This is (hopefully) my last article for a while regarding the Ontario and Pennsylvania 'crisis' because I must admit I am getting sick of this subject and rather deal with some racing.
I get Google news alerts for harness racing and the one thing I am seeing constantly is messages of solidarity from different horsemen groups to Ontario horsemen in their struggle against the Provincial Government which is threatening to take away the support horse racing is getting by having OLG slots at the tracks as well as the messages on how much the local racetracks provide to the Ontario economy and the number of jobs dependent on horse racing. All I can say is Yada Yada Yada. We've heard it all before and continue to hear it now.
A word of advice to these tracks and horsemen groups. All jobs are not created equally. You are not going to win on the jobs argument. This is not a knock on people who may be blacksmiths, grooms, or farmers growing hay. Not a knock on trainers, drivers, or breeders. When it comes to government, they are making distinctions on jobs with regards to importance to society and the benefit it provides.
Who is more important to society? A teacher or a harness driver? A police officer or a trainer? A college professor who will help educate the next generation of medical researchers or doctors, or the person who grows hay for horses? This is not to say any government relishes putting people out of work, but in these days of over extended budgets and excessive debt, a value judgement needs to be made where government is going to spend its precious resources.
I understand the potential unemployment argument, but racing is not the only industry that makes this argument. This argument about maintaining jobs is being made by nurses, construction workers, police officers, union workers, and countless others; all looking for a piece of the government's budget. Racing looks at its needs in a silo, government doesn't. The government must look at the big picture.and what they are seeing is an industry that is seriously ill and unwilling to do anything to help themselves. This is what Hugh Mitchell is trying to say and what Jeff Gural has been saying for several years now and it seems the industry on the whole ignores them with everyone looking at their own individual interests without looking at the big picture on how to strengthen the industry nationally.
To paraphrase what an American President once said, "Ask not what your state/province can do for you. Ask what you can do for your state/province." This is the argument you need to make.
Yada, Yada, Yada didn't work in New Jersey as Governor Christie was hell-bent on getting out of the business of horse racing regardless of how many jobs were lost. Were it not for Jeff Gural, the Meadowlands would be finished. Same thing for Monmouth Park. Yada, Yada, Yada may or may not work in Ontario, but do you want to depend your livlihood on it? Relying on the same old arguments are a formula for disaster because after a while the government becomes immune to hearing it.
Why is there no solidarity unless an immediate crisis is occuring. Why can't this same group of people offering support to Ontario horsemen show this type of solidarity in solving racing's ills? Maybe if they spent more time do that, we wouldn't be in these crisis situations now.
Yada, Yada, Yada. Maybe it is time for racing to help themselves for once instead of waiting for the government to help them.