London, Ont. councillors honour themselves

City councillors voted to give themselves Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medals, leaving other worthy nominees empty handed

by Julie Smyth

Alastair Grant/AP

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?’ ”

Even before the medal fiasco, Mayor Fontana was facing calls to step down. Last November police charged the former Liberal MP with fraud under $5,000 after the London Free Press reported federal taxpayers paid to cover his son’s wedding reception in 2005. He has denied any wrongdoing.

In a statement about the councillors’ medals, the mayor said he “felt it was more than appropriate” to recognize “their long-time involvement and personal investment in improving quality of life in London.”

An anonymous donor has since given his medal to Goose. Four councillors have declined the medals and offered them to someone else more deserving, saying the mayor’s list had majority approval but it was not unanimous. Among them is Coun. Joni Baechler who said nominating council members was “self-serving.”




Browse

London, Ont. councillors honour themselves

  1. You forgot to mention that councillor Denise Brown nominated her teenage son because he volunteers.

  2. London used to be like Savannah or Charleston, in a sense. Even Austin, Tx. A modest-if-smug, off-the-radar, well-managed oasis of prosperity. Not any more. It’s been clowntown for a couple of decades now (politically speaking). Too bad, because it has some real charm. They don’t call it the Forest City for lack of a better phrase.

    • True. I grew up there. It was quiet, well-mannered and wealthy. I don’t recognize the place anymore. Lotta loud-mouth schnooks now.

      • Damn. Now I can’t hurl invective at you as an online ‘progressive’ anymore. You’re sure you grew up London?

        • LOL yeah, they used to roll the sidewalks up at 10 every night.

          Couldn’t wait to get out of there and see the world.

    • Ever since the Dianne Haskett, Anne Marie DiCicco era London has been on a slow and steady decline. A perfect example of what happens when you elect and then re-elect incompetent people to run a half billion dollar corporation as the city of London is. Now Fontana seems to be on course to outdo his predecessors. Very sad.

      • Sad it is, not to mention unnecessary and stupid. It had a lot going for it. Great parks, old North, Olde South, party U.

        You can also mark the decline of this city over the decades by reading archive copies of the London Free Press from the war years on. Then, it was a genuine broadsheet. There’s no comparison to the bin liner/window wipe it’s become.

    • Do you know why we’re not like cities in the U.S.? Because we’re NOTHING LIKE the U.S. I don’t think you mean any harm but please don’t insult us in this manner. A mostly rotten-to-the-core city council notwithstanding.

      • @Jenks. I like London. I used to live there. That’s why it’s such an irritant to witness, even from afar, a very liveable city flirt with farce. (I’d suggest you google the American cities I named. Being compared to these southern jewels is high praise.)

  3. London has a narcissistic pompous arrogant mayor. The council needs a complete makeover as they are either corrupt or on an ego trip.

  4. It seems our illustrious mayor and his family are involved in yet another impropriety, in the form of large sums of charitable donation funds. Is here no end? What else is out there?

    • Scary isn’t it?

  5. I deserve one of these why just last week I opened a door for a older lady,let a person into traffic and thank numerous people who helped me out while shopping,oh I guess they to deserve one also. In fact we all deserve one or two. IDIOTS they cheapen a award that should mean something to those who actual deserve it. It must make them feel very important,oh I meant self-serving.

  6. The hits just keep on comin’. All the money the City of London is spending to jazz up our image for the World’s Figure Skating Championships isn’t going to erase all the negative publicity we’ve been getting of late thanks to our mayor et al. Yes, the eyes of the nation and the world will be upon us but for all the wrong reasons it seems.

  7. The commenters seem to have forgotten that the London voters put these people in office. Now who is responsible for this & other fiascos of this mayor & council?
    Maybe, if more people took an interest in municipal politics, they just might get better quality to represent them!

  8. “Nominating Council members (ourselves) is self-serving. ” Really ? Well I guess council in their collective wisdom did not pick up on that notion. After you get past the egomaiacal puffery all thats left is stupid.

  9. democracy; vote em in…….vote em out. Municipal elections traditionally have the lowest turnout…maybe that will change next election.

    • Yeah..good luck with that..apathy is alive and well throughout Canada. They forget we have a right to vote, fought for in two world wars.

  10. Thank you for demonstrating on a national basis, just how incompetent this city council is.

    No small wonder why a Western student once told me: “why would any sane graduate stick around this hokey town”.

  11. DR.EKAKA I thank you for your help that you rendered to me last month i am very happy that my mother in law now love me more than ever before and my husband now listen to me and also he do not want to hear anything bad about from any of his friend that was telling to leave me before now thank you so much ekakaspelltemple@yahoo.com you are the best..

  12. typical arrogan, ignorant politicians..only thinking of their own ego and glory They forget WE put them in office..and WE can take them out…and they are supposed to be working FOR us

  13. This is shameful.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *