Corriere Canadese

English Articles

Rev. James J. Maher, C.M.
 
The President’s revised executive order on foreign travel from certain countries may continue to be a detriment to those who have come to the United States under legal circumstances. 
 
At Niagara University, a regional and global institution, we currently have students and faculty from 38 countries.  It should come as no surprise that we stand in solidarity with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and numerous other organizations which released statements questioning the effects of the order signed by President Trump.
 
Our position is founded on three basic pillars. First; on a cultural-educational front, the contributions of international students and faculty are in keeping with our vision to prepare global citizens of the world. Through their presence and scholarship, they add value to the learning experiences at our campus.  They bring a global perspective to the university and the academic environment it provides.
 
Second; the economic impact that international students bring to American universities transcends the classroom walls and campus perimeter. It is significant.
 
According to NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the international student enrollment at Niagara contributes CDN$18.76 million, part of the university’s CDN$301.5 million annual economic impact in the region. 
 
There are currently 662 international students from 38 countries enrolled at Niagara, resulting in an additional 88 jobs. For every seven international students enrolled, three U.S. jobs are created and supported by spending in higher education and associated sectors.
 
Niagara is the largest post-secondary institution in western New York. State-wide, 114,000 international students make a CDN$5.25 billion contribution and support 46,854 jobs.
 
Nationally, the presence of international students studying at colleges and universities contribute CDN $42.88 billion and deliver 400,812 jobs to the U.S. economy.
 
Third; at Niagara, our mission statement, our strategic vision, inspired by and drawn from the founder of the Vincentian order, St. Vincent de Paul has a social-religious mandate. He organized his contemporaries to respond to people’s basic needs with compassion. The legacy of St. Vincent’s work with disaster relief and refugees earned him the title of honorary Secretary of State of France.
 
Today, more than ever, St. Vincent’s call serves as an inspiration for our staff and  students to serve all members of society, from every faith tradition, in local communities and in the larger world.
  
Hospitality is a virtue. The safety and security of our great nation is a need that can never be compromised, but neither should our role as a country that embraces the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
 
As Pope Francis has said, "Authentic hospitality is a profound Gospel value that nurtures love and is our greatest security against hateful acts of terrorism."
 
Our faculty members and administrators will do everything in their power to ensure that we continue to be a welcoming community for all, so that we may facilitate the types of educational and cultural discussions that are meant to take place within the academic environment of a university and our neighbouring institutions. 
 
 
Father Maher is president of Niagara University, a bi-national institution in upstate New York.

The Honourable Joe Volpe, Publisher

TORONTO - Lazy thinkers have taken over the reins of political parties - that is Parties, plural. Federal Conservatives just happen to be the most vulnerable today because they are going through a “succession exercise”.

Unfortunately, like corporate bodies and Boards, “in-breeding” Leadership selection processes stunt growth and expansion. Otherwise normally reasonable men and women allow themselves to be captured by the “smart alec” quips that condense political ideas.

These snippets of communication don’t typically emerge from aggressive debate on the merits of ideas and data. They are generated by some “consultant” whose only goal in life is to produce an attention-grabbing statement to make the utterer stand out among equally non-descript minions.

Who else writes stuff like: “radical multiculturalism”, “shared values”, “old stock Canadians”? Do they even know what these terms mean? My sense is that they serve as a pernicious cover for some publicly unacceptable views.

A problem is that the Donald Trump “electoral phenomenon” in the USA has relaxed the chains previously restricting the expression of “extreme views”. Now “Trumpists” and “Trumpettes” are falling over each other to ride the “Trump train to success”. Facts and historical data fall by the wayside.

Maxime Bernier, a current candidate for the leadership of the Conservative party of Canada, is a case in point. A former Minister and MP in the Harper administration, he now wants to eradicate the threats posed by “radical multiculturalism” generated by Canada’s immigration system.

Bernier comes from a part of Quebec whose population is almost as white as the driven snow (if one ignores the Aboriginal community). Better yet, it is as “purelaine” (francophone Quebecois) as any part of Quebec can be. Nice people, but they still have problems with bi-culturalism and bi-lingualism, let alone a definition of multiculturalism.

An inconvenient fact that opponents of “radical multiculturalism” -  now forever an addition to the Canadian lexicon, thanks to the “Mad Max” – must address in their zeal is that the government of which he was apart over the last ten years, landed 2, 294, 482 new immigrants.

Most of them were (are?) “uni-cultural”, and possibly “uni-lingual”, South-East Asians {India}, 320, 622; Chinese, 311,863; Philippino, 280, 933; Pakistani, 101, 013; Algeria, 42, 296.

Except for approximately 50,000 in that 10-year period, most of them will not have been European Caucasian, with a religious and cultural value structure alien to most “old stock” Canadians.

