Posts Tagged ‘Baron Black

Welcome Home, Connie

- May 23rd, 2012

487px-Conrad_Black_mug_shot

So Conrad Black wants to be a real Canuck again.

 

The much-maligned mogul who spent most of the last half-decade incarcerated in U.S. federal prisons told the CBC’s Peter Mansbridge (in an interview aired, appropriately, on Victoria Day) that he would like to regain his Canadian citizenship — if the Canadian people are willing.

 

“I always intended to take my citizenship back when that was appropriate,” Black told Mansbridge. “I would have done it long ago if we hadn’t been interrupted by this nonsense in the United States.”

 

That “nonsense” was, of course, Black’s conviction on a plethora of fraud and obstruction of justice charges related to his business dealings a decade ago. At the end of a legal chain that led all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, Black’s convictions ended up being cut back to one relatively minor count of mail fraud and one count of obstruction.

 

Black served his time and is back at his Toronto home in the Bridle Path-Post Road area now. But he’s here only on a temporary residency permit because he gave up his Canadian citizenship in 2001 in the culmination of a feud with then-prime minister Jean Chretien, who vindictively would not allow Black to accept an appointment to the British House of Lords.

 

Now, more than a decade later, Baron Black of Crossharbour wants to become plain old Conrad Moffat Black of Toronto again — at least on this side of the Atlantic.

 

Should we accept the return of the prodigal son?

 

I say yes, a thousand times yes.

 

Conrad Black has probably done many things worse than the two supposed abuses of which he was convicted in the U.S. He is a vain, blustery, arrogant elitist with bullying tendencies.

 

But so what?

 

How can we turn this guy down? He is unique, one of a kind, fascinating and — whether you love him or hate — you know in your heart he is truly Canadian.

The citizenship issue was just something that spun out of control in the middle of a nasty, ego-driven dogfight between two alpha males a long time ago. One of the dogs was the prime minister of Canada, so it’s not surprising that Chretien won the Canadian battle and Black had to limp off, waving his British peerage as a tattered flag of Pyrrhic victory.

 

In renouncing his Canadian citizenship, Black wasn’t saying “Screw you, Canada.” He was saying “Screw you, Chretien — you cheated but you’re not going to beat me.”

 

Then five years later he got into an even bigger fight with an even bigger government — the United States of America. The most powerful government in the world was hell-bent on Black’s destruction — and he survived. He paid a high price but he didn’t bitch and moan — and he survived. He has consistently maintained his innocence on all counts.

 

Yes, most of Conrad Black’s problems have been of his own making. But he’s always taken the heat, stood his ground and faced whatever adversity has come his way without flinching or complaining or looking for someone else to blame.

 

He’s a stand-up guy. He’s done his time. He’s an old dog who wants to rest for a while and lick his wounds. In Canada. The country of his birth. We should let him. You don’t really want to kick an old dog one more time, do you?

 

Besides, he does the Obnoxious Rich Guy so well, we would be fools not to keep him as our national champion on the world stage. Black has so much more class and breadth of spirit than vulgar chumps like Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch.

 

He may be a monster (I really don’t think so) but he’s our monster — and always will be. Let’s make it official again.