TORONTO - Canada and Italy are bonded by a really strong relationship, boosted by an utter sharing of values and strengthened by the presence of the Italian-Canadian community in our country. That is what the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared in an exclusive interview with Corriere Canadese on the occasion of the Fundraising Event in favour of the Central-Italy population hit by the earthquake.
The leader of the Liberal Party highlighted once again how Canada and Italy share the efforts - which will be reiterated during the G7 Summit scheduled in two weeks in Taormina - to tackle problems on a global political scale on a multilateral approach.
How would you define the relationship between Canada and Italy? Do you think it would be possible to improve it from a political and economic point of view?
“The relationship between Canada and Italy is deep and beneficial for both countries. Italian-Canadians and their bond with Italy help tighten up the relationship between the two countries. But more than that, our bond is based on shared values, such as democracy and the effort to ensure a better and safer future for everyone. Canada and Italy are great friends, as members of G7 and partners in so many global initiatives. Working so closely to our Italian friends is one of those things I certainly look at as a great way to enhance our impact in the world.”
CETA will have a significant impact on this new phase of relationships between Canada and European Union and Canada and Italy. Which are your expectation from this agreement?
“We know that trade is good for economic growth. What we need to highlight is why CETA is so important is because it focuses on making sure that trade is not just good for the economy but it’s good for people. It’s good for producers, for consumers, for small businesses. Accessing a greater market gives you challenges in terms of competitively but it brings out the best in what we are doing. And it`s giving the opportunity to create new partnerships, to find new products, to develop new outlets for our creativity and hard work. This is something that is going to give tremendous benefits and deepen the connections between Europe and Canada and specifically between countries like Italy and Canada that have such a strong connection.”
In two weeks the G7 Summit will take place in Taormina. The international community will be watching closely with great expectations and, maybe, some concerns since this will be the first international meeting at high level with the American President, Donald Trump.
“First of all, let me highlight what tremendous pleasure is for me to be going back to Taormina, to Sicily. I went as a young child with my father and I have beautiful memories of being there. I very much look forward to what I know is going to be a wonderful, warm welcome. In terms of our goals for the G7, we’ve been working really hard for many years at something that Mr. Trump is very much aligned, the idea we need to start helping people who feel they have been left out from progress and success. There is a lot of citizens in all our country who are worried that the future doesn’t hold many prospects for them. We as a global community and as global leaders of G7 we need to work together to demonstrate the confidence we have in the future and give to people tools for success. These are things that I have spoken with President Trump and emphasized how working together and in a collaborative way will be mutual beneficial. And I expect to continue this conversation.”
In Italy, after the G7, you will also meet the Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.
“I’ve been extremely pleased to be able to welcome Prime Minister Gentiloni to Ottawa few weeks ago to begin what it`s a very important conversation lined up to the G7 on how to work together for the benefits of our citizens. I look forward to visiting him in Rome. I also look much forward to meeting Pope Francis. Again, as a young child with my father I have been able to go to the Vatican and meet with John Paul II. Now the opportunity to sit down as a global leader but also as a Catholic to reflect with the Holy Father will be something extremely emotional for me.”
Terrorism, the war in Syria, global warming, the migrants’ crisis in the Mediterranean, the geopolitical instability in the Middle East. Which is the most dangerous threat for Canada, Italy and the international community?
“You’ve named a broad range of threats that each need to be dealt with. We need to engage in thoughtfully and responsibly to keep our citizens safe but also to have a positive impact in the world. The actions in the leadership of Italy in the Mediterranean to face this real challenge of the migrants` crisis highlights that we cannot just close off and hope that the problem do not appear on our shores. We need to be more thoughtful on how to create peace and give prosperity around the world, to prevent migrants from feeling like the only option for themselves and for their children is to run terrible risks trying to leave their country. For this reason is important that the leaders of the G7 need to come together to figure out how we can have a positive impact. Paolo and I are very much aligned on that priority.”
What do you think about the role of the Italian-Canadian community in the creation of a social identity in Canada?
“One of the things that is so strong about Canada is that we figured out that diversity is a social strength. The differences make our community to be more resilient, more successful and also more creative and innovative. When you have someone who speaks different languages or comes with a problem from a different perspective and you work with him, you are more likely to be successful. You are much likely to complement each other. So that story of Canada is the one that allowed us to be more open to immigration and understand what positive benefit it can be. The Italian-Canadian community is one the best examples. People came over in the Forties, Fifties, and Sixties with very little money in their pockets who built tremendous success, and not just a success for their own community but also for our country. This is a lesson that for me should be celebrated and shared with the rest of the world that echoed from one generation to the next. People coming now from Syria and from elsewhere are going to be contributive to this country in extraordinary ways in three years, five years, ten or twenty years their children will be bonded and also so grateful to this country as much as they will be bonded and grateful to their Syrian roots. And that model has been demonstrated marvellously by the Italian community. It`s such a treasure of which we can be so proud.”