Rather than think of this as a progressive advantage with which to shape Canada’s future, he and other candidates who espouse “shared values”, “old stock” Canadians, raise the spectre of a society whose management will fall in the hands of foreigners with cultures alien to our own … whatever that might be.

If you truly have an ambition for Canada, the way to bring it about must surely be to lay out a plan for how to maximize the “demographic assets” we have toiled to build. The road to national success cannot be paved with regrets over relatively recent open-door immigration policies.

The Honourable Joe Volpe, Publisher
 
TORONTO - Maybe there’s hope. Since we printed an interview with a well-established builder of repute on February 16, (“Canadian builder sounds the warning bell”) a steady stream of comments questioning the merits of Canada’s demographic and immigration policy has been flooding our editorial desk.
The Corriere Canadese has been writing about these for the better part of 3 years. Its articles and columns have always been accompanied by data, charts and graphs derived from reputable sources in Europe and Canada – including Statscan and [formerly] Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Last week, the latter department released total immigration numbers and source countries. We converted them into a ten-year graph to better illustrate the impact.
They seemed to confirm the assertions made in the February 16 article: that Immigration policies do not address the needs of the one industrial sector that still creates wealth and prosperity in Canada – Ontario’s Construction Industry.
The Sector needs to replace a skilled and aging workforce. And there is a shortage of workers - primarily men - willing and able to embark on “a career” that may rely on physical talents but is financially rewarding for those committed to learning and to precision. 
Thursday, I accepted (on an off-the-record basis) an invitation to a meeting of Union Officials and a number of medium-sized builders and subcontractors concerned that this shortage would delay delivery of contracted work, drive up prices, force builders to increase their “poaching” of each other’s workers and destabilize the sector.
One medium-sized subcontractor, a community activist and philanthropist, protested that he has taken to enticing former tradesmen out of retirement: “the youngest is 69 years old, two others are 72, come check my records. Service Canada is making it virtually impossible for me to do my own recruiting; the bureaucrats know best, I guess.” 
All were quizzical about decisions by bureaucrats in respect of their applicants. They in fact asked if there was a rhyme or reason behind immigration policies that lead to the graph published in our Thursday (March 2). Or indeed why the Province is incapable of training young people for their sector and validating their work and their dignity for choosing that career.
It was a rather egalitarian room - people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds whose “camaraderie” was born out of relationships built on construction site, where value and respect is earned through quality workmanship and timely performance that considers the needs of the next tradesman to complete the job. Everyone needs housing and the goods, products and services associated with it.
Canada is a big country. There is room for everyone who wants to build and develop a society. But a fact of life is that many of the “trades” have traditionally come from Southern and Eastern Europe.
Immigration Canada over the last ten years has focused on other people and other skills.
On seeing the chart, the most common expression was, “is this why we cannot get people prepared to work on a construction site?” Less than 2/10 of one percent (4.233) of immigrants came from Italy; a marginally higher percentage from Portugal (5.439). The total number from Eastern Europe (21.511) was roughly equivalent to that from Jamaica (22.693), whose total population, 2016, was only 2, 900,000 – is it any wonder that Union officials could complain that the number of available workers from Jamaica is “drying up”.
The meeting was not just a grousing session. Everyone was looking for suggestions on how to fix their “economic problem”. The first step, was to find some mechanism to keep the workers they had, and that includes the “undocumented” ones the “visa overstays”. Second, to be allowed to recruit their own workers, since Immigration Canada seems to have other priorities not founded on the Builders’ needs. 
On the first score, there is a “pilot project” to regularize the roughly 60,000 “illegal workers in the GTHA’s construction industry. It’s all “hush-hush”, so far.
On the “recruitment” side, the government needs to gets its collective head around the “how to do it”, and soon, before it begins to wear the consequences of its predecessor’s policies. 
 
 
Lisa Raffaele
 
TORONTO - Make every dish unique. That might be the best way to describe Lidia Bastianich’s culinary philosophy. 
 
Lidia is everyone’s favourite Nonna: chef, best-selling cookbook author, restauranteur and Emmy award-winning television host. 
 
Cooking is in her DNA. Italian-born, now American, Lidia Bastianich personifies the ability to converge the diversity and innovation of her homeland with the products of the local environment to produce inviting meals.
 
Modest, she praises the American-Italian and Canadian-Italian ingenuity in discovering ways to embrace traditional cooking techniques with indigenous ingredients and flavours.  
 
“Both are adaptations of an immigrant culinary culture,” she says. “As immigrants move to another country, they bring their culture with them. That means food, music, holiday traditions, etc.” she emigrated to the USA when she was 12 years old.
 
In a country like Canada, you can’t look at the food landscape without seeing the impact of local and global influences. Yet, a rather particular, if not unique cuisine, has emerged. 
 
