Stephen Lecce apologizes for ‘slave auction’ event at Western University fraternity

Ontario’s education minister is being criticized for participating in a ‘slave auction’ while in a fraternity at Western University in the late 2000s.

The report, first published in PressProgress, details how Stephen Lecce participated in an auction to raise money for charity during his sophomore year of college at the Sigma Chi fraternity in 2006.

Lecce, who serves as Ontario’s education minister under Premier Doug Ford and Progressive Conservative MLA for King-Vaughan, has since responded to the story. Lecce did not deny his involvement and apologized.

“The 2006 event was inappropriate and in no way reflects who I am as a person, which is why I unreservedly apologize,” Lecce said. “I will continue to passionately advocate for the interests of all Ontarians, regardless of religion, heritage, orientation or race.

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The story comes as Ontario heads into a provincial election with the campaign entering its eighth day. Lecce is seeking re-election for his constituency.

Meanwhile, the Ontario NDP is demanding accountability and wants to see Lecce resign as Minister of Education and Public Service.

“Slavery is no joke. Engaging in racist and dehumanizing actions cannot be allowed,” several NDP candidates wrote in a joint statement.

“Mr. Lecce must apologize for the deep pain his actions have caused, educate himself and attempt to make amends to black communities,” the statement continued. alarming our children, should not be represented by him at this time.”

“We are asking him to step down as a candidate for office. Failing that, Doug Ford and the PC party must withdraw it. We also call on Doug Ford, as leader of the PC Party, to clearly and unequivocally condemn Mr. Lecce’s actions.

However, Liberal leader Steven Del Duca stopped short of calling for Lecce’s resignation and said comments about it are better suited to those affected.

“The behavior adopted is unacceptable,” Del Duca said. “I know he’s apologized for this, but I think it’s really important that we give communities that have been impacted by his comments – and by these types of negative behavior for far too long – the opportunity to respond. and judge whether his apology is acceptable or not. »

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Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner responded by saying Lecce “owes a sincere apology to the black community in Ontario.”

“I’m disgusted to hear of the revelations that Stephen Lecce participated in a slave auction while in college. It’s blatantly racist and untrue,” Schreiner said. “It’s another stark reminder of the extent of racism in Ontario and why we need to commit to taking real action to address it, especially in our schools.

Provincial elections are set for June 2.

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