Corriere Canadese

TORONTO - Community anger to save Columbus Centre heats up. The association ’’Save Our Columbus Centre’’ delivered to the Corriere a copy of a flier that will be distributed in many churches in Toronto. Corriere Canadese decided to publish it.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Catholic Community:
 
We plead with you to help us prevent the demolition and destruction of our beloved Columbus Centre, at the hands of Villa Charities and the Toronto Catholic District School Board.
 
The Columbus Centre is the heart and soul of the Italian Canadian Community. It is a serene place. It was built with contributions and donations from the entire Italian diaspora. It is a place that was built by the Italian people for ALL people.
 
With the demolition of the Columbus Centre, Villa Charities and the Toronto Catholic District School Board will be guilty of nothing less than the cultural genocide of the Italian community.
 
We must point out that we were totally unaware of the tragedy that was about to unfold. Villa Charities and the Toronto Catholic District School Board, operating like thieves in the night, with no warning whatsoever, unloaded this disaster on the community.
 
We are trying to understand the purpose of this disturbing alliance between Villa Charities and the Toronto Catholic District School Board.
 
At the meeting of June 13, 2017 of the North York Community Council, one of the speakers said, "the plan to demolish the Columbus Centre is a monstrosity conceived by barbarians who have appropriated a community asset for their own nefarious gains and designs”.
 
Brothers and Sisters, please visit the Columbus Centre while it is still there. Walk the beautiful grounds. Visit the Rotunda and the Art Gallery where artists from all backgrounds exhibit their work. Listen quietly and you will hear its heart beating. Listen and be still and you will feel its very soul. There is no place like it in our city.
 
It is beyond comprehension that the Trustees of the Catholic District School Board would destroy this place. The most despicable outcome of this tragedy will fall on the frail shoulders of those that can bear it the least, the Seniors living at Villa Colombo, Cabot Terrace, and Casa Del Zotto.
 
Their beautiful grounds, ideal for the use of walkers, will disappear. The seniors will be confined in their units to live like rats in solitary confinement. Why is it okay to treat people with such cruelty? Of course, we know that your suffering means nothing to the barons of Villa Charities and Toronto Catholic District School Board trustees. In their plans, you are nothing more than collateral damage. They do not give a fig about the mental anguish that will be your constant companion.
 
Shame on you Villa Charities! Shame on you Trustees of the Catholic Board! In the hearts and minds of thousands upon thousands of people, you will forever live in infamy and shame.
 
Looking into the future, one can foresee tragic and frightening consequences of traffic congestion on Dufferin Street, already statistically one of the worst streets in the country for traffic accidents.
 
At the north-east comer of Dufferin and Lawrence, on completion, the new condominium will house about 5,000 people. At the south side of Lawrence a new project will take place. We do not have the statistics for the population of this new place.
 
Slightly to the east, the Lawrence Heights project will house 60,000 people. The new high school will be surrounded by a jungle of buildings. It will be like a small mushroom in a forest. In this type of environment, traffic fatalities are bound to happen - actually they already have.
 
Allow us to give you some highlights about what has been happening in this saga.
 
The Toronto Catholic District School Board and Villa Charities presented the project to the public at the Yorkdale Secondary School. Upon learning that the Columbus Centre was destined for Demolition, people were horrified. They responded and made it abundantly clear that they wanted nothing to do with this proposal. Many people were actually screaming in opposition.
 
At the meeting of June 13, 2017 held by the North York Community Council, the lawyer for the developer Villa Charities was not even able to answer very simple questions.
 
Who owns the property? He did not know. Who is Villa Charities? He did not know. How many members sit on the board of Villa Charities? He did not know. Who is entitled to elect board members? He did not know. A truly bizarre and embarrassing performance! 
 
No less embarrassing was the performance of the Toronto Catholic District School Board representative, Trustee Maria Rizzo, who was unable to answer many of the councillors’ questions. But, she went on to declare that the project was totally "botched up from the very beginning’’. You really cannot make this stuff up!!
 
At the end of the meeting, council voted unanimously to oppose the project and refer it to the full Toronto City Council. The full Toronto City Council voted unanimously to oppose the project and has appointed their solicitor to represent the city at the OMB hearing.
 
A word of thanks and gratitude must go to our MPP Mike Colle for his courageous fight in order to save our beloved Columbus Centre. 
 
We are grateful to the Minister of Education, Mitzy Hunter for freezing the funds budgeted for Dante Alighieri and for taking a stand.
 
Trustees of the Catholic Board, please understand that with your actions you have planted the seeds for the destruction of Catholic Education in the City of Toronto.
 
