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Joseph Frank "Joe" Fontana, PC (born January 13, 1950 in Cellaramarker, Cosenzamarker, Italymarker) was a Liberal member of the Parliament of Canadamarker for the riding of London North Centre, in London, Ontariomarker.

In 1954 his father Ugo (a police officer), his mother Pearl and his sisters Anna and Maria emigrated from Italy to Timminsmarker, (where another sister, Adrianna, was later born).

He later studied chemical engineering at the University of Waterloomarker, but left school after becoming the drummer in a rock band. While in the band he met his first wife Marilyn, with whom he had a son, Joey. They settled in London and Fontana briefly returned to school at the University of Western Ontariomarker, 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. In 1986 he married his second wife Vicky.

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 Chr├ętien (who played trombone). He became the Ontariomarker 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.[55437]

On September 8, 2006, Fontana announced that he would run for Mayor in London against current 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. He was unsuccessful, losing badly to Mayor DeCicco-Best. Fontana expressed his discontent for the London Free Press's arguable bias for DeCicco-Best in the weeks prior to the election and stated "There is a benefit in not winning and that is because I am going to cancel my subscription to The London Free Press... I debated The Free Press more than the mayor".

He resides in Arva, a few kilometres north of London.


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