Don't be blue over Black's return home 0
Maybe it's the weather.
Housebound Canadians are so hard up for something to do while waiting for spring they seem willing to jump on the slightest controversy.
And in this country controversy is spelled, "Conrad Black."
News that Black was able to return to Canada, at least as a temporary resident, has been like poking a stick into the proverbial hornets' nest.
From the reaction of some of the sandbox set on Parliament Hill, you'd think the government had found a way to resurrect Osama bin Laden and make him minister of human rights.
The antics in Parliament are the stuff of playground legend at the best of times. The Black issue has put members of both the NDP and Liberal parties at significant risk of literally blowing a gasket as they try to out screech each other over Black's return to his home and native land.
We need to look at some facts.
On the subject of Black renouncing his Canadian citizenship in favour of a British peerage, here's what happened.
"Shortly before Black was to be appointed to the House of Lords, he learned that then prime minister Jean Chretien had invoked a precedent called the Nickle Resolution. It is a request from the Canadian government from 1919 that King George not confer titles on Canadian citizens.
"Black challenged the prime minister's decision in court," obviously without success.
That explanation, from the Black-bashing folks at the CBC, makes it clear that there was more to Black's actions than just standing up and renouncing his citizenship on a whim.
Admittedly, Black is a convicted felon, but he has served his time and done so in a generous fashion.
During his days behind bars in the U.S. he has helped several inmates obtain their high school diplomas and even had a warden attend his American history classes.
Meanwhile, back in Ottawa, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair accused the Conservatives of racism by accepting Black while denying entry to Gary Freeman, who shot an American police officer in 1969, fled to Canada and lived in Toronto for three decades before being caught.
"It's a clear case of a double-standard - one for an American black man from Chicago, another for a British white man coming out of federal penitentiary," Mulcair said.
Black's crimes were not crimes of violence. He did not prey on children, slash throats or attack police officers.
Often his weapons were words - which he used exceedingly well, if not always judiciously. He was convicted on two counts of fraud and one of obstruction of justice.
The NDP leader was banking on the fact that Canadians love to hate Black, who brings most of that animosity on himself because of his arrogance. However, if everyone with that characteristic were denied citizenship, the country would lose half its population.
Black also is an intelligent author, gifted teacher and successful businessman in a country that is sorely in need of folks with those qualities.
Critics of Black for the way he managed his Hollinger newspaper empire need to temper their views by looking at where and how quickly his successors flushed it.
Black was feared in many a newsroom because of his cost-cutting ways. But wasn't he just ahead of his time?
Many newspapers have experienced far deeper cuts in face of economic pressures since the Black era.
Conrad Black is no enemy of Canada. We should be glad he's coming back.