Ontario MPP Amanda Simard leaves computer club after cuts to francophone services

Ontario MPP Amanda Simard ceased working in the Conservative Conservative Club to become independent after publicly criticizing Prime Minister Doug Ford's government for changing French language services in the province.

In a letter to President Ted Arnott on Thursday, Ms Simard, who was the only member of Mr Ford's French-Italian team, said her decision to leave was immediately effective.

"I am no longer a member of the Progressive Conservative Senate," wrote Mrs. Simard. "I will continue to stand in the Ontario Legislative Assembly as an independent one."

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Mrs Simard did not respond immediately to the request for comments on Thursday.

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The announcement took place when the members of the Simard Chamber Commission met at Queen's Park to discuss their future. The senior government source told Globe that a large number of club members demanded that they be removed from the House after criticism of Mr Ford and his government.

After meeting Thursday, Mr. Ford told iPolitics that he did not know that Mrs. Simard would leave the club. "We are united than we have ever been," he said.

In a few days Mrs. Simard opposed the government's decision in her fiscal update to abolish the plans for the Francophone University and abolish the French watchdog's office.

"I will ask the Prime Minister and the Government to change their decision, so I do what I have chosen," said Mrs. Simard this week to reporters at Queen's Park.

On Wednesday, Ford told journalists that he had spoken to Mrs. Simard last week and told her he had support. However, he said that since then he had avoided calling from his office.

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"My boss tried to contact Amanda, my chief secretary tried to contact Amanda, and other people in her office were trying to contact Amanda, Amanda never returned calls," he said.

"She decided it would not be part of it."

After a strong protest from the French-speaking community, the PC government had retreated a little bit last week by announcing that it would create the post of Commissioner for French Language Services under the auspices of the Ombudsman. Mr Ford also officially ordered General Prosecutor Caroline Mulroney as Minister for Francophone Affairs and promised to hire a political advisor for francophone affairs. But the plans for the francophone university that Mr Ford promised to keep during the election campaign were not resurrected.

"We've made some changes over the past few days, I've been listening," Ford said. However, he said that there is not enough money in the province for the Francophone University.

Mrs. Simardová said that "partial discouragement" is not enough. On Wednesday, he voted against the government's downturn in economic upgrading in the legislative process.

Mrs. Simard, representing eastern Ontario on Lake Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, served as a city councilor in the Russell community before entering the Tory list under the then leader Patrick Brown. He holds a law degree from the University of Ottawa, and previously worked as a political counselor in Parliament.

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With news from the Canadian press

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