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Clean Up the CAJ or Put It Out of Its Misery

(1) Comments | Posted May 28, 2014 | 6:00 PM

Readers of unusually good memory may remember my comments in the National Post in June of last year about the Canadian Association of Journalists. It had sent round to its membership, on what is called the CAJ Lists, the assertion by one David Pinto, a cranky ex-employee, decades ago, of...

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The Bizarre, Unintentional Way Obama May Slow Down Iran's Nuclear Development

(1) Comments | Posted May 21, 2014 | 5:34 PM

In his State of the Union message in January, President Barack Obama patted himself on the back and said that a breakthrough had been made in denying Syria the ability to gas its own citizens, and in resolving the nuclear impasse with Iran through patient negotiation "backed by American strength."...

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The Greatest Single Demonstration of the Democratic Process Takes Place Next Week

(4) Comments | Posted May 8, 2014 | 12:44 PM

Little recognition in the Western media has been accorded to the greatest single demonstration of the democratic process, the Indian general election, which will conclude the casting of ballots next week. The electorate is technically about 650 million people, and India is the second most populous country in the world...

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The Ukraine Crisis Is the Most Irritating Example of How NATO Has Eroded

(10) Comments | Posted April 24, 2014 | 5:49 PM

Apart from the struggle between Russia and the West for the heart and mind of Ukraine, a struggle of which the West, apart from Poland, was apparently not aware until recently, the unfolding crisis in that country demonstrates the hazards of allowing the Western Alliance to atrophy as successive American...

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'The Truth Sometimes Requires a Bodyguard of Lies'

(5) Comments | Posted April 10, 2014 | 12:44 PM

It was an honour to give the address at the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Sir Winston Churchill Society in Edmonton last week, and it gave me the occasion in preparing my remarks to reassess what it is about Winston Churchill that makes him such a permanent inspiration and rallying point....

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Why Palestinians Should Not Take the 'Never Again' Pledge Lightly

(1) Comments | Posted March 12, 2014 | 5:27 PM

In the turmoil of the autumn of the Arab Spring and in the light of the Ukraine Crisis, a relatively unnoticed aspect has been the decline of the confected and orchestrated pandemonium about Israel. A blog that happened onto my screen last week stating that sanctions against Russia raised and...

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Prison Should Be a Repair Shop of Flawed Personalities, Not a Junk-Yard of Human Souls

(16) Comments | Posted February 26, 2014 | 11:31 AM

Because of my well-publicized experiences with and criticism of the criminal justice system, I was invited to one of a series of law reform public meetings that occurs more or less monthly through the winter at St. George's United Church in Toronto, and attended a session last week addressed by...

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My Departure From the Order of Canada

(4) Comments | Posted February 3, 2014 | 1:52 PM

In response to the many good wishes I have received over my departure from the Order and Privy Council of Canada, I will, as I always do, reply to everyone who has contacted me by email -- but their numbers are such that it will take a while, and I...

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JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon Got Rich on His Merits

(3) Comments | Posted January 29, 2014 | 5:18 PM

There has been a great deal of absurd, and often malicious comment about disparity of income and wealth in American society and in the West generally. It is a legitimate question of whether the head of a company should earn 500 times as much as the most junior employee, and...

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Why Is This Journalist In Jail?

(3) Comments | Posted January 15, 2014 | 12:36 PM

It might have been expected that Alabama would be the first jurisdiction in this hemisphere in many years to imprison a journalist. This is the lot of Roger Shuler, blogger under the title "Legal Schnauser," which implies a self-image of a persistent, aggressive, little dog, with a loud...

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America Needs a New Middle-East Playbook

(0) Comments | Posted January 1, 2014 | 7:58 PM

Every week there is new confirmation of what an insane idea it was to set about nation-building in the Middle East. The desire of the George W. Bush administration to promote democracy after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon has always been understandable as an...

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The Star's Vendetta Against Ford Is Hypocritical Claptrap

(64) Comments | Posted December 14, 2013 | 8:47 PM

My attempt to de-escalate the prolonged effort to crucify Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (in which, admittedly, he often has participated himself by his outrageous antics) seems, to the intense frustration of its perpetrators, to be succeeding. Unfortunately, the mayor's most vicious media critic won't admit defeat without first dragging the...

