That, in the opinion of the House, the government should recognize the contributions that Italian-Canadians have made to Canadian society, the richness of the Italian language and culture, and the importance of educating and reflecting upon Italian heritage for future generations by declaring June, every year, Italian Heritage Month.
She said: Mr. Speaker, oggi e una grande giornata. Today is a great day.
Today, I have the pleasure of rising in the House to introduce my private member's motion, Motion No. 64, a motion to designate June as national Italian heritage month.
I am delighted to have the support of my Liberal Italian caucus colleagues who have worked with me on this and are seconding the motion. I want to thank those who are in the House with me today to show their support and to share their stories.
I also want to thank those in the community who brought this initiative to our attention, one of them being in the House today, my former colleague, Marilyn Iafrate, from Vaughan Council.
I would like to inform the House that I have also have the support. I just received a letter today from the National Congress of Italian-Canadians, with the Canadian Italian Business Professional Association, CIBPA, and the Order Sons of Italy of Canada, the OSIC. They wholeheartedly express their support for my motion.
The Canadian Ethnocultural Council, the CEC, the only not-for-profit, non-partisan national coalition of ethnocultural organizations, of which the NCIC is a proud member, whose objectives, inter-alia, are to engage ethnocultural communities to foster harmony and acceptance of our diversity and multiculturalism, which is one of the cornerstones of our great country, also ardently supports my motion.
This motion is meant to designate the month of June as national Italian heritage month in recognition of the contributions Italian Canadians have made to Canadian society. It provides a designated month to celebrate the richness of the Italian language and culture, and the importance of educating and reflecting upon Italian heritage for future generations.
People may ask, why June would be the selected month for the motion? Italy celebrates its national day on June 2, and in 2010, the province of Ontario, passed Bill 103, an act to proclaim June as Italian heritage month. Therefore, it is appropriate that June be the designated month.
Some may ask why I am, a non-Italian, bringing this motion forward. I am very proud to represent the second-largest percentage of Italian Canadians in any riding in Canada. I was lucky to draw an early placement in the private member bill order, which provided me the opportunity to recognize the important contributions of Italian Canadians through this motion, and hopefully in time for June 2017, which is Canada's 150th anniversary.
The Italian community is very active in my riding and has shown me significant support over many years. I know how important this motion is to them. I was proud to serve them as a regional councillor and now as an MP. However, this is not just a motion for Italian Canadians in my riding, but for Italian Canadians from coast to coast to coast. This is also a motion for all Canadians as we celebrate our multiculturalism.
In Canada, we seem to have gotten it right, and this is in no small measure because of the work of our immigrant communities, sharing their cultures and traditions, working to support not only their own communities, but all Canadians as we work toward building a better country.
Italian Canadians have contributed greatly over the past century to growing our country. When they came to Canada, they faced many hardships. However, they brought with them a rich cultural heritage, a dedication to family and a strong work ethic that has helped many to succeed. They have become community leaders, successful business entrepreneurs and builders of our country.
It is clear, witnessing the growth in the city of Vaughan and much of York region, we can see the hand of the Italian community at work. Each different region in Italy is known for the trades and the skills that they brought to our country. They have applied those widely across the country. Our country offered them opportunity, but it was their skills and ambition and work ethic that made them very successful.
Italians are known for their wine, prosciutto, parmigiano, marinara sauce, and who can forget the pizza, and all those wonderful food creations that I am so happy to enjoy in my community. Of course there is that iconic Italian style with Armani and Gucci, and many other designers of clothes. Clothes, cars, furniture, actually anything we can think of, Italians have tried their hand at, and given it that unique twist of Italian style.
We can think of Dan Iannuzzi, the great journalist and founder of Corriere Canadese, Johny Lombard, an incredible pioneer in broadcasting, and Guy Lombardo in the music world.
We have Frank Iacobucci, a Supreme Court justice, and Laura Sabia, a leading activist in the women's movement, both of whom are Order of Canada recipients.
I am sure we can bring to mind many others without having to think too hard, as there have been successful and influential Italian Canadians in all aspects of Canadian life.
There have also been notable politicians. I think it is worth mentioning a few from the federal level.
