Paul Godfrey was let go from his position as OLG Chairman on May 16, which led to the resignation of the entire OLG Board of Governors. The organization was in the middle of a massive modernization and gambling expansion process, but is now without leaders or direction to complete the transition.
Godfrey gave a short speech after his firing was made public, and appeared most upset that Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, in his eyes, failed to give a justified reason for his dismissal.
“Some people you connect with some people you don’t. That would have been enough of an answer for me.”
Godfrey was appointed as OLG Chairman by Wynne’s predecessor Dalton McGuinty, who championed the modernization process as necessary for Ontario’s economy. Godfrey was one of the main supporters of the proposed Toronto casino, which the OLG expected to be ‘the jewel in the crown’ of its casino expansion strategy. But Wynne, nominated as Premier following McGuinty’s resignation, was never as supportive of the OLG strategy. The Premier announced numerous amendments to support Ontario’s beleaguered horseracing industry, while refusing to reaffirm her government’s commitment to privatized casinos.
The Premier’s stalling was used by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who is swamped with his own controversy, to cancel his support for the Toronto casino. Ford and pro-casino city councilors in Toronto wanted a firm commitment from the province that Toronto would receive at least $100 million annually to host the casino, a figure first suggested, and later supported by Godfrey. The government later announced that all Ontario communities, including Toronto, would receive approximately $53 million for the casino.
Godfrey’s dismissal and the apparent chaos at the OLG, was immediately pounced upon by opposition MPPs in the Ontario legislature. Conservative MPP Monte McNaughton said the resignation of the entire OLG board proves that the Liberal government is incompetent to manage Ontario’s gambling sector.
“With the ousting of Paul Godfrey as Chairman of the OLG and the further resignation of members of the OLG Board, the entire modernization process must now be graded as a massive failure that unnecessarily bullied and divided communities throughout Ontario.”
The Ontario government refused to discuss the future of the OLG, leaving Ontarians to speculate on their own.