Canadian Racing Inquiry: Work of the Royal Commission Under Dr. Rutherford Over, Daily Racing Form, 1919-10-26


view raw text

CANADIAN RACING INQUIRY Work of the Royal Commission Under Dr. Rutherford Over. : Improved Conditions When the Sport Comes Back Will Result From the Investigation. . : 1 BY FRANCIS NELSON. TORONTO, Ont., October 25. The Canadian commissions racing inquiry is about over. Interest in it was not maintained after the first sitting or two in the east. Little new matter was developed, the figures relating to the operation of the mutuels by the loading clubs in this- province having been in possession of the provincial treasurer for more than two years, and having been made public in Mr. Raneys pamphlet six months ago. At Windsor the proceedings came to a close sooner than anticipated, as was the case at Toronto. Many questions asked by the counsel for the social service council remained unanswered, and on that point there seems to have been a carefully cultivated misunderstanding. It is to be remembered that this inquiry is being made for the purpose of accumulating information for the commissioner, not for any interest, hostile or favorable, to racing. Only such information as lie considers material to Ills full knowledge of conditions is sought, and he is not concerned about matters that maybe wanted simply for propaganda purposes, whether the propaganda be for or against racing. No one can refuse to supply any information or answer any question that he makes or considers pertinent. The commission lias the powers of a court in that respect. SCOPE ,0F THE PRESENT. INaUIB.Y , . It is not, however, a court at all, but an inquiry, before which any person may appear and ask questions- or give evidence. A kingr counsel has no more status there than any ordinary citizen. This is one public hearing in which the Lawyers Union has no special rights .or privileges. Any citizen, paid or unpaid, may take such part in its proceedings as the commissioner deems helpful for his purposes, not for the purposes of the individual. The representation that witnesses who refused to answer various questions were flouting the authority of the commission is made without consideration of this essential fact. It may be added, too, that it is made without knowledge of Dr. Rutherford. The interregnum of nearly three years may be responsible, to some extent, for the shortening of the time of the various sittings. It exploded a lot of fables about the detrimental effect of racing on the community that used to do duty as the chief material at inquiries of this nature. There has been no improvement traceable to the lack of racing in Canada for two years and a half. The evidence on that point at the first sitting suggested that rather the lack of racing was detrimental, inasmuch as it lessened the recreational facilities of tin; community. That some of the clubs in eastern Canada had been in receipt of large revenues the last few years of racing and that -the disbursements to the horsemen had not been proportionate to those revenues is beyond question, and undoubtedly this state of affairs was one uf the things Sir Thomas, White had in mind when he told the commons last summer that an inquiry would be made witli a view to affording the government information on which to take steps to bring about improved conditions. I have always maintained that a greater share of what is produced from racing should be returned to racing. Sucii abuses as have grown out of the laxity of the authorities in sanctioning a multiplicity of race courses and out of the greed of race course owners and promoters can be pretty well dealt with by provisions against inordinate profits for shareholders. When there is no opportunity for excessive gains for individuals the fly-by-night organizations will disappear and the courses serving a legitimate purpose will prove that legitimate purpose by continuing. RACING IN CANADIAN NORTHWEST. The northwest conditions are not the same as in the more thickly populated east. Here large centers of population are comparatively close to each other and owners of horses find it possible and profitable to race at meetings of only seven days duration. In the northwest the distances are so great between cities that the limit of seven days racing is fatal to the establishment of such a circuit as exists in the east. Hence the bulk of the organized racing is taken care of by the great exhibitions whoso energetic managers have found it a great attraction 4.o their patrons and a profitable one for their financial needs when betting, is carried on. At Edmonton and Calgary, especially, the introduction of the pari-mutuel has proved of great assistance to the funds and brought about much improvement in the racing, as compared with the old bookmaking days. Practically all of the thoroughbred staliions in the northwest are retired, race horses, and it was in the northwest that the late William Ilcndrie got Derwentwater to head the Valley Farm stud. Top Gallant and Cyclades were two other sires that Kentucky breeders discovered there and took south to become stud successes.

Persistent Link:
Local Identifier: drf1919102601_1_9
Library of Congress Record: