René Fontaine

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René Fontaine
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded by René Piché
Succeeded by Len Wood
Constituency Cochrane North
Personal details
Born Jacques Noé René Fontaine
(1933-11-05)November 5, 1933
Harty, Ontario
Died March 17, 2012(2012-03-17) (aged 78)
Political party Liberal
Occupation Businessman

Jacques Noe René Fontaine (November 5, 1933 – March 17, 2012)[1] was a politician in Ontario, Canada. He was a Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1985 to 1990, and was a cabinet minister in the government of David Peterson.


Fontaine was educated at the University of Ottawa. He was vice-president of a sawmill in Hearst.[2] In 1977, he declared it a "bilingual municipality". Fontaine also served as president of Maison Renaissance and Arc en Ciel in Hearst.


He served as a municipal councillor in the northern town of Hearst from 1963 to 1966, and was the town's mayor from 1967 to 1980.

He was elected to the Ontario legislature in the 1985 provincial election, defeating Progressive Conservative René Piché in Cochrane North, a large riding in the province's northeastern corner.[3][4] Fontaine was the only Liberal MPP elected from northern Ontario, and was appointed to cabinet as Minister of Northern Affairs and Mines.[3] In October 1985, Fontaine announced that the Ministry would be reorganized as the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. He said the government would spend an additional $100 million in the north on development projects. Bud Wildman criticized the announcement as a one-shot infusion and that after five years there would be no more money.[5]

In June 1986, opposition MPP Andy Brandt disclosed to the legislature that Fontaine had failed to disclose ownership of 17,000 shares in Golden Tiger, a mining company operating in Ontario and Quebec. Fontaine acknowledged his mistake, saying that he had forgotten to disclose the shares as required be Peterson's conflict-of-interest guidelines. He resigned both his portfolio and his seat in the legislature on June 26, stating that he wanted to be exonerated by the people of his riding in a by-election.[2][3] The Progressive Conservatives and New Democratic Party refused to run candidates,[6] and described the entire affair as farcical. Fontaine easily defeated a spread of minor candidates; he was not immediately re-appointed to cabinet, but served as a parliamentary assistant in the first part of 1987.[3]

Peterson's Liberals won a landslide majority government in the 1987 provincial election, and Fontaine was re-elected by almost 4,000 votes over Len Wood of the NDP. He returned to cabinet as Minister of Northern Development, and retained this position until August 8, 1990.[3] He did not seek re-election in the 1990 provincial election.[3]

There is currently a Hearst (René Fontaine) Municipal Airport in Hearst.

Cabinet positions[edit]

Provincial Government of David Peterson
Cabinet Posts (2)
Predecessor Office Successor
David Peterson
[note 1]
Minister of Northern Development
Shelley Martel
Leo Bernier
[note 2]
Minister of Northern Development and Mines
[note 3]

David Peterson



  1. ^ Ministry of Northern Development and Mines was split between Fontaine and Sean Conway.
  2. ^ Bernier was Minister of Northern Affairs.
  3. ^ Ministry reorganized November 1985.


  1. ^ "Death of a northern icon: René Fontaine passes away". The Northern Times. 
  2. ^ a b "Ontario Minister resigns in Conflict of Interest row". The Leader-Post. June 27, 1986. Retrieved 29 January 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Jacques Noé René Fontaine". Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Retrieved 29 January 2011. 
  4. ^ "Ontario Votes 2007". CBC. Retrieved 29 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Plan for north criticized". The Ottawa Citizen. October 23, 1985. p. A5. 
  6. ^ "Victory and defeat". The Calgary Herald. September 7, 1986. Retrieved 29 January 2011. 

External links[edit]