The Honourable Joe Volpe, Publisher
TORONTO - The invitation to participate in a debate among contestants for election to the Senate of Italy went out to all those vying for the one seat available for the North and Central America constituency.
It seems logical that those who profess to represent the people would take any opportunity to meet those who will elect them. Apparently, it is not a logic that afflicts all candidates who aspire to the title of Senator. The “debate” – not organized by the Corriere Canadese, but whose publisher had agreed to act as moderator in the event that all candidates were to accept him in such a role – was ably, if at time indulgently so, by Daniela Sanzone.
Three candidates, Angela Maria Pirozzi Giannetti (Ottawa), Emilio Barletta (New York) and Paolo Canciani (Toronto) gave it their best shot, so to speak, on the issues of culture, language, service by Italy to its expats, and being a part of a “political movement” whose driving force is resident in Italy and whose “oyster” is Europe.
A fourth candidate, Tony D’Aversa, upon seeing only three others, by his own words, “declined to participate in the discussion since no candidate from the center right party was present. [In his] opinion … any discussion this evening would [be] fruitless without a direct confrontation of candidates from all parties.”
One can understand his and the others’ frustration, shared by the audience in the room: Toronto has the largest single block of eligible voters (circa 70,000 in the GTHA). If candidates can’t make the effort to meet with their public now, when?
In fact, the story of the evening is the total disdain for, and disinterest in, the Toronto electorate by aspirants to the title demonstrated by their absence. Were it not for the ones who showed up to “take their lumps and make their case”, one would be tempted to say: what’s the point of this exercise?
Anyway, for what it is worth, readers and voters have the names of the above four candidates from which to select a Senator prepared to advance their interests – however defined – in the Italian Senate.