A twitter war erupted Monday between Canadian actor and producer Kiefer Sutherland and the Ford government over the Premier’s use of Sutherland’s grandfather’s name.
Sutherland launched the first salvo, calling out Premier Doug Ford and Social Services Minister Lisa Macleod for using his grandfather Tommy Douglas’ name to bolster the PC government’s agenda.
Tommy Douglas was the Premier of Saskatchewan from 1944 to 1961 and is credited as being the father of Canada’s universal health care and renowned for his social activism.
Sutherland wrote: “I personally find your comparison of your policies to his offensive. 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. After all, I knew Tommy Douglas and you Sir, are no Tommy Douglas.”
— Kiefer Sutherland (@RealKiefer) June 10, 2019
Sutherland’s tweet was in response to a piece Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod penned for the Financial Post which Doug Ford tweeted on June 2.
“It’s time to make government work for the people again – not the other way around. I think Tommy Douglas would approve.”
"It’s time to make government work for the people again — not the other way around.
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) June 2, 2019
In Macleod’s editorial, she slams the previous Liberal government’s spending and argues Tommy Douglas had fiscal “prudence,” noting he delivered 17 consecutive budget surpluses.
Kiefer Sutherland, who plays the role of President in the series “Designated Survivor.” filmed in Toronto, wrote his grandfather didn’t balance the books by cutting social services.
“In addition to balancing the budget of Saskatchewan, he also provided the province with paved roads, health care and electricity…Contrary to your argument, it was never at the expense of social and human services to those in need.”
Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod, who has been under intense criticism for the government’s handling of the autism file, lobbed back a tweet of her own.
“I used to like this show – which overtook a very expensive bus shelter ad in fall of 2017 outside Queen’s Park. Alas, it’s more difficult to be a politician than pretend to be one on TV.”
I used to like this show- which overtook a very expensive bus shelter ad in fall of 2017 outside Queen’s Park.
Alas, it’s more difficult to be a politician than pretend to be one on TV. pic.twitter.com/o2quQyYl94
— Lisa MacLeod (@MacLeodLisa) June 10, 2019
However. it was met with intense backlash.
One twitter user stated, “Rather than dismissing @RealKiefer in this juvenile fashion you could actually take him seriously … his points are more than valid. Simply respecting his request quietly so as not to make things worse was the very least you could have done.”
Rather than dismissing @RealKiefer in this juvenile fashion you could actually take him seriously … his points are more than valid. Simply respecting his request quietly so as not to make things worse was the very least you could have done.
Aw, you're just mad you got told off by Tommy Douglas' grandson. So petty but keep showing your true colours.
— Renee Sylvestre-Williams (@reneeswilliams) June 10, 2019
Petty. Very very petty. Leaders don’t do this.
— Kevin T. (@kevintroake) June 10, 2019
The Ford government has been battered in the polls recently and is now on an extended summer break from the legislature until after the federal election on Oct. 28. This has led to speculation the provincial PC’s have been told to lay low so they don’t hurt Andrew Scheer’s chances in Ontario.
When asked for a response to Sutherland’s and Macleod’s tweets, Doug Ford’s press secretary responded by stating in part:
“We’re proud of our decision to balance the budget in a responsible manner, while showing compassion and protecting what matters most to real Ontarians.”
Kiefer Sutherland is the son of actors Shirley Douglas and Donald Sutherland. He ended his original tweet with, “P.S. You’re lucky my mum’s not active on Twitter.”