I’m having a hard time trying to figure out how I feel about Conrad Black’s return to Canada. Should I forgive or forever denounce what he did? Not that it matters to him, but Conrad has been a part of my life since 1978 when he granted me an exclusive interview for a cover story in Maclean’s, The Argus Grab.
The last time I spoke to Conrad was at a party ten years ago. He congratulated me on my book, The Eatons, calling it an “archeological dig.” Watching him acquire newspapers in the U.S. and the U.K, as well as launch National Post where I worked for three years, made me proud to be associated with him.
When hubris befell Conrad, I took my hat off to the American justice system. Whether you agreed with the finding or not, so little similar determination occurs in Canada. Surely there must be other Canadian businesspeople, beyond Garth Drabinsky and Myron Cohen, who fiddled the system. I don’t know Myron, but I admire Garth, and spent a lot of time interviewing him over the years. Maybe I just hang out with the wrong crowd.
Some people are filled with righteous indignation and have turned their backs forever. They can’t seem to forgive such men and move on. Yet we have so few such colourful and creative figures in Canada that we should welcome Conrad as well as Garth when he is released. They’ve paid the price. I’d be happy to be seen in the company of any of them should the opportunity arise.