Canadian actor, producer and director Kiefer Sutherland lashed out at Premier Doug Ford and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod on Monday for using his grandfather Tommy Douglas’ name to support the Ontario government’s agenda.
On May 31, MacLeod wrote an op-ed in the Financial Post with the headline “Tommy Douglas knew runaway debt was immoral. Conservatives couldn’t agree more.” In the op-ed, MacLeod evoked the memory of Douglas, former premier of Saskatchewan and leader of the NDP, to justify the government’s fiscal policies and criticize the NDP.
The article was subsequently tweeted by MacLeod and retweeted by the premier, who wrote: “It’s time to make government work for the people again — not the other way around. I think Tommy Douglas would approve.”
Sutherland tweeted in response on Monday afternoon: “Your tweet has recently come to my attention and I can only tell you that you are correct, my grandfather Tommy Douglas was fiscally responsible. In addition to balancing the budget of Saskatchewan, he also provided the province with paved roads, healthcare and electricity. He did it all within four years.”
Sutherland then aggressively defended his grandfather’s views.
“Contrary to your argument, it was never at the expense of social and human services to those in need. I personally find your comparison to his policies offensive,” he wrote in a tweet.
“So I can only ask, as the grandson of this man, for you to stop posting his picture and using his name as part of your political agenda.”
Sutherland wraps up his statement with a pointed message to the premier: “After all, I knew Tommy Douglas and you Sir, are no Tommy Douglas. P.S. You’re lucky my mum’s not active on Twitter.”
The tweet from Ford linking to MacLeod’s article remained posted on Twitter on Monday.
When reached for comment, Ford’s office didn’t directly address Sutherland’s tweet.
“After 15 years of waste and mismanagement Ontario was in precarious fiscal position. In plain language: we were on the brink of not being able to afford things like universal healthcare and education,” Ford spokesperson Kayla Iafelice told Global News in a statement.
“Despite what others have said, we’ve increased funding for healthcare by $1.3 billion and education by $700 million.”
Global News has also reached out to MacLeod’s office for comment on the matter.