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Mudslinging from the No front

Mudslinging from the No front

Read the first part here.

Mudslinging from the No front

by Odoardo Di Santo

TORONTO – The Strategy of the NO contingent has abandoned debating the merits of the reform, or explaining why they are opposing it. Instead, they have focused on the wildest and most ridiculous excuses to demonize supporters of a reform they themselves have been chatting up since 1983.

Can a normal person imagine a country like Canada taking 33 years to pass a Bill? People will remember when prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau patriated the Constitution; how he subsequently pushed through the Charter of Rights. It was a civil discussion. The majority prevailed, as one would expect in a democratic country.

His successor, Prime minister Mulroney’s proposed further reforms. They were discussed, vigorously debated – in a civilized manner. Canadians rejected them. In Italy things differ.

Some newspapers in Italy brutally attack whomever holds a different opinion from their own. Premier Renzi is a primary target, largely because he is charismatic and a decision-maker – a characteristic almost alien to the Old Establishment for whom any quibble qualifies as “action”.

Recently, that Press attacked Renzi for committing the crime of sending a letter to Italians abroad. The letter was featured in the Corriere Canadese. Anyone in his/her right mind understands that during a campaign you promote your party or your side. That’s what happens in any democratic country.

The prime minister has every right to seek support for his initiative. Opponents have the same right to send their own letter. It’s up to us to decide how to vote.

“Smart” Italian newspapers are not subtle in suggesting that we of the Diaspora are ill-equipped to judge effectively and are probably easily swayed by a letter from prime minister Renzi. Bah! I’m not saying this with resentment: Italians abroad don’t need defending from them They distinguished themselves in every continent and don’t need the approval, or the pity, of those “wise” Italian Solons.

NO’s Brancaleone Army (“mercenaries”) doesn’t discuss the pros and cons of the reform. It smears and sullies everything in sight. Their latest target? We, the Italians living beyond the Peninsula.

It sounds incredible, and yet, it is indeed we who are threatening to defeat the NO side. But How? Vote rigging of course! We are depicted as corrupt, controlled by criminal organizations, ready to cheat at the snap of a finger. If you don’t believe me, just read on.

Il Fatto Quotidiano, a newspaper that scrapes a living often supporting issues advanced by Grillo’s 5 Stelle Party, last Wednesday had this headline on page one: “Italians Abroad Vote Is Worth a Coffee. How clans and parties rig the ballot”.

As proof, the article quoted a guy from Cologne, Germany, who claims to know three or four families that go around asking people for ballots. And in return? A coffee. The writer even claims to know about a Sicilian from Bruxelles who orders his minions to canvass residencies and steal the envelopes with the ballots from mailboxes.

We live in Canada. We have already had the opportunity to vote in the past, but, according to il Fatto Quotidiano, we are unaware that we are part of a scheme, of a corrupt system. Perhaps we were not looking, but sneaky YES supporters go around neighborhoods rummaging through the mail, searching for referendum ballots. This happens in all of Toronto, but only in houses where Italian-Canadians with the right to vote live. They don’t bother other Italian-Canadians. How do they know who’s who? Let’s think about it – maybe it is time to lock our mailboxes.

So, we are corrupt and in cahoots with clans, whatever that means. Meanwhile, in Italy, innocence rules and there’s no trace of corruption.

It is a shame that this lecture comes from the same Italian newspapers that every single day (and I repeat, every single day), without bias, write about the amazing golden age of corruption in Italy – a country that excels in every single category of that activity.

Il Fatto Quotidiano, while blaming us for potential, alleged fraud, on that same page, without blinking an eye, reported that Italian judges are investigating the 5 Stelle Party for electoral fraud. In the 2012 elections in Palermo, 5 Stelle supported candidates with 2000 fake signatures. “A commendable job”, and “hard work”, as described by Party activists, according to emails now in the hands of the prosecuting Magistrates.

Such is the honesty of the NO side.

(Monday 21 November 2016)

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