In the 1950s, Mayor Hubert Badanai, of Fort William, was elected the first Italian federal member of Parliament for the Liberal Party. In 1981, Charles Caccia, initially elected as a Toronto MP for Davenport in 1968, was appointed the first Italian federal cabinet minister by none other than former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. They laid the foundation for many who came after, including my friend, the mayor of Vaughan, Maurizio Bevilacqua, former member of Parliament from 1988 to 2010 and my Italian Canadian colleagues currently serving in this House.
I want to share a bit of Italian Canadian history, as I am not sure there any many familiar with how far back Italian contributions to this country go.
Italian Canadians are among the earliest Europeans to have come and settled in the country. Over 500 years ago, Giovanni Caboto, John Cabot, an Italian navigator from Venice, explored and claimed the coast of Newfoundland for England.
In 1524, another Italian, Giovanni da Verrazzano, explored part of Atlantic Canada for France.
In the 1600s, Italians served in the military of New France and several hundred Italian soldiers served in the British army during the War of 1812, after which they settled in the Eastern Townships of Quebec and in southern Ontario.
Italian craftsmen, artists, musicians, and teachers came to this country throughout the 19th century. By 1881, almost 2,000 people of Italian origin lived in Canada, mostly in Toronto and Montreal.
In the late 19th century, millions of Italians emigrated and many came to Canada. They worked on our railways, in our mines, and in our industries. By 1901, there were almost 11,000 people of Italian origin living in Canada. Not all were successful, and some were misled and ended up unemployed and destitute in major cities, or working in labour and lumber camps in northern Ontario. Many were often exploited in the early days.
However, as more Italians settled and became successful, they sponsored more relatives and fellow villagers and created businesses and supported each other as they helped to grow our country.
Throughout the 1900s, those who settled in the cities worked as construction and factory workers, building tradesmen, food and fruit merchants, artisans, barbers, or cobblers.
Out of modest beginnings, some became highly successful, for example, Onorato Catelli of Montreal in the food processing industry. In the Niagara Peninsula and in the Okanagan Valley, Italians prospered with orchards, vineyards, vegetable farms. Many Italian farmers grew crops on the outskirts of cities for local consumption. Even now, they are still working the land and selling their products at roadside stands in my riding. Many families in my community tend backyard plots that they use to feed their families and friends fresh food all summer and fall.
By 1930, over 29,000 Italians had entered Canada. This movement of Italians to Canada virtually stopped with the Great Depression. It was a difficult time that got worse after 1935, when Italian Canadians were designated enemy aliens and were the victims of widespread prejudice and discrimination because Italy allied with Germany during the Second World War. Men lost their jobs, shops were vandalized, civil liberties were suspended, and hundreds were interned at Camp Petawawa in northern Ontario.
As a result, many Italians anglicized their names and denied their Italian background. It was a difficult time in Canada for Italians.
After the Second World War, Canada, with its booming economy, began to be receptive to Italian immigrants again.
In 1958, Italy surpassed Britain as a source of Canadian immigrants. In cities where Italians have settled, they tended to create ethnic neighbourhoods, “Little Italy” neighbourhoods, with their distinctive shops, restaurants, churches, and clubs. These areas have been a magnet for all Canadians looking to get a taste of Italy.
Through the years, these areas have been reduced in size as more Italian Canadians moved out to the suburbs. However, they still liked to live in areas that supported their Italian culture, so they brought them their shops and restaurants, showcasing the very best of their culture.
In 2006, 60% of Italian Canadians lived in Ontario, 21% in Quebec, 10% in British Columbia, and about 95% lived in towns and cities. The highest number of Italian Canadians live in Toronto, and approximately half that number now live in Montreal. We have significant numbers of Italian Canadians living in cities across the country, with a total now of almost 1.5 million who list Italian as their ethnic origin or part of their ethnic origin.
For Italians, family and religion are interrelated pillars of their cultural identity. Despite cross-cultural unions, the family and a close connection to the Italian culture are a source of strength and pride. Reflecting the importance of the family unit, and the home as its centre, Italian Canadians have the highest rate of home ownership in Canada.
