May 10th, 2022

NDP Statement regarding Stephen Lecce’s participation in ‘slave auctions’

TORONTO and KITCHENER — NDP candidate for Toronto—St. Paul’s, Dr. Jill Andrew, NDP candidate for York South—Weston Faisal Hassan, and NDP candidate for Kitchener Centre Dr. Laura Mae Lindo released the following statement regarding reports that Ontario PC candidate and PC Education Minister Stephen Lecce participated in ‘slave auctions’ as a fraternity leader in university:

“The trans-Atlantic slave trade is one of the most horrific chapters of human history. Upwards of 12 million enslaved Africans were ripped from their homes and transported across the Atlantic to the Americas between the 16th and the 19th century. Millions of Black folks in the Americas over multiple generations were born, lived and died trapped in the barbaric system of slavery. The legacy of slavery, colonialism and white supremacy still lives on in our institutions and in the generational trauma people of African-descent continue to face every day.

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, as a Minister charged with the education, opportunity and wellbeing of Black students and as the person tasked with overseeing the province’s investigations into anti-Black racism in schools. All of these actions are repulsive and constitute clear anti-Black racism.

Mr. Lecce must apologize for the deep pain his actions caused, educate himself, and attempt to make amends to Black communities. But under no circumstances should the people of this province, or even more alarmingly our children, be represented by him at this time. 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.

Slavery is not a joke. Engaging in racist, dehumanizing actions cannot be allowed to be another case of “boys will be boys.” Black Ontarians deserve so much better from their elected officials and their governments.”