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Arts and Culture Centre, Trades School, both better bets for Cornwall

Jason Setnyk
OurHometown.ca

Arts and Culture Centre, Trades School, both better bets for Cornwall
I would like to take a moment to deconstruct Todd Bennett's two main arguments in favour of a casino, both of which are weak arguments at best. Here is the first premise of his first argument: the government allows the sale of cigarettes and alcohol. His second premise: although both of these products are dangerous the government makes tax revenue off these two vices.
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Cornwall - April 15, 2012 - I would like to take a moment to deconstruct Todd Bennett's two main arguments in favour of a casino, both of which are weak arguments at best. Here is the first premise of his first argument: the government allows the sale of cigarettes and alcohol. His second premise: although both of these products are dangerous the government makes tax revenue off these two vices. His conclusion: therefore we should welcome casinos that generate revenue. Sorry but I don't buy that argument. The government could also make a lot of revenue selling and taxing cocaine and heroin, but I would not support that either. Stats from Ontario's Responsible Gambling Council website state that over 300,000 people in Ontario have moderate to severe gambling problems. With the introduction of more casinos in the province, that number will go up.

In Bennett's second argument he presents the following premises: A casino in Cornwall would create tourism, revenue, and generate business for hotels and restaurants. His conclusion, therefore Cornwall should get a casino. However for a casino to generate any significant amounts of tourism, it would have to be a world class facility, and that would be costly to build and maintain. City Council only has so much money to spend on infrastructure, so we need to invest wisely and cautiously. With what was spent on the Benson Centre, and with the push not to raise taxes, funding for new infrastructure is limited at best. With that in mind, I can think of more positive ways to invest our municipal tax dollars on infrastructure that could also draw people into our city and stimulate the economy.

The creation of an Arts and Culture Centre with marquee events could generate tourism and jobs and it would not create the same societal problems as a casino. Also the creation of a trades and apprenticeship College could draw thousands of people into Cornwall each year. An influx of students would be a huge boost to the apartment rental and housing market, and it would create more jobs in foods and services. Furthermore a skilled labour force being trained here would attract new industries and jobs to Cornwall. There are progressive ways to grow this City, like an Arts and Culture Center or a Trades College. I hope City Council has the vision to invest in infrastructure that will make both our economy and our community stronger.


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