Making history on a blue wave
Glengarry-Prescott-Russell’s new MPP, Amanda Simard, made history last Thursday evening during the provincial election.
The 29-year-old lawyer and Russell Township councillor became the first woman to represent the area at Queen’s Park. She also is Glengarry’s first Progressive Conservative MPP since 1999.
The Glengarry-Prescott-Russell polls closed at 10:30 p.m., 90 minutes later than most of the other polls in the province, so Ms. Simard was justifiably late dropping into her campaign office in Embrun, where about three dozen supporters were watching results on a large television set.
When asked what her first priority would be, Ms. Simard immediately answered: “Making life more affordable.”
During a brief post-election scrum with reporters, she talked about going door-to-door throughout the riding and hearing voters’ concerns about hydro rates, taxes, and health care.
She also responded to criticism launched at her by opponents who said she wasn’t making much of an effort to attend any debates or meet-and-greets. She was a no-show at a CBC interview at Alexandria’s Quirky Carrot earlier this month; she also didn’t take part in a May 18 Rogers TV debate. Her absences became so noticeable that one opponent put her picture on the back of a milk carton.
But Ms. Simard always contended that her time was better spent going door-to-door, talking to voters in their own homes. While she says she got a lot of support, she wasn’t over-confident about her chances come election night.
“We felt the support but you never know who’s going to show up,” she said.
She didn’t have to worry. Voters in Glengarry-Prescott-Russell chose her by a comfortable margin.
Ms. Simard garnered 40.96 per cent of the vote, capturing a grand total of 19,958.
The runner-up was Liberal candidate, and Russell Township Mayor, Pierre Leroux, who received 15,435 votes. Bonnie JeanLouis of the NDP received 10,612 votes with Daniel Reid of the Green Party, Joël Charbonneau of the Ontario Party and Darcy Neal Donnelly of the Libertarians receiving respective totals of 1,429, 757, and 538.
According to preliminary poll-by-poll results, Ms. Simard captured all but 13 of the 101 polls in her riding, including nearly 100 per cent of the polls in North Glengarry.
As a PC MPP, Noble Villeneuve represented the riding of Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry from 1983-1995, when it was redrawn as Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry and East Grenville. He served as MPP of that riding until 1999, when Liberal John Cleary defeated him.
The region has never been represented by a woman at the federal level.
DOUBLE BLUE Progressive Conservative candidate Amanda Simard celebrates her victory Thursday night. The 29-year-old lawyer captured 4,500 more votes than the runner-up, Liberal candidate Pierre Leroux. In Stormont- Dundas- South Glengarry, Conservative Jim McDonell was re-elected.