Outspoken Tory MP Rob Anders is joining Sun News in criticizing his own government for paying tribute to communist hero Norman Bethune.
The MP for Calgary West went on Sun News Thursday and denounced the government's $2.5 million in funding for a new visitors' centre at the Bethune Memorial House in Gravenhurst, Ont. Bethune was a Canadian born doctor and card-carrying communist who died in 1939 while tending to future Chinese ruler Mao Zedong's troops.
"You don't need taxpayer money to go ahead and memorialize somebody who was a fan of the biggest killer in human history," Anders told Sun's Krista Erickson, referring to Bethune's connection to Mao.
Anders compared the spending to the $11 million in savings the government expects to save by eliminating the penny. We were unclear on the connection, but it seems Anders is a fan of small change.
Much was also made about how Mao is responsible for more deaths than Hitler or Stalin, a frequent refrain of late on Sun News.
Anders was hesitant to directly criticize Stephen Harper or Treasury Board President Tony Clement, who was on hand to open the visitors centre on Wednesday. But he is calling on Canadians to write to the PM, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Clement asking them to redirect funding away from the project.
The Tories have paid increased attention to Bethune's legacy of late, largely because he is a national hero in China where the Conservatives seek to expand trade relations. A Chinese delegation was in attendance at the Gravenhurst ceremony on Wednesday and the Chinese national anthem was played.
Clement said in a news release that the Memorial House will be an emblem of friendship between the two countries and he has stood by his government's spending on the project, pointing to Bethune's medical innovations.
Clement and the Tories have faced intense criticism from Sun News over the last few days for honouring the legacy of someone who supported Mao and global communism. Host Charles Adler joined the attack on Thursday, calling Clement China's "useful idiot."
The phrase, often erroneously attributed to Lenin, refers to a communist sympathizer in the West. Communists in the Soviet Union, China, Cuba and elsewhere often cynically made use of these sympathizers while secretly holding them in contempt.
Clement also faced criticism for hypocrisy this week after attacking a former newspaper editor on Twitter for moving to Cuba. Clement launched the online salvo on the same day he praised Bethune in Gravenhurst. Stephen Wicary, the journalist in question, is moving to the Caribbean nation so his wife can take a position with a charity there.
Anders sits on the far right of the Conservative caucus and has historically shared close ties with the Prime Minister, a fellow Calgarian. In fact, Anders took over Harper's Calgary seat in 1997 after Harper resigned to take a position at the National Citizens Coalition. Harper has described Anders as "a true reformer and a true conservative."
Recently, however, Anders has fallen out of favour with the party. He was removed from the Veterans Affairs Committee in March after being caught sleeping through the proceedings. Anders was also forced to apologize to two veterans advocates whom he called "NDP hacks" and "Putin supporters" for bringing his slumbers to attention. Both advocates turned out to be Conservatives.
Last November, a video of Anders nodding off in the House of Commons went viral. Anders blamed a recent car accident.
Anders, therefore, seems to have little to lose by speaking out against his own government's actions. Described recently in the press as an "embarassment" and "one of the worst MPs in Parliament," perhaps Anders is already angling for a post-political life as a Sun correspondent. One can only hope.
A young Chinese communist in 1927.
Chinese communist leader Chairman Mao Zedong (L) welcomes U.S. President Richard Nixon to his house in the Beijing Forbidden City on February 22, 1972. President Nixon urged China to join the United States in 'a long march together, not in lockstep, but on different roads leading to the same goal, the goal of building a world structure of peace'.
A budding Georgian revolutionary in his mid-twenties.
Then-Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in 1936.
A 1916 photo of a young corporal.
A picture dated 1939 shows German Nazi Chancellor and dictator Adolf Hitler (C) consulting a geographical survey map with his general staff including Heinrich Himmler (L) and Martin Bormann (R) at an unlocated place during World War II.
A wealthy young Russian in 1887.
Portrait dated May 1919 of Vladimir Illyich Ulianov (1870-1924) better known as Lenin, as he delivers a speech during the parade of the general training troops. Lenin led in October 1917 the communist revolution, founded the Soviet armed forces, the Red Army, and became head of the first Soviet government.
