Let me get a few thing out-of-the-way first. I did not vote for Joe Fontana in the last election. As soon as he started promising 10,000 new jobs and a four-year tax freeze without a viable way to back those promises up he lost my vote. I have never lived in a ward or riding where he ran so this was the first time I could have voted for him. I have heard over the years that his constituency work left a positive mark. Up until the last election, I had only met him once or twice at various events.
In my own opinion he should have pleaded guilty when this first came out and saved everyone a lot of time and money. The further developments involving Trinity Global also gives cause for concern and I don’t think we have seen the last of that. I believe that those in public service should hold themselves to a higher standard and we have not seen that in this case. Failure to do that, tends to paint others in the same profession with the same brush which is unfortunate.
At this point his reputation is in tatters, any of the good things he has done will now forever be overshadowed by this guilty verdict at the very least. Considering the crime and the fact he is not a danger to society, I think the sentence is fine. There is no point spending even more money putting him into jail. As Phil McLeod has mentioned, it would have been nice to hear an apology from the ex Mayor.
There has been some negative comments about some of the people who wrote character references about Joe to the judge. This is a normal occurrence and all the writers would have known what they wrote would have been publicly available. From the letters it is obvious that Joe Fontana in the past has done quite a bit for many people and the community. These are worth reading. Many of these people I either personally know and respect and none of them would do this task lightly.
These sort of letters show the court that this was not normal behaviour of the convicted person. The main purpose is to show a positive side and provide some useful information about the convicted person, so that he is not judged only on the basis of the charge against him or her.
Sometimes before making a comment or a decision on why a person does something, put yourself in their shoes, or imagine the accused is someone you have great respect for or a family member. If that person had done one thing wrong would you feel the same? The world is not black and white.
I’m glad that justice has been done, but it’s time to move on.