A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper
Imagine if you or I or most of us, for that matter, showed up at the Canadian border with a criminal record to a point where we had spent time in prison, had no Canadian citizenship and expected to drive right through with the intention of residing and possibly doing business in Canada.
How far do you think we would get? Probably not much farther than the first gate Customs and Immigration officers would open to turn us around and send us back to where we came from.
Well not if you are ‘Lord’ Conrad Black and the Stephen Harper Conservative government in power – as much as it pretends to be tough on crime, allows the former media baron in with a “temporary resident pass” from Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration department.
Never mind that Black, who renounced his Canadian citizenship 11 years ago so he could assume the title of Baron Black of Crossharbour in the British House of Lords, and has since served more than three years in a federal prison in Florida for obstruction of justice and defrauding shareholders of his former Hollinger newspaper empire. If ‘His Lordship’ wants back in Canada, the Harper regime automatically lets him in.
You and I can be sitting at a customs booth at the Peace Bridge or Rainbow Bridge for a half hour or more, waiting our turn to report how much we spent on groceries or a few articles of clothing in Buffalo or Niagara Falls, New York. We might be asked to quote our licence plate number (just so they can determine whether or not we stole our car, I guess), and sometimes the odd officer even asks us why we could not have seen whatever movie we went over to view on our side of the border.
Yet Black, with a criminal record and no Canadian citizenhip, will be allowed to cross the border into Canada just like that. And this is a guy who once ridiculed this country as some kind of backwater compared to how much better he argued things were in the United States. That’s until the U.S. sought to procecute him for white collar crimes, that is.
Perhaps someone should ask Canada’s justice minister, Rob Nicholson from Niagara Falls, why he is so intent on throwing some poor desperate, misguided kid caught with a bag of marijuana in jail and yet doesn’t seem to mind letting a white collar individual convicted of crimes in the United States and with no Canadian citizenship into our country. Perhaps, he should also be asked why this same individual was never prosecuted, as he was in the U.S., when so many of those in his former Hollinger company who were impacted by his conducted are Canadians?
In the meantime, Mr. Justice Minister, don’t tell us there isn’t one set of rules for the rich and privileged, and another for the rest of us.
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