Local Press Releases

Harris calls for referendum to settle casino debate

March 17, 2013

KITCHENER – A casino in Woolwich Township should not move forward unless residents choose to host such a facility through a referendum, Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris said today.

“Unfortunately, the Liberal government’s casino expansion project has pit communities against each other in a desperate race to raise revenue, which has put little focus on the social implications of such a decision. Nowhere in this process do the Liberals acknowledge that a gaming facility should never be allowed in a community that doesn’t want one,” Harris said. “That’s why the PC Party has called for mandatory municipal referendums before any new casino development can occur.”

Harris made these comments following Woolwich Township’s controversial decision to tell the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation that the community is interested in hosting a new casino.

Council moved forward on the issue even after a municipal survey found that 62% of residents were not in favour of having a casino in their community.

“As politicians, we’re, of course, elected to make decisions. But our constituents expect those decisions to reflect the will of the people. That’s why it’s always important to take a look at the whole picture, which includes considering the opinions of those who may be opposed to certain political plans,” Harris said.

“Clearly, the survey results, along with the voices of several local officials and leaders, have indicated that a casino isn’t wanted in Waterloo Region,” Harris said. “With so much opposition and so many potential social impacts, the only way to solve this issue is to give a direct voice to the people through a municipal referendum.”