The Columbus Centre was built with the blood, sweat and tears of Italians. Trustees of the Catholic School Board, we ask you to abandon this insanity. LEAVE THE COLUMBUS CENTRE ALONE!!! You DO NOT OWN IT! It is not yours to destroy. CAPISCI???
 
HELP US SAVE OUR BELOVED COLUMBUS CENTRE!
 
Corriere Canadese reached out to Villa Charities for comments. We did not received any answer.
 
Article written by: Sandra Banner
TORONTO - Timely medical care is all too rare for many Canadians. 
Fewer than half can get a same-day or next-day appointment with their family doctor, according to a recent report from the Canadian Institute of Health Information. Fifty-six percent of Canadians have to wait more than a month to see a specialist.  
 
These statistics are a bracing reminder of the nation’s growing shortage of physicians, especially primary care doctors. More than 4.5 million Canadians lack a regular doctor. That’s nearly 15 percent of the population over the age of 12.
 
Canada’s leaders must act to reverse these shortages. Doing so will require an aggressive effort by medical schools and governments to encourage more young people to consider careers in family medicine -- careers that have an outsized impact on the health of Canadians. 
 
Canada is short primary care doctors in part because graduates of Canadian medical schools are growing more reluctant to pursue careers in family medicine.  Just one-third of Canadian medical graduates go into primary care. 
 
These shortages take a toll on Canadians’ health. Patients with no regular doctor are less likely to get annual exams or other preventive care. And the evidence shows that there’s a strong correlation between a population with access to effective primary care providers and positive health outcomes. 
 
The primary care shortage has hit Canada’s rural communities hardest. One hospital in Preeceville in rural Saskatchewan, which serves 60,000 locals, recently began suspending emergency room services on a regular basis.  
 
On Prince Edward Island, 4,000 patients are without a primary care doctor.  According to the Nova Scotia Health Authority, over 25,000 residents are currently waiting to see a family doctor throughout the province -- up from only 6,000 last fall.  More than 200,000 residents of British Columbia have no family doctor. 
 
Last summer, the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the College of Family Physicians of Canada recommended a dramatic increase in the number of emergency room residency slots. They say that the current shortfall of nearly 500 ER doctors could triple by 2025.  
 
Since 2004, medical schools have been opening campuses all across the country. These are meant to encourage students from rural communities to enroll in medical school -- and hopefully return to practice in smaller communities.
 
Despite all these changes, millions of Canadians still cannot find a family doctor. Perhaps it’s time to look outside our borders. 
 
Institutions outside Canada can make a difference, just as they have in the United States. One-quarter of our southern neighbor’s doctors are graduates of international medical schools.  And among doctors practicing in the United States, half of those educated at med schools in the Caribbean are working in primary care.  
 
St. George’s University, a school on the Caribbean island of Grenada for which I serve as a consultant, has trained more than 1,200 Canadian doctors.  Two-thirds of those grads are in primary care -- twice the share of graduates of Canadian medical schools. 
 
Over 600 of our current students hail from Canada. Many are eager to train and practice in their own communities.  That’s why St. George’s has partnered with the University of Saskatchewan Hospital and the Vancouver General Hospital -- to arrange clinical rotations for these doctors-in-training. 
 
It’s time to end Canada’s doctor shortage. Provincial governments could fund more training positions for family medicine. Medical schools inside and outside Canada have a role to play, too -- by graduating and training more family physicians, and steering them to the underserved communities that need them most. 
 
Sandra Banner is the consultant for St. George’s University 
relations in Canada
 
Omar Khadr
Khadr gets $10 million, Italian-Canadians still ignored
Article written by: Adelina Pecchia
 
MARATHON - In the last few years many cultural groups have fought to reclaim their rights and have asked the government to apologize and acknowledge wrongdoing and injustices done to Canadians.
 
This simmering anger has boiled to the surface over the recent $10.5 million awarded to Omar Khadr who sued the Canadian government claiming his rights as a Canadian were violated when he was imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay at age 16 and held for 10 years.
 
This award is an act of travesty when so many other Canadians have been violated and are awaiting justice, including my ancestors. Their rights were violated when the Italian-Canadian internment began on June 10, 1940.
 
Thousands of Italian Canadians were labelled “enemy aliens.” Subject to discrimination, imprisonment, silenced and not allowed to speak the language, Italians were not allowed to gather in groups larger than five people!
 
Italian seafarers, not part of any war effort, in Canadian waters at the time were also interned. Italy, according to my many uncles and relatives who were conscripted to fight - unwillingly - entered into the Second World War.
Canadian Italians 16 years and older and Canadians who became British subjects after 1929 were forced to register with the RCMP and report monthly.
 
