ALEXANDRIA, Ontario – Independent Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MPP Amanda Simard has announced that she will be joining the Ontario Liberal Party.
She made the announcement on Thursday, Jan. 16.
Simard had been elected as a Progressive Conservative in June 2018 by left the party at the end of November that year in protest over the Ford Government’s cuts to French language programs.
“It wasn’t a decision to be made lightly. I took the last year (and more! ) to think seriously, and the conclusion is clear: it is the liberal party of Ontario that shares my values and truly respects and understands the people of our home, our features, our challenges, and our needs. I want to be part of the renewal of the party as it rebuilds, modernize and prepares for years and generations to come,” Simard wrote in a statement on her social media.
Simard maintained that she had strong personal ties to members of every party.
“I’m proud to have friendships across party lines, and that, of course, doesn’t change,” she wrote. “Members, candidates, people from every party (and even no party!)… Especially my fellow PC candidates from the last election, we’ve been through so much together. Pre-campaigns, leadership races, elections, twists and turns every step of the way, it’s been quite the adventure. I’m thankful for those friendships and I know we will continue to work together for our constituents and the people of Ontario. In politics and in life, circumstances force us to adjust, recalibrate and do what’s right. For me, that’s joining the team that aligns with my beliefs and ideals, and truly respects and understands the people I represent. I feel fortunate for the incredible support you have all given me over the past years, especially this last one, and moving forward, and words can’t express how grateful I am for you. Thank you for being here!”
Simard crossing the floor now gives the Ontario Liberals seven seats in the legislature, not enough for them to attain official party status, which requires 12 seats. The Liberals are still the third place party in the legislature.
Interim Liberal leader John Fraser welcomed Simard to the party.
“I’m pleased to welcome Amanda as the newest member of our caucus and our Ontario Liberal family,” said Fraser, “Our party has a long, proud history of standing up for French-language rights and I know that Amanda will continue to be a strong advocate for the Francophone community and her constituents in the riding.”