Ontario’s Minister of Finance, Charles Sousa, who has also been the MPP for Mississauga South since 2007, is usually pretty smart about the words he uses. As a professional politician, that should be expected.
You can be forgiven, after sometimes hearing Sousa speak, for wondering if that was a voice over in a commercial selling a new hair growing formula, instead of listening to some boring and routine political speech.
While he is an expert politician, he is human and fallible. This past Thursday, Sousa raised some eyebrows when he was making a funding announcement at the North York General Hospital with Premier Kathleen Wynne.
This is what Sousa said when referring to the various hospital staff standing behind him.
- Burlington will be new home for Brock University campus
- Halton Region reports 31 new cases of COVID-19 today, Ontario shows 821 new cases
- Burlington’s Remembrance Day ceremony will be live-streamed
— NEWSTALK1010 (@NEWSTALK1010) March 22, 2018
“Thank you for being here. Thank you to the eye candy behind me…”, Sousa quipped before he introduced Wynne to the podium. The above tweet video was mainly audio, but here’s a video version to verify that it was indeed Sousa speaking at the time.
It seems he got a bit carried away with his words, which Sousa later said he was referring to the ‘beautiful people’ behind him who were the dedicated health care workers serving the people of Ontario. But the reactions to Sousa’s “eye candy” remarks came very quickly.
This tweet came from a clinical researcher at UHN named Hemant Shah:
I’m told there are no doctors as part of the eye candy rows because they weren’t willing to stand there during this pony show. And shame on you, Charles Sousa. Ontario’s healthcare is in shambles and you’re making shallow remarks about those trying to hold it together. https://t.co/MsPVWfIYU5
— Hemant Shah (@hepatoMD) March 22, 2018
And this one came from someone attempting to make some light of the situation:
Perhaps Ontario Liberal cabinet minister Charles Sousa is really a zombie who is looking for some eye candy.
— Michael Bednarski (@mikebednarski) March 23, 2018
But all kidding aside, the term “eye candy”, as defined by Urban Dictionary, means something that is purely aesthetically pleasing, or pleasing to the senses. It can be a person, a film, a sunset, a flower, or anything else you can see…such as a member of the opposite sex you find attractive.
I’m sure you’ve all heard that term thrown around when describing attractive men or women. But since we are talking about Liberals operating in the environment of #MeToo, #TimesUp, and a major backlash against sexist attitudes, one would think they would be more careful with such language and how it could be misinterpreted.
Minister Sousa realized his mistake afterwards and sent out this apology.
“My intent was to acknowledge the tremendous work done by health care professionals, men and women, who provide exemplary care to the people of Ontario. Upon further reflection, my choice of words was inappropriate, and for that, I apologize without reservation,” Sousa said in the statement.
Sousa is running for reelection in the same riding, now called Mississauga-Lakeshore, against PC candidate Rudy Cuzzetto, the Libertarian candidate Jay Ward, and Andrew Weber representing the “None of the Above” party. The NDP will nominate their candidate on March 25, while the Greens have yet to pick a candidate for this riding.
Hopefully for his sake this matter is behind him and he and his party can get back to defending themselves against…well, every other issue that voters will judge the Liberal government on come June 7.