Another source of pride is their commitment to Italian-Canadian community groups and the wide spectrum of activities that are undertaken to express their ethnocultural identity. I have also personally found them to be exceptionally generous when it comes to supporting those in need, and to improving programs and facilities needed to build stronger communities for all, for example, hospitals, seniors facilities, and many social support programs.
The Italian-Canadian press and media have also been strong promoters of social cohesion and have brought their Italian constituency and the wider society together. The first Italian newspaper was published in Montreal in the late 19th century and, by 1950, dozens of Italian newspapers and magazines proliferated across Canada. Today we have the Corriere Canadese, and several other community papers, that promote Italian culture and news. We also have OMNI TV, a multilingual TV station in Ontario that transmits in Italian and other languages daily. We have the Telelatino Network, which is a national cable system for Italian and Spanish programming. Currently, Italian and Chinese are the most widespread non-official languages in Canadian television and radio broadcasting.
I am incredibly proud of the contributions made by Italian Canadians in helping to build this great country, and I am honoured to have an opportunity to bring forward a motion to designate the month of June as national Italian heritage month. I am delighted to have the full support of the Liberal Italian caucus members, and to have many of them here with me today, scattered around, as we start the debate in this House.
I will be listening carefully to any concerns raised during the debate, and I hope we can work together to get unanimous support from this House for this important motion.
Mr. Speaker, in this place we tend to debate most often the subjects we tend to disagree on. However, one subject on which I believe we do have agreement is recognizing the unique contribution of Italian Canadians. When I mentioned to a constituent recently that I would be speaking in support of this, I received an enthusiastic response that included references to pizza, pasta, art, sculpture, and the things associated with being uniquely Italian.
The real purpose of my stating my support today is ultimately to recognize the people, those Italian Canadians who have truly enriched this great country. Let me explain what I mean by that. There was a time when a point of view on immigration was that new Canadians should abandon the culture that they originated from to adopt the Canadian way. In the case of many Italian Canadians, and to be clear I am not of Italian ancestry, Italian culture was not only embraced, it was shared. Indeed, in many communities across our great country, including in Ottawa, there is a Little Italy. I am certain I am not alone in expressing my fondness for visiting areas such as these. It is because of regions such as these that our communities have been enhanced and our knowledge has been expanded. Today we often call this multiculturalism. However, to many Italian Canadians I have met it is simply the friendly way to treat friends and neighbours, through sharing and enjoying all that life has to offer.
In Kelowna, as an example, the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club is celebrating 50 years in the community. That is a very exciting milestone. The club wants to share its achievement with the entire community. Some members might ask what Italian Canadian clubs do. Yes, they promote the Italian language and culture through food and music and wine. Really, where could you go wrong with that? Most important, they also give back to the community and participate in many community fundraisers. As an example, recently the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club raised over $13,000 to help earthquake victims, which is a very impressive feat considering the club just has around 130 member families.
I am not certain how many Italian Canadian clubs we have in Canada; nor do I know how many communities have their own Little Italy as an integral part of their community. What I do know is that all of us, Italian Canadian or not, have an understanding of the Italian culture, language, and a unique way of enjoying life, often through celebration; and not just celebration but hard work and innovation. As a former city councillor, when we upgraded a waste-water treatment plant, for many of the systems the advanced technology was designed in Italy; and much of the work, when it was brought over, was recognized as world leading. In speaking to many of the people who work for the municipality, they appreciated those innovations. Italians across the world, particularly those Italian Canadians who share that heritage, are very proud of the quality.
This extends to more than just a small area of public infrastructure. I know from Brutus Bodies trucks in Penticton, of which Nor-Mar Industries is the holding company, they use Italian cranes, which is one of the reasons why their products are in such demand. When a business deals with highly reputable companies that are innovative and that have such ties to Canada, it is much easier to sell that product.
In addition to the innovation, I just want to again loop back to the growing ties between Canada and Italy. My grandfather, who recently passed away—God bless him— served in North Africa and eventually in Italy. He told me, with the utmost respect that he had for the Italian people, about the difficulties many of them had during World War II. His love for the country only grew as the years went on.
The love and ties Italian Canadians have brought to this country have enriched our culture and our understanding and have grown our ties in trade.
