Canadian Italian Heritage Foundation

Italian Group Leader Slams Toronto Councillor for Racially Insensitive Comments

Chairman of the Canadian Italian Heritage Foundation demands public apology from Councillor John Filion after he warned about hiring "Tony Soprano" for city's garbage services.


Toronto, ON -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/24/2014 -- The chairman of the Canadian Italian Heritage Foundation, Michael A. Tibollo, sent a letter to Toronto Councillor John Filion rebuking him for recent comments he made about the possibility that the city could "end up with Tony Soprano running their garbage system" if it wasn't careful in awarding its new trash contracts. Tibollo said that the remarks were "not only hurtful, but negatively impact honest, hardworking Canadians in every aspect of their lives."

Tony Soprano was the fictional mob boss portrayed in the popular HBO show "The Sopranos." He was an Italian American and ran a garbage company as a front for his illegal activities.

In his letter, Tibollo noted that Canadians with Italian heritage serve as leaders throughout the community. He also pointed out that one company that is currently contracted for part of the city's garbage services and is actively bidding for the new contracts is also led by a person of Italian heritage.

Tibollo said that Filion's comments "make reference to a highly negative stereotype of persons of Italian ancestry," and he asked that Filion publicly apologize for the remarks.

To date, Filion has not publicly responded to the letter, nor has he made a public apology for his remarks.

This is not the first time that Filion has come under fire for making racially insensitive remarks. During his current campaign for re-election in Ward 23, Filion referred to two other candidates -- one of Iranian-Canadian heritage and the other of Korean ancestry -- as the "Axis of Evil."

David Mousavi, the Iranian-Canadian challenger who was the target of that statement, has responded to Filion's latest comments by saying, "Mr. Filion should acknowledge that his use of this language is simply wrong. He clearly does not understand what it means to lead in a multicultural society."

About the Canadian Italian Heritage Foundation
The Canadian Italian Heritage Foundation represents more than 1.3 million people of Canadian Italian heritage. The group advocates on behalf of Canadian Italians, including lobbying for legislation on their behalf and sponsoring scholarships for young people.

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