Tony Valeri

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Tony Valeri, PC (born August 11, 1957) is a former Canadian politician. Valeri was the Canadian Government House Leader in Paul Martin's government from 2004 until 2006. He was narrowly defeated by New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate Wayne Marston in the 2006 general election held on January 23, 2006.

Biography[edit]

Valeri grew up in Hamilton's north-end in the working class Barton and Sherman neighbourhood, the son of Italian immigrants Enzo and Maria Valeri, who arrived in Hamilton in the early 1950s. He graduated from Bishop Ryan High School and then attended McMaster University, earning a BA in Economics. Prior to his political career, Valeri served as President of Canadian Financial Group Ltd. Valeri represented the ridings of Lincoln (1993–1997), then Stoney Creek (1997–2004) and Hamilton East—Stoney Creek (2004–2006). Valeri lives with his wife Terri and children, Anthony and Luca in Stoney Creek.

Parliamentary career[edit]

Valeri first ran for office in the 1993 election, winning the Liberal Party nomination over former cabinet minister John Munro, and easily won in the Liberal sweep of Ontario. Valeri served as a backbencher and was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance in 1997. He was appointed to the Cabinet on December 12, 2003, by incoming Prime Minister Paul Martin. Valeri is known for his close ties to industry and business, and his appointment to the transport portfolio was viewed positively by this group. He was also known as a supporter of the Red Hill Valley Parkway.

2004 nomination contest[edit]

In 2004, the decennial redistribution process took place and Valeri's old riding of Stoney Creek, which straddled the border between Hamilton and Grimsby, was split in two. A part of Valeri's Stoney Creek riding was merged with a part of Hamilton - East. A slight majority of the constituents of the new riding of Hamilton East - Stoney Creek were from Valeri's former riding. Although the other Hamilton-area Members of Parliament shifted to the eastward half of their ridings, in Valeri's case this would have meant shifting from a suburban Hamilton riding to the rural Niagara West—Glanbrook riding, where he would have faced a difficult battle with a candidate of the Conservative Party of Canada.

He therefore decided to run in the western half of his former riding, resulting in a passionate nomination battle with former cabinet heavyweight and party leadership candidate Sheila Copps. Some accused Martin of orchestrating these events to try to expel the left-leaning Copps from the House of Commons. Copps pointed out that Valeri lived in the Niagara West-Glanbrook riding that also included around 43% of his old constituents and an airport, the latter which complemented his Transport Ministry. In response, Valeri pointed out that Copps no longer lived in Hamilton, no Member of Parliament enjoyed any entitlement to any constituency without a nomination meeting and the majority of the constituents of Hamilton East—Stoney Creek in fact originated from his Stoney Creek riding. On March 6, 2004, Valeri won the nomination by 311 votes. Stelco's economic troubles and the large pension deficit galvanized support for New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate Tony DePaulo in Hamilton East—Stoney Creek. The conflict with Copps, public reaction to the first budget of the Ontario Liberals, as well as the government's sinking fortunes, almost cost him his seat, but he was narrowly (less than 1,000 votes) re-elected on June 28, 2004.

Government House Leader[edit]

On July 20, 2004, he was appointed to the sensitive position of Government House Leader in Paul Martin's minority government. Valeri's appointment to the position of House Leader was originally questioned by many, however Valeri was able to establish a working relationship with his counterparts.

As noted by Libby Davies, NDP House Leader, "We had some crazy moments but we always got down to business in a real way. It was a pleasure to work with (Valeri)." Former Conservative House Leader John Reynolds noted that "Tony was a great House Leader. A man of integrity and good humour."

2006 re-election bid[edit]

On January 23, 2006, Valeri was narrowly defeated by a margin of less than 500 votes by the New Democratic Party candidate Wayne Marston. During the election, the Hamilton Spectator reported that Valeri had purchased a property for $225,000 only to later sell it to a Liberal supporter for $500,000 a few months later. While Valeri insisted that the Ethics Commissioner had cleared the transaction, lingering doubts about the sale remained.

