From the still warm ashes of Il Lavoratore, La Voce degli italo-canadesi sprang like a phoenix on October 1, 1938. La Voce appeared only two weeks after Il Lavoratore ceased its operations; therefore, this might suggest that negotiations for the creation of the new periodical had been ongoing for quite some time.
As far as we know, a total of forty issues of La Voce were published. The first issue appeared on October 1, 1938 and the last one on April 30, 1940. Each issue of La Voce consisted of four large-size pages; only the September 30, 1939 issue, marking the first anniversary of publication, was six pages long.
It was easier for La Voce to accomplish what the Communist Party of Canada and its Italian language paper, Il Lavoratore, had failed to do; namely, to create an Italian Canadian antifascist Popular Front.
The ‘Manifesto’, introducing La Voce to its readers, was signed by people professing several different political ideologies. There were some Liberals like Vincent Agro, the first Italian medical doctor of Hamilton’s Italian community; Donald Di Giulio, a small businessman from Toronto; and Louis Palermo, business agent of Local 235 of the A.G.W.A. (Amalgamated Garment Workers of America). The party also included well-known antifascists in Montreal such as Antonino Spada, a card-carrying member of the Liberal Party of Canada, and merchants and workers who did not identify with the Communist Party.
La Voce continued in the political footsteps of Il Lavoratore which were set by the ComIntern (Communist International) as the leader of the CPC, Tim Buck, expounded it: ‘The building of a united front of all progressive forces in a broad party of the common people remains the chief task of the Communist Party of Canada’.
La Voce stood for the unity of all democratic people against Nazi-fascism. The editors were the same two men who published Il Lavoratore, Giovanni Frattini and Ennio Gnudi, both communist militants.
Although the Communist Party of Canada was not officially involved in the publication of the paper, the RCMP considered La Voce a communist newspaper, as confirmed by one of the periodical bulletins released by the force (1938-1939, Part V).
The publication of La Voce with a broad representation of varied political views earned the newspaper robust support not only among Italian Canadians but also among the fuorusciti, men and women who had fled from Italy to avoid fascist violence and internment. From England, France, the USA, Mexico etc., intellectuals and political leaders in exile welcomed La Voce and enriched its pages with their writings. For instance, the economist Emilio Sereni published in five instalments a short study of the Pirellis, a family of industrialists and entrepreneurs operating an iconic automotive tire manufacturing company. Sereni denounced the fact that, in his view, successive Italian governments, the Liberals first and the fascist regime later, designed their domestic and foreign policies to fit the interests of capitalism and influential entrepreneurial families.
Italian Socialist leader Pietro Nenni was also among the contributors to La Voce with an interesting article on Mussolini’s imminent changes to the Italian Constitution (the Statuto Albertino) replacing the Lower House with the new ‘Chamber of Fasci and Corporations’. Nenni pointed out that Mussolini was about to cut the umbilical cord linking Italy to its constitutional tradition.
Buck, Tim. 1959. Our Fight for Canada, Selected Writings (1925-1959). Toronto: Progress Books, p. 61.
Bruti Liberati, Luigi. 1984. Il Canada, l’Italia e il fascismo, 1919-1945, Roma: Bonacci, pp. 198-200.
Kealey, Gregory S., Reg Whitaker (eds). 1995. Royal Canadian Mounted Police (R.C.M.P.): Security Bulletins, The Depression Years: Part V. St John’s: Canadian Committee of Labour History, p. 327.