Brampton Regional Councillor John Sprovieri (Wards 9,10) has come under fire for racially insensitive remarks he made in an email to a constituent late last week.
Responding the email’s subject line “Why are white people still planning Brampton’s future?”, Sprovieri responded that white people have “developed a great system where everyone is welcome and can live peacefully together” and he hopes newcomers “learn the values of white people”.
Brampton’s other politicians don’t feel the same. “I’m embarrassed, I’m ashamed. It doesn’t represent what I think the qualities of a councillor in a diverse city like Brampton should be exemplified by,” Mayor Linda Jeffrey told CityNews in an interview.
Jeffrey also indicated in an email Tuesday that Sprovieri should seek diversity training in order to “better understand the role of multiculturalism in building our national fabric”.
This isn’t the first time the veteran councillor, who has been on Brampton City Council since 1989, has sparked outrage. Sprovieri came under fire in 2014 for sharing inappropriate jokes about Jews.
— Desmond Cole (@DesmondCole) July 6, 2017
Sprovieri’s most recent comments have sparked outrage online and have garnered widespread media attention, yet he stands by his remarks.
“Was it a bad choice of words? I don’t believe so. Maybe it doesn’t sound good, but I don’t see how it’s incorrect,” Sprovieri told CityNews in an interview.
Currently, Brampton City Council’s code of conduct contains little in the way of dealing with the type of language used in the email. A formal complaint can be launched by the recipient of the email or any of the handful of people included in the thread, but nothing has been filed with the city’s integrity commissioner.
Mayor Jeffrey isn’t the only local politician to have a thing or two to say about the remarks. MP Raj Grewal represents the same area of the city as Sprovieri at the federal level and he released a statement saying, “as public office holders, we bear immense responsibility, including but not limited to serving with the utmost professionalism and representing all of our residents, regardless of their race, religion [and] political affiliation.”
Grewal went on to say, “For that reason, attributing the successful development of Canada’s 9th largest city to one particular group of people is not only unfair but also not factual.”
There is no indication what repercussions, if any, Councillor Sprovieri will face.