Toronto Plans to Gamble with Immigrants
Before my tirade begins, let’s get some facts straight: Toronto is an immigrant city, whether the Mayor likes it or not. More than 50% of Toronto’s population was born outside of Canada. Some 47% of the population is what’s called “visible minority.” More than 60% of all immigrants in greater Toronto area live in metro Toronto. More than 65% of all immigrants to Ontario settle in greater Toronto area.
So what’s that got to do with building a Casino or gambling? Surely, humans are humans regardless of whether they’re immigrants or not, right?
Sure, as long as you know who always wins and who will ultimately lose.
Why Mayor Ford’s Big Gamble Won’t Pay Off?
I am beginning to think that Toronto’s right-wing Mayor Rob Ford — encouraged by a few like minded cronies — wishes to cash in on the recent developments on the changing demographics of the Greater Toronto Area: the swathes of apparent right-leaning population comprised almost entirely of immigrant communities who are deemed to have the same ‘conservative values’ as their old Canadian brethren elsewhere in our great A Mari Usque Ad Mare dominion of Canada. (As I’ve blogged earlier extensively, go and read that!)
If that’s indeed what the Gambling Mafia from Vegas and their cherished Conservative partner darlings are hoping for, you know, that busloads of immigrant grannies, uncles, aunties are going to line up to ka-ching their way into the Houses of Sins the honourable Ministers of Vice are so religiously planning on building, they should really have their heads out of their… err… cash piles and think again.
These immigrants might well be what the HarperCons call the proud practitioners of Orwellian “conservative values”, but in my opinion, they are not culturally, socially, or heck, even religiously cut out to be the profile of compulsive gamblers that is the true target market for a casino.
You’d say, then what’s the problem? What’s riling you up so much? Why this self-righteous opposition to the Casino, you socialist, lefty loonies?
Sadly, the House Always Wins
Okay. So leave my argument above (or its veracity, if any) alone completely.
The gambling business, at the end of the day, ends up devouring the vulnerable, the struggling, the weakest-willed, the most gullible, the mentally-docile of the society into thinking the fantastic: an elusive win, a reward for doing nothing, a paycheck without any hardwork.
Gambling is an insane business. Period. What is the definition of insanity? It’s doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result each time. Tell me if that’s not how a gambler thinks or what she really hopes for?
And who’s the most vulnerable in a city of newcomers struggling to create a new life and new respective fortunes for themselves? Who will be most tempted to the greed of striking it rich quick? Who inhabits the city the most?
Whatever Happens in Vegas, Let it Stay in Vegas!
Every argument given by the Mayor, Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation, The Las Vegas Casino mafia and their cheerleading right-wing media in favour of building the Casino is just an eyewash.
They’ll say gambling is only secondary, they only want a Convention centre to attract the convention business which Toronto lacks. So why not simply build a convention centre, for example? Just saying.
They’ll say it will create more jobs. What kind of jobs? The only jobs a gambling den offers are gamblers. All other jobs will be menial. The real jobs will be for their own kind. Repeat After Me: The House Always Wins.
They’ll say it will bring tourism to Toronto. What kind of tourism? If it’s the convention tourism, then why muddy the waters with gambling and thus feeding on to and exploiting your own neighbours instead? Surely tourists will simply come and go but the neighbours remain perpetually trapped inside your Casinos.
‘Downtown Core’ Elite, Give Us a Break Too!
And save me the indignation and highbrow outrage of the Downtown Core elite as well.
Most of their objections, though well-intentioned, reek of self preservation and sound more like keeping the “riff-raff” away from their prized Downtown Core of Toronto. Nobody wants to bring in the vice and crime associated with gambling dens to their neighbourhood and thus lowering its real estate prices.
It would serve the larger interest of entire GTA if Downtown Core elite were more concerned about their Metro Toronto neighbours than just Downtown Core ‘privileges’ (think more inclusive, cheaper transit for all… something deserving a full post later, please remind me.) It would also stop alienating the suburbanites into electing dumb mayors and getting right-wing politicians into government. But that’s another rant.
Immigrants gamble with much more than money as it is
I wish the so-called “conservative values” Canadian immigrants, who are so blindly, stupidly sending a crop of right-wing politicians to the government, see through the lies and deceit of a ruling class of corporate fed interests.
A gambling den for Toronto will end up hurting the immigrants more as much as anyone else. And that requires more responsible introspection from the powers that be.
I wish and hope I am proven wrong. Though the cynic in me sees it otherwise.
- I am happy to report that Toronto City Council has rejected the Casino plans by a heavy majority vote of 40 against 4. A cautious ‘Yay!’
- Sigh… but not too fast to rejoice, because now it seems the neighbourhood suburb of Vaughan is rubbing their palms in glee, as they are showing great interest in building one for their own unfortunate citizenry! What’s happening to common sense!?
First Published: April 16th, 2013