Toronto Debates: Is Italian Grandfather a Powerful Mob Boss?

Carmelo Bruzzese
National Post: "In Toronto an Italian grandfather arrested last summer at his suburban home north of the city was declared by an investigator with Rome’s anti-Mafia police to be the head of a powerful mob clan taking refuge in Canada.

“Carmelo Bruzzese has been found by the judge [in Italy] to be the head and organizer” of a clan of the Ndrangheta, the proper name of the Mafia formed in Calabria, said Major Giuseppe De Felice.

“He assumed the most important roles and decisions. He gave the orders,” he said. “The ’Ndrangheta is a global phenomena. It is a huge organization. In Canada there are many families from Calabria that belong to the ’Ndrangheta.”

Mr. Bruzzese, however, said the testimony is a sham.

“This man from Italy is a big liar, eh?” Mr. Bruzzese said privately during a break in the proceedings. “This is a big lie. I don’t know how much they pay him.”

Major De Felice, a commanding officer with the Carabinieri, a national paramilitary police force, was called to testify by teleconference at the Immigration and Refugee Board, which will determine whether Mr. Bruzzese is inadmissible to Canada because of organized crime involvement. A ruling against him could lead to his deportation.

Mr. Bruzzese, appearing at the hearing through video link from a prison in Lindsey, Ont., wore a baggy, orange prison-issue jumpsuit. Escorted to the video room, he asked a guard for a cup of water, put his spectacles on top of his close-cropped silver hair and sat with his arms folded across his chest.

At times he seemed derisive of the evidence, heard over two days from Major DeFelice, sometimes chuckling and sometimes struggling to stay awake. On Tuesday, he leaned out of the room to ask prison guards what the score was of Italy’s World Cup soccer match.