Corriere Canadese

Focus

TORONTO - By virtually any barometer, Italy is a major player for Canada. It is the 9th largest economy in the world; a significant trading partner for us (one in need of our valuable natural resources); the 4th most popular destination place for tourism; a centre for culture, innovation, design and cutting edge manufacturing, and, now most significantly, given our interests in having the CETA ratified, the 3rd largest economy in Europe (about 50% bigger than Canada by GDP).
 
Italy’s Diaspora comprises 5% of Canada’s population, one that continues to distinguish itself for its fierce attachment to Canada, its progressive forward-looking sense of nation-building, its self-reliance and its global perspectives.
 
Building on those assets, over the last several years, Canada’s relatively youthful leadership had begun to foster closer ties to their Italian counterpart. This was until recently, most notable in the relationship that was developing between the two Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau and his younger colleague, Matteo Renzi.
 
Alas, things have not been going well for that alliance and convergence of interests lately. Renzi, once (and still) a dynamic agent for change, is being challenged by the public and his Party, the ruling Democratic Party. 
 
Italy, despite its culture and refinement, may well be home to the most unruly of populations. It is a characteristic cultivated over the millennia as the Peninsula became subjected to one invader after another. Over the latter part of 2016, dissatisfaction with Renzi gave birth to a slogan his political enemies used to “malign” the youthful Renzi: authority yes, but not authoritarianism.
 
It seemed that Nature and International events joined in a conspiracy to undermine his “decisiveness”.
 
The surprise Brexit outcome, and later the improbable victory of Trump, gave new life to the objections of an ever-intemperate Opposition. It claimed that Europe was of little use to Italy’s growing problems: a stagnant economy; unheard of levels of unemployment among women and millennials – approaching 55% in some regions of the South; 300,000 refugees literally “fished out of the waters” of the Mediterranean in the last two years (Canada has accommodated 30,000 in the last 16 months).
 
In August (and September), earthquakes levelled several towns and caused hundreds of casualties. That would test any leadership. Last week the price tag for rescue, reconstruction and restoration came in at a staggering 32 billion Canadian dollars.
 
Then, in December, he lost his bid to transform the political architecture of the Italian government, when the YES side suffered defeat in a national referendum. Some of the Leaders in his own Party urged on the NO vote. Italians, initially pleased to see Renzi as potentially the lead player in the remaking of Europe, turned the Referendum vote into a proxy battle against globalism and immigration.
 
Renzi resigned the Premiership, installed one of his loyalists as Prime Minister, shuffled his Cabinet and initiated the process for restructuring his Party. But, “it never rains unless it pours”. One of his close associates lost the vote to become President of the European Commission, to another Italian with Centre-Right background, in January.
 
During a PD convention to determine the party’s future last weekend, Renzi became the punching bag for every one who had a bone or a nit to pick with him. Renzi gave better than he got.
 
Practitioners of political science in Italy are artists in oratory and professionals in ideology and philosophy. It is a potent mixture that masks an otherwise naked thirst for power. There are “public intellectuals” by the dozens, none of them political waifs or ingénues.
 
Italians prefer their political strife to be resolved in the open. It makes for great theatre. But the PD is weakened and in tatters. Italy’s value to Canada as an ally in Europe and the World stage will suffer a temporary setback, at least until there is a political reset.
 
Johnny L. Bertolio
 
Toronto - Remembrance Day, celebrated on November 11th, is usually associated with soldiers dead in the wars while completing their duties. However, there is another Day of Remembrance (Giornata della Memoria in Italian), one that was established the day when the Red Army arrived in Auschwitz and consequently “opened” the concentration camp that was to become the very symbol of the Holocaust. 
For (not so) obvious reasons Italy and Germany are countries that more than others feel the responsibility of what happened during the second world war, and for them it is therefore imperative to organize public events to help their people remember.
But here is the issue: how do contemporary students, for whom most of those initiatives are organized, perceive them? 
Do they realize that the Holocaust is not simply a fragment of a distant age, but should also be part of their personal historical memory? And not only in Europe, where their ancestors either died in the camps or, more sadly, might have supported the regimes that planned the genocide.
On January 27th, in class, I had post-secondary students from a language course read a passage from Primo Levi’s masterpiece, Se questo è un uomo (If this is a man). 
Before starting with an introduction on the author and victim, and providing them with some historical background, I asked a preliminary question: what were concentration camps? Only one student (out of twenty) replied. Except for a few shy individuals, the others seemed to be hearing about the Holocaust for the first time. 
I was quite surprised and thought that perhaps in their previous education they had not studied that period of history. But is it valid that they were not taught about it only because it happened in another continent?
“Your profound consternation mixed with indignation vanishes in the face of the question whether it is actually reprehensible or rather desirable that these young people no longer feel any guilt” – German author Christa Wolf wrote in 1976 with a polemic tone. Reprehensible or desirable: this is the question. 
Clearly such a sense of guilt cannot be felt by Canada or the US, who fought against Nazi-fascism and contributed to its end. However, in light of what is happening these days across the boarder under a new banner of nationalism, we had all better study history and learn from it. 
In order to be different, if not better.
Staff
 
