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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Paul Godfrey got you in this mess, he can get you out of it.

 For almost a year now, it has been obvious that horse racing in Ontario is going to take a severe hit. We could debate how much of that is necessary, but either way it is going to happen. Three tracks (Windsor, Sarnia and Fort Erie) have already shut down and more are likely. The remaining will race less days for a lot less money. That is if they stay open at all.
The resistance to it from the industry has been weak at best and mostly misguided. It has not put one iota of dent into the Liberal government and OLG plan to take the slot machines away from the racetracks and the money away from the funding of horse racing.
Almost 250 years ago, when the common man was bullied in this way by the British government, they responded accordingly and the results were legendary. In fact you could say they were revolutionary. 

The Boston Tea Party (referred to in its time simply as "the destruction of the tea" or by other informal names and so named until half a century later,) was a political protest by the Sons of Liberty in Boston, a city in the British colony of Massachusetts, against the tax policy of the British government and the East India Company that controlled all the tea imported into the colonies. On December 16, 1773, after officials in Boston refused to return three shiploads of taxed tea to Britain, a group of colonists boarded the ships and destroyed the tea by throwing it into Boston Harbor. The incident remains an iconic event of American history, and other political protests often refer to it.

The Tea Party was the culmination of a resistance movement throughout British America against the Tea Act, which had been passed by the British Parliament in 1773. Colonists objected to the Tea Act because they believed that it violated their rights as Englishmen to "No taxation without representation," that is, be taxed only by their own elected representatives and not by a British parliament in which they were not represented. Protesters had successfully prevented the unloading of taxed tea in three other colonies, but in Boston, embattled Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson refused to allow the tea to be returned to Britain.

The Boston Tea Party was a key event in the growth of the American Revolution. Parliament responded in 1774 with the Coercive Acts, or Intolerable Acts, which, among other provisions, ended local self-government in Massachusetts and closed Boston's commerce. Colonists up and down the Thirteen Colonies in turn responded to the Coercive Acts with additional acts of protest, and by convening the First Continental Congress, which petitioned the British monarch for repeal of the acts and coordinated colonial resistance to them. The crisis escalated, and the American Revolutionary War began near Boston in 1775.

-From Wikipedia

In many ways, in spite of age we live in where you can easily reach so many people with social media and the internet, the best way to get your point across is to go right to the source.
In the old days,  in politics, the most effective way was to go door to door and explain exactly what you bring to the table; what you stand for; what your opponent stands for and how the results of any one particular election will effect that specific voter. Some also used the telephone and had campaign helpers phone the voters to let them know where that specific candidate stood on the issues.
That still holds today.
Paul Godfrey, the man behind the destruction of the slots at racetracks program, and generally despised by most of the voting public -as a scammer and backroom deal maker who infiltrates the system and uses it for his own gain and the gain of others who are in business with him- did exactly this when he started out.

"And certainly, Godfrey had deft political skills of his own, including a compelling way of connecting personally with foes and allies when he needed support. That ability to open figurative doors is likely rooted in the 10,000 real ones he and his late father Philip knocked on in Godfrey's first political campaign – the 1964 North York city elections."

Politics is a dirty business. you simply can't play nice and win. That doesn't mean you have to slander, but you can't hold back. If you have info you have to share it and you have to get it out. And you must use it to the max that you can. Your opponent will so if you choose to participate in the sphere you must as well. If not, you will lose. If your goal is to help people and do the right thing that is part of the deal. Those that succeed at gaining position and power in government totally understand this.

Yes, you can use the media and social networks to try and make your case. But the problem there is that those who are your foes likely are better at that than you are. They have websites and contacts that allow them to drown out your message with their bigger message. The fact is that most don't even know about the slots at racetrack issue. They are too busy with their lives, and when they are engaged, it is on television or at a movie theater, when they are at full attention and then they only hear one side of the story. The only way to combat that is to get directly to them,  one by one and make them understand what you stand for and what is being done behind their back when they aren't being brainwashed. If you don't use that tactic--one that many who rose to power used to get there--then you are basically admitting that you are pissing into the wind and have to accept whatever comes from your inaction or misguided action.
Even if you are right, if the majority never find that out it doesn't matter. 
Horse people like to claim that there are 60,000 people in Ontario directly effected by the removal of the slots from racetracks. It would be easy to say that of those 60,000 each has at least two people they know who would help if asked. If all 180,000 of those people did all the things that they could (make phone calls, go door to door, call town meetings, etc.) to get the word out, then they could realistically change the course of an election and get the crooked Liberals and the corrupt OLG and their cronies out of the way. 
It is exactly how someone like Paul Godfrey does it. He didn't get where he is by accident. He learned how to game the system and work his way to the top. Now he has the power and you do not. Take back the power. Use what you have to get the change you think is necessary. He would. He will. He does. 
Yapping and whining on the internet is all fine and good, but in the meantime your livelihood is being taken away. So obviously that is hardly enough effort. And pointless. Get to the people who can make a difference. Show the Liberals that if they don't come to their senses they are not getting re-elected. That is how the system works. It isn't about right or wrong, it is about making contact and letting others know the facts. If you don't, they will believe whatever else is in front of them.   
The facts are this. If the slots at racetrack program dies and all those slots go to outside companies, the revenue the government gains from that is going to go sharply down, along with the vast amount of unemployment and welfare that creates. What that means in real terms to John Q. Public is higher taxes and less services. Simple as that. They likely don't care that much about horse racing, but they certainly care about that. Make them aware, then and only then do you have any chance of stopping this. 
One hundred horsemen blocking the highways with trucks or the entrance to slot parlours wont even make a dent. But if you get the common man on your side, and 100,000 people block the highway or the slot parlours, then you have real power and clout. 
The best way to do it: Town Hall Meetings. If you live in a town of 10,000 you should be able to get 5,000 out at least once. When you do, explain to them that no slots at tracks means less money for hospitals, less tax revenue and likely higher unemployment. Bottom line it for them. Your quality of life will directly suffer and when the time comes that you or your family need hospital care, or your children need daycare of education, that is not going to be there like it was before. Simple as that. Make your issue their issue. 

Yes, there will be some kind of boycott on March 25th. It just seems to be way too late and not nearly enough. One day wont change anything. One month about a year ago may have. But that opportunity has been lost now. As I said earlier, politics is a dirty business. Trying to play nice for 12 months didn't work. It can't work. It never does. When the other side is crooked and corrupt you only have one way to deal with them.

 Here is something I know about just about anyone. All people have secrets, issues, and demons. They have done things they don't want you to know about. It is right to fight your battle like this? No. But you do what you have to. You can be sure that within McGuinty, Duncan, Godfrey and Tannenbaum (and the other major players) there has been some major payoffs going on to make sure the racetracks lose this battle and the other side wins. That is where the focus should have been the whole time. 
Strictly on the issues, the government doesn't care and even if they were to admit you are right they would still do exactly what they are going to do. It is, and always was a media persuasion game. And they won that game. Why did they win? Because they fought dirty and the horse racing industry didn't. 
The answers are out there. Horse racing in Ontario just has to do two things. Get the people to listen and hire somebody to get the secrets so they have ammunition.
That is how Paul Godfrey would do it, and he has the power and influence and you don't. He got you in this mess, he can get you out of it. Use his blueprint...against him.  

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