TORONTO - What is missing is transparency. Transparency regarding Casa d’Italia and Columbus Centre. This is what Franco Misuraca, representative of the Comitato Tricolore in Canada, observes on the matter of two rather delicate issues affecting the Italian-Canadian community today.
A common theme runs through both: the possible destruction of buildings that are symbols of the Italian-Canadian identity in Toronto. They will be sacrificed for sake of property development.
“The history of Casa d ’Italia’ is well documented; it cannot be made up or changed”, Misuraca emphasizes. “All Italian-Canadians of the pre-war period took part in its realization. And we can’t forget its historical and symbolic value. Moreover,” he adds, “it’s one of the few monument we have.”
“Action, according to the long-standing representative of the political Right [Italian variety] in Toronto, is now required in order to protect and safeguard a heritage that belongs to the whole community.”
He continues, “I don’t know where the idea of this property development came from, but I wonder why the community is always the last to know. This having been said, one can appreciate why Italian-Canadians demand these matters to be shared out in the open and not dealt with behind the scenes”.
“We who are part of the community have no intention of sitting idly by,” says Misuraca firmly. “I’m committed to collecting signatures that will be sent to the President of the Republic and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to clarify on these events”.
However, the need of safeguard and preserve our common heritage concerns the Columbus Centre as well. It could be demolished in case the proposed deal between Villa Charities Inc and the Toronto District Catholic School Board receives a green light.
He reminisces. “I was here when the Columbus Centre was designed and built. I saw our citizens make their contribution to the effort. Some of them with 20$, some others with 50 or 100. We are talking about a Centre that belongs to the Community.”
He pauses. “What is the connection between the Catholic School Board and the Italian-Canadian Community? The School Board is an institution financed by the citizens of Toronto through taxes. In my opinion, it should just deal with the administration of schools and students. We criticize Erdogan (the President of Turkey) when we are living in first person this situation – the Few decide without the consensus of the Majority”.
Harsh words, maybe, but they come after the almost two months- long, burning debates. This evening’s meeting at Yorkdale Secondary School will be an extremely important part of the sequence.