This is an old story. It was over 30 years ago and the head table group was meeting in a room off the ballroom in the Sheraton Hotel across from Toronto city hall. An Ontario cabinet minister and the writer were enjoying a drink and having an interesting discussion about when we expected to have casinos in Ontario. At the time, we were just starting to have ‘charity casinos’ in the province and there was concern about where these events were headed.
We were joined by a young politician from North York who had already cut a swath for himself in municipal politics and was soon to be named Metropolitan Toronto chairman. “You are discussing one of my favourite topics,” he told us. “In fact, I just got back from a weekend junket to Las Vegas.”
“Well Paul,” I said to him, “We’re discussing having casinos in Toronto so that you do not have to go so far. How do you feel about having casinos here?”
Today, Paul Godfrey is chair of Ontario Lottery and Gaming and he might not be amused to be reminded of what he said as a politician, so long ago. Suffice to say, he rejected the idea of having casinos in Toronto. It was political hypocrisy at its finest! (Political hypocrisy is when you put down the voters as needing protection when what they really need is protection from this type of politician.)
But he is hardly alone in that. Toronto city hall has politicians today calling for a vote on whether to allow casinos. Where do they get off telling Torontonians if they can go to a casino? Where do they get off, telling us we do not want the jobs, the attraction for tourism and the opportunity to have a world-class casino?
While they are at it, maybe they should also have a vote on which churches we should go to, whether convenience stores should sell beer or if they should ban lotteries. There is no end to opportunities for the bigots and hypocrites among us to make sure people do not do anything they dislike—or are just being hypocrites about.
It seems the Ford brothers in Toronto might just be the rare exception as politicians. They might have some really strange ideas for Toronto transit and to be very bad at voter relations but you know that, with them, what you see is what you get—all 550 pounds (250 kilos) of them!
Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry
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