To commemorate Canada’s 150th anniversary, this year’s RC Show showcases the components of “Canada’s culinary mosaic”.
 
Bastianich’s culinary journey and career help illustrate what Canadian cuisine means, especially to the Italian community and lovers of Italian cuisine.
 
One can’t look at cuisine in a country like the U.S. or Canada without seeing how the world – Italy in particular - has helped shape and inspire menus, and vice versa. 
 
“I would say that the tomato has probably had the biggest impact [on Canadian cuisine],” she says. “Extra virgin olive oil and the different authentic Italian cheeses have also made a significant impression on Canadian cuisine.” 
 
The same can also be said for North America’s impact on Italian gastronomy.
 
“Italian Americans did not initially find many of their agricultural products when they arrived; but meat was much less expensive than in their homeland. Therefore, many Italian American sauces became heavier on the meat than their Italian counterparts. In addition, there weren’t as many herbs, so adding more garlic or onions to flavour a sauce was a typical way to adapt that flavour to the new home,” she adds.
 
Whether it’s Alberta beef or P.E.I oysters from the East Coast, food changes as the landscape does. But, any Italian (no matter where born) can agree, what’s most important in Italian cuisine is freshness and seasonality. That is a notion that transcends geography. It holds true in Bastianich’s food. 
 
Some of her earliest childhood food memories were of picking and savouring fruits and vegetables from the family garden, or fishing with her uncle and enjoying their catch hours later. “That tradition still remains in Italy and is what I love the most about the country.  It’s what I continuously talk about when teaching about Italian food.”
 
Although items like Canadian maple syrup have found a way into her go-to ingredient list, fresh staples like garlic, San Marzano tomatoes, Grana Padano, extra virgin olive oil and dry pasta can never be replaced. 
 
It seems fitting to ask, “What would Canada’s food scene be without the impact of Italians?” 
 
For Lidia the answer is simple. “Italians love vegetables and fruits. Canada produces so many wonderful vegetables even New Yorkers import. Moreover, Canadian-Italian immigrants have mastered the science of cheese making and meat curing developed and learned in Italy. These are now the mainstays of family meals everywhere in the country.”
 
Corriere Canadese’s own Publisher, the Honourable Joseph Volpe, today at 1p.m. sits down with Lidia Bastianich live, on stage at RC Show 2017, to talk about her culinary journey and how her Italian heritage has shaped her cuisine.
 
The Hon. Joe Volpe, Publisher
 
TORONTO - I attended a Vaughan Afro-Canadian Association event in Concord Wednesday night. To be more precise, I accepted an invitation, extended to the Corriere Canadese, to be a “keynote speaker” at the gathering. 
 
I was prepared to speak, but I was frankly unprepared for the intensity of what I heard.
That a significant component of the Vaughan community and indeed of Canadian Society would invite the publisher of an Italian language daily to their event is flattering. 
 
The evening was organized by mothers of children whose experience in the York Region District School Board has been a subject of concern for all thinking Canadians.
The Corriere Canadese has been covering the unfolding series of educational missteps, Administrative “lapses of judgement”, insensitivity (blatant intolerance and prejudice by Board officials) and the persistence of the parent groups to get a receptive ear. 
 
It has not been alone in this, although the Corriere’s reporter – Mariella Policheni -, its political cartoonist – Ynot - and editorial board have been very direct in calling for a complete overhaul of the Board by the Ministry of Education.
 
We should have been tougher. And we should have done it even earlier.
 
It is hard to imagine the depth of humiliation, hurt and helplessness of the women who recounted a sampling of the experiences forced upon them and their children by an insensitive, indifferent organization whose funding source is public and whose raison d’etre is to nurture those values which distinguish Canada as a premier society in the world.
 
They had a difficult time holding back their tears. I thought of my own mother, and others like her who entrusted their children’s education and wellbeing to “reliable authorities” while they went to work in sweat shops or low paying service sector to augment the family income.
 
The mothers at the meeting were educated women. The vulnerability and long-term damage to their children even less comprehensible. 
 
The Human Rights abuses perpetrated upon them, never justifiable, even more startling. All because of the colour of their skin.
 
I am glad that through the Corriere Canadese Ontario’s Italian-Canadian community was able to stand with those mothers in defence of decency and dignity. The actions of the offenders, apparently too numerous and “overwhelming” in number, could fill several books.
 
And this is 2017. And Vaughan’s Mayor trumpets his city’s leading edge “openness and diversity”.
 
In fairness, the Board’s Chair and Vice-Chair, along with two student Trustees, attended. So did one of the Ministry’s two “reviewers”.
 
Corriere will continue to follow these stories, but barring any compelling and persuasive developments to mitigate what has happened so far, the Minister of Education can only have one course of action open to her. 
 
Take control of the YRDSB, start over and administer it directly.