Union demands Toronto school board trustee who questioned nudity at Pride Parade return donation
TORONTO, Ontario, May 1, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A union that supported the 2012 by-election campaign of Toronto District School Board (TDSB) trustee Sam Sotiropoulos — who questioned the propriety of nudity at the annual Pride Parade touted as “family friendly” — is now asking him to return its donation.
The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario’s (ETFO) LGBTQ Committee recently passed a motion requesting that Sotiropoulos return the $750 union contribution, Now Toronto reported.
“Unfortunately ETFO is one of the unions that supported Sam. He had strong labour support from several unions,” executive officer Pam Dogra said. “We're sadly disappointed. We will not be endorsing him again.”
Sotiropoulos told LifeSiteNews that he has not received any official communication from any union about wanting monies back, calling the notion “an absurd and utterly ridiculous proposition. “If the unions were to contact me with such a request, I would refuse,” he said.
Sotiropoulos made news in February when he voiced concern about school children viewing illegal public nudity at the city’s annual Pride parade in which the TDSB participates, asking police at that time if they would uphold existing laws against public nudity.
Earlier this month the TDSB shot down a motion spearheaded by Sotiropoulos that would have asked the City of Toronto to uphold nudity laws at the WorldPride parade on June 29.
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 4400) president John Weatherup called Sotiropoulos’ views “inappropriate.”
Earlier this year the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) released a statement accusing Sotiropoulos of “direct discrimination, systemic discrimination, [and] harassment,” stating that it would withdraw support from the trustee in the upcoming fall election.
The Campaign for Public Education (CPE) also donated money to Sotiropoulos’ campaign but now says it regrets that decision.
“Now we know that he’s just nasty. He’s a dangerous person,” spokesperson Stephen Seaborn said. “The Campaign for Public Education endorsed him last time around, and we are really sorry that we did. He has reputed any commitment to public education that we can see.”
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In a surprise twist, Sotiropoulos threatened legal action against Now Magazine on Tuesday for publishing the article about him that he says is “clearly defamatory and constitutes an assault against my reputation and personal character.”
Former Xtra journalist Andrea Houston called Sotiropoulos “homophobic” in the piece that ran on Monday titled, “Homophobic trustee’s backers ask for money back.”
“The title of the article boldly alleges that I am ‘Homophobic’ and further, that my motion which was put before the Toronto district school board at the Regular Board Meeting on April 9, 2014, was also ‘homophobic.’ These are serious allegations which are not substantiated in any way in the article in question,” Sotiropoulos wrote in a letter of complaint to the magazine.
Sotiropoulos is demanding a formal apology and a retraction of the article.
“Should you choose to disregard this complaint and not comply with my formal request for a public apology and retraction, I will vigorously pursue all options available to me under the Libel and Slander Act of the Province of Ontario,” he wrote.
Sotiropoulos told LifeSiteNews that he expects there will be multiple parties named in the suit after he confers with his legal counsel this afternoon.