It is my understanding that we will be discussing the comprehensive economic trade agreement between Canada and the European Union next week. I have spoken to the House about many of these innovative water systems. I have spoken about the cranes that Nor-Mar uses for its vehicles. All of these things will suddenly have tariff-free access. People will have greater access to Italians, and Italy will have greater access to Canadians with services and skills and shared understanding that will make both countries better.
While I am still on my feet and have the opportunity, I would like to thank the sponsoring member of the bill for his time and for the ability to share a bit of the enrichment I and many people in Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola have had because of the Italian Canadian community.
Mr. Speaker, today I am proud to stand in the House to speak in favour of Motion No. 64, for the creation of Italian heritage month.
Acknowledging the many contributions of Italian Canadians is key to recognizing the youthful mosaic that is our country. Setting aside time to reflect on why our diversity has made our country great is an important reminder that unless we are indigenous, then our family line is an immigrant one. It is an important reminder in this time that Canada needs newcomers to continue to build our country as our population grows and ages.
Multiculturalism is a fundamental Canadian value, and the NDP has a proud history of supporting multiculturalism and honouring our country's diversity. Across Canada there are many stories of the knowledge and expertise that Italian immigrants have contributed to Canadian society, a history comprised of Italian immigrants who established themselves in many communities across Canada.
In my riding of North Island—Powell River, an Italian immigrant by the name of Joseph Rodello built a hotel and store near Comox's wharf in the 1870s. Later on, he had a street named after him that now runs by St. Joseph's Hospital.
In fact, many Italian immigrants came to the Comox Valley in the 20th century to work principally in the coal mines. Often fleeing poverty from distant parts of the world, they came to our region looking for a better opportunity for their families. Their mark on the communities is still visible today.
In Campbell River for over 20 years, the Campbell River Italian Cultural Society has hosted an annual event at Miracle Beach Provincial Park, where hundreds gather to enjoy the outdoors, celebrate their culture, and savour home cooking. The sale of homemade sausages and spaghetti has raised more than $21,000 to support quality care for residents in Campbell River and the North Island.
In Powell River when the mill was just opening, many Italians came to settle in the community for work. Many settled particularly in the Wildwood area in which the Italian Cultural Centre is located still today. During the most vibrant years for the Italian community in Powell River, a great deal of food was produced in gardens and on small farms: fruits, vegetables, and some livestock. Food security is far less of an issue, with considerable local production and excellent growing conditions, a long season and excellent soils in that part of the community.
When we think of long-term impacts, many of those same orchards remain in Powell River though they are not often attended to and are no longer fully harvested. However, the hard work is still benefiting people today, as we are seeing an increase of people who are taking the fruit and providing it to various organizations that feed Powell River's growing number of homeless and hungry.
In my past work as the executive director of the Immigrant Welcome Centre in North Island, I remember hearing the story of one Italian immigrant whose family had settled in the west coast of Canada. Wanting to have their relatives join it, this man took a boat to Halifax. The reality is that many people when they were new to the country did not quite understand the size of the country. It was an interesting story that he shared with me about how fortunate he was that he brought his accordion with him. Once he arrived in Halifax, he realized he had to travel to the other side of a very vast country. Therefore, he used the accordion to make money to cross the country and be reunited with his family.
It is stories like this that have grown the wonderful diversity of our country. We see the richness that Italians have brought and how strong they have created that culture in Canada of community, family, and feeding one another.
Across Canada, there are 1.4 million Canadians of Italian descent. While the community is alive and thriving today, we must acknowledge that its history in Canada has not always been positive. Canada's allegiance in the Second World War led to many Italian Canadians being singled out as enemy aliens. What we now know is that the Italian community has thrived in Canada even though that dark time happened, while promoting and developing our multicultural fabric.
The numerous organizations that we contacted to discuss this motion were excited and pleased to lend their support. Of course, my province of B.C. declared the month of June as Italian heritage month several years ago.
I am very proud to support this motion, one that allows us the time to appreciate the people who came here to join our country. Their contributions have been significant, be it in the construction of urban infrastructure, the knowledge of arts and trades, or the manufacturing and textile industries, and many more. These men and women worked hard to build the country that we see today.
This motion would allow all Canadians to acknowledge and celebrate the rich cultural traditions we have gained from the Italian community. I look forward to lending my support.
