Nunziata was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in the 1984 general election as a Liberal despite a national Progressive Conservative landslide. Nunziata thrived as a member of the opposition Rat Pack, a group of Liberal Members of Parliament (MPs) including Don Boudria, Brian Tobin, and Sheila Copps, who made it their business to bring misery to the government of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
Nunziata's ideological position in the Liberal Party was not clearly defined at this stage. He was opposed to abortion, but his views on other issues were not always socially conservative. During the national debate on capital punishment in 1986, he was one of the strongest parliamentary opponents of any restoration of the death penalty. He was re-elected without difficulty in the 1988 election.
Nunziata became increasingly outspoken in both his socially-conservative views and his criticisms of the Liberal government. On April 21, 1996, he was expelled from the Liberal caucus after he voted against the government's budget in protest over the government breaking a promise to rescind the Goods and Services Tax.
Nunziata was also suspected of planning a challenge to Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman in the 2000 municipal election, but Nunziata nixed the rumours when it was found that he could not hold onto his seat in Parliament while campaigning for Mayor.
Nunziata ran to be Mayor of Toronto in the Toronto's 2003 municipal election as a right wing "law and order" candidate. He pledged support for the police, and to sweep the homeless off the streets. When he entered the race, he was a distant second, ahead of councillor David Miller and former Rogers Cable CEO John Tory but well behind frontrunner Barbara Hall.
His campaign was dogged by allegations that he tried several times to introduce a private members bill in the House of Commons that called for the criminalization of abortion. Additionally, he called for jail terms for providers of abortion and also for women who underwent the procedure. During a debate, when he denied taking such a position, Miller produced a copy of the proposed legislation.
Late in the campaign, he claimed that the campaign of rival candidate John Tory had offered him $150,000 and the Deputy Mayor's position if he were to drop out of the race. Nunziata refused to release specifics, however, and a police investigation found no criminal wrongdoing. Nunziata was accused of at best smearing his opponent with unsubstantiated claim, and at worst mischief. He received only 5% of the vote.
Power to the party: Ontario Liberals follow Chretien's example by allowing their leader to hand-pick candidates.(Brief Article)
May 28, 2001; Peter LiPreti is currently a Toronto city councillor, but in 1993 he was hoping to run for the federal Liberals in that year's...