Posted February 4, 2019 at 2:00 p.m.
Simard snubbed or not? Counties say no
Officials for the United Counties of Prescott-Russell deny any intent to snub MPP Amanda Simard at a recent provincial conference for rural municipalities.
The annual Rural Ontario Municipalities Association (ROMA) conference in Toronto over the January 27 weekend saw meetings between counties delegations and provincial officials over issues ranging from the ambulance dispatch and debt problem with the City of Ottawa to government funding allocations to the Ontario Trillium Foundation. But Simard (see photo), now an independent MPP since her departure last November from the Progressive Conservative caucus, was not invited to take part in those meetings.
“There was not a lot of interest in having her come,” said Mayor Robert Kirby, current warden for the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR), during a Monday phone interview. “We were dealing with a government that she doesn’t belong to, that she decided to leave. There was not a lot of willingness to have her present.”
Simard created a political controversy when she left the PC caucus to sit as an independent. She said then her decision was prompted by the Doug Ford government’s cancellation of funding for a French-language university project, the first in Ontario, and closing down the official position of the French-language commissioner.
Political pundits, reporting on Simard’s absence from the UCPR delegation sessions at the ROMA conference, inferred that she had been snubbed by the counties. Kirby denied the suggestion.
“It was nothing personal,” he said. “We did not snub her. We just felt that it (her attendance) was not a good idea at the present time.”