Conservatives taken to task online for James Moore's comment about Terry Fox family

Conservative James Moore's claim that the family of Terry Fox supported his party's plan to match donations raised during the annual Terry Fox Run was met with criticism online after the family issue a statement refuting the claim.

Family denies it was 'enthusiastic' over Conservative pledge of matching funds for charity

Former Conservative MP James Moore, left, speaks as Stephen Harper's wife Laureen Harper listens during a photo opportunity, in Port Moody, B.C., on Sunday. (Darryl Dyck)

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.

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 NDP and Liberals criticized the Conservatives for politicizing a charity, alluding to the government's crackdown on political activity by charities.

A theme that was picked up by others...

Although the irony was not lost on some.

For some, it was a reminder that there are some issues that unite Canadians, even during election time.

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.

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