‘LET’S JUST WHACK HIM’
Premier Doug Ford is too busy “cleaning up a Liberal mess in Ontario” to be alarmed about a Liberal MP’s weekend tweet suggesting Ford be “whacked,” his office says.Early Saturday morning, Liberal MP Adam Vaughan noted in a tweet that Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government was backing away from plans to cut all-day kindergarten.Vaughan suggested the Ford government had raised the idea so that residents would become “upset over hurting Kindergarten students instead of being angry over the damage he’s done to University students.”“Next he will go after young offenders & end ‘free school’ in detention centres,” Vaughan tweeted. “Instead of playing whack-a-mole; Let’s just whack him.”Later Saturday, he issued an apology, clarifying that he did not actually intend to call for Ford’s assassination. Vaughan, the MP for Spadina-Fort York in Toronto, insisted his tweet — “Let’s just whack him” — was meant merely as a reference to the carnival game whack-amole, not the underworld slang for an execution.“It was never my intent to suggest anyone, anywhere should inflict real physical harm to Premier Ford,” he wrote in a statement. “To those who took offence, I’m sorry.”Vaughan, a former journalist and cartoonist, said the confusion stemmed from a series of illustrations he had created, transposing Ford’s face on a whack-amole game. (He has a history of confronting his political foes in cartoons; as a Toronto city councillor he occasionally caricatured his then chief rival, the premier’s brother, the late mayor Rob Ford.)But Vaughan said he couldn’t attach his cartoons to his initial tweet Saturday morning, leaving his “whack him” comment open to darker interpretations.“Late in the afternoon it was clear by the tone of the tweets that some were taking my use of whack out of context,” he said in an email on Sunday to the National Post. “Wanted to be clear that there was no intent to advocate political violence.“Easier to tell a joke on Twitter than explain one.”Saturday’s apology marked an abrupt change in tone for Vaughan, who had spent much of the afternoon ridiculing Twitter users who objected to his tweet — including Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s social services minister, who accused Vaughan of “calling for violence against Ontario’s Premier.” In fact, his apology was preempted by an apology to moles, who Vaughan claimed resented “being compared to Premier Ford.”Reached for comment on Sunday, Ford’s office was not alarmed.“This backbench Liberal MP may have a lot of time on his hands, but the Premier is too busy cleaning up a Liberal mess in Ontario to give it any thought,” Ford’s spokesperson, Ivana Yelich, wrote in an email to the National Post.
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