Controversy over the possible construction of a new casino in Toronto has inspired a local Toronto politician to draw up a bill that would require a referendum to be held in the event of any gambling-related proposals. Bill 76: Ensuring Local Voices in New Casino Gambling Development Act was sponsored by MP Monte McNaughton and has passed its second reading, illustrating that most politicians in the province believe that the public should have a say about the potential construction of any new gambling venues.
Many Liberals and New Democratic Party MPs are showing their support for the new bill. McNaughton believes that the reason behind this is the fact that politicians are growing concerned with how quickly the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is progressing with its plans for the new casino – without any regard for what local residents think of the plan. In addition to its plans for the new casino, the OLG has also made a number of other expansion plans, none of which have received feedback from the local community.
During its second reading, the bill was passed with a vote of 59 to 19. As such, it shows that plenty of politicians across the province believe that it is essential for residents to weigh in on the issue of gambling expansion. With this much support, it is entirely likely that the bill will be passed, requiring any gambling expansion measures to be voted on by the public.
Premiere Dalton McGuinty has already stated that Toronto will forego the construction of a new casino if local residents do not want it. However, he does not seem to want to hold a referendum on the issue; so, there is not sure-fire way to gauge public opinion on the construction of the new casino.
Many politicians in local communities throughout Ontario have already expressed their disapproval of the new casino. Specifically in cities like Niagara Falls and Windsor, the idea of a new casino in Toronto is not supported. In the city itself, polls have revealed that opinion is split down the middle, with half of Toronto’s residents in favour of the idea and the other half opposed to it.
So, a casino referendum legislation would go a long way in benefitting the province – especially in our current situation.