By Julie Smyth - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 0 Comments
City councillors voted to give themselves Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medals, leaving other worthy nominees empty handed
When the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals were introduced last year, they were meant to recognize the contributions and outstanding achievements of Canadians. However, the municipal government of London, Ont., named the “worst council ever” by one local paper, saw it as a chance to honour its own work. After the city’s scandal-plagued Mayor Joe Fontana nominated all 14 council members for the award, the councillors voted in an in-camera session late last year to give the medals to themselves, a move that only came to light last week.
The medals were created by the Governor General to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the accession to the throne of Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Canada. The city nominated around 300 people, including the councillors, but officials discovered there were only 129 medals available. Members of the community, including Fanny Goose, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor who ran a downtown clothing store for 50 years and who was told she had been nominated, were informed they were not getting an award.
“I was dismayed because they go out and tell a 90-year-old woman she is nominated for a medal—and my mother takes it very seriously because she is a Holocaust survivor and democracy [is important to her],” says her son, Steven Garrison. “We had no idea they changed their mind until we called their office and the office says, ‘Oh, by the way, she’s not getting a medal now. We didn’t get enough.’ ” He was shocked to find out councillors had been nominated. “At ﬁrst the councillors tried to blame it all on the mayor, but they voted on the issue. Anyone else would have said, ‘Hello, what are we doing here?’ ” Continue…
By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 9:08 PM - 0 Comments
LONDON, Ont. – A motion calling on the mayor of London, Ont., to step…
LONDON, Ont. – A motion calling on the mayor of London, Ont., to step aside while criminal charges relating to his time as an MP are dealt with was defeated Tuesday night.
Council voted 8-5 against the motion before a packed gallery filled with both supporters and critics. Mayor Joe Fontana abstained and one councillor was absent.
The charges against Fontana are related to allegations he inappropriately used federal government funds while he was a member of Parliament to help pay for his son’s wedding reception in 2005.
Fontana, a former federal cabinet minister, has denied any wrongdoing and is to appear in court on Jan. 8.
The motion brought forward by Coun. Joni Baechler, (JOE’-nee – BEK’-ler) — which passed at a civic committee — was a symbolic one.
Under Ontario’s Municipal Act, Fontana can’t be forced to resign.
Baechler says it was important for city council to debate the issue in public.
”I think what’s been accomplished is we’ve had a discussion about one of the most important issues in the city of London,” she said.
”Members of council have had the opportunity to voice their concerns at a duly constituted council meeting. We have no other opportunity to do so.”
Some councillors expressed concern the motion may have violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Coun. Stephen Orser was pleased the motion was shot down.
“I don’t want a lot of litigation and a lot of legal problems in the city of London, so yes, I’m glad that we didn’t go down that road.”