Continuing to fight his life-time ban from the Liberal Party, Alfonso Gagliano said Toronto MP Joe Volpe should stay in the party's leadership race since he is the victim of the same kind of anti-Italian sentiment that brought down the former public works minister.
In a wide-ranging interview to mark the launch of his book, Gagliano said he believes Volpe will come out fighting at his scheduled press conference today to answer the latest allegations of misdeeds by his leadership campaign team.
''History repeats itself. Whenever an Italian-Canadian tries to go up and succeed in politics, somebody tries to do something to bring him down,'' said Gagliano, comparing Volpe's troubles to his own as outlined in his recently-released book.
''When I got to the top, that's when my troubles began.''
Sure enough, Joe Volpe agrees:
Volpe, an Italian-Canadian, said some in the Liberal party had warned him not to run for the leadership because he is considered an outsider. He suggested it was because of his heritage that he was thought unacceptable to the party establishment.
“Imagine, after 51 years in Canada, 25 of them as a card carrying member of the Liberal party and 18 of them as a member of parliament, I might not be Canadian enough.”
It's quite a compelling story, when you think of it. Two scrappy Italian lads fight against the stereotyping of Italians as double-dealing crooks by making names for themselves in politics as a couple of double-dealing Italian crooks. Sergio Leone could have made an epic movie about it.
At least Volpe is not without an unashamed, living, breathing support. And that should be of great comfort to him in the days ahead.