Before we begin, first of all, thank you very much. Your pronunciation wasn't all that bad. You're forgiven.
Mr. Dan Montesano is accompanying me. He's the chair of the community advisory committee board. I'll be doing most of the speaking.
Without further ado, Madam Chair and colleagues around the table, thank you for affording us the opportunity to enter into your deliberations regarding the state of some of Canada’s cultural institutions—because I think that's what we're talking about—particularly as they relate to heritage, citizenship, and participation in the development of our country.
We are acutely aware that your decisions and your recommendations to government will have an impact on the survivability of—quote, unquote—local media and, with it, the continuance of iconic instruments for the promotion of our Canadian identity. This is so because the committee, as it has seen to date, knows that the financial stability of some of those institutions—and perhaps most urgently, the print media—in the Canadian mosaic is fragile.
We speak at the Corriere Canadese for ourselves, but our experience is reflected in that of others, bigger and smaller, as you've heard already this morning. They recognize, as we do, that the federal government, by its actions, determines the successes or failures of many industries, including our own.
Our submission may strike you as a plea for assistance. We don't apologize. It should. We are no less exempt from the vagaries of the marketplace than the bigger and larger enterprises, such as Postmedia, in search of government allies.
Before we make that plea, however, allow us to present ourselves and some of our value-added contributions to the Canadian heritage. Some of the history of the Corriere Canadese and the Italian-Canadian community it both serves and represents in Canada will already be known to some of you. If so, please indulge us in the repetition.
The most recent Stats Canada figures place the number of Canadians who consider themselves ethnically Italian to be in the range of 1.4 million to 1.5 million. That's about 4% to 5% of the overall population of Canada. Just under one million of them live in Ontario, and about 800,000 of them in the Golden Horseshoe. Of this total, approximately 250,000 still use Italian exclusively, primarily, or frequently during the conduct of their daily business. These are relevant stats because we're talking about the nature of Canada and the communities that make up its whole.
The Corriere Canadese is Canada’s only Italian-language daily newspaper. It has been reporting and commenting on the history of this demographic since 1954. It also takes editorial positions on the role and the administration of government at all levels and in all jurisdictions. Sometimes it does this in English.
The Corriere Canadese remains the third-longest-surviving daily in the GTA, behind only The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. Incidentally, the Corriere Canadese receives no federal government assistance.
It is worth noting that as a demographic and as a medium we do not fit into the funding compartments reserved for either of the two official languages or for first nations, yet Italian Canadians have been a part of Canada from its first documented contact with Europeans. Giovanni Caboto—or as some of you know him, John Cabot—was the first recorded European to come to Canadian shores. There have been others, but he's the first recorded one. In 1497, under the commission granted to him by Henry Tudor, he landed in what has become Bonavista, Newfoundland.
From then until now, Italians have played a role in building the country they now proudly call their own. It is a rare community or industry in Canada that does not feel their presence, from the former steel and mining industries in towns such as Sydney, Hamilton, Sault Ste. Marie, and Sudbury to Winnipeg and Trail, B.C. The same can be said for the 350 forestry- and lumber-dependent towns everywhere across Canada, and it is so also for the agricultural and agri-production centres anywhere from southern Ontario westward.
In transportation, both the CPR and the CNR relied on an Italian labour force, much of which stayed beyond the rail construction phase and became builders of communities from Vancouver and Kamloops to Canmore, Red Deer, Thunder Bay, the GTA, Montreal, and Halifax. Today, they are a significant player in the auto parts industry of southern Ontario.
Everywhere they have been a model for Canadian multiculturalism, even before that model became enshrined in law in 1971.
In fact, since 1954, the Corriere Canadese has been able to tell the story of their and our need to promote integration, participation, and diversity, along with the benefits that these accrue to Canadian social values. In every part of Canada, their children are the first to seek out alliances and partnerships outside their own community in order to promote the interests of the whole.
As my colleague said a few moments ago, it is an essential element to the democratic aspect of Canada.
Perhaps there are no clearer examples of this than the immediate past presidents of the Canadian Labour Congress, the Business Council on National Issues—now the Canadian Council of Chief Executives—and the founding president of Service Canada. All of them are scions of that integrated community in Canada.
There are numerous other sterling examples of Italian-Canadian leadership in pension funds, philanthropy, food services, academia, the arts, foreign affairs, and so on.
Bu let us go back to Corriere Canadese. It used to be fiscally equipped to tell those Canadian stories of success and the values they represent. We would like to continue to do that, and to maintain that all-important connection to Europe, and Italy in particular. Italy is now a significant Canadian trading partner, and one likely to become even more so if the CETA is ratified.
However, as with our English-language counterparts, our revenue stream is challenged. You've heard that this morning. Consequently, our ability to reach into the communities in the outer reaches of Canada’s vast geography are severely limited. We now focus on the GTHA, where we can generate subscription revenue, single-copy sales, and limited though relatively consistent advertising.
We consider ourselves a job creator, an incubator for the creative arts, and a vehicle for reaching out to the Canadian citizenry. Everything we do is generated, produced, and distributed in Canada. Our paper is not distributed free of charge. It costs money to manufacture product.
The Government of Canada can be very helpful if it so chooses. It is a major league advertising presence because it needs all vehicles to inform the public on matters of importance to all Canadians. Nonetheless, the department that coordinates the ad buys for the purpose of informing the public about government activities actually excludes the Corriere Canadese completely from those ad buys. It claims—and I paraphrase—that the Italian community is not a target of its communications strategy, and that at any rate, the community is serviced by mainstream media. How does it know?
Just like that, 5% of Canadian society disappeared from the government communication strategy, and with it, all of its contributions this demographic makes toward sustaining our society, our economy, and our governing apparatus. It's a bit like what Mr. Audet said about the local communities everywhere around Canada: poof, they disappear.
Somehow it was deemed absorbed, assimilated into another. How? Ironically, the mainstream press in our market complains of precipitous loss of readership, so what are they reading? Please understand that the annual—