When a person completes their debt to society, are they not just an ordinary citizen like anyone else? If so, why did NDP Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair stand up in Canada’s House of Commons and label Conrad Black a “British criminal?” And, why do commenters on mainstream media columns on this topic do the same thing?
First, there is the issue of Black being “British.” Well, we know why that happened and it was not Black’s preference. He was born in Canada, something no one can take away from him. Meaning, whether he is a British Lord or not, Black is a Canadian.
More strange, however, is that Mulcair, a citizen of both Canada and France, would make such a snide remark. Is Mulcair representing Canadian voters or French voters when he makes those kinds of statements?
Second, whatever reason Mulcair had for referring to Black as a criminal, the statement says far more about Mulcair than it does Black. It says he is a very angry man. Black? No. Mulcair? Yes.
Now, correct me if I am wrong, but don’t progressives believe that once someone has completed their full jail time, they deserve a second chance and should be accepted back into society?
Or, is such compassion only for the likes of media and NDP darling Omar Khadr. Remember, Khadr is convicted of terrorism and killing a U.S. medic while he (the soldier) was on duty for NATO in Afghanstan working alongside Canada’s military.
Yet, the same people who are referring to Black as a criminal are calling for Khadr’s immediate return and seamless re-assimilation into Canadian society. For example, his lawyer John Norris says in this CBC piece, that Khadr should be allowed to become a contributing member of Canadian society.
Now, do you suppose Mulcair and the mainstream media will refer to Khadr as a criminal?
Speaking of the mainstream media, in Black’s interview with the CBC’s Peter Mansbridge, Mansbridge shows him a video of Mulcair in the House of Commons referring to him as a British criminal who got favours from the Conservative government.
(Click on image for a portion of that interview.)
Black denies any political assistance or interference and encourages Mulcair to repeat his words outside the HOC, where the latter does not have parliamentary immunity. In other words, anyone who does so will be sued for defamation — and rightly so.
In my opinion, when Black made that statement, it was not only to put a stop to that type of negative labelling against him personally, but to advocate on behalf of all men and women who have, unlike Khadr, actually served their entire debt to society and simply want to move ahead in life.
Put another way: Isn’t there a way for most people (unlike Khadr) who have been incarcerated to rise above their circumstances? Or, must the label “criminal” always used to describe them?
Something to think about.
(1) I may not be a lawyer, but any fool can see that the obstruction of justice charge against Conrad Black was just pure nonsense. I mean Black was being evicted from his office and ordered to remove his personal files. Yet while following through on that court order, he is charged with obstruction of justice. I mean, he was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t. More on this matter in the second to last paragraph at this source.
(2) In all the years Jack Layton was the NDP Leader, I never wrote anything negative about him (e.g., here is my archive). I may have disagreed with his principles but I respected him as I did the NDP leader before him, Alexa McDonough. Thomas Mulcair, however, is something else again. For what that something else is, readers might want to check out what blogger Russ Campbell has to say, as well as the comments at this related thread at Blue Like You.
(3) Some links of interest: Macleans (referring to Black’s partner Barbara Amiel’s account of his release). Rex Murphy in the National Post on recklessly unCanadian Mulcair’s rant is (H/T JNW). Plus Yahoo, the Toronto Star and a Google search page about Black’s return to Canada.