A young man listens intently in July 1953. (AFP/Getty Images)
In this photo released on Feb. 4, 2012, by the state media website Cubadebate, Cuba's leader Fidel Castro listens during the presentation of his book 'Guerrillero del Tiempo,' or 'Time Warrior' in Havana, Cuba, Friday, Feb. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Cubadebate, Roberto Chile)
This politician pictured in 1976 would come to rule Rhodesia, renamed Zimbabwe, in 1980. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, looks on after delivering an address to the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters on September 22, 2011 in New York City. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
A future dictator in his hometown of Tikrit. Photo dated 1960. (Photo credit should read AFP/Getty Images)
In this Jan. 29, 2006, file photo, former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein gestures during his trial in Baghdad, Iraq. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic, File)
The General circa 1950. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
Mubutu Sese Koko
Surrounded by bodyguards, Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seko is escorted into a car after arriving at Pointe Noire, Congo, Wednesday, May 14, 1997, for a scheduled meeting with Zairian rebel leader Laurent Kabila. (AP Photo/Peter Andrews)
Just a schoolboy in this October, 1963, photo. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP Images)
Kim Jong Il
In this photo released by the Korean Central News Agency and distributed in Tokyo by the Korea News Service, the body of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is laid in a memorial palace in Pyongyang, North Korea, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011. Kim Jong Il died on Saturday, Dec. 17, North Korean state media announced Monday. (AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service)
Not so long ago... (AP Photo/Str)
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attends a meeting of Russian and Belarusian leadership in the Gorki residence outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, Nov. 25, 2011. Lukashenko <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/belarus/8214397/Alexander-Lukashenko-Europes-last-dictator.html" target="_hplink">has been called Europe's only remaining dictator</a>. (AP Photo/Maxim Shipenkov, Pool)
The 70s were happier times for this handsome fellow. (AP Photo)
In this Sept. 8, 2010, file photo, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi fans his face during the Forum of Kings, Princes, Sultans, Sheikhs and Mayors of Africa in Tripoli. (AP Photo/Abdel Magid Al Fergany, file)
This president takes a shot while playing basketball in Kampala, Uganda, in a 1977 photo. Not much to our surprise, he beat the rival military team by a score of 10-0. (AP Photo / Richard Tomkins).
Former Ugandan President Idi Amin looking relaxed, circa 1980. (Photo by Keystone/HultonArchive/Getty Images)
Rebel leader shows off new recruits for his army on Feb. 12, 1997. (AP Photo/Jean-Marc Bouju)
Laurent-Desire Kabila's coffin is carried by Congolese officers January 21, 2001, upon its arrival from Lumumbashi at n'Djili airport in Kinshasa. Joseph Kabila (C-in black), appointed as Kabila's successor, follows his father's coffin. (DESIREY MINKOH/AFP/Getty Images)
Then-vice president lifts an eyebrow on May 11, 1975. (AP Photo/Tayeb)
Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is wheeled into court in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012. Defense attorneys for Egypt's Interior Minister argued Sunday that thugs and armed men killed protesters and said some relatives of those killed in the uprising are only seeking compensation. Mubarak, his former interior minister and four top security officers are being tried for complicity in the deaths of hundreds of protesters at the hands of security forces during the Jan. 25, 2011 uprising. The six face the death penalty if convicted. (AP Photo/Mohammed al-Law)
A military ruler smiles on July 24, 1989. (ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)
Omar Al Bashir
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir speaks to reporters during a visit to Tripoli, Libya, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012. (AP Photo Abdel Magid al-Fergany)
A Communist leader sneers in February 1988. (AFP/Getty Images)
Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic arrives to open his defence at the war crimes tribunal August 31, 2004, in The Hague, Netherlands. Milosevic was accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the wake of the war in the Balkans during the 1990's. (Photo by Michel Porro/Getty Images)
The man second from the left in this undated family photo would rise to power by coincidence. (LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images)
In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, waves to his supporters after he attended the prayer of Eid Al Adha, at the al-Nour Mosque in the northern town of Raqqa, Syria, on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011. (AP Photo/SANA)
Former prime minister waves to the cheering crowd November 7, 1987, after being sworn in as president. (JOEL ROBINE/AFP/Getty Images)
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
In this file photo released Dec. 28, 2010, by the Tunisian Presidency office, Tunisia's President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, left, visits Mohamed Bouazizi, a young man who set himself on fire acting out of desperation after police confiscated the fruits and vegetables he sold without a permit, at Ben Arous Burn and Trauma Centre, in Tunis. The Tunisian unrest began after Bouazizi set himself on fire when police in the central town of Sidi Bouzid confiscated the fruits he was selling without a permit. A Tunisian court has dropped charges against a policewoman whose dispute with Mohamed Bouazizi sparked a chain of events that unleashed uprisings around the Arab world. The case against the policewoman was closed after the vendor's family withdrew its original complaint. (AP Photo/Tunisian Presidency, File)
Man with impressive moustache attends emergency Arab Summit on November 11, 1987 in Amman, Jordan. (NABIL ISMAIL/AFP/Getty Images)
Ali Abdullah Saleh
In this Feb. 5, 2012 file photo, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh waves to people protesting his presence in the United States as he exits a hotel in New York. Saleh is in the U.S. protected by diplomatic immunity while he receives treatment of burns he suffered during an assassination attempt in June. A Human Rights Watch report released Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012 said Saleh ordered a crackdown on Arab Spring protesters that killed at least 120 people in just one city. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
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