Corriere Canadese

TORONTO - No one will ever accuse Italians of lacking in rhetoric or for having a flair for high drama and brinkmanship. On the eve of the arrival of of the Canadian delegation in Matera for the first leg of the “official signing ceremony” twinning the City of Toronto and the Cultural Capital of Europe for 2019, the Matera Executive Council (la Giunta) was subject to “resignations and reconstitution” – thus putting at risk months of hard work by teams on both sides of the Atlantic.
Happily, literally twenty minutes before the scheduled ceremony in Matera’s Council Chambers, a “reconstituted” Giunta, with re-confirmed delegates dedicated to the project, emerged from a closed-door meeting while unsuspecting Canadians waited anxiously for Mayor Raffaele De Ruggieri to emerge.
 The “point man”, Michele Grieco, a former Executive Councillor and now the Lead for the Project, was confirmed as the Mayor’s “plenipotentiary delegate” for the Twinning Project. It was he who, uncharacteristically, kicked off the ceremonies.
Good choice. From there, all intervenors focused on restating themes, principles and objectives.
Mayor De Ruggieri wanted to restate that Materani were committed to making this Twinning become more than a simple public relations exercise and that the project should be founded on concrete economic objectives. For him and his “new team”, Matera is a test centre, an incubator for the economy of tomorrow.
As proof, for him, Matera had just hosted part of the G-7 Meeting reserved for planning by, and   dedicated to, Ministers of Trade, Economic Development and Finance. He listed personalities of substance in Economic Affairs, the Arts and Politics who have in recent months visited and been impressed by the activity and the potential of his city. “Matera is rebranding Italy”, he said. It is a place where entrepreneurs can expect a good return on investment.
Matera is one of 5 Italian test centres for 5G fibre capacity. By next year 70% of its territory will be at 5G capacity, giving it a great competitive advantage when the European markets open up for this next generation communications system in 2020.
“Our model for growth is based on giving value to achievements of the past by restoring our artistic and artisanal capacities, growing our Tourism potential our Cultural Industries and stimulating investments in the economy of tomorrow”, he pronounced. The executive of the federation of businesses, Senator Bubbico, the mayors of adjacents towns that will host the Canadian Delegation over the course of the week – Ferrandina, Montescaglioso, Palazzo San Gervasio, Monticchio Volture and Pescopagno – were also present to bear testimony to what is a collaborate effort by the entire Region of Basilicata.
The Canadian, Toronto, delegation would not be outdone in its commitment. Deputy Mayor, Vincent Crisanti, accompanied by the Director for Economic Development, George Spezza, pointed out the advantages to a partnership with Toronto. It is a living dynamic in cultural and economic terms: 4th largest city in North America; 140 000 businesses spanning the full spectrum of economic activity; 190 language groups call it home; an “efficient” business sensitive government; a cultural industry whose value increased by 50% last year to exceed $2 billion in activity and an economic engine generating 20% of Canada’s economy. An Ideal partner for Matera.
Two MPs, Judy Sgro and Francesco Sorbara drove home the point, from a Canadian perspective. Italy and Canada exemplify one of the world’s most successful bilateral relationships with over $10 billion in two way trade annually, and prepared to do much more, according to MP Sorbara whose background is Finance and Investment Capital.
The Hon. Judy Sgro highlighted the historical value of the Human Resources component of that relationship: over 1.5 million Canadians of Italian origin whose successes in Canada are an indicator of the welcoming nature of our environment and the ability to obtain a return on investment economically and socially.
Both MPs dutifully acknowledged that the pantheon of celebrities invited to the ceremonies who made possibile the twinning: Maro Soluzzi, Raffaella Piarulli, Mario Romanelli from the Italian side and, from Canada, Pat Tremamunno, Paolo Petrozza, Dan Montesano, Frank Miele, Sam Primucci, Antonio Locantore, Corrado Paina and Filippo Gravina.
The Delegation then moved on immediately to a series of visitations to enterprises in the cultural, manufacturing and hi-Tech sectors already interested in establishing mutually beneficial rapports with Canadian counterparts. 
George Spezza and Michele Grieco, the bureaucratic, operating component of the project,  are going to be busy if the experiment is to succeed.
 

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Joseph Volpe

Joseph Volpe

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