Girard attacks Sullivan following French-Canadian comments on Manch Talk show

Sign Up For Our FREE Daily eNews!

A screenshot of the program on Girard’s YouTube channel

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Manchester’s French Canadian population has become a flashpoint in the 2021 Manchester Mayoral race as Rich Girard is demanding an apology from fellow mayoral candidate Victoria Sullivan following comments made on Tammy Simmons’ Manch Talk public access program this week.

In the dialogue, captured in part on Girard’s YouTube channel, Sullivan agrees with statements made by Simmons regarding the changing demographic makeup of the city, with Simmons contrasting elderly French-Canadian residents of the city to more youthful new residents to Manchester that are seeking to do more to improve the city.

““As a proud, fourth generation Manchester French Canadian Catholic, I can’t tell you how disturbing their comments were.  To hear them so clearly suggest that the values of these hardworking, decent people who built our city are out of step with modern times left me dumbstruck,” said Girard.

Simmons, who noted that she is not an official spokesperson for Sullivan’s campaign, said that the statements were not intended as a slight against French Canadians but as a commentary on the changing makeup of the city.

She also said that contrast was evident in the two challengers seeking to supplant Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig, stating that Girard’s support stems largely from a bygone Manchester while Sullivan is more focused on the city of today.

“When I moved to Manchester, my neighborhood was predominantly French Canadian Catholics, in the past decade or two demographics changed significantly,” said Simmons. “We have many refugees in our city, many people moved all over the country and its important that our mayor looks at today’s world and todays Manchester bases their policy on that.”

Later in the program, Simmons attacked Girard’s opposition to sober homes operating outside the city’s zoning ordinances in the past, contrasting Sulivan’s take on the topic to Girard’s stance.

“I think our zoning ordinance is prohibitive for growth. We have a need for housing and we have a problem with addiction and we have a problem with homeless people,” said Simmons. “The government should not be stepping in and imposing barriers to people who are trying to get sober and live with people with the same goals of recovering from substance abuse. More government regulation is not the solution.”

Girard said in a statement that the comments made on the show misrepresented his stance on the issue, adding that it showed Sullivan does not have solutions regarding the city’s challenges.

On Wednesday, Sullivan’s campaign responded that Girard’s umbrage was little more than a political maneuver.

“Just because Rich Girard is desperate and losing, it doesn’t give him the right to lie. Victoria has respect for all of Manchester’s residents. Respect is a word that would serve Rich well to learn,” said Michael Biundo, General Consultant to the Victoria Sullivan for Mayor Campaign.

A Facebook Live post of the show can be found here, a video where Sullivan stayed inside a sober home can be found here.

The program is scheduled to run on Thursday, Aug. 5 at 1:30 p.m. and later dates on Manchester Public Access Television Channel 23.