NEWS
09/21/2015 09:05 EDT | Updated 09/21/2016 01:12 EDT

Terry Fox Foundation not enthusiastic about Conservative Party pledge

The Terry Fox Foundation and the family of the Canadian icon deny claims made by the national Conservative Party about its multi-million-dollar campaign pledge to the Fox Foundation.

"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.

"We would always welcome government support of cancer research in Terry's name," said the family.

"Specifically, we would hope that all federal parties would come together in this the 35th anniversary year, for Terry and all who run in his name, in support of the Terry Fox Research Institute's proposal for a pan-Canadian comprehensive cancer centre strategy."

Britt Andersen, Executive Director of The Terry Fox Foundation, echoed the sentiment.

"As an international non-profit organization, The Terry Fox Foundation is non-partisan," said Andersen. "The Foundation welcomes new investment commitments in cancer research from any and all political parties." 

$35-million pledge

On Sunday Federal Industry Minister and Tory heavyweight James Moore was in Port Moody, B.C., to announce that a re-elected Conservative government would commit up to $35 million to match donations raised during this year's Terry Fox Run.

"It would be nice if the other political parties would all double down on our commitment and stand with the legacy of Terry Fox and say regardless of what happens on Oct. 19 that they will recognize Terry Fox as a hero and will move forward," said Moore, who is not running for re-election.

"But it's a commitment that will for sure be met by Stephen Harper should he be elected."

No one from Fox's family was present for the announcement.

"They're aware of it," said Moore when asked about the Fox family. "They're enthusiastic and they think it's great."

The outgoing MP added that a Tory win on Oct. 19 would also mean $12.5 million in capital funding to help establish the Canadian Cancer Society's proposed research and cancer-prevention centre in Vancouver. The remaining funds would come from other levels of government and private donors.

Moore also said a Conservative victory would see the government renew its $250-million commitment to the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer when the twice-renewed, five-year program expires in 2017.

Tight race in new riding

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper's wife, Laureen Harper, was also on hand for the announcement, and spoke of taking part in the five-kilometre Terry Fox Run with Vancouver-area Tory MP John Weston.

"It poured rain and we looked like drowned rats," joked Laureen. "But it was beautiful."

Laureen was introduced by the region's Conservative candidate, Tim Laidler. Laidler is aiming to wrestle control of the hotly contested riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam from NDP incumbent Fin Donnelly, who won the seat last election by a couple of thousand votes.

Electoral boundary redistribution has shaken the New Democrats' hold in the area by bringing more Conservative supporters into the riding, which could spell trouble for Donnelly.

Laidler also stands to benefit from Moore's star power, as his decision not to run for re-election hasn't stopped him from lending the party a helping hand on the campaign trail.