The city integrity commissioner ruled Wednesday that Brampton City Councillor John Sprovieri violated the city’s code of conduct by replying to a constituent’s email with racially insensitive remarks last summer.
Sprovieri made headlines across the country last year after his controversial reply to a constituent’s email with the subject line “Why are white people still planning Brampton’s future?”
The email was addressed to all members of council, among others, and took aim at the city’s hiring process, calling it discriminatory and in favour of ‘white people’.
But it was Sprovieri’s response that sparked all the controversy. He replied with, “To be fair, people of all races, colour and creed 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. I hope that the newcomers will learn the values of the white people so that Brampton and Canada will continue to be a favourite destination.”
Official complaints were filed with the city’s integrity commissioner back in August, including one from Peel District School Board Trustee Harkirat Singh, who said the remarks were ‘offensive and insensitive.’
Integrity Commissioner Guy Giorno has now found Councillor Sprovieri in violation of Rule 15 of the councillor’s code of conduct, which dictates ‘members should conduct themselves with appropriate decorum at all times.’
Sprovieri won’t face a suspension or a financial penalty, and while the commissioner’s report calls for an apology, his public statement he made on August 9 meets the necessary criteria.
Giorno suggested Sprovieri could benefit from diversity and sensitivity training, but it’s not required under the code of conduct, nor is it enforceable by the commissioner.
Sprovieri indicated to CityNews that he believes the real issue was in his choice of words saying that, “If I would have known this would have blown up the way it did, I would not have used the word ‘white,’” he said. “I would’ve used the words ‘Canadian values.’”
On Wednesday, Councillor Martin Medeiros put forward a timely motion to have all councillors take diversity training. It passed unanimously, so it looks like Councillor Sprovieri will receive the training after all.