National Congress of Italian Canadians

The National Congress of Italian Canadians is an umbrella organization that represents Italian Canadian organizations in Canada.[1] It was founded in 1974 as a successor to the Federation of Italian Canadian Associations. The congress has a federated structure with seven district organizations.[2]

Activities

Redress for internees

Since 1990, the congress has sought compensation for Italian Canadians who were interned and arrested by the Canadian government during World War II.[3] At one stage in the mid-1990s, the congress voted to drop its request for compensation and focus on clearing the Royal Canadian Mounted Police records of surviving internees; in later years, however, it resumed its efforts for compensation.[4]

In 1990, former prime minister Brian Mulroney apologized for the war internment of Italian Canadians to a Toronto meeting of the National Congress of Italian Canadians: "On behalf of the government and the people of Canada, I offer a full and unqualified apology for the wrongs done to our fellow Canadians of Italian origin during World War II."[5]

In May 2009, Massimo Pacetti introduced bill C-302, an "Act to recognize the injustice that was done to persons of Italian origin through their "enemy alien" designation and internment during the Second World War, and to provide for restitution and promote education on Italian Canadian history [worth $2.5 million]", which was passed by the House of Commons on April 28, 2010.[6] Canada Post was also to issue a commemorative postage stamp commemorating the internment of Italian Canadian citizens,[7] however, Bill C-302 did not pass through the necessary stages to become law.[8]

Political activism

The congress has traditionally supported Canadian federalism. In November 1996, it joined with the Canadian Jewish Congress and the Hellenic Canadian Congress in issuing a pamphlet calling for renewed Canadian unity.[9] It has also promoted the right of Italian citizens living in Canada to participate in Italian elections.[10]

Several congress members have been active in Canadian political life, including Laureano Leone, Rosario Marchese, and Annamarie Castrilli.[11]

External links

References

  1. ^ "Dante St.: Heart of Little Italy thrives as 'a family place'," Montreal Gazette, 11 July 1987, p. 2; "Climbing the ladder of success ... and working towards a united Canada," Toronto Star, 4 June 1992, p. 8.
  2. ^ "Italian Benevolent Corp. exceeds 'wildest expectations'," Toronto Star, 4 June 1992, p. 24; Jeff Heinrich, "Italian groups set aside rivalries to promote election in homeland," Montreal Gazette, 29 April 2005, p. 6; "The NCIC appoints new members to its executive team" [press release), National Congress of Italian Canadians - Quebec Chapter, 18 April 2011, accessed 22 September 2011.
  3. ^ "Italian Canadians plan to lobby for redress," Toronto Star, 6 January 1990, p. 16.
  4. ^ "Italians drop bid for wartime compensation," Canadian Press, 28 November 1994; "Italian Canadians want apology for internment," Canadian Press, 4 March 1997.
  5. ^ "Italians seek new apology from Canada for wartime internments". The Globe and Mail. 30 April 2010.
  6. ^ Third Session, Fortieth Parliament, House of Commons, Bill C–302 Retrieved January 2, 2011. (pdf file)
  7. ^ "Apology to interned Italian-Canadians questioned".
  8. ^ "Redress and Apology". www.italiancanadianww2.ca.
  9. ^ Paul Wells, "Greek, Italian and Jewish groups launch plan for united Canada," Montreal Gazette, 27 November 1996, p. 11.
  10. ^ Jeff Heinrich, "Italian groups set aside rivalries to promote election in homeland," Montreal Gazette, 29 April 2005, p. 6.
  11. ^ Hugh Winsor, "Faith in finding the ring," Globe and Mail, 30 December 1980, p. 7; "Ministers bring range of experience to cabinet," Ottawa Citizen, 2 October 1990, p. 5; "Italian Canadian group criticizes compensation plan," Toronto Star, 29 May 1993, p. 18.

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