Wynne admits wind turbines, cuts to horse racing hurt Liberals in rural Ontario
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne sits in a tractor warning bystanders she is about to move, as she participates in a celebrity plowing display at the 100th annual International Plowing Match near Mitchell, Ont., Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013. (Dave Chidley / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Tuesday, September 17, 2013 6:17PM EDT
MITCHELL, Ont. -- Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne admits the Liberal government has made decisions that were not necessarily in the best interest of rural communities.
Wynne was greeted by anti-wind power protesters as she attended the annual International Plowing Match today in Mitchell, Ont., a huge agricultural fair.
The Liberals are also under fire for cutting a $340-million annual subsidy to the horse racing sector, which the industry viewed as its share of revenues from slot machines at race tracks.
Wynne admits the two issues were "lightening rods for discontent" with rural voters, but says the government has taken steps to address them.
She says rules were changed to give local municipalities more of a say in where green energy projects are built, but critics point out communities still don't have a veto to block wind farms or large-scale solar panel installations.
Wynne also says Ontario's horse racing industry will be smaller than in the past, but insists it will benefit from being linked with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming agency.
Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak told people attending the plowing match that he would eliminate red tape that is making it difficult for farmers to operate.
"Why does it take permission from almost six ministries for a farmer to build a new barn," wondered Hudak. "I promise that, within three years of being premier, farmers in this province will be free from those onerous regulations."