Amanda Simard, MPP for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell (GPR), announced her re-election campaign with a bang at the opening of her new campaign office in Embrun. A crowd of voters attended the event to show their support for Simard, as well as MP Francis Drouin, former Liberal MP Don Boudria, and Jean-Marc Lalonde, a retired GPR politician with many years of provincial political experience.
“It’s with courage that she has represented the people of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell at Queen’s Park ever since [being elected],” said Boudria. “So today we are here of course for the official opening of the campaign headquarters, but we are more here for the official opening of the re-election of Amanda, because she will be re-elected, and she will continue to stand up for the people of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell.”
“It’s been a pleasure to be here today. I love a campaign,” said Lalonde. “You have to make sure that everybody understands your program. I always said, we don’t only criticize what they have done, we have to promote our program. That is very, very important.”
“We just need help. It’s simple, a campaign is very simple,” said Drouin. “It’s about knocking on doors, talking to people, identifying your vote, and getting that vote out, and it matters if it comes close.”
Amanda Simard herself was the last to speak, thanking the veteran politicians for being there. “I have some absolutely outstanding predecessors, and they are known throughout the province. Everyone knows our riding because of our distinguished MPs,” she said. « You guys have been such great mentors in the last few years, I knew I could always count on you guys at all times.”
She said that the representatives are so well-known because they are connected to their constituents, not merely representing them. Simard grew up knowing Jean-Marc Lalonde, as he was friends with her uncle, and knowing that Francis Drouin grew up in Hawkesbury. The constituents and the MPs are connected, and she exemplified this with an anecdote that shocked her when she denounced the cancellation of the French language university project and the abolition of the position of French Language Services Commissioner.
“In 2018, between November 15 and the day I blew the whistle, which was November 23, I remember I was in the lobby of the legislature and my Conservative colleagues were constantly trying to console me and say it’s going to be okay,” she said. “They told me ‘[the constituents] will forget about it, they won’t even remember in four years.’ And I remember I was in shock. How can a representative talk about his constituents like that? It really touched me because for me, constituents are my friends, my family, my friends’ families. They’re real people. So that’s what motivates me to continue.”
Simard went on to outline the most important issues that the riding faces, things she and Lalonde had hoped to see outlined in the Liberal budget. “We were talking about concrete measures to reduce the cost of living and to help with the price of houses, affordable housing, which is very important in the region,” she said. “We were talking about the health system, the education system, the long-term care centers. It’s very important to have the priorities there, but we didn’t see any of that in the zero-mention budget. So, I think there is a lot of work to be done with the Liberal team, which we have done in the last few weeks and months.”
She finished the event by thanking her team and expressing her hope for the campaign.