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“Italian-canadians passed over for significant appointments”

“Italian-canadians passed over for significant appointments”

Letter to the Editor:

“Italian-canadians passed over for significant appointments”

by I. Massotti

Dear Honourable J. Volpe:

I really appreciated that you caught this slight and wrote about it. It took courage! The fact that the Canadians of Italian descent are being passed over for significant appointments that define the fabric of Canada has been a glaring omission. It has somehow become too commonplace, even acceptable.

Point-blank – there are currently no Senators of Italian descent in the Senate! Is it because Italian Canadians are no longer considered to be a “minority”. The Senate is expected to represent these along with the regions. But this does not pass the fact check test.

If it were true, then why do more numerically dominant groups have representation in the Senate? Therefore, it stands to reason, if they can have a seat, then so should Italian-Canadians. In fact, given the size of the pool to choose from, how is it that not even one was thought to have the right credentials for the Senate?

Let’s take this thought a bit further. The House of Commons has about 9 MPs of Italian decent. Electoral politics has typically been an open field. Here, the Public is left to pick the winners and losers.

The first Italian Canadian was elected to the federal legislature in 1958; the first woman in 1976; the first Cabinet Minister appointed in 1968.

In the 1990s, 18 MPs of Italian origin sat in the House of Commons. The number has been decreasing each year. Today it is at its lowest – 11 MPs.

So the place in our governing institutions where Italian-Canadians have a shot at integrating is shrinking. It was disappointing that Trudeau did not take the opportunity to address this growing exclusion.

When the number of Italian-Canadians in the House of Commons declined, one used to count on at least one Italian-Canadian in the Senate to create more balance.

The policies of Pierre Trudeau pushed for Multi-culturalism. And, it has more than arrived, it is here to stay. The challenge is to make sure all Canadians can continue to see themselves reflected in Canada’s governing bodies, especially those bodies not easily accessible to everyone but that serve everyone.

(Wednesday 9 November 2016)

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