Tony Valeri
Tony Valeri GHL.jpg
Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
In office
July 20, 2004 – January 23, 2006
Prime MinisterPaul Martin
Preceded byJacques Saada
Succeeded byRob Nicholson
Minister of Transport
In office
December 12, 2003 – July 19, 2004
Prime MinisterPaul Martin
Preceded byDavid Collenette
Succeeded byJean Lapierre
Member of Parliament
for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
(Stoney Creek; 1997–2004 )
(Lincoln; 1993–1997)
In office
October 25, 1993 – January 23, 2006
Preceded byShirley Martin
Succeeded byWayne Marston
Personal details
Born
Tony Valeri

(1957-08-11) August 11, 1957 (age 64)
Hamilton, Ontario
Political partyLiberal
Alma materMcMaster University
Professionpolitician, businessman

Tony Valeri, PC (born August 11, 1957) is a former Canadian politician. Valeri was the 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

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

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

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

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."

In his 2008 memoir, entitled Hell Or High Water: My Life In And Out of Politics (ISBN 0771056923), former Prime Minister Paul Martin labeled Valeri as “one of the most gifted House Leaders of recent times.”

2006 re-election bid

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

After his election defeat, Valeri established a public affairs and strategic consulting business and held 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 had speculated that Valeri would seek a return to politics in the Hamilton East—Stoney Creek riding. 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.

As of June 2011, Valeri has held the position of Vice President Public Affairs at ArcelorMittal Dofasco in Hamilton.[3]

Since leaving public office Valeri remained actively involved in the community. Valeri is the past Chair of the St. Joseph’s Hamilton Healthcare Board of Trustees, a Director on the Board of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters and a member of the McMaster Board of Governors.[4]

Electoral record

1993 Canadian federal election: 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 Peter Cassidy 2,182 3.92 $16,976
National Brian Dolby 935 1.68 $3,164
Natural Law Cynthia Marchand 307 0.55 $200
Independent 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.
1997 Canadian federal election: Stoney Creek
Party Candidate Votes
Liberal Tony Valeri 23,750
Reform Clay Downes 10,210
Progressive Conservative Angie Tomasic 9,440
New Democratic Peter Cassidy 3,392
Christian Heritage Angela M. Braun 472
Natural Law Cynthia Marchand 261
2000 Canadian federal election: Stoney Creek
Party Candidate Votes
Liberal Tony Valeri 24,150
Alliance Doug Conley 13,354
Progressive Conservative Grant Howell 6,102
New Democratic Mark Davies 3,083
Canadian Action Phil Rose 450
Marxist–Leninist Paul Lane 137
Hamilton East—Stoney Creek - 2004 Canadian federal election
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%
Hamilton East—Stoney Creek - 2006 Canadian federal election
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%

References

27th Ministry – Cabinet of Paul Martin Cabinet posts (2) Predecessor Office Successor   Minister of State2004–2006styled asLeader of the Government in the House of Commons   David Collenette Minister of Transport2003–2004 Jean Lapierre Special Parliamentary Responsibilities Predecessor Title Successor Jacques Saada Leader of the Government in the House of Commons2004–2006 Rob Nicholson
Preceded byShirley Martin Member of Parliament for Lincoln 1993-1997 Succeeded byRedistribution Preceded byNew Riding Member of Parliament for Stoney Creek 1997-2004 Succeeded byRiding Merged Preceded byNew Riding Member of Parliament for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek 2004-2006 Succeeded byWayne Marston