Dear Readers:
I am very pissed at this latest turn of events, mostly since I voted for the asshole during the last election!
His failure to step down once the allegations became public show a terrific lack of character……. especially since he knew it would probably come to this!
The Mayor of London, Ont. is facing criminal charges relating to the alleged inappropriate use of government funds while he was a member of Parliament.Joseph Fontana was charged today with breach of trust, fraud and uttering forged documents.
The charges by the London detachment of the RCMP relate to a government cheque Mr. Fontana used as a deposit for his son’s wedding reception in 2005, according to sources familiar with the probe. RCMP Sgt. Richard Rollings would not comment on the nature of the charges, beyond saying they involve Mr. Fontana’s alleged misuse of $1,700 in government funds while he was a federal MP.
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Mr. Fontana plans to hold a news conference on Thursday afternoon at his lawyer’s office in London.
In a letter posted on his website on Monday, he said he has no plans to step down.
“Make no mistake, I treat the allegations that have been levied as serious, but I have not and will not allow them to be a distraction from my duties and obligations of my office,” he writes. “I will not stand aside or leave my responsibilities as Mayor.”
The RCMP opened its investigation just over a month ago, after the London Free Press asked questions about the controversial expenditures to the House of Commons.
“The matter was brought to our attention and the House exercised due diligence and referred the matter to the proper authorities, which are the RCMP,” said spokeswoman Heather Bradley.
It is not known whether Mr. Fontana will step aside, pending the outcome of the case. He is to appear in court on Jan. 8.
London city councillor Joni Baechler told The Globe and Mail she plans to bring a motion before the finance and administrative services committee on Monday, asking Mr. Fontana to temporarily step aside.
The motion is expected to pass. However, councillors cannot force Mr. Fontana to step down. Under the province’s Municipal Act, a member of council can be removed only under specific circumstances, including conviction for a criminal offence.
Mr. Fontana and his lawyer, Gord Cudmore, did not return telephone messages on Wednesday.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling for greater public disclosure of spending by MPs, which is largely rubber-stamped internally. Federal director Gregory Thomas said the MPs’ $10,000 hospitality budget is hidden from public view and ripe for abuse.
He added that the RCMP charges against Mr. Fontana make it clear that “federal politicians can’t police themselves.”
NDP MP Charlie Angus agreed that the allegations raise clear questions about the ability of MPs to misspend their parliamentary budget.
“If that’s happened, then I think Mr. Fontana should face the full force of the law and I’m wondering why it took so long to expose this,” Mr. Angus told reporters.
The Auditor-General has looked into the use of parliamentary budgets, but did not delve deeply into individual expenses, focusing instead on the rules and procedures.
Mr. Fontana was a fixture from 1988 until 2006 on Parliament Hill as a Liberal MP and a member of the True Grit rock band. He was the chair of the Liberal caucus and of various parliamentary committees during the tenure of Jean Chr├ętien in the 1990s and early 2000s, and received a promotion as minister of labour after Paul Martin became Liberal leader and prime minister in 2003.
Mr. Fontana had supported Mr. Martin’s failed leadership bid in 1990, and he quit his seat after the Liberals lost power in 2006 to make a run for the London mayoralty. He lost on his first attempt, but won in 2010.
Look folks, I don’t know who Joe Fontana was trying to wiz, but if he couldn’t even take the high road out…….. then he is twice the fool.