You probably haven’t given Conrad Black much thought as he has mostly been out of the newspapers and media but he came to mind to me again today.
Rich people don’t get much sympathy except maybe from their lawyers but in my opinion Conrad deserves some. I don’t claim to know everything about his court case for which he was convicted but based on what I have read the only true conviction is the obstruction of justice. I suspect that even Conrad Black would agree that his style is – take action and apologize later if proven wrong; his history certainly indicates that he is action oriented. He started comfortable but his gains are the result of his risks and action. But Conrad is not only a man of finance, he is also a scholar, and one who continues to share his opinion and views to Canadians via his regular posts in the National Post. Conrad challenges Canadians via those posts as his views invariably are insightful and demand extensive use of the dictionary.
But I digress, very Conrad Black of me, (chuckle), because my real thought today was that I think it was wrong, to cause Conrad to forgo his Canadian citizenship in order that he could be a member of the British House of Lords.
Here is the history on this point:
Upon the advice of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Queen Elizabeth II conferred in 2001 the dignity of a life peerage to Black with the name, style and title of Baron Black of Crossharbour, of Crossharbour in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, gave the conflicting advice that a Canadian citizen should not receive a titular honour, citing the 1919 Nickle Resolution. The best-known modern application of the Nickle Resolution occurred when Prime Minister Jean Chrétien used it to prevent Canadian publishing mogul Conrad Black from becoming a British life peer. Chrétien held that, in spite of the fact that the British government was honouring Black as a British citizen, and that Black then held dual citizenship of Canada and Britain (allowed since 1977), he as prime minister of Canada had the right to keep Black from becoming a British life peer because he was also a Canadian citizen. In the end, Black gave up his Canadian citizenship in order to accept the British honour.
What ever is Ottawa thinking? Since this was a Liberal prime minister’s opinion, perhaps Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has a open mind about re-examining that opinion? I hope someone in Ottawa can fix this, it does not seem like heart surgery to me. Ottawa leadership – make it happen and fix this mistake – Conrad Black, born in Canada, was not seeking to join a bike gang, or a cult! I just think that is a wrong that should be fixed, and all it takes is someone in Ottawa to make a phone call. Hmmm, there are open minds there but what it takes I suspect is the willingness to make the correction, and I hope that willingness is there, so he can come back home to his home and native land.
My last word, I think joining the British House of Lords shouldn’t be considered contrary to being a Canadian citizen, regardless of who joins.
Conrad Black has requested his Canadian citizenship returned to him, but still no word as of June 2011.
Come on home to Canada Conrad and visit the Okanagan – I’ll give you a tour of our valley’s wineries, and we can toast to love for Canada together.