With the Wynne Liberals expected to hand over a gaming monopoly as part of its OLG privatization in the coming weeks, the NDP is asking the independent Financial Accountability Office of Ontario to calculate how much Ontario families stand to lose.
Finance critic, MPP John Vanthof, wrote to Financial Accountability Officer Stephen LeClair Wednesday asking the FAO to determine the financial risks to the province.
“OLG is the largest non-tax revenue source in the province at about $2 billion each year,” said Vanthof. “Kathleen Wynne’s OLG privatization scheme gives away a minimum guaranteed $72 million annually, plus as much as 70 per cent of all gambling revenue.
“That’s a lot of money going into the bank accounts of private corporations instead of going to the province. Less provincial revenue could mean less funding for the services Ontario families count on, like hospitals and our kids’ classrooms. We’ve seen enough cutting and squeezing under the Wynne government – these things really are at a breaking point, and they can’t take any more cuts.”
The OLG has a stated objective of earning an additional $900 million for the province by 2021 – a plan that Vanthof says could be as risk as a result of the privatization.
“Responsible gaming in Ontario can offer good jobs, tourism investment and revenues that can be used to improve health care, education and the services Ontario families count on,” said Vanthof. “Given the choice between those profits going into a private corporation’s bank account, or into our hospitals, schools and communities, I know which side I’m on. People and communities deserve to know just how deep the risks run with this privatization plan.”