for the community.

Mr Kwinter: I think you make a very valid point that if they were to raise it to 21 and use that as a rationale for the gambling, then what do you do with every other jurisdiction? What do you do about allowing people to buy, say, lottery tickets or everything else?


Ms Mingay: It opens up a can of worms.

Mr Kwinter: Exactly.

Mr Carr: Thank you for your presentation. Along the same lines, what the government seems to be doing by saying, "No liquor," is trying appease some of the groups and then, of course, through regulation they can do it.

Let's take an example: Some of the Americans, the first time they come over to the casino and see that they can't do like they can do in the States, I think they're going to just laugh and say: "What's this? You've got a casino but you can't drink." What is your assessment of the patterns of drinking habits? Do you think not having alcohol will hurt the casino attendance?

Ms Mingay: My understanding is alcohol will be in a licensed lounge; it just will not be allowed to be consumed at the tables --

Mr Carr: Like you can do in the States.

Ms Mingay: -- and, again, if that is what is needed to control consumption, then we would support that.

Mr Carr: But what about in terms of what the customer wants? What do you think they want? Because you're right, they can get it in the restaurant, but --

Ms Mingay: In Las Vegas you can get it free, too, but that's never going to happen here.

Mr Carr: So you don't see that as being a concern?

Ms Mingay: Not a major one.

Mr Carr: Another question along the same lines: The problem, and I think you identified it, is the tax situation with free products primarily but it too will be affected, the cigarettes and liquor. How do you think our rates compare? The other problem I heard of happening in Toronto, the Metro Toronto convention people, the first time they get a convention come in, people go out and buy a drink -- not that the cost of your product is higher, but it is by the time the taxes go on -- that a lot of Americans hit the roof and can't believe the cost. Do you think that will kill some of the people coming across when they go out and see the cost of liquor versus the United States?

Ms Mingay: That happens to a certain extent now. As I mentioned, the Association of Canadian Distillers is working very hard lobbying the government to help alleviate some of that situation. Again, we take a very proactive role in something like that because, yes, the prices are outstanding, overwhelming for Americans coming over, as are tobacco and many other --

Mr Carr: Our best hope isn't to lower our taxes because I don't think that will ever happen, particularly in this current government, although with what's happening in the States, they seem to be following a trend of increasing taxes on a lot of commodities. But it's just something to point out because I think we've put a lot together in this and we're hoping to attract customers.

But all the things that you look at -- and I think the government hasn't looked at it from the US consumer standpoint.

From a marketing standpoint, what they want -- and because my background is in marketing, I may be a little bit too concerned with this, but my fear is that we're setting up all this, going through this entire trauma -- you heard the previous presenter and what will happen to the horse racing industry -- and going through all this. One of the biggest impediments will be something stupid like we haven't thought of what the US customers want, which are going to be 80% of the people coming over.

Mark my words, in the consumer industry -- because you know that -- you don't get another chance at it. If we don't do it properly and if they come over and the first thing they do is laugh at us because we don't have drinks in the casinos or that the prices are too high that they never come back, this whole exercise will be worthless.

I don't hope that happens, nobody in this room does, but these are some of the things I think we have to be concerned about. I can tell you, just opening up a casino isn't going to have people flocking over here unless you do it right and properly.

I thank you for the input and I hope things go well for the company.

Mr Lessard: Thank you very much for your presentation, Ms Mingay, because it gives me an opportunity to explain to my colleagues some of the historical basis for the naming of my riding, Windsor-Walkerville. Many times when I introduce myself to people I explain to them that Walkerville is the home of Canadian Club, and when you hand out the bottles people will notice that's the name on the bottle: Walkerville.

Mr Callahan: -- got your name on it.

Mr Lessard: I not only represent a riding that's named after Hiram Walker, a man of incredible vision, I think, in the choice of his location on the Detroit waterfront to put his plant, but also I live close enough to the plant that when they're cooking up the beer mash, I can smell it very well and I can see the grain cars coming and going from the plant --

Ms Mingay: We call that the smell of success.

Mr Lessard: -- and I can attest to the fact that they're good corporate citizens. They get involved in the community; they have a visitor centre that is excellent and is used by volunteer groups in the city on a regular basis and has beautifully manicured grounds around the plant. I know the visitor centre will be useful for tourism when it does increase as a result of the casino.

Unfortunately, the committee's been so involved with hearings during the day here we weren't able to take advantage of the tour, but I would urge my colleagues to do that some time when they have an opportunity.

I know it's one of the highest taxpayers in the city of Windsor and the mayor, when he originally started out, mentioned the three others, the auto-related businesses. I wanted an opportunity to add "Hiram Walker's there," and didn't get a chance and I'm happy to make that point now.

Another point I wanted to make is that, as in horse racing, the distillery business is a highly regulated one that's been subject not only to inequitable taxation between beer and wine and distilled spirits, which is something I've been working with the distillers' association to try to correct, but it's also a business that's been able to respond to changes in demands in the marketplace, and they've been able to do that as other businesses will have to as a result of casino gambling, I suppose.

I don't really have any question as a result of that, but just want to thank you for your attendance. I know my colleague the parliamentary assistant does have some comments as well.

Mr Duignan: Thank you. It was my pleasure earlier in the year to pay an official visit to your plant and it was indeed an enjoyable --

Mr Callahan: Have they recovered yet or what?

Ms Mingay: I was on maternity leave at the time.

Mr Duignan: Indeed, it was an enjoyable event. Your industry is facing some difficult times and has some problems. I know that the association, along with your president -- we've met since then and hopefully over the coming months we'll be working with the industry to try to sort out and solve some of the problems of that industry.

Someone made reference to the fact that the legal age required would be 19 or 21, and indeed it was brought up quite often over the hearings of the last week. The problem we have now, we have some legal opinion that it wouldn't withstand a --

Mr Callahan: Is that being faxed to us or what?

Mr Duignan: -- charter challenge to the courts or under the Human Rights Code, because there's a whole question of a legal problem and you made a very good point. If you raise the age to 21 for a casino, what happens to the rest of the city? Do you do it for the whole city or just for the province? Does that stop someone going into the casino to buy a drink? There is a whole series of questions that need to be answered there.

Also, the fact that a casino, like anything else, will have to abide by the liquor regulations in this province. But as you know, exemptions were given to the charitable casinos. They're allowed to bring their drinks to the table and, sure, like anything else, regulations can change.

Again, I thank you for making a presentation and appearing before the committee. Your concerns have been noted.

The Chair: That concludes our 30 minutes. I want to thank Ms Mingay, representing Hiram Walker and Sons Ltd, for being the last presenter before the standing committee on finance and economic affairs. I see Mr Dadamo wants to say something, but I want to thank you for sending us home with good spirits.

Mr Dadamo: That's a good one. I'd like to thank a few people. My colleague Wayne Lessard made the opening and we'll do the closing, and I appreciate for the time.

I want to thank people like Jane Boyd, who is the executive assistant in the mayor's office, and the mayor's office for helping to line up the presenters we've had all this week here in Windsor.

Thanks to the ministry staff for being here; the Cleary International Centre; committee members, of course; the committee clerk and her staff for all they've done; those who have sat in the audience, some familiar faces since Monday listening and watching -- we should really find you another hobby -- and all the presenters before us. We hope you'll come back to the opening of the newest casino or the first casino in Ontario when the time comes. Thank you very much and we'll see you next week in Toronto.

The Chair: I just want to remind the committee members and those who are travelling with the committee that we are to catch our mini-vans at 1:45 out in front of the hotel. This committee is adjourned until Monday at 2 pm in Toronto.

The committee adjourned at 1258.