Post-political career[edit]

After his election defeat, Valeri established a public affairs and strategic consulting business and holds a residence position within the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University.

Given the very narrow margin of his defeat in the 2006 election, some have speculated that Valeri may seek a return to politics in the Hamilton East—Stoney Creek riding, although Valeri himself has not indicated whether he has an interest in returning to the House of Commons. At the Gala Tribute held in his honour, Valeri indicated that he wants to continue to serve the people of Hamilton and Stoney Creek, leaving open the option of a return to federal politics.[1]. However, on April 15, 2007, former Hamilton mayor Larry Di Ianni was nominated as the Liberal candidate for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek for the next federal election, precluding a rematch between Valeri and Marston at least for now. [2]

On December 5, 2007, the Hamilton Port Authority named Valeri its interim CEO effective on December 17, 2007. He left the post in 2008.

Electoral record[edit]

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek - Canadian federal election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
New Democratic Wayne Marston 19,346 36.0% +0.2%
Liberal Tony Valeri 18,880 35.2% -2.5%
Conservative Frank Rukavina 13,581 25.3% +3.0%
Green Jo Pavlov 1,573 2.9% -0.1%
Communist Bob Mann 316 0.6% +0.3%
Hamilton East—Stoney Creek - Canadian federal election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Tony Valeri 18,417 37.7%
New Democratic Tony Depaulo 17,490 35.8%
Conservative Fred Eisenberger 10,888 22.3%
Green Richard Safka 1,446 3.0%
Independent Sam Cino 393 0.8%
Communist Bob Mann 166 0.3%
Stoney Creek - Canadian federal election, 2000
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
     Liberal Tony Valeri 24,150
     Canadian Alliance Doug Conley 13,354
     Progressive Conservative Grant Howell 6,102
     New Democratic Party Mark Davies 3,083
     Canadian Action Phil Rose 450
     Marxist-Leninist Paul Lane 137
Stoney Creek - Canadian federal election, 1997
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
     Liberal Tony Valeri 23,750
     Reform Clay Downes 10,210
     Progressive Conservative Angie Tomasic 9,440
     New Democratic Party Peter Cassidy 3,392
     Christian Heritage Angela M. Braun 472
     Natural Law Cynthia Marchand 261


Canadian federal election, 1993: Lincoln
Party Candidate Votes % Expenditures
Liberal Tony Valeri 29,048 52.19 $48,491
     Reform Andy Sweck 14,325 25.74 $36,455
     Progressive Conservative Jim Merritt 8,731 15.69 $43,063
     New Democratic Party Peter Cassidy 2,182 3.92 $16,976
     National Brian Dolby 935 1.68 $3,164
     Natural Law Cynthia Marchand 307 0.55 $200
     Non-Affiliated Ken Morningstar 128 0.23 $247
Total valid votes 55,656 100.00
Total rejected ballots 544
Turnout 56,200 72.08
Electors on the lists 77,974
Source: Thirty-fifth General Election, 1993: Official Voting Results, Published by the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada. Financial figures taken from official contributions and expenses provided by Elections Canada.

References[edit]

27th Ministry – Cabinet of Paul Martin
Cabinet Posts (2)
Predecessor Office Successor
' Minister of State
2004–2006
styled as
Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
'
David Collenette Minister of Transport
2003–2004
Jean Lapierre
Special Parliamentary Responsibilities
Predecessor Title Successor
Jacques Saada Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
(2004–2006)
Rob Nicholson
Preceded by
Shirley Martin
Member of Parliament for Lincoln
1993-1997
Succeeded by
Redistribution
Preceded by
New Riding
Member of Parliament for Stoney Creek
1997-2004
Succeeded by
Riding Merged
Preceded by
New Riding
Member of Parliament for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
2004-2006
Succeeded by
Wayne Marston