Conrad Black loses Order of Canada
Published Friday, January 31, 2014 6:08PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, February 1, 2014 9:28AM EST
Newspaper magnate turned talk show host Conrad Black has been stripped of his Order of Canada.
A statement issued late Friday by Rideau Hall said Gov.-Gen. David Johnston has accepted a recommendation by the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada to “terminate Mr. Conrad Black’s appointment as an Officer of the Order of Canada.”
Black has also been removed from The Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.
The decisions are “effective immediately,” the statement read.
Black was awarded the Order of Canada in 1990.
Late last year, the Federal Court of Appeal upheld a lower court ruling and turned down Black’s request to address the advisory council in person.
Black’s lawyer, Peter Howard, had argued at the time that Black should be allowed to address the council beyond a written statement, as the rules dictate, because the panel was being asked to perform a “personal assessment… (that) could not be made without hearing him.”
Howard decried the advisory council process as flawed because it presupposed that a conviction in a foreign country to be “dishonourable conduct.”
The appeals court ruled that “any reputation damage from (Black) flows from his convictions.”
Black was convicted of fraud and obstruction of justice in the United States in 2007, and served 37 of a 42-month sentence in a Florida jail. He has long decried what he has called an unfair prosecution against him, pointing out that two of his three fraud convictions were later tossed out.
Black returned to Canada in May 2012 under a special permit after having renounced his Canadian citizenship to accept a peerage in the British House of Lords in 2001.
His return to Canada has not been without controversy. Last year he took on the role of talk-show host for Zoomer TV, for which he conducted a now-infamous interview with embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. Black was heavily criticized for lobbing softball questions at Ford, and failing to challenge him on some of his answers.
A Toronto Star reporter served libel notices against Ford and ZoomerMedia as a result of comments Ford made to Black during the interview. The legal action was stopped when Ford and ZoomerMedia apologized.
Black also filed a notice of appeal earlier this month of a federal Tax Court judgment that says he owes Canadian taxes for 2002. Black is disputing the court’s finding that he was a resident of Canada that year.
Black also wants the Federal Court of Appeal to look at a Canada Revenue Agency claim that he owes back taxes on as much as $5.1 million in income and benefits.
With files from The Canadian Press