Order of Canada’s Black Eye

The Order of Canada has a major problem: the integrity of the “honour” program is being sullied by the continued membership of a convicted criminal … and a non-citizen to boot.

Conrad Black, in my view, has no right to even be living in Canada, let alone continue to hold membership in the institution set up to honour those who have made exceptional contributions to Canadian society.

Does abandoning someone’s Canadian citizenship … legally severing their citizenship in this country … look to you as an act worthy of that person retaining such honour?

And how about if … after ridding oneself of  Canadian citizenship and taking up life and residence in another country … that individual ends up arrested, charged, convicted of both FRAUD and OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE in yet a third country, gets sentenced to prison for 42 months (reduced on appeal from the original sentence of six-and-a-half-years) ?   Still worthy of holding on to an Order of Canada?

Not in my view.

Yet, there was Black, sitting there sporting his Order of Canada lapel pin during a recent extended interview with the CBC’s Peter Mansbridge. 

And anyone who saw that certainly heard no “mea culpas” for his crimes. In fact, he has since started new legal proceedings aimed at vacating his convictions.

And I have not heard any apology to Canada: the country whose citizenship he abandoned, but where he somehow believes he still has the right to reside.  To how many other convicted foreign criminals  does Canada extend that right?

My impression from the CBC interview was that Black seemed even more arrogant, even more undeserving of the Order of Canada than I had ever felt about him before.

Here’s how the Order is described on its offiical website:

“Established in 1967 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Order of Canada is the centrepiece of Canada’s honours system and recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. The Order recognizes people in all sectors of Canadian society. Their contributions are varied, yet they have all enriched the lives of others and made a difference to this country. The Order of Canada’s motto is DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM (They desire a better country).”


Well, apparently Black DID desire a better country: Great Britain!  Where he could strut about in the pompous scarlet, gold and ermine robes of the UK House of Lords as Baron Black of Crossharbour. No doubt, far more impressive than sporting a Maple Leafs jacket at a Timmy’s!

And where was dedication to the community in Black’s case?  Seems to me his was a life  largely of SELF: self enrichment, self indulgence, self promotion and self agrandizement. 

Service to the nation? I’d say more of a service to the Conservative Party!

Black’s status as a member of the Order is apparently currently under review. Other former honourees whose names have been removed from the Order of Canada are Alan Eagleson, David Ahenakew, T. Sher Singh and Steve Fonyo.

If Black is allowed to retain his membership, I believe it will make a mockery of the award, turning it more into an “Odour” of Canada.

His Order of Canada should be stripped; and Lord Black should be sent packing … back “home” to Britain.

Harv Oberfeld

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12 Responses to Order of Canada’s Black Eye

  1. e.a.f. says:

    I totally agree. If Steve Fonyo had his taken away, Black certainly should have his taken away. Fonyo’s problems come for what is really a medical issue, Black’s is just his greed & his sense of entitlement.

    Black didn’t want his Canadian citizenship then so why now? He can go live in England & if he wants & can get into Canada as a tourist, well fine.

    I didn’t think there was any need for the Black interview on C.B.C. It just gave him somewhere to air his views which aren’t shared by most taxpayers in Canada.

  2. Canadian Canary says:

    Conrad Black continues to avoid the very real, and demonstrated, fact that he was caught, red-handed, on camera, disobeying a court order not to remove files from his office. Anyone who cared to, saw it with their own eyes.

    Mr. Black can wail all he wants, and his pals at the CBC and Globe and Mail and the National Post can fawn over him all they want.

    The man lied to a court in not admitting he had disobeyed a court order, and he helped himself to evidence in a court case. For that alone, he should be shunned as a liar and deceitful man. I don’t care how many books he writes.

    Shame on Mansbridge, the CBC and the Globe and Mail for continuing to give this man the time of day, and for trying to foist him onto Canadians as if he were a wronged, tragic hero.

    Conrad Black is a crook who did his time.

