Amanda Simard won't say if she'll leave PC party over French cuts

Amanda Simard says she still supports the Progressive Conservative government’s agenda, but won’t stop demanding it reverse cuts to French language services.

MPP has criticized Doug Ford's government for slashing commissioner, university funding

Amanda Simard, MPP for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, refused to give a yes or no answer Tuesday when asked if she'll remain with the Progressive Conservative government. (Denis Babin/CBC)

Amanda Simard says she still supports the Progressive Conservative government's agenda, but won't stop demanding it reverse cuts to French-language services.

Simard, the PC MPP for Glengarry-Prescott Russell, returned to the Ontario Legislature for the first time Tuesday since breaking with her party over cuts affecting the province's some 740,000 francophones.

She refused to provide a clear yes or no when reporters asked if she'd remain with the party.

In the fall economic statement, Premier Doug Ford's government revealed plans to pull funding from a planned French language university while folding the responsibilities of the French language service commissioner into the office of the provincial ombudsman.

The government said the cuts were made to save money.

While the university funding hasn't been restored, the government backtracked slightly last week on several other fronts, while also naming Caroline Mulroney the new minister of Francophone Affairs.

Simard, the first MPP to publicly criticize her own party, told reporters she will continue "asking the government to reverse their decisions."

She said that's just her, "doing what I'm elected to do."

However, Simard said she still agrees with Ford's larger agenda.

"I support our plan in general … it's just those two measures I don't agree with," she said.

Despite that assurance, Simard mostly remained seated as PC MPPs gave repeated standing ovations during question period.


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