Liberal MP Adam Vaughan has apologized for appearing to suggest people should “whack” Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
On Saturday, the Toronto-area MP tweeted that Mr. Ford’s supporters can get upset over “hurting Kindergarten students” but not over “damage he’s done to University students.”
Mr. Vaughan was referring to comments Mr. Ford made last week when he suggested full-day kindergarten might not continue after the next school year. On Friday, after facing mounting criticism, Education Minister Lisa Thompson said a full-day learning program will continue for four- and five-year-olds.
“Next he will go after young offenders & end ‘free school’ in detention centres … instead of playing whack-a-mole; Let’s just whack him,” Mr. Vaughan tweeted.
The kid’s arcade game Whac-A-Mole involves raising a mallet and hitting plastic moles that pop up from holes with the goal of forcing them back into their holes as quickly as possible.
After his first tweet, Mr. Vaughan issued another one saying, “APOLOGY: Ive been contacted by a lawyer representing the Moles of Ontario. They resent being compared to Premier Ford. I’ve tried to reach out, but apparently they are an underground organization. (No moles were hurt in the making of these cartoons).” And he used the hashtag “sometoriesarewhack.”
Mr. Vaughan also tweeted a series of photos of the game, including photos of children raising a mallet to whack the mole – but in place of the mole appeared to be a photoshopped image of Mr. Ford’s face.
Mr. Vaughan’s tweets were met by swift criticism on Twitter, with Ontario Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Lisa MacLeod writing, “#SunnyWays calling for violence against Ontario’s Premier.”
Mr. Vaughan responded “I knew it … you cut your sense of humour too!”
Late Saturday, Mr. Vaughan posted a statement online, apologizing to those he offended.
“To all those who are offended and missed the original cartoon. Whack was in reference to whack-a-mole. Not everyone has seen the cartoon and without it the comment lacks context,” he wrote.
“It was never my intent to suggest anyone, anywhere should inflict real physical harm to Premier Ford. To those who took offence I’m sorry.”