    Now he should shut up, and go home (to Britain). What? Too ashamed to do that Mr. Black?

    (Response: I don’t see anything wrong with interviewing him: he is a very well known fraudster, convicted in a very prominent case…and certaily in the news, having just returned to Canada. Good for ratings! I had more of a problem with the National Post continuing to publish his articles while he was in prison: that spoke to me of their low standards …and I canceled my subscription. The federal government should have blocked his repatriation … non-Canadians have no special rights here unless they are refugees …. and the Order should have already decided to lift his lapel pin, if not based on his criminal record, at least on his dropping of his citizenship. h.o)

  3. diverdarren says:

    Come on Harvey tell us what you really think of Black.

    Sort of skipping a part of the story.

    As I recall Black was blocked from accepting his peership by The Rt. Hon Jean Chretien PC OM CC QC. This left Black with having to relinquish his citizenship to accept his title.

    Hmm…. Chretien was more interested in screwing Black over an old feuds than just accepting that an adversary actually was being rewarded for a lifetimes worth of contribution.

    I really couldn’t give a damn about little medals rich people give each other, but I think the Black v.Chretien battle is part of the story.

    (Response: Again, only PARTLY right. Chretien pointed to the 1920s Nickle Resolution, passed by the Commons but not by the Senate, however under which Canadians have ever since “in principle” been prohibited from holding foreign titles. Although Chretien was PM at the time, the principle had already been effect in Canada for 75 years! That’s why Black took his leave … and burnt his bridge to Canada in a very loud snit as far as I’m concerned. He has no right to be living here … unless he wants to apply for admission, like any other foreigner with a criminal record, and if allowed in, eventually apply for Canadian citizenship. I don’t know of any other foreigners convicted of fraud who have successfully done that: perhaps you can enlighten us. h.o)

  4. Mo says:

    “Conrad Black, in my view, has no right to even be living in Canada”

    Black is a thieving scoundrel.

  5. Keith E. says:

    Hi Harvey,

    The other side of this coin is whether C. Black will keep his British title. Sir Fred Goodwin – head honcho at the Royal Bank of Scotland when it took a dive is may have his title stripped


    for the dodgy monetary practices his bank employed. Not sure if this would extend to conrad due to services rendered to the previous conservative party in Britain but it will be interesting to follow this story to see if what’s good for the goose etc.

    It was also notable that conrad “chose” to come to Canada and not Britain on his return from the well appointed slammer. and yes he should lose his Order of Canada.

    I found the interview of P. Mansbridge to be a bit of a fluff piece, followed by an equally sickly commentary by Rex Murphy, who is usually right on the money.

    (Response: Very interesting info re Sir Fred Goodwin. Thanks. As for Mansbridge, if he was more aggressive in his style, i doubt he would have gotten that interview. But I thought much of his questionning was to the point … and not a bad job at all. Especially keeping in mind this was one Order of Canada member interviewing another. p.s. when do I get mine? LOL! h.o)

  6. RS says:

    A man of character — questionable character — or just a character?

    Expelled from Upper Canada College for stealing and then selling exams.

    Expelled from Trinity College for insubordinate behaviour.

    And wasn’t there something about screwing over a couple of rich old spinsters for a considerable amount of money.

    And then of course the fraud and obstruction of justice.

    And he still has an Order of Canada??????????

  7. D. M. Johnston says:

    The Order of Canada and the Oder of BC is nothing more than a trinket for the 1% and a few given out to the great unwashed to prevent any nay saying. As Mr. Fonyo was stripped of his OoC, so should Conrad Black.

    Personally, I believe if an award is given, it should be on a permanent basis and cannot be stripped or rescinded.

    As it stands the OoC and the OoBC should be renamed the Odor of Canada and the Odor of BC.

