A Con­ser­va­tive at heart

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON Glen­garry News

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.

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