Toronto-raised actor-musician Kiefer Sutherland says it wasn’t his intention to stir the political pot with a recent tweet directed at Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
In early June the Golden Globe-winning “24” and “Designated Survivor” star put out a post on his verified Twitter account asking Ford to stop using his late grandfather Tommy Douglas’s name as part of his “political agenda.”
Sutherland was reacting to a tweet from Ford that linked to an op-ed by cabinet minister Lisa MacLeod, in which she compared the fiscal policies of the Conservative government to that of Douglas, who was Saskatchewan premier from 1944 to 1961.
“I’m not as familiar with social media as maybe I should be and I didn’t mean for it to become the thing it did,” Sutherland said Friday in a phone interview while on tour for his new album “Reckless & Me,” which will see him perform in several Canadian cities starting July 4 in Winnipeg.
“My comment was not about policy…. He has every right to have his policies and he’s elected because a majority of the people agreed with those policies. What I didn’t like and what I took objection to was that his policies do not reflect my grandfather’s political ideology, and his legacy is very important to me and to my family.”
Douglas was also known as the founder of medicare and the father of Sutherland’s mother, Canadian actress Shirley Douglas, who was once married to Donald Sutherland.
In his tweet, Ford wrote: “It’s time to make government work for the people again — not the other way around. I think Tommy Douglas would approve.”
Sutherland’s tweet response, addressed to “Mr. Ford,” said he found the comparison of their policies “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.”
Speaking before a sound check for a concert in Pittsburgh, Sutherland said his family believes strongly in Douglas’s ideology and he wrote his tweet from their perspective.
“We strongly disagreed with his characterization of my grandfather’s political ideology and his policies. And that’s all I meant to do.”
Sutherland said he hasn’t heard from Ford since he put out the tweet, which he understands.
“I certainly don’t want to get into a thing with him,” Sutherland said. “I just wanted for the record to just say that I don’t agree with the statement that he made concerning my grandfather.
“Depending I guess on what political side of the aisle you would be on, some people appreciated the tweet and some people did not. And I didn’t really want to get into all of that either. I just wanted to clearly state that I disagreed with the statement he made concerning my grandfather and that was it.”
Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press