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When Prisoners Have Stronger Ethics Than Prosecutors

(12) Comments | Posted December 4, 2013 | 12:09 PM

A week does not go by without another outrage of the U.S. prosecution service being exposed, and one of the more stupefying instances of potential prosecutorial abuse is cooking up over former long-serving New York Senate majority leader Joseph Bruno. Mr. Bruno, 84, a Korean war veteran, former...

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Israel's Future Is Brighter Than You Think

(14) Comments | Posted November 21, 2013 | 4:15 PM

It is the conventional wisdom to wring hands and proclaim the dire impending nose-dive in the fortunes of Israel if its settlements policy is not dramatically reversed, and to express gloom about Israel's prospects generally. The facts, demonstratively, do not justify such pessimism. Israel itself has sailed through the international...

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Nobel Hits and Misses

(8) Comments | Posted October 16, 2013 | 4:32 PM

It is always interesting to see who receives Nobel Prizes. The award this year of the Nobel Prize for Literature to Alice Munro is inspiring in some respects. She is a lovely writer and it is a recognition of Canadian letters certainly, but also of Canada, that her stories about...

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My Conversation with Brian Mulroney

(10) Comments | Posted October 8, 2013 | 2:23 PM

Watch live streaming video from visionzoomertv at livestream.com

What follows is a transcript of Conrad Black's interview with former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, which appeared Monday night on the world premiere of the new television show The Zoomer.

Conrad Black: Well Brian, pardon my informality but we've known each other nearly 50 years and it would be a bit contrived if we weren't on a first name basis at this point. Thank you for joining us; it is an honour to have you as the first subject of one of these conversations on this new program of ours.

Brian Mulroney: I'm delighted to be with you.

CB: On behalf of the whole crew, thanks very much. May I start since it's quite topical by asking you as somebody who went through the wars of the, as many consider them to be, authoritarian laws in Quebec, what do you think of the controversy over the charter of values in that province?

BM: Well, I think it was a needless controversy. No one needed this. The protections you could legitimately look for in a democratic society, or need, are all there, have been there since 1975 provincially, and federally since 1982 with the charter, and so if you want to build a dynamic inclusive society you've got all the instruments at hand. This limits that, and sends out what I considered to be a negative, inappropriate signal to immigrants and to the vast immigrant communities that are bringing prosperity to Canada. We can't function as a country without strengthening and enhancing the number of immigrants that we bring in. That's life, that's the way it's going to be. One of the pleasures I get now when I look back at my own time in office is not the bigger ticket items that historians look at but the fact that I moved immigration up to 250,000 a year, the highest in the history of Canada, even throughout the recession, because I believed that you can't a great country like ours without immigration and lots of it. So this is the wrong signal to send to the immigrants. Moreover, while I didn't study the legislation carefully, I did look at it and it's clearly unconstitutional. I think la Cour d'Appel du Québec and the Supreme Court of Canada will so rule.

CB: But it is a place where the Notwithstanding Clause can be invoked, isn't it?

BM: Yes, it is. But you know there is, there is a weakening in the resolve - you can see it in Quebec - to all of a sudden separate for no ... there's no fury, there's no frenzy there's no great national debate, there's no impulse ...

CB: There's no great grievance, really.

BM: No there's no national dream that anyone's articulating. It's kind of pedestrian. How can we put the stick now in with this Charte des valeurs, and maybe can do this and maybe we can do ... it's all kind of penny ante stuff as opposed to the great and glorious dreams for a separate Quebec which were articulated by a great democrat, eloquent democrat like René Lévesque, WHO, BY THE WAY, WOULD NEVER HAVE TOLERATED THIS CHARTE DES VALEURS! He was a fundamental democrat. He believed in freedoms of all kinds and this stuff wouldn't have passed muster with him which is, I think, one of the reasons why he had so much appeal.

CB: Moving into more specific political matters, would you comment on, I mean you've crossed swords often with Pierre Trudeau, I hope you're not uncomfortable saying something about your professional evaluation of Justin Trudeau as a party leader.