[Member spoke in Italian]
Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. It is with great pride that I rise today as the son of Italian immigrants to speak to this motion, which would declare June Italian heritage month.
The motion recognizes the contributions Italian Canadians have made to Canadian society, the richness of Italian culture and history in Canada, and the importance of educating and reflecting upon Italian heritage for future generations.
For many Italian immigrants, the Italian Canadian story is one of sacrifice and hard work, achievement and success, and ultimately, integration into this beautiful country. For Italian Canadians, there is a saying that Italy is my native country, but Canada is my home.
This year will mark 57 years that my family is in Canada. My grandparents, along with their seven children, left southern Italy and the province of Calabria with nothing but what they could carry. They sailed from Naples on board the vessel M.S. Vulcania, arriving at Pier 21 in Halifax. Much like many Italian immigrants, they left to find a better future. They settled on the west coast of Canada, where they worked in the construction industry, pulp mills, and fish canneries.
I think humbly of my parents and my aunts and uncles, who came to Canada with little knowledge of English and little or no formal education. What they did have was a sense of pride, a work ethic, and an unwavering commitment to providing a better future for their children.
I think of my father, who like many Italian immigrants, became a tradesman, a carpenter, a roofer, and a sheet metal worker. He taught me the values of integrity, a strong drive to succeed, and a commitment to family.
My mother worked tirelessly in a fish cannery. In the morning, everything would be ready for me and my two brothers, and after a long day at work, she would come home, cook, and make certain the house was spotless. My parents taught me not only the value of hard work but the value of a dollar saved. That was the kind of people they were.
I think of the contributions of the trailblazers who opened the door for many of us: Frank Iacobucci, the retired Supreme Court justice; Charles Caccia, the great environmentalist, social activist, and former MP for Davenport from 1968 to 2004; Pietro Rizzuto and Peter Bosa, both senators, appointed by Pierre Trudeau; Johnny Lombardi and Gaetano Gagliano, whose legacies in the media business continue today.
I think of the success of the Canadian Italian business community that stretches across the country, names such as Bratty, Bosa, De Gasperis, Sorbara, Cortellucci, DeZen, Aquilini, Muzzo, Baldassarre, Saputo, and many more.
I think of the richness and vitality of Italian communites like Commercial Drive in Vancouver, College Street and St. Clair in Toronto, and St. Leonard in Montreal.
I am privileged to represent Vaughan—Woodbridge, which has the largest concentration of Italian Canadians in Canada. My greatest enjoyment as MP is visiting the seniors groups, where many recount their stories of arrival in Canada, the hardships they faced, including discrimination and bigotry, and how much they sacrificed for their children. They are all proud of being Canadian and are thankful for the opportunity for a better future that this country gave them.
I would like to read a quote from the commemorative plaque on the Italian fallen workers memorial in Ontario.
During the Great Diaspora of Italian emigration between 1870 and 1970, thousands of Italians left their homeland in search of a better life for their families. Many of them found their way to Ontario, where they toiled in all of the harshest industries of the last century...
digging the sewer systems of many Ontario cities;
creating the structures for the new hydroelectricity plants;
building the massive bridges and tunnels of our transportation infrastructure;
mining for ores in Ontario's north; and
erecting residential and commercial buildings
It was in a blossoming construction industry, which ultimately built up this beautiful province.
I feel honoured being here today and being part of this incredible group of people who call Canada home. We are so proud of being Canadian, as this beautiful, diverse, and tolerant country has given so much to us.
I thank all the parties in the House for supporting this very important motion. It makes us all proud Italian Canadians today.
: Buongiorno, signor Presidente
It is a pleasure to rise in the House to discuss Motion No. 64, Italian heritage month.
Italian Canadians have contributed immensely to Canadian society, and that is something that our party has always acknowledged. By recognizing the month of June as Italian heritage month, we are acknowledging the importance of educating and reflecting upon Italian heritage for future generations, because Italian history is also Canadian history.
Many people do not realize that the second European to discover North America is generally agreed to be an Italian explorer by the name Giovanni Caboto, or as many kids learn, John Cabot. We now believe his first landing was in Nova Scotia, and so we could argue that the first European to set food in Canada was an Italian.
