Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Joe Fontana Officially Resigns as London, Ont., Mayor Following Convictions

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Joe Fontana Officially Resigns as London, Ont., Mayor Following Convictions

Article excerpt

Fontana won't return to public life


LONDON, Ont. - Joe Fontana ended his political career Thursday, resigning as mayor of London, Ont., following fraud-related convictions from his time as a federal Liberal cabinet minister.

He was found guilty last week of fraud, forgery and breach of trust after a judge ruled he forged an expense document submitted to the House of Commons in 2005 that resulted in a $1,700 government fraud.

Following the convictions, he was tight-lipped about what they meant for his political future -- he had not yet announced whether he would seek another mayoral term in municipal elections in October -- but days later announced he would step down.

In a statement issued Monday, Fontana announced he would resign and would hold a news conference Thursday, but he cancelled that appearance via another statement Thursday morning.

Fontana's official resignation was delivered to the city clerk and he will now focus on his family, the statement indicated.

"They have sacrificed for me for 32 years," Fontana wrote. "I will not return to public life."

This was not how Fontana envisioned his final days in office, but he accepts the challenges before him, he added.

"I understand I am required to walk this path alone and I have learned that we will be measured not only by what we do but by how we choose to carry our burdens."

Fontana's political life spanned more than 30 years, first as a municipal politician, then as a Liberal member of Parliament, ultimately returning to London as mayor.

He was born in Italy but his family moved a few years later to Timmins, Ont., where Fontana grew up, as he described to the police officer conducting his interview in the fraud investigation.

Fontana left Timmins to study chemical engineering at the University of Waterloo, but he only spent a year at the school. He and about six friends travelled as musicians -- Fontana is a drummer -- for about a year, then he went to the University of Western Ontario, Fontana told the officer. …

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