hide You are viewing an archived web page collected at the request of University of Alberta using Archive-It. This page was captured on 22:02:23 Dec 15, 2010, and is part of the HCF Alberta Online Encyclopedia collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page. Loading media information
Heritage Community Foundation Presents
Alberta Online Encyclopedia

      Home > Lifeways > Issues and Challenges > Fascism


Visit AlbertaSource!


Labour Activism





 Page 1  |  3  |  | 5  

The word Fascism has a dual origin. It comes in part from the word fasces, a bundle of rods round an axe carried by the magistrates in ancient Rome as a symbol of power and authority. It comes also from the Italian word, fascio, meaning band or group. 

The basic concept of Fascism, as elaborated by Mussolini, was that the State was absolute before which individuals and groups were all relative. Mussolini proclaimed, "Everything within the state, nothing against the state, nothing outside the state." The masses should only "believe, obey and fight."   

For a history of Fascism in Italy, there are many excellent historical accounts. What is important in this period, with respect to Alberta's Italian community, is the impact of the rise of Fascism and how it played out as Italy declared war on Canada (June 10, 1940) and Italians, even some born in the country, became enemy aliens. The issue had arisen briefly in the First World War but Italy had sided with the Allies and that ended the discussion. However, it was demonstrated how the Canadian government would react to "enemy aliens" or suspected enemy aliens on our soil-Ukrainians were interned.

As has been noted by many historians, immigrants, whenever possible, retained very close ties with the homeland. Italians in Canada, even those who were second and third generation were aware of the rise to power of Mussolini. The influence of the Fascist government was felt through the consular agents, vice consuls or honorary consuls who were assigned to Italian communities. It was felt, as well, through the priests who were sent by their order from Italy to serve immigrants.

It is interesting that, while Edmonton and Calgary, did not have an Italian church at the time, the community of Venice did. In 1924, they began to build Il Redentore Church [Holy Redeemer] with the site being contributed by Oliva John and Angelo Biollo, and lumber and labour contributed by the community and prepared in the Biollo sawmill (check out the Mike Biollo and Mary (Biollo) Doyle oral histories) Father Carlo Fabbris came from Italy to be the Pastor and, according to Mrs. Doyle, established the Fascio de Venice. He remained in Venice until 1927 and was succeeded by Father Lawrence Woodhouse. 

Tony Bonifacio's unpublished history of the Venice settlement, as well as an interview with Rudolph Michetti by Richard Watts, a staff writer with The Edmonton Journal, which appeared in the paper in October, 1984, provide additional details.  In 1924, Rudolph Michetti was sent by his Father Guiseppe to study steam engineering at the Alberta Institute of Technology.  Mr. Bonifacio mentions Mr. Michetti boarded with an Italian family in Calgary and got to know Antonio Rebaudengo, who founded the Fascist Party in Calgary. Knowing of the Venice settlement from Rudolph Michetti, Rebaudengo went to Venice in November, 1925, to found the Fascio de Venice with Rudolph Michetti, Efisio Manca and Benedetto Coli. Mr. Bonifacio states that all the Italians in the community got their memberships and were proud of this and Mr. Rebaudengo returned to Calgary. It is also mentioned that the party flag was blessed. Mr. Bonifacio asserts that the Fascio was a social club with members paying annual fees and getting together two or three times a year for picnics. He states: "Of course, they idolized Mussolini, and they hoped that he would improve the way of life in Italy for the relatives, and friends that they had left behind years gone by."  He estimates the membership of the Fascio at about 40. The community already had the Duca d'Abruzzi Society, which according to an Edmonton Bulletin article dated January 5, 1917, had the following purpose:


[back] [top]

Copyright © 2002 Heritage Community Foundation

Albertasource.ca | Contact Us | Partnerships
††††††††††† For more on Italian Alberta, visit Peelís Prairie Provinces.
Copyright © Heritage Community Foundation All Rights Reserved