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.