Joe Fontana

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The Honourable Joseph Frank "Joe" Fontana, PC (born January 13, 1950 in Celare, Cosenza, Italy) is a Liberal member of the Parliament of Canada for the riding of London North Centre, in London, Ontario.

In 1954 his father Ugo (a police officer), his mother Pearl, and his sisters Anna and Maria emigrated from Italy to Timmins, Ontario (where another sister, Adrianna, was later born). He later studied chemical engineering at the University of Waterloo, 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 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 the London City Council later in the year and served there until 1984. He also served on the London Board of Control where he served from 1984 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 fellow Liberals 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 was re-elected in 1997, 2000, and 2004, and is currently Minister of Labour in Paul Martin's minority government.

When he is not in Ottawa he resides in Arva, just north of London.

External links

27th Ministry - Government of Paul Martin
Cabinet Posts (1)
Preceded by:
Claudette Bradshaw
Minister of Labour
styled as
Minister of Labour and Housing
Succeeded by:


Preceded by:
Jim Jepson, P.C.
Members of Parliament from London East Succeeded by:
Riding was abolished in 1996
Preceded by:
Riding created in 1996
Members of Parliament from London--Adelaide Succeeded by:
Riding renamed in 1997 to London North Centre
Preceded by:
Riding renamed in 1997 from London--Adelaide
Members of Parliament from London North Centre Succeeded by:



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