BM: Well, I happened to be in Toronto meeting with the editorial board of The Globe and Mail and the National Post the day that Mr. Trudeau launched his campaign for leadership. They said, "Justin Trudeau is going to announce his candidacy today, what do you think?" I think the Conservatives will underestimate him at their peril. He's a good-looking guy, he's smart. What's not to like with this picture? So in the present context, Trudeau's big strength is ... that he's not Stephen Harper. That's what he's doing now. Will that get him across the street? I don't know, but for the moment because Mr. Harper has his own persona, and his own virtues, and they're not inconsiderable in terms of political leadership and accomplishments. But on the personal attributes, Justin is younger, he has more panache and for the moment that has its own appeal.

You know Conrad, if you look at what he's got going here: Mr. Harper defeated Mr. Martin, Stéphane Dion and Michael Ignatieff. Justin Trudeau is no Stéphane Dion.

CB: Let me ask you about Thomas Mulcair who after all is the leader of the Opposition at the moment. Can he hold that position? It seems on its face to be an aberrant status for the NDP. What's your call on that?

BM: Well, I don't know Mr. Mulcair. I thought that he performed well when he introduced that new style in the House of Commons asking those terse meaningful questions about Mr. Harper on those senatorial appointments. I thought that was the zenith of his parliamentary career. He's going to have to do better and more. He's got Harper who's going to come at him all guns blazing and he's got Trudeau who's going to do the same thing. Mulcair, he's in an invidious position. They say Trudeau has to get some policy out; he doesn't. The guy who's got to get policy out fast is Mulcair.

CB: And it has to be to the right of where the NDP traditionally rules.

BM: Exactly.

CB: Do you think it was an astute move politically, not getting into your own preference as to what should be done, but politically was it a good move for Justin Trudeau to propose the legalization of marijuana?

BM: When it happened I thought it was dumb because I had read what Margaret had said years ago. Mrs. Trudeau has written that she was very much against the use of marijuana because, in her case, it had lead to serious drug use that damaged her and damaged other people. Then I found that my daughter-in-law, Jessica, told me that she thought that it might be a generational thing that we were into. My guess is what she meant was that I was in the wrong generation, and I think I was, because it emphasized his youth and it emphasized the big thing that "he's not Stephen Harper". That's his big thing. That's what he's going to run on. Don't worry about me, just remember, "I'm not Stephen Harper".

I ran in 1984 on "I'm not Pierre Trudeau" and I just got tons of votes because of that. I think it wasn't so dumb any more you know. I don't agree with it, but I think Jessica was right. It was a generational thing and it sends a signal to a vast reservoir of youth we have that says look, "I'm not Stephen Harper." I can understand all of this stuff and if you do it, I'm not going to put you in the slammer.

CB: Well Brian, for 48 years, every conversation we've ever had has been a pleasure for me and thank you for joining us. This one has been also.

BM: Thank you for having me, Conrad, and good luck with the show.

CB: Well I'm following your advice and starting a new career.

BM: Absolutely!

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Haven't Madoff's Victims Suffered Enough?

(0) Comments | Posted September 26, 2013 | 1:01 PM

As if the victims of Bernard Madoff had not suffered enough, the Justice Department has now inflicted on them the albatross of Richard C. Breeden. Breeden was the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission in the term of President George H.W. Bush (1989-1993), in which capacity he claims a...

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Eliot Spitzer Lost: Maybe America Isn't a Nation of Obtuse Dolts

(85) Comments | Posted September 11, 2013 | 12:17 PM

As I returned from the studio in Toronto at the baseball stadium from where I speak to foreign television networks, after doing my best to be respectful of the great office of president of the United States while expressing my views of the debacle of American policy in Syria on...

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The Rubashkin Case: A Mockery of Justice

(25) Comments | Posted August 28, 2013 | 1:15 PM

As cases bubble up almost every week illustrating the Gonzo-draconian constant miscarriage of the U.S. justice system, and even Attorney General Eric Holder is calling for a more lenient sentencing policy and a reduction of the bloated prison population (the U.S. has six to twelve times the number of incarcerated...

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When You're Wrong, You're Wrong - Unless You're a Columnist

(44) Comments | Posted August 15, 2013 | 12:28 PM

It is befuddling when columnists, whose job is to express opinions and interpret matters they have some background in for readers -- and who do so with evident inaccuracy for years on end -- are always unrelievedly mistaken but don't change their message or alter their analytical technique. The New...

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