Conrad the occasional Canadian

Brian Jones
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These are great days to be a Canadian.

Never mind that the United Nations no longer says Canada is No. 1 in the world, or that our primary claim to star status lies in our supremacy in shinny. Canadian residency — if not citizenship — is still as desirable as seats between the blue lines.

English lords and the world famous want to live here. Their desires spawn headlines, and remind us just how special we are, sort of.

See The Canadian Press's timeline of Black's life.

Black humour

Former newspaper baron Conrad Black — or, as he is sometimes called, Lord Black, or, more recently, convict No. 18330-424 of the Federal Correctional Complex in Coleman, Fla. — wants to return to Toronto. Not to visit. To live. Is Canada great, or what?

The sun, sand and palm trees of Florida must be swell, but if all the rooms at your resort have bars on the windows, well, it’s inevitable that you’d pine for peaceful T.O., even with the snow.

Loutish lord

Prior to taking up residence in Uncle Sam’s slammer, Connie was of an opposite bent, i.e., he couldn’t get out of Toronto fast enough. More specifically, he couldn’t get out of Canada fast enough.

In fact, he was so eager to leave Canada that he jumped right out of his citizenship in 2001 and left it in a heap on the floor along with his pinstripes.

He landed in London a lord. Lord Black of Conharbour, to be exact. Correct that: Lord Black of Crossharbour.

But to gain that magnificent title, he had to first renounce the country of his birth, and negate and give up his Canadian citizenship. Renounce and negate and give it up he did, and all for a fancy robe and a hard chair in the House of Lords.

Connie left the colony behind and was climbing the social ladder in Ye Olde Country when troublesome news got out about his having defrauded shareholders of several millions. To add to the embarrassment, the fraud was in mere dollars, not pounds sterling. It was akin to a nobleman being caught stealing a pig.

Connie went from Parliament to prison, loudly protesting his innocence until the final clang of the metal door behind him.

Insult to citizenry

The guy’s gall is as boundless as his excuses.

Leading up to his release this week, his Lordship deigned to declare his wish to return to the colony of his youth.

Worth a laugh

In former times, when Canadians still displayed a sense of humour, loud laughter would have reverberated from St. John’s to Victoria, B.C.

Well, maybe not Victoria.

There are a lot of granola-chewing environauts there, and they don’t see anything funny about anything.

But the rest of us should have had a good, long laugh when we heard Connie say he wanted to come “home.”

“And where might that be, your Fraudship?” any good Canadian might have declared, mockingly waving their passport in front of Connie’s image on the TV.

What a bunch of wimps Canadians are.

Canadian citizenship is apparently meaningless. You can renounce it, thereby insulting and slurring an entire country, but you can later be welcomed back if you promise to be nice.

Money talks

Of course, it helps if you happen to be a multi-multimillionaire.

But the speed with which the Canadian government approved Connie’s return, and the ease with which he will undoubtedly slide back into normal life in Toronto, should make everyone ponder whether Canadian citizenship means anything other than the ability to make a good living and watch a lot of hockey.

Not that there’s anything wrong with those two things, but a country should mean something more.


Brian Jones is a Canadian desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached by email at

Organizations: United Nations, House of Lords.Connie, The Telegram

Geographic location: Canada, Toronto, Coleman, Fla. Florida Victoria London

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Recent comments

  • B. Carson
    May 05, 2012 - 22:27

    Once again the Harper reformist regime has literally made a global laughing stock out of Canada, turning it in in to a banana republic, with one law for the elitist political class and other for the actual citizens. Now, we see the voter suppression criminal atrocity traced to a tory campaign office...Its beyond words what is happening here. Beyond precedent in this part of the world..This is now a very very serious situation of historic proportions.

  • Mary
    May 05, 2012 - 08:33

    Brian Jones, you are sooo funny! Move over Rex Murphy.

  • Doug Smith
    May 05, 2012 - 08:02

    Excellent column Mr. Jones. Doug Smith,GFW

  • Brian Healy
    May 05, 2012 - 03:35

    He gave up his Canadian citizenship after PM JEAn forced him. If he did the same thing in Canada there would be no Canada it would not have broken any laws. If he was not an English lord but rather an American tycoon ,he 'd get a slap on the wrist and a fine. Welcome home Conrad.

    • GGR
      May 05, 2012 - 08:55

      Trying to revise history doesn't change reality. Mr. Black chose to give up his citizenship in order to receive the Lordship he coveted. Black was not forced to do anything. Black is not worthy of a 'welcome back'.

  • jack
    May 05, 2012 - 01:29

    This criminal spit in the face of Canada, on our culture, at our heritage and on the proud law abiding Citizens of this Country so he could feed his pompous ego and become a Lord. He should be barred from entering Canada regardless if he is a danger to society or a risk to reoffend because of the simple fact that he renounced his Citizenship. Sometimes people have to live with the consequences of their actions and this is one of them. He can go to Jolly 'ol England, after all he is one of their Lords if they haven't rightly taken that away yet.

  • Billy Maguire
    May 04, 2012 - 16:30

    What's shinny?

    • Nylette
      May 05, 2012 - 08:36

      I believe shinny is another word for hockey.

  • Nylette
    May 04, 2012 - 06:32

    Excellent read Brian.

    • Bob
      May 04, 2012 - 07:46

      Rex Murphy was good on The National last nite. After throwing a bunch of darts as only Rex can do, he threw His Fraudship more than a few plaudits. But this article even tops Rex. Nice goin' Brian.