Canadian actor Kiefer Sutherland is asking Ontario Premier Doug Ford to stop using his late grandfather Tommy Douglas’s name and image as part of what he calls his “political agenda.”
The Golden Globe-winning 24 and Designated Survivor star made the request on his verified Twitter account in reference to a recent tweet by Mr. Ford.
Mr. Douglas was the premier of Saskatchewan and leader of the New Democratic Party.
He was also known as the founder of medicare and the father of Mr. Sutherland’s mother, Canadian actor Shirley Douglas, who was once married to Donald Sutherland.
Earlier this month, Ontario minister Lisa MacLeod penned an op-ed that compared the fiscal policies of the Progressive-Conservative government to that of Mr. Douglas, who served as Saskatchewan premier from 1944 to 1961.
Mr. Ford tweeted a link to the article and wrote: “It’s time to make government work for the people again – not the other way around. I think Tommy Douglas would approve.”
Mr. Sutherland, who grew up in Toronto, tweeted that he found Mr. Ford’s comparison of their policies “offensive.”
“Mr. Ford, 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,” Mr. Sutherland tweeted Monday. “In addition to balancing the budget of Saskatchewan, he also provided the province with paved roads, health care and electricity. He did it all within four years.
“Contrary to your argument, it was never at the expense of social and human services to those in need. 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.”
Mr. Sutherland’s tweet concluded: “After all, I knew Tommy Douglas and you Sir, are no Tommy Douglas." He added: "P.S. You’re lucky my mum’s not active on Twitter.”
When asked for comment, the Premier’s office did not address Mr. Sutherland’s tweet directly, but said balancing the budget was priority for the government.
“The facts are simple. Despite what others have said, we’ve increased funding for health care by $1.3-billion and education by $700-million,” director of communications Kayla Iafelice said.
As the Progressive Conservative government tries to eliminate an $11.7-billion deficit, it is axing or reducing some programs and services, such as cancelling a planned $15 minimum wage, scrapping a basic-income pilot project and cutting funding to legal aid, stem-cell research, a tree-planting program and the arts.
Ms. MacLeod, Ontario’s minister of children, community and social services, referenced Designated Survivor in a tweet Monday. “I used to like this show,” she quipped about the series, in which Mr. Sutherland stars as a U.S. president. “Alas, it’s more difficult to be a politician than pretend to be one on TV,” MacLeod wrote.