For many of us who follow politics closely and get involved, we all have our heroes and people that we look up to. We all have our reasons for revering this figure or that one, but for the most part that individual has made a serious impact on our lives or on our way of seeing the World. When it comes to that, I’m no different and there are some political figures, past and present, that I would have on that list.
One name that would be on there shouldn’t come as a surprise at all: Tommy Douglas. His political career and his example is one that I’ve always looked towards, especially in these days when people are prone to try to take the legacies of others and use it for their own ends. I’m used to seeing that from certain progressives, trying to invoke his name for things like run away spending and alike, so it’s not a new thing to see. But over a week ago we saw a rather heinous example of that kind of appropriation, and it came from the Ford Conservatives of all people:
Yeah, that happened. Seeing Lisa MacLeod of all people, Ontario’s minister of children, community and social services who made huge cuts to autism services and who just last week called public servants who were protesting the cuts of her government “nuts” in a fundraising letter, try to invoke the name of Tommy on her side was just all kinds of disgusting and wrong. In that piece she tried to use the memory of Tommy to attack the Ontario NDP too, asking “what Tommy would make of his NDP descendants at the Ontario legislature?” Something tells me that Lisa MacLeod or any member of the Ford cabinet is not the best judge of what T.C. Douglas, the Greatest Canadian, would think.
What made this whole diatribe written in the Financial Post, a publication that sneers at everything that Tommy stood for, was their attempt use of morals to defend their cuts and moves to cut spending. And that concept of morals is repeated over and over again, so much so that you can easily tell that the person who wrote the piece never spent any time seeing what Tommy said and wrote about the social gospel. What makes it worse is the doublespeak in it, as at the same time as the Ford Conservatives are making all these cuts, they are also slashing taxes for the richest and most well to do around us, while cutting back the minimum wage for the worst off. Those are the kinds of things that would have Tommy standing on those barricades in front of Queen’s Park with all of those people that Minister MacLeod called nuts in an attempt to raise a few bucks for her party.
But thankfully someone has stepped to the fore to respond to this garbage piece from the Minister, someone who knows not only the legacy of Tommy Douglas, but what the venerated man truly felt and believed. Who is that someone?
Yes folks, it’s Jack Bauer, Tom Kirkman or any other character that you want to name that Kiefer has played. As he pointed out, while Tommy was fiscally responsible and placed that responsibility in a high place, it never came at the expense of the well being of the people he served. He didn’t balance the books by cutting, slashing and denying those who needed the most help. No, Tommy did it by being fiscally prudent, not wasting money and ensuring that those who could paid their fair share. At the end of the day, Tommy was truly “For the People”, except he never needed to plaster that in bright colours where everyone could see it to assure himself of anything. He just walked the walk and let his actions say it all.
And that folks is really the antithesis of everything that the Ford Conservatives are all about, and that piece really drives that fact home. Tommy morals drove him to be the good man and better leader that he was. The social gospel led him and pushed him to do better while helping those who need the most help. While Doug Ford says he’s there for the little guy, Tommy was literally there; he was on the picket lines, in the mines, in the churches, in the school and everywhere he was asked to be and everywhere his faith compelled him to be.
I’m so glad that Kiefer not only spoke out but took this directly to the Premier and his Minister who dared to invoke Tommy’s name in vain. It was the perfect, dignified response to such crap coming from this government. Doug Ford is surely no Tommy Douglas, and Kiefer Sutherland is one of the best people out there to point that out, mind you I kinda now wish that Shirley Douglas was on social media to tell him that too. Kiefer is right about that, as Doug Ford couldn’t hold a candle to her, just as he can’t hold one to Tommy as well.