A Conservative at heart
By resigning from Ontario’s Conservative Party to sit in Queen’s Park as an independent, Amanda Simard told the province that listening to her constituents is more important than toeing the party line. It might have been a bad career move – it could very well mean she won’t win the next provincial election – but in the grand scheme of things, that doesn’t matter. Ms. Simard wasn’t about to turn her back on the francophone community that she holds so dear just so that Premier Doug Ford would be her best friend.
By now you’ve read the headlines. You’ve read that Ms. Simard was “definitely upset” with her government’s decision to cancel plans for a French university and a French Language Services Commissioner. She was not mollified by her government’s compromise – having the provincial ombudsman assume the commissioner’s responsibilities – because she understood what these two items represented to the francophone community. Evidently, she’s not alone there as the protests throughout the province, and in some other provinces too (hello Manitoba) very well indicate.
Ms. Simard felt that she could not, in good conscience, continue sitting with the Conservatives. She’s a passionate francophone and, arguably, represents the Ontario riding with the highest number of Frenchspeaking people. By siding with Ford, she would have been betraying many of the people who got her elected in the first place.
At the same time, we should remember that despite her independent status at Queen’s Park, Ms. Simard is likely still a Conservative at heart and will probably vote in sync with her former colleagues on a number of important issues. Local Tories haven’t lost a Conservative voice in Toronto, but now they have to deal with the fact that this lady thinks for herself and fights to make this province a better place for tout le monde.
In the parade
Ever since I started working at The in 2003, I have covered at least one Santa Claus Parade every year. This year I covered Maxville, Lancaster, and Moose Creek, but in the past I have covered parades in Martintown and even Glen Walter back when it had a parade. I was much younger in those days and I remember covering the Alexandria parade in 2004. I was jumping up on the floats, talking to people on them, and then jumping off again. I can’t do that anymore. It’s too hard on my forty-something knees.
So on Sunday, I got to see the Alexandria Santa Claus Parade from a different perspective – as a participant. My son and I marched along with St. Finnan’s School, where he attends kindergarten. There was a bit of rain and the other schools had fancier floats and my son seemed more interested in playing in the snow than walking from the Glengarry Sports Palace to Island Park, but we had a fun time nonetheless.
And kudos to Cassie Depratto Nutt and the other members of the Alexandria Lions Club who helped kickstart the event. They had to get the floats in marching order, tell them when to march, advise them to stay a certain length behind the car in front so they don’t get their faces full of exhaust.
My kid almost made it to the curling club before deciding he’d had enough. I didn’t blame him but we had fun while it lasted. If you watched it, we hope you enjoyed it too.