TORONTO - Non vi sono state irregolarità nella presentazione della lista che ha portato all’elezione del Comites nel 2015. Lo ha stabilito la Procura della Repubblica italiana, che ha fatto sapere come “non risultano iscrizioni suscettibili di comunicazioni a nome di Tucci Gregorio Graziano”. La novità è emersa lo scorso 28 gennaio durante una riunione dello stesso Comites di Toronto, nella quale è ripartita anche la polemica. “Durante la riunione - ha dichiarato Giuseppe Cafiso, segretario del Pd di Toronto, in una nota inviata al Corriere Canadese - si è pure affermato che il Partito Democratico in Canada avrebbe condotto una campagna denigratoria contro il Comites  e di avere causato l’allontanamento di molti dei suoi membri”.
Un’accusa che è stata respinta con forza dal segretario del Pd torontino. “Il Circolo Pd di Toronto - ha poi aggiunto - comunica che oltre a volere assicurare che le elezioni del Comites  fossero fatte secondo i prescritti regolamenti, il Pd non ha mai condotto una campagna contro il Comites , quale organo istituzionale. Inoltre, il Circolo Pd di Toronto non ha condizionato in alcun modo le dimissioni di parecchi membri dell’attuale Comites”.
“Il Pd - ha poi concluso Cafiso - ha sempre ritenuto e continua a ritenere che i Comites compongono un’importante parte della comunità italiana a Toronto come pure altrove. Il Comites, composto da rappresentanti della comunità ha un ruolo rilevante di sostegno per i rappresentanti diplomatici italiani all’estero e il Circolo Pd di Toronto, come quello di tutti gli altri Circoli Pd nel mondo, crede nel ruolo di rilievo che può svolgere in seno la comunità italiana e italo-canadese”.
Dei dodici membri eletti alle elezioni del 2015, solamente quattro sono rimasti in carica: si tratta del presidente Luigi Tosti, dell’ex presidente Emilio Battaglia, di Gianfranco Cristiano e Attilio Dell’Anno. Dopo il voto si sono dimessi Paolo Canciani, Carlo Consiglio, Vittorio Coco, Antonio Porretta, Francesco Donato, Frances Tibollo, Sam Ciccolini e Luca Buiani. Degli attuali otto componenti, quattro sono stati  cooptati o ripescati: Matteo Masucci, Roberto Michelutti, Adriano Misuraca e Franco Stendardo.  
Photocredits: Shen Yun Performing Arts
 
