Prime Minister Trudeau delivers remarks at the Premio Italia Nel Mondo 2018 Awards Dinner
Good evening everyone. Thank you Lenny for that kind introduction and for doing a wonderful job as MC tonight along with Ivana. It’s great to be here at the Premio Italia Nel Mondo dinner along with his eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins and His Excellency Claudio Taffuri. Let me also acknowledge Alberto di Giovanni, co-chair of tonight’s event, along with Corrado Prisco and the Honourable Frank Iacobucci, the first Italian-Canadian to be named to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Our outstanding Minister of Seniors, the Honourable Filomena Tassi is also with us this evening. Minister Tassi, the Honourable Judy Sgro, Francesco Sorbara and Marco Mendicino are part of our fantastic team of MPs with proud Italian heritage and three other great team members, Deb Schulte, Michael Levitt, and Ali Ehsassi are here tonight as well. Give them a round of applause.
These MPs work hard each and every day to serve the Italian-Canadian community with heart and conviction. And serving the community is exactly why we’re here, and why we’re celebrating this evening. Tonight we’re honouring four remarkable Italian Canadians who have used their talents and gifts to give back to their communities. Licia Canton, an author, literary critic and founding editor-in-chief of Accenti, uses stories to bring people together and inspire us to reach for a better world. Tony Veroni, the president of the Veroni Group, is a leader in the community with the Villa Charities Foundation Board and the Peace Through Valour Committee. Fausto Gaudio, the president and CEO of IC Savings, is known not only for his keen business sense, but also for his support of the Humber River Hospital and COSTI. And Joseph Mancinelli, LIUNA International vice-president and regional manager, shows time and time again his commitment to hardworking Canadians and to the labour movement and to helping people in need, whether it’s with the United Way or St. Matthew’s House. How about a big round of applause for the four of them?
Congratulations Licia, Tony, Fausto and Joe. You are doing your community proud and showing that everyone can make a difference, because when people are engaged in working together, no matter if it’s at a hospital fundraiser or the local community centre, they build a stronger Canada. And that commitment to lending a hand is part of what makes the Italian-Canadian community so essential to this country. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, our government so appreciates your incredible contributions to the places we call home today and every day. Thank you.
The Italian-Canadian community here in the GTA, in Montreal, and across Canada is a bright thread in our vibrant multicultural fabric. Hardworking Italian-Canadians helped build our cities and towns. I’m sure many people here have family stories about parents and grandparents arriving at Pier 21 in Halifax to start a new, successful life in Canada. Through more than a century of hard work and sacrifice, generations of proud Italian-Canadians have found success in every field. By continuing that legacy, you will pave the way for a brighter future for your own kids and grandkids. And tonight’s action is a clear demonstration of your hard work in action.
Italian-Canadians have always enriched our cities, making significant contributions to the arts, innovation and business, and the labour movement. This evening’s event demonstrates that diversity is truly a strength for Canada. When we share our culture and heritage with pride, our country is stronger and richer for it. And the important role of Canada’s Italian community extends beyond our borders.
When I had the great honour of having an audience with His Holiness, Pope Francis, it was a chance to consider the depth of the ties between millions of Canadians and the Vatican. And on my official visit to Italy and at the G7 Summit in Taormina last year I was reminded of the strong links between our countries and our people.
My friends, every day Canadians benefit from our close partnership with Italy, whether it’s enjoying incredible foods, new technologies and the arts, or having access to Italian markets that can create more opportunities for our businesses and entrepreneurs. Our everyday lives are truly richer thanks to these links.
And to see those ties in action we need to look no farther than the legacy of our dear friend Sergio Marchionne. I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Sergio a number of times, including just last year at a fundraiser for the Italy Earthquake Relief Fund right here in this convention centre. Sergio was, without question, a giant in the auto industry, though I have a feeling he would have been a giant in any industry. When I was at the FCA Windsor assembly plant to talk to workers about the benefits of the new USMCA trade deal, I was reminded of Sergio’s incredible commitment to middle class workers. But what always impressed me most about Sergio was his dedication to this community and his passion for people.
And that’s why it’s so fitting that the last time Sergio and I spent time together right here I announced that our government would match donations to the Italy Earthquake Relief Fund. By matching your generous support we’ll be able to build new residences in Camerino, a project that once completed will give over a thousand students a new home. What a fantastic achievement.
And the success of the fund is thanks to this community. To fund leaders like Sam Ciccolini, Bob Sacco, Consiglio Di Nino, and to leaders like Sergio, of course. It’s another example of the incredible accomplishments of Italian Canadians and their commitment to give back to the community.
That commitment to taking care of our neighbours in times of need, just like we celebrate together in times of joy, is what binds us together as Canadians. The knowledge that we can rely on our fellow citizens and that they can rely on us is how we’ve built and continue to build a country where everyone succeeds. And to members of the Italian-Canadian community, I hope you know that you can rely on our government and on your representatives to ensure that you keep succeeding. Whether they’re in their riding or serving you back in Ottawa, your MPs proudly champion the issues that matter to you.
So by continuing to work with them, to working with leaders like Licia, Tony, Fausto and Joe, and of course with all of you, we will grow our economy, diversify trade, preserve Italian-Canadian culture and protect our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
My friends, thank you so much for inviting me to join you at this celebration tonight. It’s an incredible honour to be with you. But mostly, congratulations to our award winners. I hope you have fun tonight. You’ve certainly earned it.
Thank you all. Grazie mille cari amici.