Lists were drawn and police were allowed to accuse Italians of being members of fascist groups, though most did not have political ties. Those with political ties were accused of engaging in illegal activities.
 
Land owned by Italians was considered Enemy Alien Property and sold to the RCMP.
 
Italian consul staff were expelled from Canada. Canadian-born sons of Italians were fighting overseas with their homeland army while their relatives were subject to imprisonment, internment and confiscation of land and rights.
 
In order to survive, activities by Canadian Italians took place in the name of anti-fascism to appease suspicions. Others “turned in” their own country people for payment and promises of freedom.
 
Mussolini may have put in place an anti-Semitic policy but need I remind Canada that our Canadian government turned away the St. Louis carrying almost 1,000 Jewish refugees when it was days away from Halifax. Where is the apology by the Canadian government on this travesty?
 
Granted, Canada opened its doors and many of us came to this country via Pier 21 in Halifax after the war. For this we are grateful but this does not bring restitution to that which was done in the name of war efforts.
 
The international community has hunted down Nazi war criminals. Why haven’t we turned the books on those who have hunted down Italians and profited from selling their lands?
 
Canadian Italians have not received recompense or restitution for the losses and tragedies they encountered from internment and a formal apology has never been given by the Canadian government.
 
This hysterical turn of events in Canada is rarely talked about. Why? Because we are Italian.
 
When I was a child I experienced discrimination and hostility because of my name and heritage in Fort William even decades after the war. Nazi sympathizers were also hostile to Italians. One of my school teachers divided her class by eye colour and skin colour. Questioning her beliefs got me into her bad books.
 
In 1990 prime minister Brian Mulroney offered an apology to Italians but an official apology from the House of Commons has never been given. In 2008 the Conservatives set aside $5 million to deal with “the Italian question” but still no apology.
 
Canada Post went so far as to reject a stamp commemorating the internment of Italian Canadians and minister of citizenship and immigration Jason Kenney rejected a heritage bill in 2009.
 
The only memoir recognizing the internment of Italians in Canada is an exhibition of polished steel statutes in Toronto funded by our own processes. Perhaps this signifies our steely perseverance and shining resilience but we still await a formal apology and restitution to the injustices done.
 
Meanwhile, the government once again has been selective on whom to apologize to and where to hand out hard earned tax money, including from thousands of hard working Italians who have remained in this country, in spite of the past.
 
All of us were created to offer real and adequate protection for families and persons, preserve identity, to defend property and land, prevent exclusion, welcome the excluded and the poor, and thus to reveal the face of the Creator for and with all peoples.
 
Let’s start by asking our leaders to apologize for past and present oppressions and then move forward with where restitution is due. This means not by recompensing one Canadian and ignoring the other.
 
Adelina Pechhia is a religious minister
who lives in Marathon, Northern Ontaro
 Il ministro Laura Albanese
 
