Former media baron Conrad Black will be allowed to live in Canada after being approved for a one-year temporary resident permit, the Globe and Mail has learned. The CBC has also confirmed that Black has received a permit.
Black, who had been jailed in a Florida prison over fraud charges, is set to be released as earliest as this Friday.
He was convicted last June of fraud and obstruction of justice charges and sentenced to 42 months in prison, the court agreed to count the 29 months he had already served.
The Opposition raised Black's imminent return in Question Period on Tuesday.
NDP leader Thomas Mulcair accused the Conservatives of applying a double standard in allowing Black into Canada. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told Mulcair that privacy rules prevented him from answering questions about reports of Black's return to Canada.
Mulcair referenced the case of Douglas Gary Freeman, an African American extradited to the United States 30 years after an altercation with a Chicago police officer. Freeman accepted a plea bargain of aggravated battery and served 30 days. On his release, he was deemed "inadmissable" by Canadian authorities and prevented from rejoining his family.
Mulcair said the Tories are applying different standards depending on the race of the applicant. Mulcair was met with calls of "shame" from the Tory benches for bringing race into the debate.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney responded that applications for entrance into Canada are handled by professional civil servants and that he has recused himself from involvement in Black's case.
Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae also brought up Black on this twitter feed. "Maybe they'll listen to Conrad Black's views on the needed reforms to our criminal justice system...," Rae wrote on Twitter.
Black had renounced his Canadian citizenship in a bitter fight in 2001 with the Jean Chretien Liberal government over his appointment in England's House Of Lords.
Black's controversial business dealings while at the helm of Hollinger's global media empire netted him fraud and obstruction of justice convictions in 2007 and saw him spend several years in a Florida prison.
Conrad Black is a blogger for The Huffington Post Canada.