Stephen Lecce

Stephen Francis Lecce MPP (Italian: [ˈlettʃe]; born November 26, 1986) is a Canadian politician who has served as the Ontario minister of education since June 20, 2019. A member of the Progressive Conservative (PC) party, Lecce is the member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for King—Vaughan, representing the riding in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario since his election in 2018.


Stephen Lecce

Stephen Lecce (cropped).jpg
Ontario Minister of Education
Assumed office
June 20, 2019
PremierDoug Ford
Preceded byLisa Thompson
Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Infrastructure
In office
June 29, 2018 – June 20, 2019
PremierDoug Ford
Succeeded byStephen Crawford
Deputy Government House Leader
In office
July 23, 2018 – June 20, 2019
PremierDoug Ford
Succeeded byAmy Fee
Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier
In office
July 31, 2018 – June 20, 2019
PremierDoug Ford
Succeeded byWill Bouma
Member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament
for King—Vaughan
Assumed office
June 7, 2018
Preceded byRiding established
Personal details
Born
Stephen Francis Lecce

(1986-11-26) November 26, 1986 (age 34)
Vaughan, Ontario, Canada
Political partyProgressive Conservative
ResidenceKleinburg, Ontario, Canada
Alma materUniversity of Western Ontario
OccupationConsultant

Prior to his appointment to the provincial Cabinet, he served as deputy government house leader, parliamentary assistant to the minister of infrastructure, and parliamentary assistant to the premier. Lecce also worked in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) during the Harper government.

Early lifeEdit

Lecce was born in Vaughan, Ontario, the son of Italian immigrants who came to Canada in the late 1950s.[1] At age 13, he worked then-PC MPP Al Palladini's successful re-election campaign in 1999.[2]

Education and early careerEdit

Lecce attended St. Margaret Mary's Catholic School in Vaughan, St. Michael's College School in Toronto, and later the University of Western Ontario (UWO) for his undergraduate studies in political science. There, he was elected and served as president of UWO's University Students' Council.[3] While studying at UWO, he was initiated into the Sigma Chi Fraternity, eventually serving as president of the Western Chapter.[4]

After graduation, Lecce joined the Prime Minister's Office under Stephen Harper. Lecce was hired following a personal interaction with Harper in his capacity as president of Western's University Students' Council. At the PMO, Lecce served as deputy director of communications before being promoted to director of media relations.

Lecce owns a public relations consultancy firm.[2]

Political careerEdit

Lecce ran as a Progressive Conservative in King—Vaughan and won with 29,136 votes (56.62%).[2][5] On June 29, 2018, Lecce became the parliamentary assistant to Monte McNaughton, the minister of infrastructure.[6] On July 31, Lecce became parliamentary assistant to the premier.[7]

On June 20, 2019, he was sworn in as Ontario's minister of education.[8] Beginning in October 2019,[9] labour disputes between the provincial government and Ontario's four largest teachers unions (ETFO, OSSTF, OECTA, and AEFO [fr]), have caused rotating strike action. A joint strike by all four unions on February 21, 2020, marked the first province-wide closure of schools since 1997 strikes against the Harris government.[10] Earlier that month, on February 4, New Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath called for Doug Ford to fire Lecce as education minister,[11] however, Ford assured that Lecce would remain in office.[12] On February 12, Lecce called the decision for the four largest teachers unions to hold the joint strike an "irresponsible choice."[13]

On March 12, 2020, Lecce announced that all publicly funded schools in Ontario would be closed for two weeks after March Break due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario,[14] however, the schools never reopened,[15] and on May 19, announced that they would not reopen until the following school year in September.[16] On July 30, Lecce announced a $309 million plan for the resumption of public education in September. Elementary students will resume full time education in September as a single cohort, while most high school students will split their time between the classroom and online learning. Students in grades 4 to 12 will be required to wear a mask while at school, while students in junior kindergarten to grade 3, will be encouraged, but not required.[17]

Electoral recordEdit

 
Lecce speaking during Question Period on May 30, 2019.
2018 Ontario general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Stephen Lecce 29,136 56.62 +24.34
Liberal Marilyn Iafrate 12,012 23.34 -27.97
New Democratic Andrea Beal 7,921 15.39 +3.70
Green Greg Locke 1,754 3.41 +0.43
Trillium Roman Evtukh 252 0.49
Libertarian Yan Simkin 235 0.46
Ontario Moderate Party Tatiana Babitch 151 0.29
Total valid votes 100.0  
Source: Elections Ontario[5]

Cabinet positionsEdit

Ontario provincial government of Doug Ford
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Lisa Thompson Minister of Education
June 20, 2019 - present
Incumbent

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Stephen Lecce, Stephen Harper's Boy Wonder, Comes Of Age Under Doug Ford". msn.com. December 27, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Kopun, Francine (June 7, 2018). "King-Vaughan picks PC candidate Stephen Lecce". Toronto Star. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  3. ^ "Believin' in Stephen". usc.uwo.ca. April 7, 2009. Archived from the original on June 29, 2018.
  4. ^ "News Briefs". usc.uwo.ca. April 7, 2009. Archived from the original on August 12, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Election Night Results /Résultats du soir de l'élection". Elections Ontario. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  6. ^ Walsh, Marieke. "Former federal MPs appointed to cabinet and parliamentary assistant posts under Ford". iPolitics. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  7. ^ "Doug Ford on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  8. ^ "Rookie MPP Stephen Lecce Takes on a Tough Education File". thestar.com. June 20, 2019.
  9. ^ "CUPE education workers, Ontario government reach tentative deal to avoid strike". globalnews.ca. October 6, 2019.
  10. ^ Alphonso, Caroline; Gray, Jeff (February 20, 2020). "Ontario's teachers' unions walk off job together in provincewide strike". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  11. ^ "Horwath calls on Ford to hit the reset button on education, fire Stephen Lecce". ontariondp.ca. February 4, 2020.
  12. ^ "Doug Ford urged to fire education minister as teachers escalate job action". thestar.com. February 4, 2020.
  13. ^ "Ontario's 4 major teachers unions to hold joint 1-day provincewide strike on Feb. 21". cbc.ca. February 12, 2020.
  14. ^ "Ontario to shut down publicly funded schools for 2 weeks after March Break over COVID-19 concerns". cbc.ca. March 12, 2020.
  15. ^ "Ontario schools will not reopen April 6, premier says". March 23, 2020. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  16. ^ "Ontario shuts schools until September because of COVID-19 pandemic". cbc.ca. May 19, 2020.
  17. ^ "Elementary students will be in class full time come September, Ontario says". cbc.ca. July 30, 2020.

External linksEdit