TORONTO - It began with the appointment of Peter Harder on in March of 2016. The former civil servant was just the first of a long list of new Senators appointed to the upper Chamber. With yesterday’s appointment of six new representatives from Quebec, the Prime Minister has now filled 28 vacancies in the Senate. There is not a single Italian-Canadian among those appointees.
In our opinion, the Liberal leader has committed a serious political blunder in not considering the political weight of the community. This is not merely a reflection from a historical perspective or from the nation-building contribution the community has made in the past, or from its socio-economic pres- ence but also from its recent role in matters of Canadian political importance.
Trudeau founded his victory in the last election thanks in part to the overwhelming support of Italian Canadians who gave him their confidence in constituencies where their numbers were pivotal.
Even the Corriere Canadese, before the vote, endorsed the Liberal Leader, preferring to avoid the perilous potential of yet another Stephen Harper mandate in the wake of nine years of his Administration.
Unhappily, Trudeau has decided not to place any value on the community’s contribution in the formation of his Cabinet – zero Ministers, save David Lametti as Parliamentary Secretary – or in the structuring of the Senate. Again, with zero representation.
The last affront was delivered yesterday with the deliberate omission of any representatives from our community in Quebec. It might be worth while recalling that if our community had not mobilized in the numbers it did in support of a united Canada in 1995, we would be talking about a Canada minus the francophone province of Quebec.
Deference and diplomacy impedes us from asking where he was at the time.
But we caution the Prime Minister to avoid the pitfalls several of his illustrious predecessors discovered – to their chagrin – when they thought they could count on the Italian community no matter, in good times and in bad. Maybe those days are gone for good.