A deliberate and unnecessary slight to Italian-Canadians
by The Honourable Joe Volpe, Publisher
TORONTO - I am not, nor have personally been, interested in being appointed to the “Upper Chamber”. I do not hold it against anyone for holding a different opinion. In fact, I and the Corriere Canadese have supported candidates for the position.
Even if we recognize that the Senate has a Constitutional role in the Legislative process in Canada, that role is subservient to that of the House of Commons. In our view, it can never be different, given that “legitimacy” in a democratic environment can only flow from the ballot box.
Aside from the proverbial “sober second thought” it provides on Legislation; the Senate has been reduced to a “rubber stamp” of the decisions reached in the House of Commons. Yes, it conducts studies that occasionally have relevance and merit, but it cannot initiate legislation that carries any economic consequences on the Canadian public.
That having been said, the Prime Minister has the authority to fill the Senate with whomever he chooses, provided the selected come from the Province whose ranks need replenishing. The Constitutional rationale being that these will represent the interests of that Province in Ottawa.
Yet, there is not a single Provincial or Territorial Premier who will cede that jurisdiction to a Cabinet Minister (Lieutenants of the Prime Minister) much less to any Senator.
The Senate has, at least under this Administration, become little more than a “canvas upon which to imprint an image reflective of what Canada is”. Or should be.
Corriere Canadese is of the view that citizen participation in the political life of the country is something to be valued. We may not always agree with others who choose to hold different views, but we think that those who are willing to be tested at the ballot box or to be public about their positions should be part of the “image” above.
Canadians who can trace their origins to Italian immigration are nation-builders who have contributed mightily to the creation of contemporary Canada. Some of them have been more public than others. As a community of Canadians, they are as much a part of the fabric of Canada as any other.
Ancestors from my town of origin established themselves in Toronto in the 1880s. They followed on path established by others. Their descendants are still toiling away to ensure that the country they love – Canada – continues on its path to greatness.
Without taking anything away from any of the Prime Minister’s appointments, there is no shortage of premium candidates from the Canadian-Italian community who would ably round out and enhance the image of Canada.
The community comprises approximately 8% of the Ontario demographic. Its contributions outweigh its numbers.
Is there a special reason why he deliberately chose to discard them from consideration, or was he in fact looking?
(Tuesday 1 November 2016)