NDP: OLG privatization will hurt Ontario services

As the Wynne Liberals hand over the OLG’s GTA locations today to B.C-based Great Canadian Gaming Corp. and Toronto-based Brookfield Business Partners, the NDP is raising concerns over the effects of privatization -- and the billions of dollars that will be going into B.C. bank accounts instead of Ontario hospitals and classrooms.

Last week, on behalf of the NDP, Finance critic John Vanthof wrote to Financial Accountability Officer Stephen LeClair asking the FAO to determine the financial risks to the province.

“OLG is a vital source of revenue for the people of Ontario, bringing in about $2 billion each year,” said Economic Development critic MPP Catherine Fife. “That’s money that goes to fund the services that Ontario families count on. We know Wynne’s OLG privatization scheme gives away a minimum guaranteed $72 million annually, plus as much as 70 per cent of all gambling revenue – where does this leave Ontario families?

“With so much money going into the bank accounts of private corporations instead of going to the people of this province, services that have already suffered under Wynne -- like hospital care -- will only be more squeezed."

Fife said that Ontarians have seen enough cutting and squeezing under the Wynne government, noting that hospitals are losing services and schools are closing across the province due to years of Liberal and Conservative cuts. She said the OLG’s stated objective of earning an additional $900 million for the province by 2021 is now at risk as a result of the privatization.

“Gaming can offer good jobs and tourism investment as well as much-needed revenues," said Fife. "The NDP wants those revenues to go back into our hospitals, schools and communities – when those revenues leave our borders, its everyday families that lose out.”