Conrad Black- A Question of Special Treatment?


Disgraced media mogul Conrad Black has been granted a one-year temporary resident permit (TRP) by Canadian immigration authorities; however the opposition is less than impressed.

Infuriated NDP leader Thomas Mulcair accused the Conservatives of imposing a double standard that rewards the party’s wealthy and powerful supporters with special treatment while marginalizing everybody else.  Harper, meanwhile, guaranteed immediately after Lord Black’s conviction that there would be no political interference in the deliberation of his eventual re-establishment in Canada.

To put the case into perspective, in 2007 Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of Nelson Mandela, was denied a temporary resident permit that would have allowed her to attend a Toronto gala for an opera commemorating her achievements. Meanwhile Black, a foreign national imprisoned for an alleged multimillion dollar fraud scheme, was granted a TRP without much difficulty.

Thus it comes to no surprise as to why NDP Member of Parliament Olivia Chow publically condemned Immigration Minister Jason Kenney on twitter, calling attention to the lack of published criteria for temporary resident permits into Canada. 

This sparked an immediate retort from Kenney. He defended the decision of Canadian Immigration officials, stating that a “very large number” of TRPs allow foreign nationals to enter Canada, for a limited period, provided that they meet certain conditions.  So long as they had committed a non-violent offense, applicants are granted TRPs if officials decide that they do not pose a high risk of reoffending and do not pose a threat to the rest of the public.

Although the NDP has berated the Tories’ “definition of justice” for granting Black a TRP, the question of his citizenship remains an additional, more sensitive and problematic issue.

 Black renounced his Canadian citizenship after a legal battle with former Prime Minister Jean Chretien to formally accept a seat in Britain’s House of Lords The tycoon’s regret regarding this decision is chronicled in his memoir, A Matter of Principle, stating that “I have made a mistake in renouncing my Canadian citizenship, which I have never ceased to promise to try to regain”.

 As a foreign national, Black’s offense makes him criminally inadmissible into Canada. While his temporary resident permits him to remain in the country for twelve months, it is an impermanent provision. Lord Black must first become a permanent resident in Canada and have lived within its borders for at least one year before his citizenship is eligible for restitution. Black will find that his offense will impose a tremendous obstacle, it makes him criminally inadmissible into Canada as, he would be required to complete a criminal rehabilitation process that may only begin five years after the completion of his sentence. All of this must be done before he will even be considered eligible for permanent residency.

If you have a legitimate reason to enter Canada and find that your record makes you criminally inadmissible into the country, do not hesitate to let FWCanada assist you. For updates on immigration news as it unfolds, follow us on twitter or join our community conversation on Facebook.

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