Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to be here this afternoon to support the motion of my colleague from King—Vaughan.
My name is Giuseppe Edoardo Peschisolido. I am the son of Margherita and Loreto Peschisolido. My grandmother is Domenica Peschisolido, and my grandfather is Giovanni Peschisolido.
[Member spoke in Italian]
I also speak a little French.
This motion deals with culture, music, and the wonderful contributions of Italians throughout civilization and Italians here in Canada. As my colleague from Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola mentioned, this is about more than language, culture, philosophy, or architecture. It is about people. It is about the many people of Italian background who came to Canada to build a new life for themselves, but more importantly, for their children and grandchildren.
My colleague from Vaughan—Woodbridge eloquently discussed the pioneers, the famous folk who blazed a trail for the Italian community.
As a young boy, with a good friend of mine, Pino Correale, who was like my fratello, we would go to the Columbus Centre, which Senator Consiglio Di Nino and Sam Ciccolini worked so hard to build.
My colleague from King—Vaughan talked about Corriere Canadese and former members of Parliament. Joe Volpe stepped back in to become the publisher and owner of Corriere Canadese so that there would be a thriving Italian voice in Toronto. The motto of Corriere Canadese was to be proud of one's Italian heritage but to be fiercely Canadian.
I believe that is what we are celebrating today. We are celebrating the integration of millions of Canadians of Italian background who came with nothing.
My colleague from Hastings—Lennox and Addington, his family came in the second wave of immigration, as did mine. My mom and dad and my grandparents came from nothing, from a little town called Ceprano, which is between Naples and Rome. That is significant, because it was a supply line during the Second World War. My father's, my mother's, and my grandparents' education and livelihood for eight or nine years was making sure they did not get killed during the war. They and a whole lot of other folks came over with nothing.
My parents and grandparents stopped off in Halifax. Just like my colleague from Hastings—Lennox and Addington's family, they also thought they had come to the wrong place, perhaps a purgatory and not a heaven. They then moved on to Toronto, where my mom started to go to school. She was 14, my mother, Marguerite, Mina, and she hung out with six- and eight-year-olds. Guess what? She did not stay in school long. She went out and worked.
That is what a lot of immigrants did. They went out and worked. My father is my hero, Lorato. When I would go to him with a report card, I was proud. I had 88, and his response was, “What happened to the other 12?”
That is the strength of the community: the importance of education, the importance of family, of faith, of social justice. I am proud to stand in the House this afternoon to support the motion of my colleague from King—Vaughan and I encourage all members to support the motion as well.