" $ 5 6 " - * 5 4  r  / & 8 4 SIMARD EXPLAINS ABANDONING PC CAUCUS

&/#3&'r#3*&'4 CORRECTION There was an error in the article that appeared in last week’s paper regarding provincial government support funding cuts to the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The last sentence stated that the OTF invested $100 million in 2017 into local economies through its grants with 87 per cent of the money supporting job creation. That statement was based on information provided by the Ontario Nonprofit Network, which was in error. The ONN has since retracted that particular statement as mistaken, but the remainder of the article is accurate regarding provincial funding cuts to the OTF.– Gregg Chamberlain FISHING LICENSE FEE INCREASE FROZEN The Ontario Government recently put a stop to fishing license fee increases for all Ontario residents and removed the $2 service fee. “We’re making it easier for Ontarians to get out on the water and enjoy the great outdoors by keeping fishing licenses more affordable,” said John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “Next year, whe- ther renewing a license or purchasing for the first time, there will be no price hike and no service fee. “In addition to freezing fees, the government is adding two new license-free fishing events in 2019, on the weekends of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. – Francis Racine CUEILLETTE SPÉCIALE DE SAPINS La Ville de Hawkesbury procédera au ramassage des sapins de Noël jusqu’au KBOWJFS . Les arbres doivent être déposés près du trottoir ou de la bordure, et non pas dans la rue.


MPP Amanda Simard believes she had no choice but to leave the PC caucus to sit as an independent if she wanted to represent the real interests of her own riding and not those of the Ford government. “If I had stayed, I would have been put ‘in the corner’ for the next three years and not really represented my riding,” Simard said during an hour-long phone interview in both 'SFODIBOE&OHMJTI +BOVBSZi*USVMZGFMU this was an opportunity for me.” Simard won the Glengarry-Prescott-Rus- sell riding for the Progressive Conservatives JOUIF+VOFQSPWJODJBMFMFDUJPO Five months later, she announced that she was leaving the caucus to sit as an independent. “It was an accumulation of several things,” Simard said, about the reasons behind her decision. The breaking point was when the Ford government announced closure of the office of Ontario’s French- language commissioner and cancellation of pre-approved funding for a proposed French- language university project, the first of its kind in Ontario. The backlash from Ontario’s French com- munity, combined with her own announce- ment about leaving the caucus, earned Simard renown as a “rebel MPP” and made her the face of Ontario’s francophone revolt in the provincial media. Surprised and confused But Simard noted that the government’s decisions affecting Ontario’s francophone were not the sole reason why she began

Depuis qu’elle a tourné le dos au caucus progressiste-conservateur pour siéger en tant que députée provinciale indépendante, Amanda Simard a fait l’objet de critiques de la part d’électeurs locaux qui prétendent que ses actions ont «trahi» leur confiance en elle et les votes de soutien qu’ils lui ont accordés lors des élections provinciales de l’an dernier. Mais Mme Simard soutient qu’elle a fait le bon choix parce qu’elle peut maintenant représenter les intérêts réels de sa circonscription et non seulement servir de porte-parole pour le gouvernement Ford en matière de relations publiques. —archives

thinking about leaving the caucus. She was surprised and confused on a regular basis by a government that seemed focused on cost cutting at the expense of support for Ontario’s communities when it wasn’t pro- moting trivial successes like the “buck a beer” campaign. “Honestly, the only way I could be was surprised,” Simard said, noting that her own election campaign began when Patrick Brown was the PC leader, before he was forced to step down. 4IFUIFOTVQQPSUFE$ISJTUJOF&MMJPUUTCJE in the PC leadership race but accepted Ford’s nomination as the new leader even though she admitted not knowing what to expect. “I did expect good governance, at the very

least,” she said, “but instead I was seeing things happening that I couldn’t understand. 8IFSFBSFUIFQSJPSJUJFT u She cited allegations of attempted crony- ism over nomination of a new OPP commis- sioner, cuts to education services and to municipal support funding as examples of the government’s confusing actions. She noted that closing down the French-language commissioner’s office did not make sense and it didn’t save the province any money. Disappointed and betrayed Simard still maintains her official Facebook page as MPP for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell. After she left the caucus, the page flooded with positive and negative comments. Several posters identified themselves as GPR residents who voted for Simard during UIFFMFDUJPOBOEGFMUiEJTBQQPJOUFEu and “betrayed” about her decision to become an Independent MPP. “I would ask how Ms. Simard will be able to do anything for her constituents over the OFYUGPVSZFBST uBTLFEPOFWPUFSi*EPOU want my representative to be a non-entity, with no voice, no influence for my riding, no staff or resources, having to get permission to stand in Question Period, just an anony- mous face that is never seen and a voice never heard. Four years from now, she will have accomplished nothing. A month from now, the media will have moved on and her NJOVUFTPGGBNFXJMMCFPWFSu “I voted for her as a PC, and she quit,” stated another poster. “I didn’t think I was voting for someone who would quit!” Simard indicated she understands the feelings of those voters but she disagrees with their assumption that she is now power- less sitting on the Opposition side. “That would be saying that Opposition MPPs are ineffective, which is factually XSPOH uTIFTBJE DJUJOH+FBO.BSD-BMPOEF as an example of someone who well-rep- resented the GPR when he was a Liberal Opposition MPP. “He got things done,” Simard said. “I truly feel this is an opportunity for me.” Simard argued that she is now free to put questions to the government and to lobby for the real interests of her constituents, and not serve as the government’s public relations voice in the riding. “I will have my own (issues) file, those will be my files, and I will have time to focus on those files,” she said.

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