Saturday, February 01, 2014

Bye, bye for you "citizen" Black!

Good Day Readers:

With the announcement "Citizen" Black has just been stripped of his Order of Canada and Privy Council titles he joins the ranks of a growing number of groups lining up to challenge the Conservatives in the next election. First you had Canada's Prince of Pot Marc Emery vowing to lobby against the Harper government this August once he's released from an American jail. There goes the pothead vote.

More recently the Department of Veteran Affairs has managed to thoroughly p..s off the military community - no mean feat. At present there are approximately 70,000 active personnel in the Canadian Forces. Then add in the veterans and all their families plus lest you not forget the scientists. How do you figure they'll vote? Sure wouldn't want to  be a Tory MP/candidate running in a riding having a military base.

Finally, you can add Conrad Black to the list. Wait until he begins his ranting, raving and railing against the Tories in his stilted English.

Clare L. Pieuk
Black also loses Privy Council spot

Decision to revoke ex-media mogul's Order of Canada made by Governor General upon advice of prominent advisers

Marco Chown Oved
Staff Reporter
Saturday, February 1, 2014

Conrad Black, seen at a 2012 Empire Club luncheon, has had his appointment to the Order of Canada revoked.

Disgraced media mogul and convicted felon Conrad Black has been stripped of his Order of Canada.

Rideau Hall, in a statement issued Friday evening, announced that Governor Generak David Johnston made the final decision.

“(Johnston) has accepted the recommendation of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada to terminate Mr. Conrad Black’s appointment as an Officer of the Order of Canada,” the statement said.

Black has also been removed from the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, the statement said. Both decisions take effect immediately.

Black, a member of the order since 1990, had previously made it clear that he would rather resign than let officials take it away.

“I would not wait for giving these junior officials the evidently almost aphrodisiacal pleasure of throwing me out. I would withdraw,” he said in 2012.

Now he has missed his chance.

Black will no longer be permitted to attach the initials O.C. and P.C. to his name and must return his insignia of the order. He could not be reached for comment Friday evening.

Toronto lawyer Steven Skurka, who wrote a book about Black’s criminal trial in the United States, said Black should have seen the revocation coming.

“The decision couldn’t have been a surprise to Conrad Black,” said Skurka. “The committee had to consider that Black exhausted every avenue of appeal in the U.S. and was left with the two felony convictions intact.

Black may argue, with some merit, that the decision was unfair but it was also inevitable.”

Johnston’s decision puts an end Black’s lengthy legal battle to keep his honorific.

Last year the Federal Court of Appeal rejected his request to appear in person before the Advisory Council, which was formed to re-evaluate appointees to Order of Canada after they are convicted on criminal charges.

The 11-member Council includes Beverley McLachlin, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, and Wayne Wouters, the Clerk of the Privy Council, Canada’s top public servant.

Black had mounted a vigorous written defence, which included a copy of his 598-page book, A Matter of Principle, to argue that his U.S. conviction was a miscarriage of justice.

In his submission, Black wrote that not only has no other appointee been terminated on the basis of a conviction in a foreign court but neither has any endured “a legal saga remotely comparable” to his.

In 2007, Black was convicted of fraud in a U.S. court for siphoning $6 million out of the Hollinger International newspaper empire under the pretense it was a “noncompete payment” from buyers of the company’s assets.

He was also convicted of obstructing justice after he was caught by security cameras spiriting boxes of documents out of Hollinger’s Toronto offices.

Black scored a partial victory in June 2010, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to struck down Black’s three mail fraud convictions, saying the law used to convict him was too broad.

He served 37 months of a 42-month sentence in a Florida prison and returned to Canada in 2012 under a special temporary permit. He is no longer a Canadian citizen, having renounced his citizenship in 2001 so that he could become a peer in the British House of Lords.

Lord Black of Crossharbour, as he is known in the U.K., retains his British peerage.

Before his legal troubles, Black controlled Hollinger International and owned a number of major newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph in the U.K., the Chicago Sun-Times, the Jerusalem Post and the National Post.

The Order of Canada, regarded as the country’s top honour, is meant to recognize “a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.”

Recent inductees include author Douglas Coupland, fashion maven Jeanne Beker and Director Sarah Polley.

In the original citation conferring the Order of Canada in 1990, Black was described as “a distinguished Toronto entrepreneur and publisher, ... a man of diverse achievements within the realms of Canadian commerce, education, literature and the arts.”

Black is now the sixth person to be kicked out of the prestigious order.

Alan Eagleson, the Former Executive Director of the National Hockey League Player’s Association, became the first person to have his Order of Canada rescinded in 1998. Eagleson pleaded guilty to fraud and embezzlement of proceeds from three Canada Cup tournaments.

Film and theatre mogul Garth Drabinsky was most recently stripped of his order in 2012 after being found guilty of fraud. His quest to block the removal came to an end this year.

Others who’ve had the honour revoked include David Ahenakew, a Métis leader who once called Jews “a disease,” and Steve Fonyo, a one-legged cancer survivor who did a charity run across Canada and was later found guilty of a number of criminal charges, including drunk driving and assault.

Black still faces a battle with Canada Revenue Agency over millions of dollars in back taxes. His lawyers dispute the sum owed.


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