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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org