Stephen Lecce apologizes for ‘slave auction’

Stephen Lecce, one of Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford’s most prominent candidates, has apologized after a report emerged of his participation in a fraternity’s “slave auction” when he was in college.

Lecce, who was education minister in the most recent provincial parliament, issued a two-line apology Tuesday night after a report was published by left-wing website Press Progress about a 2006 Sigma Chi event at Western University that called a “slave auction.” .”

In his apology, Lecce, who was a member of the brotherhood’s chapter at the time, did not deny his involvement in the event.

“The 2006 event was inappropriate and in no way reflects who I am as a person, so I offer my unreserved apologies,” Lecce said.

“I will continue to passionately represent the interests of all Ontarians – regardless of creed, origin, orientation or race.”

In a web-archived version of what appeared on Sigma Chi’s website at the time, obtained by CTV News Toronto, Lecce wrote a statement congratulating the incoming members.

“Our alumni brethren, ranging from academic scientists, business leaders, philanthropists, politicians and community leaders, continue to live the values ​​taught through Sigma Chi many years ago,” Lecce wrote.

To the right of his post appeared the fraternity’s “Chapter News,” which reported events including the 2006 “slave auction.”

A statement written by Stephen Lecce, which appeared on Sigma Chi’s website, is from a web-archived version obtained by CTV News Toronto. Lecce’s apology comes as he seeks reelection for King-Vaughan in Ontario’s provincial elections.

When asked on Wednesday about Lecce’s apologies during the campaign, Ontario Liberal leader Stephen Del Duca said he was unable to comment given his privileged position.

“I understand he has apologized, but I think it’s best left to racialized Ontarians, vulnerable Ontarians, who are in a position to deal with this kind of behavior way too often so that they’re in a position being able to respond to whether or not his apology is good enough,” said Del Duca.

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath called Lecce’s involvement in the auction “extremely painful” and “hurtful” to members of the black community.

“I must say that our former members of the Black Caucus, the founders of our Black Caucus, made a statement last night and I stand by that statement 100 percent,” Horwath said Wednesday.

In the joint statement, several Ontario NDP candidates in Toronto called on Lecce to withdraw from the presidential election, calling his actions “abhorrent” and “clearly anti-black racism”.

“Under no circumstances should the people of this province, or more alarmingly our children, be represented by him at this time,” said Toronto-St. Paul’s candidate Dr. Jill Andrew said in the statement with NDP candidates Faisal Hassan and Dr. Laura Mae Lindo.

“Doug Ford and the PC party need to remove it. We also call on Doug Ford, as leader of the PC party, to support Mr. Lecce clearly and unequivocally.”

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