Vaughan – 200 employers and some of their unionized employees packed a hall at Carpenters Local 27 to hear how Provincial Minister for Immigration, Laura Albanese, proposed to resolve the Construction Industry’s labour shortage in Ontario. 
They also wanted to learn how Ontario’s recent announcements on its Immigration Plan would overcome the Federal Government’s insensitive and cloistered approach to the needs of Ontario’s human resources needs.
Minister Albanese came to announce that Ontario’s Provincial Nominee Program (OINP) had been increased to accommodate 6,000 applicants. 500 of those positions had been reserved for Agricultural and Skilled/Semi-skilled Workers in the Construction industry.
These [are] to be filled via a pilot program under the Employer Job Offer Stream (EJOS) – a worthwhile effort. A further 2,500 are available under an “expedited” Express Entry stream that has do date been of little practice use to the Construction Industry and others. 
The audience was patient and polite as two Provincial officials, Ministerial staff and Union officials elaborated how the program would work and how they proposed to help applicants achieve success. It helped that MP Francesco Sorbara was also in attendance to listen and to express support.
The presentation is best described as a delicate balance between deference and defiance. Employers could only hold back for so long. They viewed the announcement as “very little and very tentative”. The composure and “courage” exhibited by the bureaucrats earned the respect of the audience, but, in the end they were talking about how “their process would be more efficient”, while those present wanted to address the two big elephants in the room: recruitment of available labour and the “regularization” of the ones they had. 
The federal government’s insistence on the strict language requirements are a huge stumbling block for potential immigrants from Mediterranean Europe and the southern half of the Western Hemisphere – two areas that provide the traditional skilled labour for the industry.  Nothing in the Provincial plan changes that.
Speaker after speaker stressed that they had trouble keeping the workers they had (at competitive rates as dictated by collective agreements) because these had to stay one step ahead of Immigration Enforcement agents to stay in the country and on the job. 
While appreciative of the streamlined process, Dan Montesano of Lido Construction asked from where he would recruit new applicants. “We have had to ask formerly retired staff to come back to work; 8 of our staff are between the age of 70 and 73. But Service Canada says there are unemployed Carpenters and construction workers in Canada. They can’t find them for my company”. 
“Exactly”, responded another, “What do we do with the [thousands] of illegals/undocumented among our employees? Everyone knows they exist; the industry would collapse without them”.
 “This system is set up to fail”, expressed another, “we cannot afford to place our staff at risk of removal by coming forward as applicants”. Even when employers try to help their workers here on legitimate Work Visas, Service Canada manages to jeopardize a healthy working relationship that allows employers to bid on contracts. In one case, an employer who submitted 15 applications for renewal was told he would only get 10 and he should make do with 5 less – in mid-contract.
“Ottawa just doesn’t know how to deal with the thousands of ’Ghost Workers’ who have become the backbone of Ontario’s economy – in construction, restaurant or trucking industry”, chimed in yet another employer. “Let us go out and recruit our own” pleaded yet another.
This was a friendly crowd. The Union local has been, and is, supportive of all Provincial and Federal initiatives to find [incremental but] long-term solutions to the labour stresses in Ontario’s construction sector.
Tony Iannuzzi, Ontario President of the Carpenter’s Union said, “we need governments to hear and listen – our employers could hire and place 20, 000 new workers tomorrow – but no one is paying attention”.
Maybe they will after this meeting. The two Immigration Officials both said they learned a lot. Ferd Longo, Minister Albanese’s Chief of Staff, promised that the Ontario Cabinet is fully behind the Minister’s initiative and that she has a mandate to push Ottawa hard to make it more sensitive to Ontario’s needs.
Maybe their federal cousins will understand the political importance of listening. Former Ministers Alexander and Kenney didn’t and look at what happened to them, mused a participant on the way out.
 
 
 
TORONTO - The evening turned up more than what the organizers of the “town hall’ meeting about the Casa Italia might have had in mind. Consul General Giuseppe Pastorelli, flanked by Canadian Business and Professional Association (CIBPA) president, Ed Buriello, Ret. Justice Frank Iacobucci, and Sam Ciccolini met with a few representatives from the Italian community at the Western Point Club, Tuesday, July 11, to seek input in “potential plans” for the current home of the Italian Consulate in Toronto.
Nineteen other people were also in attendance. There was no definitive “plan” or “project” offered for discussion or consideration. One point of affirmation expressed without any equivocation was that the State of Italy seems to be the singular owner on title for 183 Beverly St.
Consul General Pastorelli outlined 3 principles guiding the deliberations of the Advisory Committee of “leaders in the community” selected for the purposes of providing guidance through the consultation and development process. These include the above and Pal Di Iulio, Con Di Nino and Julie Di Lorenzo.
Briefly those principles are as follows: (1) preserve the historical value of Chudleigh House, (2) give honour to maintain alive the “vision” of the three men who “re-acquired” the property from the Canadian government in 1955, (3) contemplate ways in which to bring enduring benefit [to the community].
The presentation and the responses appeared intended to convince the audience that NOTHING had been decided and that what everyone had before them was a tabula rasa onto which they could inscribe their own vision.
They were not entirely successful in their efforts.
Frank Misuraca deplored the sparsity of the crowd and the lack of documentation attesting to the Government’s right to sell the property to the CIBPA. A lady identifying herself as Renata asked for the Consulate’s plan to which the public might respond. Giuseppe Cafiso asked what was the plan that the CIBPA hoped the public might amplify. 
He made several suggestions as to what might be of “benefit” to the Community. Mr. Buriello admitted to not knowing “what benefit is”. Daniela Di Marco wanted to know how any development would be financed and if there were any private investors interested in developing the site as part of their philanthropic activities.
This was echoes by Fulvio Florio. Both Ed Buriello and Sam Ciccolini affirmed that there we none. Dan Montesano queried about where the profits from the sale of improvements to the asset would go. Again, the latter two individuals indicated that they had either not thought of it or had not yet gone that far in the process. In other words, they didn’t know.
It was not that reassuring. Renata (?) again said that the public did not want that the same thing happen to Casa Italia that was happening at Columbus Centre: “in the end we have nothing”. Pal Di Iulio, who used to be the CEO at the Columbus Centre, pointed out that any plans to develop a vision required the “right financial model” to pay for everything.
The market demands that you develop the land according to the highest and best use. A point reinforced by Sam Ciccolini who closed with the supporting observation that one needs to look for avenues that maximize the value of the asset.
There is another meeting scheduled for September, before a decision is made.