Dec 13, 2020

By Jeremy Logan

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Alfonso Gagliano, a former Liberal cabinet minister who played a key role in the sponsorship scandal of the early 2000s, has died.

He was 78.

His daughter Imma Gagliano confirmed his death, which occurred Saturday.

Gagliano represented the Montreal riding of Saint-Leonard in the House of Commons for 18 years, first winning a seat in 1984 in an election that saw the Progressive Conservatives win the biggest majority in Canadian history.

After notching multiple cabinet posts in the Liberal governments of the 1990s, Gagliano stepped down as MP in 2002 to accept an ambassadorship, but was dismissed by then-Prime Minister Paul Martin in 2004.

His fall from grace was triggered by the sponsorship scandal, which revolved around a system of kickbacks for government contracts as part of a federal program initially created to boost Ottawa’s presence in Quebec after the 1995 referendum.

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