    (Response: I have nothing against either award per se: nothing wrong with our society recognizing with public recognition little pin people who have contributed to their community a lot more than just paying their fair share of taxes etc. I even have to admit I’d be very proud to get the Order of BC after all the years I spent working to get “the truth” out to British Columbians for more than three decades, all the inroads I made for us in Ottawa (when I arrived, BC reporters often couldn’t even ask questions at major PM press conderences etc , because we considered by the Press Gallery as just part of the CTV network ..where Ontario reporters ruled supreme …I changed that BIG time and gave BC a HUGE high profile presence in Ottawa never since duplicated !) and won lots of journalism awards …regional and national..working back here in BC … BUT I would never get it, even if ever nominated, because I’ve exposed too many warts in every political party AND the media as well …in Keeping it Real. Nevertheless I see nothing wrong with honouring those who are named … as long as they have contributed substantially to the province/country (not sure Black, apart from making millions for himself, even really did that!) and do not dishonour the country or commit crimes while holding it. h.o)

  8. Hans Goldberg says:

    Harvey, you get the OoC when you rob a bank in the US, renounce your citizenship, than with the money buy a title in some foreign country. After that you must be convicted in the US and serve time in jail. Then Mr. Harper will roll the red carpet out for you. It would also help if you change to neo-con rantings and support the cause.

  9. Colin Nielsen says:

    I have written an email to the GG at [email protected] suggesting Black have his OoC recinded. Suggest others do the same and, who knows, may happen. Certainly won’t if people just sit back and say nothing.

    (Response: Good idea. At least they should know how Canadians feel. Although I worry the fact that Black has been a vocal supporter of the Harper Conservatives, who appointed the current GG, may colour any decision. h.o)

  10. crh says:

    I don’t even know why we have to debate whether this dirtbag is a criminal or not. Why is white collar crime different from other criminals? Willie Pickton, Conrad Black or Paul Bernardo, who cares. The fact is that the lack of morality runs persuasive in this monied class and we need to recognize it. This is all part of the class war. Open your eyes Canada.

    (Response: Interesting point. I have always wondered why white collar fraudsters, scammers and thieves are viewed as not really bad. Actually if you look at the damage they do (like Thow in Victoria or Madoff or the banks etc in the US …sometimes their crimes affect thousands who lose their homes/life savings …certainly in my view just as bad a crime as some druggie who robs a bank or grocery store. Maybe the druggie criminals and robbers should start making political donations! h.o)

  11. RS says:

    I just sent a link for this story to His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnson.

    Hope you don’t mind H.O.

    (Response: No problem, at all …unless I now get audited by Canada Revenue Agency. 🙂 h.o.

  12. islander says:

    Thanks for your essay on Mr. Black this morning – it is ‘bang on’.

    It’s hard to say if Mr. Black is sociopathic or delusional or both. He actually seems to believe that he has ever done anything wrong. But above all, he simply does not ‘get’ the degree to which he has insulted the rest of his ‘former’ fellow Canadians.

    We all love to bitch about our country and leaders. But after family, health, etc, the thing that we are most blessed with, is our citizenship in this amazing country. And that insufferable arrogant SOB Black, threw it away for a title so silly, it is hard to keep a straight face when one hears it.

    He even managed to wangle a commission as honorary Colonel in the Governor General’s Foot Guards, and was on hand for an inspection of the troops with the Queen. There is a photo of him, dressed in a uniform that would put a banana republic dictator to shame.

    It must infuriate the ‘real’ troops when they see this throwback to the old British class system of the wealthy ‘buying’ their commissions.

    I absolutely agree that he must not have his citizenship renewed, and that he must forfeit the Order of Canada.

    Thanks for letting me vent.

    (Response: I actually wondered, listening to him with Mansbridge, if he is indeed a sociopath … unable to see anything wrong in any of his criminal actions or why he shouldn’t be allowed to just move back to Canada as a foreigner, after loudly and publicly breaking his ties with us (even derided the country as “vanilla”). But I’m no psychiatrist …so I just put it all down to incredible arrogance and apparent inability to see himself for how repugnant he actually is, despite his wealth and command of vocabulary. Big deal, when it really comes down to what counts …. character. h.o)

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