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October 10, 1940-O.J. Biollo, a member of the
Fascist Party, was arrested by R.C.M.P. Corporal Fielding
and sent to concentration camp without trial to Kananaskis,
near Calgary, for a while and then to Petawawa, Ontario,
where he stayed eleven months.
December 13, 1940-Rudolf Michetti, President of the
Fascio of Venice, his father Joe Michetti, who was taken
from a sick bed after an operation, Efisio Manca and A.
Marini, who were also members, were arrested by Corporal
Fielding and sent to Edmonton, where they had a trial.
By now, the government had changed the laws for the R.C.M.P.
where they could not send a man to concentration camp
without a trial. All came back except Rudolf Michetti,
who is sent to Kananaskis and then to Petawawa, Ontario,
where he stayed ten months, leaving a pregnant wife and five
children with no support, in poverty.1
Augusto Marini was the station caretaker of the Northern
Alberta Railways in Hylo, In a letter in the Lac La
Biche Archives dated December 5th, 1940, a Harvey R. Kennedy
is writing to Mr. McArthur, the General Manager, indicating
that Mr. Marini had been taken away the by Police and
applying to fill his position. He mentions that he is a
veteran of the First World War. One wonders whether Mr.
Marini got his job back.
Enrico Butti in an oral history interview, mentions that he was investigated because he was President of the Italian Society in Edmonton. He had assumed that, because he was under 21
when his Father had become a Canadian citizenin the early
1920s, that he was also a citizen. The RCMP told him that this was not so and he was told that he could not leave town. He pointed out to them that his work as an electrician required him to travel around the Province and, eventually, they turned a blind eye and let him get on with his business. He talks about individuals wearing black shirts and also the Fascist rosette on their lapels.
Mr. Biollo appears to have served 10 months and Mr. Michetti served almost two years.
Antonella Fanella mentions that, after Antonio Rebaudengo's arrest,
his wife Angelina destroyed all documents relating to the Calgary
Fascio including the names of members. He had instructed her
to do so to prevent others from being interned. He himself
spent three years in internment camps at Kananaskis in Alberta and
Petawawa and Gagetown in Ontario.
Until the late 1980s, very
little was known about the internment of Italians. The
National Congress of Italian-Canadians, assisted by regional
congresses such as the Edmonton District Congress,
spearheaded an effort to have the Government of Canada address the issue of the internment of Italians during WWII.
It was discovered that about 700 people were interned. Various position papers were submitted and presented to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney addressing the need for both an apology and reparations. The community had seen that the Government had done this with the Japanese community. In 1988, Japanese-Canadians received an apology and $330 million in compensation. However, within the Congress
membership nationally, there were those who felt that an apology was sufficient, since there were few cases of the seizure of property
unlike the Japanese community.
As a result of these efforts, at the National Congress of Italian-Canadians biennial conference in Toronto, on November 2-4, 1990, Prime Minister Mulroney apologized to the Italian community. He took the opportunity to do this at a luncheon in Concord, Ontario, on November 4th, organized by the Congress. In an article in the
Il Congresso, Adriana Albi Davies writes: