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Alfonso Gagliano

Alfonso Gagliano
Canadian Ambassador to Denmark
In office
January 15, 2002 – September 22, 2004
Prime MinisterJean Chrétien
Preceded byMary Simon
Succeeded byFredericka Gregory
Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
In office
September 15, 1994 – January 14, 2002
Prime MinisterJean Chrétien
LeaderHerb Gray
Don Boudria
Ralph Goodale
Preceded byFernand Robichaud
Succeeded byPaul DeVillers
Canadian Cabinet
Minister of Public Works and Government Services
In office
June 11, 1997 – January 14, 2002
Prime MinisterJean Chrétien
Preceded byDiane Marleau
Succeeded byDon Boudria
Minister of Labour
In office
January 25, 1996 – June 10, 1997
Prime MinisterJean Chrétien
Preceded byLucienne Robillard
Succeeded byLawrence MacAulay
Secretary of State (Parliamentary Affairs)
In office
September 15, 1994 – January 24, 1996
Prime MinisterJean Chrétien
MinisterHerb Gray
Preceded byFernand Robichaud
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Early political career
Chief Government Whip
In office
November 4, 1993 – September 14, 1994
Prime MinisterJean Chrétien
LeaderHerb Gray
Preceded byJim Edwards
Succeeded byDon Boudria
Chief Opposition Whip
In office
January 31, 1991 – September 8, 1993
Prime MinisterBrian Mulroney
Kim Campbell
LeaderJean Chrétien
Preceded byDavid Dingwall
Succeeded byGilles Duceppe
Parliamentary constituencies
Member of Parliament
for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel
(Saint-Léonard—Anjou; 1984–1988)
In office
September 4, 1984 – January 15, 2002
Preceded byMonique Bégin
Succeeded byMassimo Pacetti
Personal details
Born(1942-01-25)January 25, 1942
Siculiana, Sicily, Kingdom of Italy
DiedDecember 12, 2020(2020-12-12) (aged 78)
Political partyLiberal

Alfonso Gagliano PC (Italian pronunciation: [alˈfɔnso gaʎˈʎaːno]; 25 January 1942 – 12 December 2020)[1] was a Canadian accountant and politician.

Early life and family

Born in Siculiana, Italy, Gagliano immigrated to Montreal in 1958. His political career began in 1977 when he ran for a seat on the then Jérôme-LeRoyer school board, which no longer exists and used to cover the East End of Montreal Island.[2]

In 1965, Gagliano married Ersilia Gidaro and with her bore three children; Vincenzo, Maria and Immacolata.

Political career

In the 1984 federal election, he ran for Parliament for Saint-Léonard—Anjou narrowly defeating the Progressive Conservative candidate. It was one of the few ridings that the Liberals retained, as they were swept out of power in a massive Conservative landslide. He was re-elected in the 1988 and 1993 elections representing Saint-Léonard, and in the 1997 and 2000 elections representing Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel.

From 1996 to 2002, he served in various cabinet posts including Minister of Labour, Deputy House leader and the Minister responsible for Communications Canada, Canada Post, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the Royal Canadian Mint and Canada Lands Company Ltd. His most controversial positions were as Minister of Public Works and Government Services and as political minister for Quebec.

Following his career as a cabinet minister, Gagliano was appointed as the Canadian ambassador to Denmark after having been rejected by the Vatican for a similar posting. However, he was dismissed from this position on February 10, 2004 by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, on the advice of Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham, amidst widespread speculation that during his time as public works minister he was actively involved in the sponsorship scandal.[3]


On May 27, 2004, Gagliano filed a more than $4.5-million lawsuit against Prime Minister Paul Martin and the government. The suit accused the defendants of deliberately attacking Gagliano's reputation and alleged that he was illegally and unjustly fired. He sought compensation for wrongful dismissal, damage to his reputation and lost income.[4] The lawsuit was eventually dismissed.[5]

Justice John Gomery's initial report on the sponsorship scandal places much of the blame on Gagliano, making him the highest ranking Liberal to be charged with deliberate dishonesty, rather than negligence. Following the initial report, Paul Martin expelled him from the Liberal Party for life.

