Notes on a community in transition.

Wither thou goest I may or may not follow.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

An Open Letter to Frank Valeriote (Slightly revised)

As you are probably aware, my book Legends of the Morgeti takes note of the fact that the Valeriotes have their own legends, and something of a myth about themselves. (I use the word myth as a mystical story not as a synonym for something false.) Undoubtedly you know the story well. Your ancient ancestor Valerius, a Roman Senator, was a kind of Moses who led the Morgeti out of the ruins of their Grecian captivity in Sicily and back to their old homeland in Calabria in 300 AD. The 2nd set of 'legends' involves your grandfather Michaelangelo who led them out of the poverty of San Giorgio to Canada in the early 20th century.

And for the record, none of my research in old or new newspapers has produced a single story in which a Valeriote has appeared as having committed a crime, at least not in Canada, and even then, there is only one story of a San Giorgiosi Valeriote involved with the 'ndrangheta and that was back in the 1970's. So I won't hold him against you. The only Valeriote I've met is Puss and I liked him.

Originally when you won the nomination I thought you couldn't hold the centre left, but John Williams, who ran against you appears to think highly of you, as does a woman I respect in the Green Party. I spoke again to John tonight and learned that you left your lucrative criminal law practice fifteen years ago against the advice of your peers because you couldn't take having to tell anymore lies, so I'm beginning to develop the feeling that if you have a sense of calling, you might well be the one to lead the Morgeti in Guelph and Ontario and throughout Canada out of the 'ndrangheta, and to help redeem alot of Italian-Canadians trapped in organized crime. Needless to say I have a proposal on how you might do that.

I also think you can redeem the Liberal party in the process. I'm not one of those who think the Liberals are the only party with links to organized crime, the Conservatives have all kinds of right wing gangsters as friends, just like Giuliano Andreotti did, whose Christian Democrats ruled Italy for decades with policies that were only a few degrees closer to the centre than Mussolini's had been, and whose links to crime groups were extensive.

Right wing Eastern European mafiyas are conservative. And of course labour racketeering gangsters have poisoned the NDP well more than once.

You can ignore me of course, I'm just one vote, but here's my suggestion on how to become the third pillar of the Valeriote legend, it's a proposal which you may have seen since it is the last appendix in my book.


Under contemporary rights and freedoms the police must adhere to strict 'rules of evidence', and rightly so, which means that the police are incapable of stopping gangster capitalists. Equally, Royal Commissions which are created to investigate narrowly defined aspects of criminal activity like the construction industry et al, may shed light into a field of crime but they do little else than cause the darkness to retreat elsewhere, while creating problems for ongoing police investigations. I tend to agree with St. Paul that, "There is no salvation in law." The law cannot save society from the sins of its members, least of all from gangsters. All the law can do is to define right and wrong and create penalties for doing wrong.

A third way is required, one that makes use of generations of police work to support evidential trails that will allow communities to redeem families from criminal societies. My book traces the history of organized crime in Guelph via specific clans because I want to make the case that we need to create a legal definition of a Criminal Family. The designation would enable us to use the more pro-active tools of Family and Civil law, and combine them with the power of the Criminal Court. Public accessibility to court-administered Crime Family databases could be secured in Public and University Libraries, Archives and Museums and be available in hard copy and online. That way consumers would have the ability to know where there money is going to, and citizens could understand the ay their communities have been run.

A Criminal Family designation would combine generations of investigations and convictions with the sweeping power of Royal Commissions to shed light on crime activities in not just Guelph or Canada, but in a system that could extend to Italy itself.

Italy has been begging for action from Canada lawmakers, because gangsters so easily hijack our rights and freedoms, and have turned us into a conduit for the global drug trade. We need a way out of the 'revolutionary/gangster' revenge cycle in which drugs are sold to buy guns to fight battles so that political issues can be addressed in places where democracy has little traction, like Afghanistan. Those vendetta cycles not only lead to the corruption of the global democracy movement but they ensure the vitality of gangster capitalism.

A Crime Family designation would allow communities to seize the assets of such families and put the seized properties and monies into two trusts. One trust would be designed to ensure the survival of future generations of the families as they attempt to redeem themselves from their pasts. The other trust would be used to restore the integrity of local economies while preventing opportunities for other criminal groups to step into vacuums left by dismantled crime families. Some of that second Trust's money must also go into drug rehab programs, both for users, and for the farmers in various parts of the world who make their hard-scrabble livings growing coca for cocaine, opium for heroin/morphine, marijuana etc. If you go to, you can see some of the extraordinary things they are doing in Italy in this regard. (For any non-Italian speakers who want to go there click on the English flag and you will get the site in translation.)

Appeals processes would be available to ensure that innocent households of any given family can defend their innocence. A moratorium on prosecution, based on the confessions of any elder of any given Crime Family would also be made available. It is not condemnation but redemption we're after here, grace not law. Of course there are always the unrepentant who will not only choose to always live by the sword but to die by it, and for them we cannot pretend that grace or law will have much effect.

In recent years Italy has been redeeming itself from its criminal societies by the use of peniti - penitents who, for one reason or another, confess to the various crimes of their clans. Those confessions tend to be made on the basis of personal survival, but just as often, there is an undercurrent of genuine confession involved, rooted as it so often is in the horrific consequences of vendetta, the shedding of the blood of the innocent and guilty alike, often family members.

A Criminal Family designation is not designed to crush crime families; it is designed to free them, not without consequences, but responsibly, whenever possible.

So that's my challenge, but I only have one vote. So you don't have much to lose.

To the voters of the centre-left I say that if Frank doesn't take up this challenge, then don't vote Liberal, not because his refusal means he's a gangster (which he's not) but because we don't need a developer 'friendly' pretending to be green. I can think of a number of reasons why Frank wouldn't take this challenge. And I won't hold it against him if he doesn't. I just won't vote for him, and again urge you not to do so either.

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