Many people do not know that Canada boasts the sixth-largest Italian population outside of Italy, which is 1.3 million Canadians. We cannot talk about Canadian culture and heritage without talking about the richness and warmth of Italian culture and heritage.
I would like to take this opportunity to talk about the Italian community in my riding of Oshawa.
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Oshawa Italian Recreation Club. I would like to take a moment to share a little bit about who the members are and what they do, because they are such an important part of my community.
Today, the president, Tony Rizzuto, oversees a vibrant organization. As a matter of fact, I start off many of my mornings with a friendly cappuccino, usually made by Michelle, who since last week has been on maternity leave so Gianni has taken over now. I will drop by for lunch, and they have even named a sandwich after me. They call it “The Colin”. They are always welcoming at social events.
We have a vibrant bocce club, and Nick and Frances take charge of that with all of their members. They actually took a park in Oshawa, Radio Park, which is by the Oshawa Centre, and beautified it. I do not know if members have ever played bocce, but if they have the opportunity, they should come by, because our bocce club is so vibrant and friendly.
At our annual barbeques, for example, Nick, Frances, and all their members come out and share their hospitality. They also share their homemade soppressata, which is always a great hit. I really enjoy it.
However, it was not always like this. We had to start somewhere and they had to start somewhere.
In 1954, a group of newly arrived young Italians created the Oshawa inter-football league. It was an amateur soccer team to remind them of Italy. The team was extremely successful, and the enthusiasm from their accomplishment was the beginning of the Oshawa Italian Recreation Club, which promoted not only sports activities, but social and cultural events as well.
The club is a part of my community today, and it is one of the reasons why I feel that Italian Canadians deserve this recognition we are talking about today. Their warmth and hospitality makes everyone feel welcome.
The Oshawa Italian Recreation Club is the product of two Italian clubs: the Oshawa Italia Club and the Italian Social and Recreation Club of Oshawa. They came together in times of need and ultimately decided to amalgamate, and I will elaborate a little bit.
In 1966, the city of Florence was devastated by a flood that destroyed numerous historical buildings and works of art. In order to help, the two clubs came together and started a fundraising campaign, which raised tens of thousands of dollars for Florence. Unfortunately, a year later, a massive earthquake hit Sicily, leaving thousands homeless and hundreds dead. The two clubs again came together and set up a joint fundraiser committee where Colonel Sam McLaughlin, the founder of General Motors Canada, was the honorary chairman. The success of these two fundraising campaigns and the fact that these two clubs clearly worked together well was a great reason for them to join together into one, and they were named the Oshawa Italian Recreation Club, or OIRC.
This club began as a way for Italian immigrants to feel more at home by doing such things as opening a social agency to help Italian immigrants better integrate into Canadian society, helping with Italian passports, pensions, etc. However, its sole objective was not to only help Italian immigrants. The club has also organized many successful activities and fundraisers throughout our community, such as for the Oshawa General Hospital. It established an after-school program for elementary school-aged kids, and sponsors local minor hockey and soccer teams. It continues to fundraise and donate to local, national, and international charities.
What I am trying to get to is that Italian Canadians have made a tremendous contribution to Canadian society through local communities and internationally. OIRC was established as a meeting place for Italian immigrants. It was a place where they could feel at home. I have to say that, today, they make everyone who walks through their doors feel at home. The Italian community is so well integrated and well established in Oshawa and the club continues to promote Italian culture and recreational activities.
Every year, in June, Oshawa celebrates a great festival called Fiesta Week. It is one of the oldest multicultural festivals in Canada. Every single year, our Italian community opens up its doors to share its culture through dance, dining, and very good cheer. Everyone is welcome.
If members come to my community and it is not during Fiesta Week, they do not need to worry about it. Within walking distance from my office, they can drop into one of our many fine Italian restaurants, two of them owned by the Fazio family, called Fazio's and Tutto's. They will see Tino, Nicholas, Rosaleen, and Martin. They always welcome people with their great hospitality. They work hard and they contribute to our community. Around the corner, Avanti's is run by the Albis family. Tony, Ida, Domenic will always make their customers feel at home, and they serve a great meal as well. Their wood-burning oven makes awesome pizza within a couple of minutes, and I would recommend it to anyone. We have a great Italian community in Oshawa.
This is one of the reasons we support the motion, which suggests that the government recognize the contributions that Italians have made to Canada by sharing their culture and language through education programs and community clubs, such as the Oshawa Italian Recreation Club.
I would like to take a moment to make a brief aside. On my 10th wedding anniversary, I had to think of something really special. Any woman who could spend 10 years with me deserves something special. I thought of one of the greatest surprises that I could do. She loves cooking, and I wondered where I could take her to allow us to enjoy a week together away from the kids. There is a famous Canadian cooking school in Tuscany. A gentleman named Umberto Menghi has great restaurants throughout the Vancouver area. He also has a culinary retreat in Tuscany. I kept everything secret. I packed her bags, and I picked her up on time, and we took off for our 10th wedding anniversary. It was one of the best holidays we ever had. We would wake up every morning to a lovely breakfast. We would then go to the cooking class. These guys did the impossible. They did something they thought could not be done. They taught me to cook. I learned how a bit of sale e pepe makes a difference. Everything we cooked up was bene, molto bene.
An hon. member: So there is still hope for you.
Mr. Colin Carrie: There is still hope for anyone in the House, Mr. Speaker. If anyone has the opportunity, this is a good Canadian restaurateur to go to.
It also gave me the opportunity to tour around Italy and see some of the works of art, some of the culture, and enjoy a lot of the food.
In closing, I will support this wonderful motion. It is a great opportunity to celebrate everything Italian, everything Italian Canadian. It was an Italian who got me interested in politics, Senator Consiglio Di Nino, one of the leaders in the Italian community, one of the greatest guys out there. I believe Con came from Calabria as well, or he has friends in that area. He has committed his life to making Canada a better place.
We will support this motion. Grazie.
Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to be here this afternoon to support the motion of my colleague from .
My name is Giuseppe Edoardo Peschisolido. I am the son of Margherita and Loreto Peschisolido. My grandmother is Domenica Peschisolido, and my grandfather is Giovanni Peschisolido.
[Member spoke in Italian]
I also speak a little French.
This motion deals with culture, music, and the wonderful contributions of Italians throughout civilization and Italians here in Canada. As my colleague from mentioned, this is about more than language, culture, philosophy, or architecture. It is about people. It is about the many people of Italian background who came to Canada to build a new life for themselves, but more importantly, for their children and grandchildren.
My colleague from eloquently discussed the pioneers, the famous folk who blazed a trail for the Italian community.
As a young boy, with a good friend of mine, Pino Correale, who was like my fratello, we would go to the Columbus Centre, which Senator Consiglio Di Nino and Sam Ciccolini worked so hard to build.
My colleague from talked about Corriere Canadese and former members of Parliament. Joe Volpe stepped back in to become the publisher and owner of Corriere Canadese so that there would be a thriving Italian voice in Toronto. The motto of Corriere Canadese was to be proud of one's Italian heritage but to be fiercely Canadian.
I believe that is what we are celebrating today. We are celebrating the integration of millions of Canadians of Italian background who came with nothing.
My colleague from , his family came in the second wave of immigration, as did mine. My mom and dad and my grandparents came from nothing, from a little town called Ceprano, which is between Naples and Rome. That is significant, because it was a supply line during the Second World War. My father's, my mother's, and my grandparents' education and livelihood for eight or nine years was making sure they did not get killed during the war. They and a whole lot of other folks came over with nothing.
My parents and grandparents stopped off in Halifax. Just like my colleague from 's family, they also thought they had come to the wrong place, perhaps a purgatory and not a heaven. They then moved on to Toronto, where my mom started to go to school. She was 14, my mother, Marguerite, Mina, and she hung out with six- and eight-year-olds. Guess what? She did not stay in school long. She went out and worked.
That is what a lot of immigrants did. They went out and worked. My father is my hero, Lorato. When I would go to him with a report card, I was proud. I had 88, and his response was, “What happened to the other 12?”
That is the strength of the community: the importance of education, the importance of family, of faith, of social justice. I am proud to stand in the House this afternoon to support the motion of my colleague from and I encourage all members to support the motion as well.