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Stephen Lecce apologizes for fraternity ‘slave auction’ event | CBC News

Stephen Lecce apologizes for fraternity 'slave auction' event | CBC News

Stephen Lecce, one of Doug Ford’s highest profile cabinet ministers, is apologizing in the midst of the Ontario election campaign for his involvement in a so-called “slave auction” fundraiser 15 years ago. 

Lecce participated in a 2006 Sigma Chi event dubbed a “slave auction” while a leader of the fraternity’s chapter at Western University, the left-leaning PressProgress website reported Tuesday night. 

A few hours after the story appeared, Lecce issued a two-line statement apologizing “unreservedly” and not denying his participation. 

“The event from 2006 was inappropriate and in no way reflects who I am as a person, which is why I unreservedly apologize,” Lecce said in the statement.

“I will continue to passionately advance the interests of all Ontarians — irrespective of faith, heritage, orientation or race.”  

The Ontario New Democrats want Lecce to do more than apologize. They are calling for him to withdraw as a PC election candidate in the King–Vaughan riding. 

“Slavery is not a joke,” said an NDP news release signed by three of the party’s Black candidates: Jill Andrew (Toronto–St. Paul’s), Faisal Hassan (York South–Weston), and Laura Mae Lindo (Kitchener Centre). 

“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,” said the NDP candidates.

“Under no circumstances should the people of this province, or even more alarmingly our children, be represented by him at this time.”

Lecce has served as education minister in the Ford government for nearly three years.