In between fighting an expensive divorce battle with his wife, being punched in the face by his constituent and making wildly inappropriate comments about Barack Obama, Silvio Berlusconi has found time to slash the $2.8-million his government gives to Canada’s only Italian daily newspaper by half. The Globe and Mail reported today that Corriere Canadese, the 55-year-old paper read by many first-generation Canadians, is now in dire financial straits because Berlusconi’s government is scaling back on cultural expenses. Um, thanks?

Although not of Italian heritage, I, for one, will notice the change if the paper folds—my Little Italy neighbourhood is home to many who read some of the paper’s 35,000 daily copies and sit around discussing the day’s news in Canada and Italy at the College Street strip’s bars and coffee shops.

Luckily, it doesn’t sound like the paper is going down without a fight. Editor in chief Paola Bernardini says the paper is launching a feisty campaign to attract other top Italian donors. And maybe lessening its ties with the Italian government isn’t such a bad thing. As Bernardini tells the Globe, “it’s funny for us to cover the [upcoming Italian] election from here because we have a government who decided to cut funds running in the elections.” Funny, indeed.

Oh, and here’s some good news: to read more about Corriere Canadese, take a look at Elizabeth Pagliacolo’s story from the Spring 2002 issue of the RRJ.