Sports betting should be legal

Dear Editor:

As one of the largest and most diversified gaming companies in Canada, Gateway Casinos and Entertainment would like to lend our support for the growing conversation on allowing sports betting for Canadians.

Recently, we have seen Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedelli and Unifor National President Jerry Dias confirm their support for allowing this choice and we would like to join with them in a call to make a small change to the Criminal Code that will generate a much larger return in terms of jobs, investment and customer experiences in Canada.

For us, sports betting is a natural extension of the local entertainment destinations we strive to create at our properties in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. However, we also operate in a number of border communities where this issue is particularly important when you look at the competitive challenge that is facing us in the near future.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court authored a decision giving individual states the ability to legalize single event sports betting in their respective jurisdictions. States like Michigan and New York are moving ahead to introduce this kind of customer experience that will no doubt weaken our ability to compete in border communities, which impacts our employees as well.

Gateway is committed to creating jobs and investing in local communities and expanding and supporting a thriving gaming industry in this country. We have already invested hundreds of millions of dollars and created thousands of new jobs across Canada by building new restaurants, casinos and entertainment venues. Letting these properties have the opportunity to offer sports betting will only increase these numbers and create more jobs and more revenue for federal and provincial treasuries.

Canadians love their sports and they love to wager on them. The federal government has an opportunity to create more jobs and more investment in a growing industry while enjoying an additional source of revenue. We hope they embrace this opportunity given our U.S. competitors are doubling down.

Tony Santo, CEO,

Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Ltd.

More items for the Harper list

Dear Editor:

Due to space limitations, I was limited to only 20 “Did You Know?” items about former prime minister Stephen Harper (The Stephen Harper scorecard, March 19). If I may continue:

1. Veterans Affairs Canada ombudsman Pat Stogran was dumped after criticizing the government.

2. Harper’s first government found in contempt of Parliament.

3. Against court order, the Harper government refused to share budget information.

4. A PMO edict absolved political staffers from ever having to testify before parliamentary committees.

5. Cons falsified reports and documents on Bev Oda, Duffy and Sheila Fraser.

6. Repeated duplicity in Afghan detainees controversy.

7. Deliberately misled the public of the cost of fighter jets.

8. Harper maligned the Supreme Court chief justice.

9. Harper’s party pushed through legislation via omnibus bills such as never been seen before.

10. Cons used tactics such as barring witnesses, closure, time limitations and in-camera sessions to an extent rarely seen before.

11. Con Brent Rathgeber turned independent and published Irresponsible Government, a book on censorship of the backbenchers.

12. To protect the RCMP, Harper made an old bill come into force before it was passed by Parliament

13. One of Harper’s key advisers, Bruce Carson, was a convicted fraudster

14. Harper set up a system to impede access of information

15. Harper’s government-imposed loyalty oaths on public servants

16. Harper used stooges to pose as new citizens for public relations exercise

17. Harper forced all communications of diplomats to be pre-approved by the PMO

18. Harper closed seven world famous Department of Fisheries and Oceans archives

19. Harper government denied Canadian citizen Omar Khadr right to access media

20. Twice illegally prorogued parliament. 

21. And then there is the Phoenix pay issue for public servants. It cost taxpayers $309 million to develop the pay system, and $645 million to respond to the problems created by it.

Love those Harper Conservatives.

Frank Martens, Summerland

No more innocent ’til proven guilty

Dear Editor:

After all the recent scandals, broken promises, mud-slinging, stealing from taxpayers, bald-face lying, etc., I have come to the conclusion the old adage “innocent until proven guilty” has no home when it comes to politics.

Unfortunately, pretty much everyone I talk to feels the same. I just assume that anyone voted into office or appointed is unethical, until proven otherwise. Guilty until proven innocent, or in fact simply not guilty.

As for the praise of Stephen Harper, wow, how quickly we forget what an arrogant, condescending man he was, and probably still is. Apparently still anti-press, too.

I’m sure they had their faults but, oh, for a Tommy Douglas or Robert Stanfield. I would vote for someone like that regardless of party affiliation.

Gord McLaren, Penticton

Who let him back in the country?

Dear Editor:

Unlike most people, I do not mind that the prime minister went on a Florida vacation with his family, on the taxpayer’s dime.

My beef is with Canadian immigration: They let him back into the country.

I feel that his next trip should be to the moon apropos to the very expensive blather about Canada going to outer space.

Chris MacKay, Penticton

Customer doesn’t need plastic bag

Dear Editor:

Yesterday our paper came in a plastic cover. Ours was tied at the top and my husband ripped into the middle to get at the paper. He is not particularly big on recycling, but this really got to him.

He didn’t like that we were trying so hard to eliminate plastic bags and this one seemed so useless.

After reviewing the bag and seeing both advertising for Valley First and a plea from the food bank, I thought the bag still seemed small and again, useless.

The little sleeve could hardly hold a couple of cans, or was that the point? If he hadn’t made such a fuss about it I would have tossed it into the recycling bin and not even noticed the details.

We give regularly to the food bank and make a point to put something in the bin when we leave the grocery store.

If we all remembered to do something more regularly we wouldn’t need this plastic reminder.

Erika Podewils, Kelowna

(Editor’s note: Courier circulation manager Stephanie Goodban replied to the writer: “The bags are necessary in some areas without cover in unfavourable weather, but it doesn’t sound like that is the case for your address so I will ask the carrier to not bag papers unless absolutely necessary.”)

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