Conrad Black didn’t want his Order of Canada membership, anyway

Conrad Black didn’t want his Order of Canada membership, anyway

(Image: Charles LeBlanc)

Conrad Black was stripped of his Order of Canada membership late last week, but he doesn’t care, because he technically resigned before they could kick him out. Take that, Canada.

In a remarkable op-ed in today’s Post (meaning, remarkable by normal standards but totally expected from Black), the Lord spends 1,800 words trying to explain why this latest disgrace doesn’t actually matter. The argument hinges on the supposed inadequacies of the U.S. court system that convicted Black of fraud and obstruction of justice. He makes the American judges who handled his case out to be maybe slightly less corrupt than the officiants at a Soviet show trial.

“Whether I continued to hold these distinctions was not significant,” he writes, “but the process of Canada demeaning itself by robotic conformity to injustices inflicted in the United States (or any foreign country) on the holders of Canadian honours without any real review, is a matter of some general interest.” Black is essentially writing about a personal slight as though it were a human-rights violation.

The strangest maneuver in the whole piece comes midway through, when Black reprints an entire letter he wrote to David Johnston, Canada’s governor general. In the letter, sent in December, Black resigns from the Order—but he does it in a way that seems to leave the door open to his retaining his membership, if possible. (“If my surmise of the process is correct and you receive a recommendation that my continuation as an Officer of the Order of Canada is not appropriate, and you accept that recommendation, I would be grateful if you would take this letter as my retirement as an Officer of the Order of Canada.”)

Black tries to settle the question for readers. “I in fact resigned,” he writes, “but gave David Johnston the opportunity to do the right thing.” It’s a nice bit of face-saving, straight from the master.