On June 26th, a resident sent an email with the subject line “Why are WHITE PEOPLE still planning Brampton’s future?” to Brampton politicians, community leaders and media. The provocative email made accusations, ethnic and age related slurs against individuals and current staff. As a result, Brampton Focus will not be publishing the email. No recipient of the email responded to the communication except for Brampton Regional Councillor John Sprovieri.
Councillor’s Sprovieri’s response to the resident was leaked online four days after the original email and included the statement “I hope that the new comers will learn the values of the white people…”
As an elected official, we reached out to Councillor Sprovieri for an on camera interview to fully explain his perspective. Our request was declined. Instead, the Councillor stated that “I will gladly debate the contents of the emails with a Brampton Focus representative if you believe that my response to the constituent is incorrect or improper.” (Corrected for grammar).
We also reached out to the resident at the centre of this controversy and were provided with a lengthy list of exchanges with Councillor Sprovieri and a history of her unorthodox approach in pushing local institutions to adapt to the changing demographics in Brampton. The resident included in her communication that “We don’t need some old white men, or even white people, telling us non-white Bramptonians, who comprise the majority of Brampton’s population, what sort of Brampton we should want to have in the future!”
On Tuesday evening, Brampton’s Mayor Linda Jeffrey, who was included on the original email message and subsequent responses replied to everyone on the conversation with the following:
Unfortunately, my office was recently included on an email exchange between Councillor Sprovieri and a resident on corporate email.
I believe the original intent of the correspondence was to complain about hiring practices at the City of Brampton but it has become clear that the correspondence has now deteriorated into a disrespectful, crude and insensitive tirade about ethnicity.
As a City, and as a country that is struggling to find the right language and respect for indigenous people and their role in our past, I find it disheartening to hear such insensitive language being used by a member of my Council. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. I urge my colleague to seek some diversity training in order to better understand the role of multiculturalism in building our national fabric.
Councillor Sprovieri responded to the Mayor and everyone else on the email thread with the following email reply:
Mayor Jeffrey, From my understanding the native people want their land back. Any suggestions on how that may happen? John.
The ongoing exchange of emails has raised debate and adds to a growing list of race, ethnic, religion and hate related incidents over the past few years in Brampton and the Region of Peel that have adversely affected many in the city.