Toronto’s Largest Trade Union Joins the Fight to Halt Proposals to Build a New Casino in the Downtown Area of the City

TAGs: City Board of Health, CUPE Local 79, Lee Davy, Martin Prosperity Institute, Tim Maguire

torontos-largest-trade-union-joins-the-fight-to-halt-proposalsToronto Trade Union, CUPE Local 79, joins the dissenting voices of the City Board of Health and Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) regarding the proposals to open a new downtown casino in Toronto.

In a world created to force feed addiction into the very bellies of every human being, it seems amazing that so much worry can be drummed up regarding the building of a casino, but that is exactly what is happening in Toronto, Canada right now.

The people, who drink their beer, smoke their cigarettes and throw trowels of processed garbage down their throats, believe that the introduction of a casino in the downtown area of Toronto is akin to welcoming Beelzebub to a frat party.

The City of Toronto’s biggest trade union, CUPE Local 79, has joined the dissenting voices of the City Board of Health and Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) who have both come forward in recent months citing a myriad of reasons why opening a new casino spells death for the city.

Tim Maguire, CUPE Local 79 President, told The Star that a survey of roughly 20,000 ‘inside worker’ affiliates turned up a 67% opposition rate for the introduction of a new casino, and a staggering 81% declaring their worry that a new casino would bring nothing but poverty and crime to the Toronto area.

This volley from CUPE Local 79 comes in the wake of a councilor vote on the right for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) Corporations to expand gambling in the city of Toronto. That vote was a 9-1 strike in favor of the tools staying in the toolkit. But Dr. David McKeown did at least offer some wedge of compromise with a 10-point plan to reduce any potential harm that included proposals to curb the opening hours of casinos, removing ATM machines from casino floors and slowing down the speed of the slot machines.

The decision to build a casino nearly always comes down to the condition of the states coffers. Money always seems to win the war over safety and health no matter what business you are in these days, and the casino business is no different. But the Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) have also joined the bandwagon to pooh-pooh the numbers thrown into the argument from the state, OLG and casino giant Caesars Entertainment – one of the companies interested in opening a casino as part of the $3 billion Toronto Convention Centre redevelopment. The MPI, who are some of the brightest sparks in the Toronto fire, believe the casino champions are trying to blind the masses with a blizzard of numbers that are skewed, meaningless and misleading.

There are 11 Ontario casinos owned or regulated by the OLG and the MPI doesn’t believe there is any more money to be extracted from the pockets of its residents when, or if, a new casino is opened. They also cite a 4.2% drop in casino revenue in the past four years as an indication of a falling market that doesn’t show the business requirement for an additional casino. Other interesting points made include free offers of hotel rooms for guests creating job losses at other hotel chains, and high annual fees running into the $100 million mark.

CUPE Local 79 are a business that could prosper if a new casino was to be built. After all membership would surely flourish, so why the opposition?

“It’s all about the health of the city,” Tim Maguire told The Star.

But Maguire and his band of merry men do not have a united trade union front. The Canadian Auto Workers, Unite Here Local 75 and the Carpenters Union Local 27 are all eager to see the construction of a new casino because they believe it will create more jobs for their members.

And the band marches on…


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