Mayor Ford’s Executive Committee Passes Casino Debate to Council

The executive committee of Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford has given a green signal to the highly controversial motion that will move the debate to decide whether or not Toronto shall host a casino in the downtown core, or Exhibition Place, to city council. The committee voted nine to four in favour of the motion, which upheld the report submitted last week by city manager, Joe Pennachetti, which made overall 43 recommendations to the council in case it shall decide to go ahead with a gaming facility.

Earlier today, the 13-member committee heeded the point of view of Toronto police Chief, Bill Blair, who was inquired if casinos increased the crime rates in neighbourhoods where they’re located, specifically Woodbine Racetrack. Blair explained that police has not been able to acquire any statistical data which would indicate that criminal activity is directly related to the Etobicoke-based facility. He stated that “violence does occur in some proximity to that, but it is more related to the neighbourhood in which it’s taking place.”

Furthermore, Blair explained to the councillors that he was previously consulted to estimate the impact of a casino on a municipality for the city manager’s report. He alleged to have taken advice and recommendations from police chiefs in Montreal, Niagara Falls, Las Vegas and Singapore about the issue. He stated that “they indicated that they had not seen any increase in organized criminal activity or public safety concerns at those locations.”

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