One of Brampton’s veteran councilors has issued an apology after recently stating in an email to a constituent that newcomers to Canada should learn “white people values”.
“I have, with the wisdom that comes with hindsight and sombre reflection, realized that I owe an apology for a confusing email exchange with a constituent,” said Councillor John Sprovieri (Wards 9-10) in a council meeting last week.
The controversy all started last month when a constituent sent an email to council with the subject line, “Why are white people still deciding Brampton’s future?” in which the constituent expressed distaste over the lack of diversity in the city’s recent hires.
While most other councillors left the email unanswered, Sprovieri responded stating “people of all races, colour and creeds are eager to come to Brampton and Canada because the white people of this nation have developed a great system where everyone is welcome and can live peacefully together.”
The comments didn’t go over well with either council colleagues or members of the community, and a number of complaints were filed with the city’s Integrity Commissioner.
Even after the public outcry, Sprovieri staunchly defended his words, refusing to back down. He even took to Twitter to do so.
The Values found in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms passed by the English and French [White] Canadian MP's. in 1982.
— John Sprovieri (@JohnSprovieri) July 13, 2017
Since the controversy spreads, a controversy which Sprovieri admitted to CityNews wasn’t “going away”, he has worked with a lawyer to craft an apology.
Sprovieri clarified in last week’s council meeting that his response to the constituent was too hasty and that he was did not intend to marginalize anyone or make light of their contributions to Canada.
Sproviery said, “I understand that Canadian values, morals, and ideals, are not based on colour, and I recognize it was unfair to phrase my comments in that manner.” He added, “This oversight was not a deliberate slight. I reacted too quickly, and failed to appreciate how my words would be interpreted outside of the context in which they were written.”
Sprovieri’s colleagues on Council commended him for offering the apology, including the mayor, who originally suggested he seek out diversity training
This isn’t Sprovieri’s first infraction. In 2014 he faced a similar situation after making jokes via email regarding stereotypes about Jewish women.
While complaints have been filed, the city’s Integrity Commissioner has yet to confirm whether an investigation has been launched and if it has, whether an apology will have any bearing on future discipline.