Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Che Black

When I saw the headline in the newspaper I swear to God I heard angels sing. “Conrad Black wants Canadian Citizenship back”. Cue the trumpets – it just doesn’t get much better than this.

Seeing that headline made me so excited I couldn’t even read the bloody thing. I picked up the paper and brought it home like it was a box of chocolates. I didn’t even glance at the first sentence until everything was perfect. The coffee was brewed, my feet were up the pillow behind my neck was just so. This was a moment to be savoured.

And it was a great moment. As I read that story I don’t think I ever felt more Canadian, because I knew that for the first time in perhaps our nation’s entire history, everyone in Canada was on the same page. Every man woman and child in this nation was united and together. We were gloating as one.

And what a story – Conrad Black, a man who once had more than any of us could ever imagine, gladly gives up the one thing we all share and hold dear, a Canadian citizenship. And why? So he could go to England and become Lord Black of Cross dresser. And now after telling the entire country to shove it he wants back in.

I have to admit, the idea of Conrad Black down at some god awful immigration office stuck in the back of a line behind some poor Somali dude with a bullet in his leg fills my heart with joy.

The Schadenfreude is on bust here. Conrad is basically at the front door of Canada saying to every one of us “I’m sorry baby, I didn’t mean it; let me back in the house.”

And personally, like most Canadians, part of me wants to barricade the door, run up the stairs and start pouring hot bubbly oil out of the top window all over his little Lord costume – the red one with the big white fur neck.

But unfortunately that’s not the Canadian way. I hate to admit it but I think we have to take the high road. We shouldn’t humiliate the guy any more no matter how much we want to. Bottom line is it’s fun to “kick up,” but it is unseemly to kick a guy when he’s down. Granted Conrad Black’s version of being down is slightly different than for the rest of us. His assets are frozen and he must somehow get by on a measly $45,000 dollars a month. There are rumours he might sell the Bentley.

And besides, seeing Conrad fighting for his life in the American courts makes me root for the guy. As it stands now he insists he will fight to the death in court and that there will be no plea bargain. He has even described himself, without a hint of irony, as a “freedom fighter.” Now it’s too soon to be said whether future generations of university students and skateboarders will take down the pictures of Che Guevara and replace them with woodcut prints of Lord Black but stranger things have happened.

Now just to be clear I’m not suggesting Conrad get special treatment – I’m suggesting he get treated like a Canadian.

Because regardless of what was said, or what papers were signed in the heat of the moment, that’s exactly what he is. Conrad Black was born in Canada, he grew up here and he built his business here. In fact Conrad became the giant poncy tool that he is today in Canada. Yes he denied us, yes we all heard the cock crow, but that had more to do with his getting into a peeing match with Jean Chrétien than anything else. That was then this is now. I suggest we have to do the right thing, the Canadian thing and give him the citizenship back – and then, being Canadian, we never ever let him forget it. We lord it over the lord forever. Amen