English Articles

“They do not speak for anyone
but themselves”

TORONTO – A month after the Prime Minister stood in the House to Apologize for the internment of Italian Canadians during World War II, somebody – the proverbial “they”– hiding under the cover of five private corporations in Canada, commissioned and published in the Globe and Mail, on June 18, a “Thank You Canada” advertisement.

It would have been more productive had “they” invested in reputation-restoration projects. If they had asked in the community, including the Corriere Canadese, they might have learned why no one would have endorsed the ad. Corriere Canadese would not have run the ad.

First, to be frank, the whole affair reeks of the Stockholm syndrome (“victim thanking the abuser”). Someone – they – is trying to “kiss up” to the government. In so doing, “they” have turned a long-overdue Apology into a craven, disrespectful, obsequious exercise.

Second, visually, the placement of the flags suggests that one “is pushing down” on the other, offering up a power relationship not supported by the rest of the content and conjuring up the opposite of the supposed intention. Nor is the positioning sustained by any flying of the flag protocols demanding side by side placement or pre-eminence of the “host nation” colours.

Third, places – countries – do not commit Constitutional transgressions or violations of civic rights; people, their political leaders, do. Canada’s governments have, in the main, managed the country well. But not always.

Utilizing the War Measures Act (the “notwithstanding clause” of the day), the government of McKenzie King, in 1940, stripped Canadians from certain ethnic backgrounds (Italian, for the purposes of our readership) of their civic rights and jailed several hundreds of them. No charges were ever laid but they spent several years in concentration camps for simply being who they were: Italian in ethnicity and Catholic in religion.

Since its inaugural edition in 1954, the Corriere Canadese has spoken for the redress of this arguably criminal act of government. Individuals and groups from other parts of the country echoed Corriere Canadese’s calls for “truth and reconciliation”. They and the allegedly sponsoring organizations are recent to the issue.

Fourth, last May 26,2021, following a month of carefully timed notices that it was about to happen, the government led by Justin Trudeau, apologized in the House of Commons for the infamous abrogation of civic rights committed 80 years ago. That abrogation had been a stain on the country’s political reputation.

An apology at the very least has been long overdue. Corriere Canadese has always maintained that position.

Fifth, Corriere Canadese supports any credit proffered to the government for finally doing “the right thing”. A campaign to communicate this and to inform the descendant victims of that infamy that “it is finally over” should also have been struck. How and by whom is another matter. The people who commissioned the advert obviously had plenty of advance notice.

Why they decided to “Get down on collective knees” and thank the Country, while ignoring “the survivors” suggests self-interest and behind the scenes self-promotion exercises. Prime Minister Trudeau should ignore them; they do not speak to or for the community.

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