Joe Fontana
Joe Fontana 2012.jpg
Fontana in 2012
61st Mayor of London
In office
December 1, 2010 – June 19, 2014
Preceded byAnne Marie DeCicco-Best
Succeeded byJoni Baechler
Member of Parliament for London East
In office
Preceded byJim Jepson
Succeeded byRiding dissolved
Member of Parliament for London North Centre
In office
Preceded byRiding established
Succeeded byGlen Pearson
Personal details
Born (1950-01-13) January 13, 1950 (age 72)
Cellara, Cosenza, Italy
Political partyLiberal

Joseph Frank Fontana PC (born January 13, 1950) is an Italian-born Canadian politician. He was a Liberal member of the House of Commons of Canada from 1987 to 2006, and mayor of London, Ontario from 2010 until his 2014 convictions for fraud and forgery.

Life and career

Fontana was born in Cellara, Cosenza, Italy in 1950, and moved to Canada with his parents at the age of four.

He studied chemical engineering at the University of Waterloo, but left school after becoming the drummer in a rock band. He later moved to London and briefly returned to school at the University of Western Ontario, but left to work in real estate and the insurance industry.

He opposed the building of a federal prison in London and soon became involved in local politics. In 1976 he ran for city council, representing Ward 3, but lost; in 1978 he also lost the Liberal nomination for the federal riding of London-Middlesex, but was elected to London City Council later in the year and served there until 1988, sitting on London's Board of Control from 1985 to 1988.

As Member of Parliament

In 1988 he was elected to the House of Commons as a member of the opposition and served as Critic for Urban Affairs and Housing. He also formed the band "True Grit" with several Liberals including Roger Gallaway and future prime minister Jean Chrétien (who played trombone). He became the Ontario chair of the Liberal caucus and was involved in the Task Force on Via Rail and the Task Force on the Economy and Recession. In 1990 he supported Paul Martin's attempt to become leader of the Liberal Party.

He was re-elected in 1993 and became parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Transport, playing a key role in, among other things, the introduction of the National Airports Policy. From 1996 to 1999 he served a record three times as chair of the national Liberal caucus and in 1999 became chair of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration and the chair of the Southwestern Ontario Liberal caucus.

He served as Minister of Labour in Paul Martin's minority government until February 6, 2006, when Stephen Harper was sworn in as Prime Minister.

He was re-elected in 1997, 2000, 2004, and 2006. Appointed as the critic for Science and Research within the Liberal shadow cabinet, Mr. Fontana was strongly speculated to be considering a run for leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, though he ultimately did not seek the post, supporting Gerard Kennedy instead.

Election as mayor

On September 8, 2006, Fontana announced that he would run for mayor in London against mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best. On September 20, 2006, Fontana formally resigned his seat in the House of Commons in order to run for mayor.[1][2] He was unsuccessful, losing badly to Mayor DeCicco-Best.

He subsequently announced he would run in the 2010 London mayoral election, again against DeCicco-Best. Fontana won the mayoralty in that election.

As a member of the Privy Council of Canada, Fontana automatically received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Criminal convictions

In October 2012, calls for Fontana's resignation as mayor were made amid allegations of misuse of government funds used to pay for his son's wedding. Some city councillors urged Fontana to step aside during the investigation.

On November 21, 2012, the London detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police issued a press release announcing that Fontana had been charged with breach of trust by a public officer; fraud under $5,000; and uttering forged documents.[3]

On November 22, 2012, Fontana offered to resign from the London Police Services Board and his resignation was formally accepted. Under municipal law governing Ontario, Police Services cannot allow an individual who is under investigation for a criminal offences to take part in any police function.[4] At the next meeting of council's Finance and Administrative Services Committee, its councillors asked that Fontanta step aside, voting by a 3–1 vote margin that he resign his council seat and duties as mayor, however the committee decision was not binding under the Municipal Act.[5] A council motion asking Fontana to leave office pending resolution of his criminal charges lost by a vote, 8–5.[6]

Fontana was found guilty of the charges by the Ontario Superior Court on June 13, 2014,[7] and sentenced to serve 4 months under house arrest and 18 months on probation.[8]

On June 16, 2014, Fontana announced he would be stepping down as mayor of London.[9] He formally resigned on June 19,[10] and was temporarily succeeded by Ward 3 city councillor Joe Swan as acting mayor until a council vote the following week selected Joni Baechler as his formal successor until the 2014 municipal election.

