Bill Doskoch: Media, BPS*, Film, Minutiae

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Conrad Black is coming home?!?!

Lord Black of Crossharbour, a former Canadian citizen, is getting approved for temporary residency in Canada despite being a convicted criminal, the Globe and Mail is reporting.

From the Globe:

Ottawa is granting former media baron Conrad Black permission to reside in Canada despite the fact he gave up his citizenship more than a decade ago and has since served jail time in Florida for fraud and obstruction of justice.

The Department of Citizenship and Immigration has authorized a one-year temporary resident permit for Lord Black that is valid from early May, 2012, until early May, 2013, The Globe and Mail has learned.

Black, of course, is a lifelong conservative. His last great vanity project was the 1998 founding of the National Post, which has a distinctly conservative view of the world.

Black gave up his citizenship back in 2001 following a tiff with then Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien, who blocked his nemesis from accepting a seat in the British House of Lords. The National Post had been the lead news organization in reporting on what became known as Shawinigate.

More from the Globe:

It is not the first time he’s been issued such a temporary-resident permit (TRP) – but it’s the first since his 2007 criminal conviction.

In December, 2005 – when Liberal prime minister Paul Martin was in office – he was issued a one-year multiple-entry permit. Lord Black also was granted another such permit by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration in November, 2006, by which time the Harper government was in power.

The Globe said Black could apply for permanent-resident status after one year in Canada as part of a stepping-stone to regaining his Canadian citizenship.  Black is currently a citizen of Britain.

Political reaction was swift. From CTVNews.ca:

A report that disgraced media baron Conrad Black will be allowed to return to Canada upon his release from a U.S. prison prompted outrage in the House of Commons Tuesday from Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair. …

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told Mulcair that privacy rules prevented him from answering questions about Black’s reported return. He said decisions made by citizenship and immigration officials are “not politicized.”

Speaking to reporters outside the House of Commons, Kenney did say that he had been anticipating a request from Black to return to Canada.

“In this case, I thought there may be an application forthcoming so I instructed my officials last February to deal with any such application on their own without any input from myself or my office, to ensure that it was handled completely independently,” Kenney said.

He said that citizenship and immigration officials approve more than 10,000 temporary resident permits for foreign nationals every year.

He said it’s not uncommon to grant such permits to people with criminal records, if they were found guilty of non-violent crimes and if they’re considered to be at a low risk of re-offending.

Humanitarian concerns and ties to Canada are also apparently considered.  Black owns a home on the Bridle Path with his lovely wife, Barbara Amiel.

And if you’re also the namesake of an award for outstanding conservative journalism — hey, welcome back! :)

Tue, May 1 2012 » Main Page, Media