Windsor Tracks Before Legislature.: Ontario Lawmakers Thrash Out Trouble over Establishment of Devonshire and Kenilworth., Daily Racing Form, 1917-03-23


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: WINDSOR TRACKS BEFORE LEGISLATURE. ] Ontario Lawmakers Thrash Out Trouble Over Es- l tablishment of Devonshire and Kenilworth. Toronto. Ont.. March 22. — The Windsor race track , trouble was thrashed out in the legislature Monday afternoon when L. P. Wigle South Essex asked for a return of correspondence relating to the • Devonshire Pace Track Company, and in particular that between .1. T. White, solicitor to the provincial treasury department and Hon. Dr. Reaume. former minister of public works. Mr. Wigle said they had plenty of race tracks in the city of Windsor. One race track had beeu situated there for some years, lint last year two more race tracks wen- established in the locality. F.ach was operated for fourteen days, which made continuous racing in the city of Windsor or in that vicinity for forty-two days. Previously there were some of the professional gamblers or sports who came to the city for a few days, but now that they had forty-two days continuous racing they had all the professional gamblers and crooks of the two countries coming to their city and staying for that period. The best elements in that part of the country were much opposed to the race tracks being situated there. "They will say to yon." said Mr. Wigle. "why have we put up witli this race track business in our part of the country, and why should we have three race tracks imposed upon usV In this time of war we need every bit of our energy and strength for the successful prosecution of tile war. Many of our young men go there and spend their time and money, when they would be far better employed on the farms." Touching on the money spent in these forty-two days. Mr. Wigle said he had been told of one man in a department store who had lost .S0O through following the race track business. He thought these licenses should be cancelled so as not to allow the operation of the racing business. Great Deal of Discussion Over Tracks. Hon. Mr.McC.arry said there had been a great deal of discussion with regard to these race tracks at Windsor. The first time the matter was brought to his attention as provincial treasurer was on the 9th of September, 1915. He received a letter from McGregor Young of the firm of Young and Me-Evoy. who were acting as solicitors in connection with the Devonshire race track and the required license. Before he had received that application he had been spoken to by the solicitor of the Hendrie race course at Windsor, that was the original course, and was told there was going to be such an application and he was asked if he would hear arguments against the granting of that charter. When he received the application he spoke to Mr. now senator I.yni h-Staunton. and told him he wanted his arguments. Mr. Staunton held that the charter issued to the Ottawa Racing Association in 1903 had lost its force. McGregor Young had written Mr. ItcGarry that the charter had been bought from Senator Belcourt at Ottawa, acting for the Con-naught Park Joe hey Club, which owned the Ottawa charter. Senator Belcourt had given a guarantee that the Charter was a Dominion charter and that the company could race in the province in spite ot the department if it refused to issue a license-. The matter had been taken into the courts, which held that the charter came under the Dominion act of 1912. and inferentially those behind the charter had the right to race in the province. The Miller bill had undertaken to restrict racing, but in the end legislation passed by which meetings could l e held on tracks holding charters granted prior to 1912. He believed that the chief fault was that no investigation was held as to the number of eld harters lying around the country unused. Miller Bill Gave Value to Unused Charters. "They dealt with charters which were in existence," said Mr. McOnrry. "hat they did not deal with charters which were lying around unused at that time. The result was. of course, that the passage of that bill, instead of doing away with racing in the province or in any other province, gave a value to these charters which were lying around which they did not have before. And the proof of that is in the charter, with which we are dealing. This charter was issued in 1903 to Sir Fredrick Borden, Sir Clifford Sifton, Sidney Fisher, Senator Belcourt and others. "Cntil the criminal code was amended in 1910. there was no special value attaching to that charter, but afterward the Comiaught Park Jockey Tub obtained extra letters [latent in 1914. and then began negotiations to sell. The negotiations were carried on by Senator Belcourt. The sale took place to a number of gentlemen. Among these were Mr. Hepburn. M. P.. Prince Edward, a conservative member of the house. So we have a lilieral senator selling to a conservative member. A laugh. "In the meantime the application had been made for the Kenilworth track by a firm of solicitors in this city. They had it prior to 1912. It was held by the legal department to lie a good charter and to come under the criminal code. I refused that license, but they took this position: they said: We are toiiig to race, anyway. They began and finished their track without any undertaking from the department that a license would be issued. The application came along, and they sent the money to me and the Crown officials advised that we had no option, once they tendered the money and they would have the right to go ahead and hold these meetings. That was the position in 1910." With references to the charter a discussion took place and certain correspondence had followed, and there had been personal correspondence between Mr. .1. T. Whit, solicitor of the treasury department, and Dr. Reaume. about which he Mr. McOurry had heard only quite recently. Mr. White arranged that Dr. Reaume or Mr. ilassco of Windsor would be introduced to the men who were behind the charter and the purchase at Ottawa. There were certain negotiations going on at the tile time Justice Mid-dletous decision was given, holding that the charter for the Ottawa Racing Association was good. Held Up License for Nearly a Year. With regard to the Windsor tracks, the department had held up the license for nearly a year, and it was not until the judgment of the court agreed with all the lawyers that the department gave way. He obtained the opinion of not one. but three lawyers. He understood that at Ottawa at the present time there are measures dealing with the race track question. The province was willing to lose all the revenue it got from racing, but it was not their belief that when racing was going on in Ontario and large sums of money were being made that they should not make a levy upon those concerned. An officer of his department had gone over the books of the racing associations, and lie might say that the public-had a mistaken idea as to the amount of money they received. At the same time they made enough to justify the government in making a levy upon them. Mr. Wigle said that tin-only objection he had was that the treasurer had not fought the thing out. As a lawyer himself, he might have had an opinion without depending on the opinions of other lawyers too reach. He had information, he said, from a legal man in Windsor that the charter of the Devonshire ! race track was "rotten," whatever he meant by that. Sam Carter. South Wellington, referred to "race track gambling in Ontario as an outrageous scan- dal." He declared men who sit in high places are making fortunes through their connection witli the race tracks. Certain men were taking a pern ntage of everything that was made and. they were encouraging "blacklegs" from the United States to come to Ontario and exploit the race tracks, the speaker asserted. The motion for the return was , granted.

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