Why is the Toronto Star against casinos?

You never want to be on the wrong side of an issue with the Toronto Daily Star. The editors show no mercy. They will stomp you. They will grind you down. They go after you full blast on both editorial and news pages. They have no patience for fact or pleas for an open mind. The Star likes to be a crusader. It makes them feel close to the roots of the paper’s founder, Joseph Atkinson.

Yet the Star’s current crusade makes no sense. Why are they damning a casino for Toronto? If the casino is sanctioned by the Ontario government, it is not illegal. It is just another entertainment centre. Is this some false morality? Do they really think they will change anything?

To be fair, it should be noted that a few centimetres of editorial space were allocated to the pro side of the debate today—in the Toronto Star.

But their owned-and-operated grocery store advertising wraps around the province have been turned loose to carry on the fight against the demon Toronto casino. Our own Babel Backward provided a scathing attack today in an editorial intended to enrage the populous. Full of confused claims and erroneous facts, the editorial was an outcry about local employment.

The editorial claims that three casinos in Windsor, Fort Erie and Sarnia are to be padlocked (sic). The fact that these were money-losing slot operations was glossed over. It was then claimed that all slots at racetrack operations would be gone next year. That was not only wrong but completely misrepresented the situation.

What it boils down to in the editorial is local jobs. Rama (which is not on the market, as stated in the editorial) has about 2500 employees. If  Torontonians stop coming to Central Ontario because there is a casino in Toronto, a lot more people than the Casino Rama managers are going to be very surprised.

While slots are hardly our thing, Georgian Downs is a very nice little facility. It is quite likely to keep hiring people in Innisfil and paying the municipality for being there. It will not be getting more grants to keep the horses running but that was a luxury the province could ill afford. That racing money was a separate issue.

It all boils down to small town myopia. You should have felt the chill in the air when we told our favourite local council member that the best use for Babel’s Lakeshore train station lands was a casino. And he also ignored the suggestion of a concert hall.

Maybe those of us who choose to live in small-town Ontario deserve this. The positive thought is that we will soon have a world-class casino just an hour away in Toronto!

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Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

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