Blog by John Miller

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Let him wait



It's about time: Conrad Black finally got hung by his own overinflated rhetoric.

The man who rather unwisely protested his innocence by attacking "the putrification of the U.S. justice system" and by accusing the court of an "outright rape" of the law was, not surprisingly, ordered back to jail by Chicago Judge Amy St. Eve. She didn't seem to believe his last-minute assertion that he had been a model prisoner who was "absolutely submissive" to the court at all times.

As his old newspaper, the National Post, said, summing up the lessons of his legal ordeal, Rule Number 6 is that you "never publicly condemn a system of justice when you face the prospect of being resentenced by your trial judge."

The good judge St. Eve, who plays it straight by the book, ruled Black must serve another 13 months in prison for looting his company, abusing his position of trust, and using "sophisticated means" to conceal it. The sophisticated means were uncovered when Black was stupid enough to get caught, by a security camera that he installed himself, absconding with boxes of evidence.

In a windy address to the court, Black said "I never ask for mercy and seek no one's sympathy." Those words, too, may come back to haunt him if, as the Toronto Star reported, Black is attempting to gain readmittance to Canada. His lawyers apparently got the court's approval to begin the process of applying so that he doesn't have to wait for his release to begin the paperwork.(The Star actually said he was after a Canadian passport, but Black later clarified that he's seeking temporary resident status, which does not entail applying for Canadian citizenship. Apparently Black plans to live most of the time in Britain when he is a free man, but he has a posh home in Toronto that he plans to visit part of the year.)

This is the man, let us not forget, who noisily renounced his Canadian citizenship, denounced his former compatriots as cowards and philistines, and dismissed this country as "a Third World dump run by raving socialists." As a convicted criminal, Black is inadmissible unless Immigration Minister Jason Kenny gives him a helping hand.

Some commentators, including Rabble's David Climenhaga, think it's a slam dunk:"Getting back into Canada will probably a swift and effortless process for Lord Black -- what with his memberships in the Order of Canada and the Queen's Privy Council for Canada still intact and his many friends in the Harperite councils of our neo-con government," he writes.

Let's hope Climenhaga is wrong. Black is no admirer of Canada or the things most Canadians value. His way of doing business has no place here. His naked greed and vituperous tongue are dischordant with the way most Canadians behave and express themselves. And if he was so quick to turn his back on us when times were good, the Conservative government would be wise to make him wait, and let him try to earn back his return now that the law has finally caught up with what he did.

When Black next darkens Canada's door, it will be as an ex-con. Let's treat him as one.