Canadian Heritage

Canadian Heritage

November 12, 2005 13:08 ET

Canadian Heritage: Agreement-in-Principle to Highlight, Italian Canadians' Contribution to Building Canada

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 12, 2005) - The Right Honourable Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada, Minister of State (Multiculturalism) Raymond Chan, and Minister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Status of Women Liza Frulla today announced an historic agreement-in-principle with the Italian Canadian community. This is a first step in articulating a shared vision for the acknowledgement, commemoration, and education of Canadians on the experiences of Italian Canadians impacted by the War Measures Act in Canada during the Second World War and in highlighting the contributions that Italian Canadians have made to the building of Canada.

The agreement-in-principle is part of the Government of Canada's Acknowledgement, Commemoration, and Education (ACE) Program: a three-year, $25-million initiative first announced in the February 2005 budget. Today's agreement-in-principle provides an initial amount of $2.5 million to the Italian Canadian community, subject to the finalization of Program details.

"Canada is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse societies in the world. Today, we recognize this diversity as a source of strength and innovation. Italian Canadians make an invaluable contribution to the very essence of this principle," said Prime Minister Martin. "The Government of Canada is committed to learning from the past, and the agreement-in-principle we are signing today with the Italian Canadian community demonstrates our shared commitment to learning from the past and celebrating our country's diversity."

The ACE Program will fund eligible proposals that acknowledge the historical experiences of ethnocultural communities impacted by wartime measures, such as internment and immigration restrictions. Initiatives funded through the ACE Program will seek to highlight the contributions made by impacted communities to the shaping of Canada's history.

"This agreement-in-principle represents a significant and positive step forward in promoting cross-cultural understanding," said Minister of State Chan. "The Government of Canada will continue to work with the Italian Canadian community and other communities to help them identify and bring forward proposals that will help build a more inclusive society, for the benefit of all Canadians."

"Through their hard work and perseverance, Italian Canadians have achieved great prominence throughout Canada's history and contributed significantly to the quality of life that all Canadians enjoy today," said Minister Frulla. "I am proud that we have been able to reach an agreement-in-principle with the Italian Canadian community that will help educate Canadians about the historical experiences and contributions of this community and promote the strength of Canada's diversity."

Representatives of the National Congress of Italian Canadians, the National Federation of Canadian Italian Business and Professional Association, the Order Sons of Italy of Canada, and La Fondation communautaire canadienne italienne signed the agreement-in-principle on behalf of the Italian Canadian community.

"This is an historic day for our community: we begin the important task of educating present and future generations about the evolution of the Italian community in Canada," said Mr. Dominic Campione, President of the National Congress of Italian Canadians. "The internment of Italians during the Second World War is a dark page in Canadian history, and this agreement-in-principle allows our community the ability to ensure not only that these events will never be forgotten, but that they will never be repeated."

The Government of Canada and the Italian Canadian community agree to continue to work together toward a formal agreement to help build better understanding among all Canadians of the strength of our diversity.

Funding for this initiative was provided for in the February 2005 federal budget and is therefore built into the existing fiscal framework.

For further information on this announcement, please refer to the backgrounder attached to this news release on the Department of Canadian Heritage Web site at www.canadianheritage.gc.ca under "Media Room."



Backgrounder

Government of Canada's Acknowledgement,
Commemoration and Education (ACE) Program


In its February 2005 Budget, the Government of Canada committed $25 million over three years for acknowledgement, commemorative, and educational initiatives to highlight the contributions that ethnocultural groups historically impacted by wartime measures and immigration restrictions have made to Canadian society and to help Canadians build a better understanding of these experiences and contributions.

These funds will flow through the Acknowledgement, Commemoration, and Education (ACE) Program, which will be administered by the Multiculturalism Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

The ACE Program approach acknowledges that wartime measures and immigration restrictions affected many ethnocultural groups. While the Government of Canada cannot re-write history, it can work to build a cohesive and inclusive society for all Canadians. The Government of Canada is committed to working with all communities to strengthen cohesion and Canadian identity. By encouraging Canadians to learn about our past, we can build a better foundation for our future.

The ACE Program will be open to all impacted communities and will fund proposals that:



- Help commemorate the historical experience of communities impacted
by wartime measures and immigration restrictions and educate
Canadians about these experiences

- Highlight and commemorate the contributions that impacted
communities have made to Canada

- Promote cross-cultural understanding and a shared sense of Canadian
identity.


(This news release is available on the Internet at www.canadianheritage.gc.ca under Media Room.)

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of State (Multiculturalism)
    Roy Bornmann
    (819) 997-9900
    or
    Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
    and Minister responsible for Status of Women
    Jean-Francois Del Torchio
    (819) 997-7788
    or
    Canadian Heritage
    Jean-Guy Beaupre
    Chief, Media Relations
    (819) 997-9314