Symbolism and Second-class Citizens

di Joe Volpe del 24 July 2018

TORONTO - “When we win, I’m German; when we lose, I’m Turkish”. So, says Mesut Özil, on leaving the German National Soccer Team, following Germany’s early ouster from the World Cup Tournament.
He was tired of being a second-class citizen.
Özil, German-born soccer player of Turkish descent, former star with Schalke 04 of the German League and more recently of Arsenal in the English Premier League, touched off an international political storm when he took a picture with one of the “bad boys” in the greater Middle East, Erdogan, President of Turkey.
Some fans, ever-ready to point fingers, accused him of divided loyalties. Erdogan came to his defence. Angela Merkel as well.
The far right in German political circles is otherwise silent, so far. Not so in other European countries.
The matter has fueled the flames of regionalism, provincialism and even xenophobia.
At some point, talent/merit trumps other issues in team-building.
The now famous Usman case of a journeyman soccer player who successfully challenged Serie A practices as contrary to labour mobility provisions under the Schengen Accord is illustrative.
The soccer world, despite its many organizational faults, literally ferrets out talent from every furrow it can excavate in order to put a competitive product on the field.
Political circles respond to different stimuli.
It is very much the trend du jour to speak to diversity (ethnic, racial, cultural, gender etc.) and to strive for “gender parity” in partisan or governmental organizations. The Corriere is in tune with the advances made by modern society in this regard.
In the lead up to the last Cabinet shuffle, it proposed, respectfully, that it might be opportune to consider the talent offered by the collection of MPs who represent the 1.5 million Canadians who identified themselves in the las census as being ethnically Italian.
It suggested a couple of MPs from Montreal and Vaughan.
It is our mandate to promote good governance and the presence of qualified people from our community in that governing circle. The Prime Minister chooses.
He chose one Filomena Tassi, from the Hamilton area. She has good credentials.
On paper, really good ones.
Mr. Trudeau, an advocate of the trend noted above, used a photo-op at the Carpenters’ event last Friday to single me out with a vigorous, extemporaneous defence of his selection: a woman can do just as good a job as a man!
No one have taken a contrary position.
And Corriere had not been invited to the closed-door meeting, so I couldn’t comment on whether the issue had come up in the deliberations.
Corriere journalist, Paola Chiarini, had remarked in that day’s edition that Minister Tassi had been assigned an undefined portfolio, with unspecified goals and objectives – and without a bureaucracy or budget.
A missed opportunity to match talent to goals, she implied.
As of yesterday, the neither Minister Tassi’s photo nor her mandate letter were available on the government website, even though the other Ministers were all there.
At any rate, a special thank you for alerting everyone within earshot that you and/or your office read the Corriere Canadese.

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