In August 1941, Antonino Spada created a new eight-page tabloid under the masthead of Il Cittadino Canadese; this replaced the one-year-old Giornale Italo-Canadese, another of Spada’s editorial ventures. Unlike Augusto Bersani’s La Vittoria, which was primarily a political paper, Il Giornale and Il Cittadino were run as businesses with the aim of filling the void left by the pre-war newspapers, which were published ‘in the [financial] interests of the Italian-Canadian communities’.
The historical context in which Il Cittadino Canadese was established was different: the initial stunning victories of the Axis in Europe came to a dramatic halt and, by December of 1941, the United States had entered the war bringing its enormous economic and military power in aid of the Allies’ cause. Furthermore, by 1943 events had turned against the Axis forces also on the Russian front.
The internal situation in Italy also dramatically evolved as Mussolini was arrested in the summer of that year, while the allied troops entered Sicily and then stormed onto the mainland. Finally, after several months of gruesome Nazi occupation and an equally cruel civil war Italy was about to surrender and join the allies.
The Canadian population, except for some isolated cases, looked with sympathy on the local Italians, most of whom had been severely affected by the internment and its social and economic consequences. In the Italian Canadian communities, the situation was quickly returning to normal as most of the internees had been released and, now that Mussolini was in the past, they were eager to forget the Ventennio and get on with their lives.
When the news broke out in Canada that Mussolini had been arrested by order of the King of Italy, Spada wrote and published an article arguing that all the reasons that had kept Italian Canadians divided had now vanished and Il Cittadino Canadese was ready to continue as a community newspaper with the mission of representing and protecting Italian Canadians and to help them better their social conditions.
The periodical’s anti-communist stance and the close ties that its board had re-established with the Catholic Church enabled management to attract former supporters of fascism and its press from the Thirties. Indeed, a recently released fascist supporter, Daniel Andrew Iannuzzi, soon took over the managing editorship of Il Cittadino Canadese. Iannuzzi had worked as a master printer in The Montreal Star’s composing room. He had also printed Montreal’s Italian-language fascist newspaper L’Italia Nuova. Arrested on June 10, 1940 he was released from Camp Petawawa (ON) in 1941.
Following Iannuzzi’s example, many Montreal community leaders, such as poet Liborio Lattoni, collaborated with the paper; others endorsed it through paid advertisements, providing Il Cittadino Canadese with valuable financial stability. Among the most notable Italian Canadian prominenti, Dr Antonio Sabetta, Dr Gabriele Acocella, and lawyer Mario Lattoni all supported the periodical and collaborated with its editors. Furthermore, Il Cittadino Canadese secured advertising contracts with large companies that needed to market their products throughout the Italian community, including the Canadian Industries Ltd., the Crown Life Insurance Company, and Unico, importer and distributor of Italian groceries.
Alongside Il Cittadino Canadese
another similar Italian-language newspaper appeared in Montreal in 1945, La Verità
. Its editor was Mario Duliani, an ex-fascist, journalist, author, and a former OVRA informer who had spent over three years in the internment camps at Petawawa and Fredericton (NB)
Perin, Roberto. 2000. ‘Actor or Victim? Mario Duliani and His Internment Narrative’ in Iacovetta, Franca, Roberto Perin, Angelo Principe (eds). Enemies Within. Italian and Other Internees in Canada and Abroad. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, pp. 213-233.
Duliani, Mario. 1945. La ville sans femmes, Montreal: Societé des éditions Pascal, 1945 (English transl. City without Women, Oakville, ON: Mosaic Press, 1994; Italian transl. Città senza donne, Isernia: Cosmo Iannone Editore, 2003).