Let's forgive Conrad Black for giving up on Canada
Published Tuesday, June 5, 2012 9:04AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, June 5, 2012 10:42AM EDT
I was born in the States, but renounced my citizenship to become a Canadian when I turned 21.
When I told that to a former U.S. ambassador, he suggested I should rectify my mistake by getting a U.S. passport in about a month.
Not to be outdone, a U.S. border guard took my daughter aside to insist that, having a father who was a natural-born Yank, she could and should secure speedy citizenship in his great nation.
Americans apparently regard any revocation of citizenship as an act of mental instability by those who must be forgiven for they know not what they've done.
Given the backlash against former media magnate Conrad Black's return this afternoon, Canadians obviously see it differently.
Once our citizenship is rejected, the humbled foreigner must crawl over glass to reclaim it.
Let's be honest here. The fuss over Conrad Black's return is about his fraud sentence. His crime was to surrender his Canadian citizenship to join the ultimate snob club as a British Lord.
That's an affront to our patriotic pride, perhaps. But it's no excuse to deny Black temporary or even permanent permission to live in the land of his birth.
For all his sketchy business conduct, he invested heavily in Canadian newspapers which are around today and doing rather well as a result.
And he is a changed man. His views on the merits of incarceration have undergone a stark reversal from his old hard-right beliefs.
His behaviour in prison was, by all accounts, obediently exemplary.
And he has clearly realized the inherent value of being a wealthy Canadian trumps the elitism of being a British Lord.
Perhaps, then, Canada should be more like the United States in dealing with wayward citizens.
Let's forgive him for giving up on Canada. He knew not what he'd done. Now that he's back on his home in his native land, may Lord Black grasp that he really does live in the best country on Earth.
And that's the Last Word.