TORONTO - Antonio Giannetti is the deputy director of the Partito Democratico (PD) in Canada. He resides in Ottawa, where he established an Ottawa branch of the PD. A lawyer by profession, he provides consulting services on matters related to investments in Italy and concurrently does the “heavy lifting”, on the journalistic side, for two Ottawa publications, l’Ora di Ottawa, a weekly, and il Postino, a monthly. On the occasion of the visit by Minister Boschi, he paid a courtesy call at the Corriere Canadese to meet with the Chairman of our Advisory Board and with members of our Editorial team.
Welcome to the Corriere, Mr. Giannetti. You are a long way from Ottawa. Is it politics or business that brings you to Toronto?
“Thank you. It is Ya little of both. The Corriere is a model for niche publications that we wanted to see up close. Secondly, Minister Boschi is a friend as well as a PD colleague. I could not justify missing a visit by someone of her stature to Canada’s largest Italian Canadian community”.
Your reputation as a successful organizer of community events in Ottawa precedes you. This visit by the Minister was arranged “last minute”. Were you a part of it?
“No. That is a consular jurisdiction. The Consulate would typically reach out to the community. I was a guest like everyone else, even though I may have more of an interest in participating”.
It is an open secret that you would like to be a candidate in the upcoming elections to represent the Italian Diaspora from North and Central America. Is this true?
“Yes. When the final list for the Party’s candidates is compiled, I hope to be on it. I am doing what I can with my network here and in Italy to ensure that my name is one of those that the electorate can consider when it chooses three representatives to the Italian Parliament”.
But the whole truth is that there are already two of the three elected from the PD ranks. Should you be “running against an incumbent”?
“Our democratic process and PD constitution encourages a healthy competitive environment, one that generates ideas and releases energy and creativity. PD Secretary and former Prime Minister just recently went through that exercise himself. In Canada, I wish I could say I am the only one seeking election, but there are others throughout Canada and the USA who have similar aspirations. A Canadian comparative is the open nomination process that requires candidates of record, elected or not, to organize and seek public support to be their party’s representative at the following election”.
So your candidacy and that of others should not be interpreted as a personal reflection on the competency of any of the three incumbents?
“That is a decision the public will make. I and others, including the incumbents, will make the case for why we merit consideration. For my part, the upcoming composition of the new parliament - unlikely, today, to return a majority government - will present an opportunity to give greater substance to the value of the Diaspora”.
“For that to happen, we will need candidates who understand the ‘Italian system’, who know the ‘change agents’, who know Canada and the US, who are proud of the accomplishments of the Diaspora and recognize how they can do more by forging that political-economic link between a forward-looking Italy and a Canada of the future…”.
But everyone is for that, with respect, how are you different?
“I am not locked into the past. I do not make a living from nostalgia. You heard Minister Boschi talk about Canada and Italy forging a new partnership to capitalize on the potential of the CETA, about how together (and with our experience) we can address the challenges of immigration, global threats to our way of life, how we can move ‘forward together in the new economy’. I believe in those same issues. I am part of that same team. And I look forward to explaining those issues further”.