Top Ontario politician under fire for slave auction at Western University frat
Ontario PC Minister of Education and King—Vaughan MPP Stephen Lecce is in hot water after revelations that he participated in a mock slave auction during his time at Western University (UWO) back in the 2000s.
The auction took place back in 2006 when Lecce was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity's UWO branch, according to a bombshell report published by PressProgress on Tuesday evening.
With less than a month to go before Ontario votes in the 2022 provincial election, the news is a blow to the prominent member of Doug Ford's cabinet, and the PC party has been thrust into damage control mode.
NEW: Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce was a participant in a ‘slave auction’ during his time as a frat house leader.— PressProgress (@pressprogress) May 11, 2022
Educators who work with racialized communities call it “disgusting” and say Lecce should be held accountable.https://t.co/h0B4rnx2BH #onpoli #cdnpoli
Lecce issued a swift apology for his involvement, saying that "The event from 2006 was inappropriate and in no way reflects who I am as a person, which is why I unreservedly apologize," adding that despite the blow to his campaign, he will "continue to passionately advance the interests of all Ontarians — irrespective of faith, heritage, orientation or race."
Lecce’s fraternity, Sigma Chi, now has a rule explicitly banning the “auction of human beings or servitude.”— PressProgress (@pressprogress) May 11, 2022
One former leader of a Canadian Sigma Chi chapter told @pressprogress the use of the term “slave auction” is highly unusual in their experience.https://t.co/h0B4rnx2BH pic.twitter.com/iwDEKbQt7E
But that clearly wasn't enough for some, including the leadership of the Ontario NDP, issuing a statement with a section charging that "Mr. Lecce chose to lead and participate in events that mocked and trivialized this painful history. He also chose to conceal them for years as a public official."
"We are calling on him to withdraw as a candidate for office. Failing that, Doug Ford and the PC party must remove him. We are also calling on Doug Ford, as the Leader of the PC party, to clearly and unequivocally condemn Mr. Lecce's actions."
The scandal's indirect connection to an educational institution has one commenter suggesting that Lecce should not be the person to lead education policy in the province.
#ONpoli— T.O. Resident (@TO_Resident) May 11, 2022
Stephen Lecce needs to find a job where he's NOT IN CHARGE OF THE EDUCATION SYSTEM
My My Shades of Blackface all over again.. but now for Harper's former boy in short pants Stephen Lecce! How delicious! 😄😅😄 tell me more!— Dont Call Me Shirley 🍁🇨🇦 (@TheLiberalLeona) May 11, 2022
The incumbent King—Vaughan MPP, Lecce will be up for re-election this June.
Sigma Chi UWO - Epsilon Omicron
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