Former PC MPP Amanda Simard joins Liberal party

By News Staff

A former Progressive Conservative lawmaker who quit the government caucus to protest cuts to francophone services is joining the Ontario Liberal Party.

Amanda Simard made the announcement today at the Ontario legislature with the party’s interim leader John Fraser.

“This is the party that truly respects and understands the people of my riding, my community, and our province,” she said. “This is the party of the future.”

A spokeswoman for Ford said they wished Simard “the best.”

Fraser praised Simard as a principled and energetic legislator who made a hard choice to stand up to her own party and government.

“She stood up when it would have been easy not to,” Fraser said. “That’s the kind of member that Ontario Liberals want and we’re proud to have her.”

Simard was elected in 2018 at the age of 29 to represent the largely French-speaking eastern Ontario riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell.

She was first nominated to run for the Progressive Conservatives under former leader Patrick Brown. After he resigned from the party’s top job and Ford rose to the leadership, Simard said many things changed. She said she became increasingly uncomfortable with the direction of the Tory party and the government.

“When I ran as the PC candidate, we gave Mr. Ford the benefit of the doubt,” Simard said. “We didn’t really know him. It’s a completely different party. It’s truly not what (people) signed up for.”

She left the Tory caucus in the wake of the government’s decision to eliminate the independent office of the French-language services commissioner and scrap a planned French-language university.

Simard had been sitting as an independent since leaving the government caucus in November 2018.

With Simard joining their ranks, the Liberals will have six seats in the legislature – still short of the 12 needed to achieve official party status.

Files from The Canadian Press were used in this report

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