TORONTO -  Shen Yun is a classical Chinese dance and music company established in New York in 2006.  The name Shen Yun literally means “the beauty of divine beings dancing”. The aim of the production is to make use of a number of theatrical and artistic techniques to recount ancient stories and legends, some dating back to the Tang and Song dynasties (5000 B.C.).
Amidst vibrant colours, exquisitely crafted costumes, world quality musical performances, and a seamless blend of ancient Chinese dance and the latest technologies, the strong religious and political message of Shen Yun’s performance at the Mississauga Performing Arts last Wednesday, night could not be missed.  
Interspersed between beautifully danced numbers depicting ancient Chinese culture and myth – including Mongolian bowl dancing, Tibetan drums, Han Dynasty sleeve dancing, and yang ge, a folk dance using 8-tipped flying handkerchiefs – Shen Yun performers brought to life in a most vivid way the religious and cultural persecutions that China’s people have faced under the communist regime.  
In A Child’s Choice and Boundless Compassion, the troop danced scenes of the massacres which befell Falun Dafa practitioners in 1999 and which continue today. Tenor Tian Ge performed The Wish, a politico-religious piece of his own composition, in which he reminded the audience that “status and wealth prove empty at life’s end”, singing of a purpose beyond this world and the deliverance to be found in following Dafa.  Not surprisingly, the Master of Ceremonies informed the audience that performances such as these can no longer been seen in China, where the practice of unsanctioned religion is illegal and where traditional Chinese culture is being eradicated. 
Shen Yun are certainly not the first, nor will they be the last, to use art as an expression of freedom and resistance.  The political implications of Verdi’s operas at the time of the Risorgimento is but one of many examples from our own history.  Yet while Italian art and history has been carefully preserved, ancient Chinese culture has all but been erased.  Those who are bold enough to practice their religion publicly, be it Falun Gong, Tibetan Buddhism or Catholicism put themselves at risk of persecution, arrest and imprisonment. We need only consider that the Dalai Lama has been living in exile since 1959 to grasp the gravity of the situation. 
Shen Yun is both a force for preservation and a force for change.  Traditional Chinese artists believed that cultivating virtue was a necessary component in art, as art was an expression and celebration of the divine. Faithful to this tradition, Shen Yun performers commit themselves not only to the study of dance, but also to meditation and spiritual devotion. In this way, these dancers and musicians not only represent ancient Chinese culture and beliefs, but participate actively in preserving these through their way of life.  
Witnessing this performance, I could not help but feel gratitude for the religious freedoms we enjoy as Canadians.  Coupled with the sense of wonder and awe I experienced before the beauty and complexities of Chinese culture was a sense of powerlessness to help those being persecuted in China.  The reality of religious persecution in so many countries today should make us all the more protective of the rights and freedoms which are ours. 
 
L'Onorevole Joe Volpe, Editore
 
TORONTO - Ha manipolato tutti quanti. Kevin O’Leary finalmente è dentro la corsa alla leadership del Partito Conservatore del Canada. Che sorpresa...
Cosa accadrà da ora in poi nessuno lo può sapere. Ciò che è certo è che il dialogo da adesso si sposterà dalle conversazioni su cosa è giusto o sbagliato nel nostro apparato politico, ai dibattiti su quale direzione vorrà prendere il Canada da qui.
La candidatura di O’Leary segnala che nella corsa ogni esito è possibile. Le solite regole sono state ormai messe da parte. Lui ridefinerà ciò che è importante per il nostro Paese, nel bene e nel male. Come per Trump, non ci saranno mucche sacre.
Per esempio, è stato ben lontano dal dibattito in lingua francese (come il resto del Paese, peraltro) giudicando il forum come contro producente per lui o per chiunque abbia bisogno di più di un minuto per delineare un piano per il futuro. 
Inoltre ha ammesso ciò che tutti sanno: non è un linguista.
Lui si autodefinisce come uno che parla la lingua dei mercati - conosce il business, e ha miliardi che lo dimostrano.
Che sia ben chiaro, essere in grado di parlare almeno una delle lingue ufficiali del Paese è vitale; è preferibile saperne parlare due. Ma, lui presume, non si potrà mai essere in grado di soddisfare i puristi della lingua, che sia francese o italiano.
L’altro giorno Francesco Sabatini, presidente onorario dell’Accademia della Crusca, ha stigmatizzato un membro del parlamento in Italia per l’utilizzo sbagliato del congiuntivo (c’è un lettore inglese che capisca il suo uso?) nei suoi discorsi. Ha azzittito il vice presidente della Camera dei Deputati per il suo scivolone grammaticale, chiedendo una maggiore “cultura” per quelli che hanno la pretesa di governare. Buona fortuna
 L’Italia è ancora una democrazia e la gente sceglierà la sua classe politica.
O’Leary, che sta modellando la sua campagna elettorale sulla scia di quella di Trump, scommette che anche i quebecchesi metteranno da parte le posizioni della stampa francofona e voteranno per le sue qualità.
Potrebbe avere ragione. Jean Lapierre, ex ministro federale, era solito dire che i quebecchesi vedono l’azione politica come emanazione di Quebec City e non Ottawa. Le loro aspettative sono delineate dai politici provinciali e non da quelli federali.
Da ieri, sono diventati 13 gli aspiranti che, con il massimo rispetto, si trovano nella poco invidiabile posizione di nutrire e di  rafforzare le qualità che O’Leary porta al tavolo ogni volta che loro offrono un’opinione su qualsiasicosa. 
Per ora si e dimostrato maestro nel definire il tema centrale della campagna: cambiate il primo ministro, ecco come.
Questo sarà il vero dibattito che seguirà.