On November 17, 2004, an article in the New York Daily News alleged that Gagliano was associated with the Bonanno crime family of New York City.[6] In the article, former capo Frank Lino, turned informant for the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, is quoted as saying Gagliano was first introduced to him during a meeting with other mob members in Montreal in the early 1990s. Lino also stated that Gagliano was a made man of the Mafia.[7] It was not the first time Gagliano's name has been linked to organized crime. In April 1994, La Presse reported that Gagliano was the accountant for Agostino Cuntrera, cousin of cocaine baron Alfonso Caruana, also a native of Siculiana, who was convicted in the gangland slaying of Paolo Violi in Montreal in 1978.[8] Gagliano denied any links to the Mafia.[7] Since August 2008, Gagliano resided with his family on a vineyard in Dunham, Quebec he purchased.[9]

In September 2006, he argued that Liberal leadership candidate Joe Volpe was the victim of the same kind of anti-Italian sentiment that ended his own political career.[10]

Electoral record (partial)

1993 Canadian federal election: Saint-Léonard
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Alfonso Gagliano 28,799 61.16 +10.91 $54,669
  Bloc Québécois Umberto di Genova 12,879 27.35 $16,644
  Progressive Conservative Tony Tomassi 4,021 8.54 −28.70 $36,146a
  New Democratic Party David D'Andrea 583 1.24 −8.94 $0
  Natural Law Marlène Charland 499 1.06 $269
  Marxist-Leninist Claude Brunelle 141 0.30 $80
  Abolitionist Mauro Fusco 91 0.19 $0
  Commonwealth Sylvain Deschênes 77 0.16 $0
Total valid votes 47,090 100.00
Total rejected ballots 1,342
Turnout 48,432 79.78 +5.29
Electors on the lists 60,710
a Does not include unpaid claims.

Source: Thirty-fifth General Election, 1993: Official Voting Results, Published by the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada. Financial figures taken from the official contributions and expenses submitted by the candidates, provided by Elections Canada.
1988 Canadian federal election: Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Alfonso Gagliano 23,014 50.25 $44,847
Progressive Conservative Marc Beaudoin 17,055 37.24 $43,281
New Democratic Michel Roche 4,663 10.18 $742
Green Rolf Bramann 833 1.82 $140
Independent Bernard Papillon 231 0.50 $130
Total valid votes 45,796 100.00
Total rejected ballots 1,018
Turnout 46,814 74.49
Electors on the lists 62,845
Source: Report of the Chief Electoral Officer, Thirty-fourth General Election, 1988.
1984 Canadian federal election: Saint-Léonard—Anjou
Party Candidate Votes %
Liberal Alfonso Gagliano 24,520 41.40
Progressive Conservative Agostino Cannavino 23,275 39.29
New Democratic Terrence Trudeau 7,506 12.67
Rhinoceros Denis La Miuf Ouellet 2,152 3.63
Parti nationaliste Pierre-Alain Cotnoir 1,634 2.76
Commonwealth of Canada Jean Vigneault 145 0.24
Total valid votes 59,232 100.00
Total rejected ballots 1,163
Turnout 60,395 73.97
Electors on the lists 81,646
Source: Report of the Chief Electoral Officer, Thirty-third General Election, 1984.


  1. ^ "Alfonso Gagliano, a central player in Liberal sponsorship scandal, dies at 78". December 13, 2020.
  2. ^ CGAs in the House, CGA Magazine, May 1998 Archived 2013-04-14 at
  3. ^ "Gagliano and Canada's other ambassadors". CBC News. February 10, 2004. Retrieved 2015-10-01.
  4. ^ Gagliano says he's victim of PM double standard Archived February 18, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, CTV, April 26, 2005
  5. ^ "Gagliano lawsuit against Paul Martin, government dismissed".
  6. ^ "STOOLIE: CANADA POL IN MOB". 18 November 2004.
  7. ^ a b "Gagliano denies ties to crime family". CBC News. November 18, 2004. Retrieved 2015-10-01.
  8. ^ Appleby, Timothy (June 23, 2001). "A battle won in the war against drugs". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2015-10-01.
  9. ^ "History – Gagliano Vineyards". Archived from the original on 2018-03-19. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  10. ^ "Volpe victim of racism". Times Colonist. Victoria. September 25, 2006. Archived from the original on November 9, 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-01.
26th Ministry – Cabinet of Jean Chrétien Cabinet posts (2) Predecessor Office Successor Diane Marleau Minister of Public Works and Government Services1997–2002 Don Boudria Lucienne Robillard Minister of Labour1996–1997 Lawrence MacAulay Sub-Cabinet Post Predecessor Title Successor Fernand Robichaud Secretary of State (Parliamentary Affairs)(1994–1996) Special Parliamentary Responsibilities Predecessor Title Successor Fernand Robichaud Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons1994–2002 Paul DeVillers Parliament of Canada Preceded byMonique Bégin Member of Parliament for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel 1984-2002 Succeeded byMassimo Pacetti Diplomatic posts Preceded byMary Simon Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Denmark 2002-2004 Succeeded byFredericka Gregory
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Alfonso Gagliano
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