Amanda Simard is a Liberal MPP at Queen’s Park now, after spending the past year as an Independent. Simard was elected as a Progressive Conservative MPP for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell in the 2018 election but left the party in a dispute over the Ford government’s French-language policies. The GPR Ontario Liberal Association expressed “disappointment” that senior party officials did not consult with the local riding group before deciding to accept Simard’s crossing over to the Liberal side of the Opposition bench.
Amanda Simard is a Liberal MPP at Queen’s Park now, after spending the past year as an Independent. Simard was elected as a Progressive Conservative MPP for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell in the 2018 election but left the party in a dispute over the Ford government’s French-language policies. The GPR Ontario Liberal Association expressed “disappointment” that senior party officials did not consult with the local riding group before deciding to accept Simard’s crossing over to the Liberal side of the Opposition bench.

Cool welcome for GPR's new Liberal MPP

Gregg Chamberlain
EAP
Amanda Simard is now Glengarry-Prescott-Russell’s new Liberal MPP, but the welcome is not as warm in the riding as it was among her fellow Liberal MPPs at Queen’s Park.

“The executive of the Glengarry-Prescott-Russell Liberal Association is deeply disappointed in the appointment of Amanda Simard,” stated the local Liberal riding association in an email to media. “The 12 members of the executive unanimously rejected the appointment of Mrs. Simard.”


Jean-Marc Lalonde, a former MPP for the riding, who continues to be an ex officio member of the local association, criticized how party officials handled the decision to accept Simard into the ranks of the party.

“We particularly deplore the fact that this decision was made in Toronto, by senior Ontario Liberal Party officials,” Lalonde stated in the notice, “without any local consultation or even notice to the GPRPLA. The ‘big Liberal family’ must include Glengarry-Prescott-Russell. We therefore expect the next leader of the Ontario Liberal Party to commit unequivocally to an open and transparent nomination contest for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell for the 2022 election.”

Local mayors

Reaction from local mayors to Simard’s move, from being an Independent MPP to Liberal, ranged from indifferent to critical.

“It’s her decision,” said Mayor François St-Amour of The Nation Municipality.

“It’s not going to make any difference to me,” said Mayor Robert Kirby of East Hawkesbury Township. “She wasn’t doing much for us before, but I wish her the best.”

“I’m a little bit disappointed in her decision,” said Mayor Stéphane Sarrazin of Alfred-Plantagenet Township. “She was elected by the people of the riding as a Progressive Conservative candidate. It’s still four years that we don’t have a (government) ally in Toronto.”

“She’s been Progressive Conservative, she’s been Independent, and now Liberal, and she hasn’t accomplished much,” said Mayor Guy Desjardins of Clarence-Rockland. “Time will tell if she’s going to accomplish more than what she’s done so far.”

Mayor Pierre Leroux of Russell Township is dealing with a matter involving a family member’s health and was not available to comment. Mayors Daniel Lafleur of Casselman, Paula Assaly of Hawkesbury, and Normand Riopel of Champlain Township were occupied with delegation meetings at the Rural Ontario Municipal Association Conference in Toronto at press time.