Electoral record

London mayoral election, 2010

Mayoral Candidate [3][permanent dead link] Vote %
Joe Fontana 48,626 47.2
Anne Marie DeCicco-Best (X) 46,089 44.8
Cynthia Etheridge 4,402 4.3
Eric Southern 644 0.6
Ivan W. Kasiurak 612 0.6
Christopher R. Foerster 462 0.4
Aaron Broughm 427 0.4
Wayne Ford 375 0.4
Zak Young 298 0.3
Stephen Elliott Beckles 252 0.2
Tomasz Winnicki 234 0.2
Dan Lenart 173 0.2
Tom Ha 149 0.1
Ma'in Sinan 128 0.1
Jonas Richard White 83 0.1

London mayoral election, 2006

Candidate Vote %
Anne Marie DeCicco-Best (X) 57,891 57.7
Joe Fontana 35,083 35.7
Cynthia Etheridge 2,561 2.6
Ivan W. Kasiurak 1,905 1.9
Arthur Majoor 1,623 1.6
Matthew L. R. Shantz 532 0.5
2006 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Joe Fontana 24,109 40.12 -2.96 $78,406
Conservative John Mazzilli 17,968 29.90 +2.46 $63,536
New Democratic Stephen Maynard 14,271 23.75 -0.39 $20,817
Green Stuart Smith 3,300 5.49 +0.72 $2,442
Progressive Canadian Rod Morley 283 0.47 +0.03 $2,852
Marxist–Leninist Margaret Mondaca 160 0.27 +0.14 $0.00
2004 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Joe Fontana 21,472 43.08 -8.46
Conservative Tim Gatten 13,677 27.44 -9.57
New Democratic Joe Swan 12,034 24.14 +15.24
Green Bronagh Joyce Morgan 2,376 4.77 +3.23
Progressive Canadian Rod Morley 220 0.44
Marxist–Leninist Gustavo Grandos-Ocon 67 0.13

^ Conservative change is from combined Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative totals.

2000 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Joe Fontana 22,795 51.54 -0.18
Alliance Nancy Branscombe 9,062 20.49 +5.30
Progressive Conservative Lorie Johnson 7,305 16.52 -0.95
New Democratic Colleen Redmond 3,936 8.90 -3.39
Green Jeremy McNaughton 681 1.54 +0.06
Marijuana Tim Berg 453 1.02 -

^ Canadian Alliance change is from Reform

1997 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Joe Fontana 23,891 51.72
Progressive Conservative Jim Henkel 8,072 17.47
Reform Tara Bingham 7,016 15.19
New Democratic Colleen Redmond 5,679 12.29
Green Jeff Culbert 685 1.48
Christian Heritage Ken Devries 375 0.81
Independent Michael Rubinoff 336 0.73
Marxist–Leninist Vera Cruise 138 0.30
1993 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Joe Fontana 28,279 55.8% +18.1%
Progressive Conservative Rob Alder 9,237 18.2% -19.3%
Reform Paul Cheng 8,704 17.2% +17.2%
New Democratic Alfredo Marroquin 2,614 5.2% -19.2%
National Bill Cecil-Smith 830 1.6% +1.6%
Green Jeff Culbert 567 1.1% +1.1%
Natural Law Jim Hill 282 0.6% +0.6%
Canada Party Al Plumb 108 0.2% +0.2%
Commonwealth of Canada Sid Tarleton 31 0.1% +0.1%
1988 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Joe Fontana 19,547 37.7% +11.8%
Progressive Conservative Jim Jepson 19,445 37.5% -9.7%
New Democratic Marion Boyd 12,667 24.4% -2.5%
Independent Peter Ewart 201 0.4% +0.4%

See also


  1. ^ Hansard, 39th Parliament, 1st Session, Number 049, [1]. Accessed 21 September 2006.
  2. ^ Hansard, 39th Parliament, 1st Session, Number 049, [2]. Accessed 21 September 2006.
  3. ^ "Joe Fontana, mayor of London, Ont., charged with fraud". CBC News. November 21, 2012.
  4. ^ "Resignation of Mayor Joe Fontana from the London Police Services Board". London Police. November 22, 2012. Archived from the original on December 14, 2013.
  5. ^ "Motion requesting Mayor Joe Fontana to leave office has been passed". Hamilton Spectator. November 26, 2012.
  6. ^ "Eight-member council bloc runs city, Henderson says". London Free Press. December 11, 2012.
  7. ^ "Joe Fontana found guilty of fraud and forgery, judge 'perplexed' about why he did it". National Post. June 13, 2014.
  8. ^ "Joe Fontana, former London mayor, gets 4-month conditional sentence". CBC News. July 15, 2014.
  9. ^ "Joe Fontana to step down as London mayor after criminal convictions". CTV News. June 16, 2014.
  10. ^ "Joe Fontana officially resigns as mayor of London". Toronto Sun. June 19, 2014.
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