Conservatives taken to task online for James Moore's comment about Terry Fox family
Family denies it was 'enthusiastic' over Conservative pledge of matching funds for charity
The Conservatives were being taken to task online after a statement from the Terry Fox family said the party had misrepresented it at a recent campaign event.
On Sunday, federal Industry Minister James Moore and Stephen Harper's wife, Laureen, were at the Terry Fox Run in Port Moody, B.C., where Laureen Harper took part in the event with a local Conservative candidate. After the run, Moore announced that a re-elected Conservative government would commit up to $35 million to match donations raised during this year's Terry Fox Run for cancer research.
When asked how the Fox family felt about the pledge, Moore replied: "They're enthusiastic and they think it's great."
But the Fox family — who were not present at the announcement — quickly denied the claim.
"We need to clarify that we did not respond enthusiastically suggesting the idea was great as MP James Moore reported in yesterday's Conservative announcement promising to match The Terry Fox Foundation's fundraising efforts this year up to $35 million," the Fox family said in a written statement.
Britt Andersen, Executive Director of The Terry Fox Foundation, shared the sentiment.
"As an international non-profit organization, The Terry Fox Foundation is non-partisan," she said. "The Foundation welcomes new investment commitments in cancer research from any and all political parties."
The Conservatives quickly faced a barrage of criticism online.
Pretty low of Cons to use Legacy of Terry Fox to buy votes. Glad family clarified their stance. Seriously disgusted - again 😤—@oreillyoreally
I don't get it. Why not match up to $35 million for Terry Fox Foundation regardless of whether elected? Smacks of bribery.—@atmattrobinson
Demand that Harper apologize for lies about Terry Fox's family! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/elexn42?src=hash">#elexn42</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cdnpoli?src=hash">#cdnpoli</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TerryFox35?src=hash">#TerryFox35</a>—@TanQboy
Some critics saw the move as an attempt to drum up support using the legacy of an iconic Canadian, comparing it to Wayne Gretzky's recent declaration of support for Harper.
The CPC strategy has turned to co-opting Cdn sporting icons. Tragically, Gretzky was lost. Thankfully Terry Fox remains indomitable <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cdnpoli?src=hash">#cdnpoli</a>—@hot_sushi
One day <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/pmharper?src=hash">#pmharper</a> is endorsed by Grate1 & the next day he is called liar by <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TerryFox?src=hash">#TerryFox</a> fam.1 day the windshield. Next day the bug. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Cdnpoli?src=hash">#Cdnpoli</a>—@ChrisAgaynes
The NDP and Liberals criticized the Conservatives for politicizing a charity, alluding to the government's crackdown on political activity by charities.
Stephen Harper should apologize for politicizing Terry Fox, Tom Mulcair says | National Newswatch <a href="http://t.co/1AiI3ZfmjD">http://t.co/1AiI3ZfmjD</a>—@PaulDewar
Harper spent a decade attacking charities for political activity, then politicized one of our best charities mid-campaign. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TerryFox?src=hash">#TerryFox</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/elxn42?src=hash">#elxn42</a>—@gmbutts
A theme that was picked up by others...
So... guess we can expect a zealous audit of the Terry Fox Foundation instead now if Conservatives are re-elected <a href="http://t.co/C7JKIDJOkB">http://t.co/C7JKIDJOkB</a>—@SooeySays
Leave it to Harper to make the Terry Fox Run political. Becoming more of an embarrassment all the time.—@PaulHope29
Things that have been distastefully politicized so far this election: Rosh Hashanah, Terry Fox's legacy, niqabs, cultural identities—@LanaBelb
Although the irony was not lost on some.
Like when you politicized <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ArmyRun?src=hash">#ArmyRun</a>? RT <a href="https://twitter.com/PaulDewar">@PaulDewar</a>: Harper should apologize for politicizing Terry Fox <a href="http://t.co/AS0uNB2cVZ">http://t.co/AS0uNB2cVZ</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cdnpoli?src=hash">#cdnpoli</a>—@k2pointO
<a href="https://twitter.com/GlobalBC">@GlobalBC</a> I suppose if any politician speaks Terry Fox's name it is being politicized.—@elizabeth_doug
For some, it was a reminder that there are some issues that unite Canadians, even during election time.
Want to see Canadians get upset? Mess with Terry Fox's legacy. We get really pissed off. Fast. Doesn't matter the stock. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/desparate?src=hash">#desparate</a>—@sfdangelo
In a bid to quell the storm, the Conservative Party released a letter sent in August by the Terry Fox Foundation that asked for funds for a research project and invited Stephen Harper to speak at a run, suggesting a miscommunication — but maybe not the end of the tempest.
The letter to Harper from Terry Fox Foundation clearly invites PM to event and solicits support. Seems a communication problem with family.—@DonMartinCTV
.<a href="https://twitter.com/CPC_HQ">@CPC_HQ</a> How bout we leave <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TerryFox?src=hash">#TerryFox</a> out of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cdnpoli?src=hash">#cdnpoli</a> regardless of what letter you received. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Disappointing?src=hash">#Disappointing</a>—@MelleMac777