Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Conrad Black Should Get His Citizenship Back...

...once he deals with all of the bureaucracy, snags, fees, and endless waiting that a normal applicant from the U.K. who has never applied before would encounter if he applied to immigrate to Canada today

Don’t get me wrong. I respect Conrad Black. He has an enormous intellect, interesting perspectives, and has written some great stuff (if he doesn’t let his pompousness get the better of him – he’s also written quite a bit of breathless blustery blather). I’m not one of these people who thinks he should be banned from Canada because I disagree with some of his views. But in all fairness, given his current situation, he should be deported back to the country where he has citizenship right now (the U.K.), and follow the same lengthy, convoluted process to enter Canada from the back of the immigration queue like everybody else.

Instead, the government is whisking him in through the VIP express line. There is political interference in this file that, despite the government’s insistent denial, has come straight from Harper and Kenney at the top. This is in keeping with the terrible culture of corruption and hypocrisy now commonplace at the highest level of the Canadian government. These comments from the Globe article today tell the story better than me:

 1) “Suppose Black is filling up the immigration questionnaire while in Jail.
Are you a Canadian Citizen: No
Have you ever been a Canadian Citizen: Yes
Have your Canadian Citizenship been revoked: Yes
Have you ever been convicted of a Crime: Yes
Have you ever been jailed: Yes
Have you ever served in the government of a foreign government: Yes”

 2) “"Mr. Kenney told reporters that when he learned of the application in February, he instructed immigration officials to handle it themselves." and Pigs Fly.

 3) “A criminal in the US, who gave up citizenship, applies for TR (temporary residence permit) while still in jail, in mid-March. And not only is it is approved, it is approved by May 1st? You are telling me this is the normal time it takes for every application processed by anonymous 'highly trained public officials?'” Right. Not only has this government personally intervened to refuse entry to Canada to people whose views it disagreed with in the past (U.S. media personality Amy Goodman, U.K. M.P. George Galloway), it has left Canadian citizens (Omar Khadr, Gary Freeman) who have not renounced their citizenship like Mr. Black outside Canada’s borders in limbo because, well, they’re not rich figures sympathetic to the conservative cause like Lord Black.

 Gary Freeman is not as well-known as Omar Khadr, but the leader of the Official Opposition mentioned his case “(NDP Leader Thomas) Mulcair compared Black’s case to that of Gary Freeman, an American-born man who has been denied re-entry into Canada because of a criminal record. The 63-year-old was involved with the Black Panthers, and was extradited to the U.S. in 2008 and pleaded guilty to shooting a police officer in 1969. After serving a 30-day sentence, he was denied re-entry to Canada, where his wife and four children live. “It is a clear case of a double standard, one for an American black man from Chicago, another for a British white man coming out of federal penitentiary,”

This is the latest idiotic move from the Harper government. You’d think that if George W. Bush (who would have been fully within his prerogative to pardon Black and wipe his slate clean with a presidential pardon upon leaving office in 2008) declined the Baron, fellow neoconservatives would understand this guy’s radioactive and giving him special treatment doesn’t pay political dividends. Bush left Black in the Coleman correctional facility in Florida, despite being friends with and having his speeches written by Black’s acquaintance, the Canadian-American pundit David Frum. Frum and Black both regularly take to the pages of the National Post, Canada’s conservative broadsheet that Black himself founded. Lo and behold, who is one of the first Canadian political figures to (positively) comment today on Black’s return? Dave Frum’s sister, Stephen Harper-appointed $165,000 per-year Conservative senator Linda Frum.

 And nevermind the Frums, who are total lightweights on the right side of the North American political ledger compared to some of the company Black has kept. In the past, he enjoyed lasting friendships with such American conservative icons as Henry Kissinger and the journalist William F. Buckley Jr. And Bush still had no interest in pardoning him. So what do Kenney and Harper possibly think they have to gain from this, other than helping out one of their fellow cheats and liars?

I have no problem with Black returning to Canada as a citizen. But he should be treated as a regular foreign citizen and receive the same treatment from the Harper government that any normal working stiffs in this situation would: Stone-deaf indifference, followed by some cricket chirps. Even dubya had the good sense to react this way to him. Kenney and Harper have proved nothing in this case other than Canadians can continue to except arbitrary actions and decisive injustice under the watch of them and their variable geometric moral compasses - guided by the Orwellian moral principle that all citizens are equal, but some are more equal than others. _________________________________________________________________________________

 I’m not going to devote another posting to ORNGE as I’ve already done one – and for the full details of this nepotism-riddled Ontario Government scam-fest, you’re really better off checking out the columns of Tanya Talaga at the Star, who should win a national newspaper award. I’m not knocking her abilities as a writer, but the details of this ongoing scandal are so juicy that her articles must practically write themselves. The facts that come out of the Queen’s Park committee on ORNGE (which is only, per the Liberal Government. allowed to meet once a week, to minimize damage control) just get more ridiculous by the week. The latest? CEO fraudster in chief Chris Mazza ordered one of his lobbyist friends to hire his waitress/water-ski instructor girlfriend as a consultant, complained to him when she was only being given admin assistant-type duties at the lobby (Pathway Group), then parachuted her into ORNGE from the lobbying group, where she quickly rose into an Associate VP role and collected a $90000 Ivey business school EMBA courtesy of the taxpayer on the way. Stuff like this reminds us that the “not what you know, who you know (blow)” phrase is sadly true in our modern enlightened present day society.

 It’s why I’m disappointed with usually astute Adam Radwanski at the Globe who said today that (premier) McGuinty and (health minister) Matthews had “too many other headaches” to look into this, giving them a free pass. Give me a break. This is better than movies or TV, if only it wasn’t our real life tax dollars flushed down the drain by the deluded crook CEO on his girlfriend. Mazza testifies before the committee May 16. Now that’s going to be interesting.

 PS – who broke this story? The Sun? The Globe? The Post? No, the ultra-left, Liberal-apologist, commie rag Star, which unlike the fluffy Globe, has not totally abandoned investigative journalism.

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