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Jean Chrétien on Conrad Black: “Justice is justice”

Demonstrating his trademark canny candour, Jean Chrétien gave a speech at U of T yesterday and shed one (and only one) crocodile tear over his former frenemy, Conrad Black. “It’s sad, but justice is justice,” said the former prime minister. “It’s done and it’s an American problem—it’s very sad.”

That bit about it being an “American problem” puts Chrétien where he’s always done best: on both sides of an issue. For liberal (and Liberal) minded Canadians, per the Globe’s editorial on Tuesday, it’s never a bad thing to pillory the Yanks from a distance for their continuing frenzy of incarceration. The numbers speak for themselves. One out of every 99 Americans is under lock and key, a per-capita ratio that’s several times that of the U.S.’s nearest rival, China.

So convict Conrad Black, while deserving of punishment—justice, after all, is justice—is at the end of the day a “sad” “problem” for the Americans. Funny, that.

• Ex-PM Chretien says he feels sorry for his old foe Conrad Black [CP]

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