Conrad Black:
“Trump won second debate”

Ex-Canadian supports presidential incumbent on Devin Nunes’ podcast

By Byron Toben

Conrad Black, the one-time Canadian citizen who gave that up in 2001 to accept the title of Lord in the United Kingdom, was pardoned by President Donald Trump after his convictions in 2010 for fraud and obstruction of justice in the United States. He has been living in Canada as a one-year “temporary visitor” with a work permit for at least the past eight years (presumably re-issued year by year).

Conrad Black mug shot

Conrad Black mug shot – Image: United States Marshals Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

It is not clear if he may seek re-institution of his Canadian citizenship either as an immigrant investor or employee or perhaps as the spouse of his wife, journalist Barbara Amiel (she of “my extravagance knows no bounds” fame).

But not being a citizen of Canada has not restricted him from creating many postings in the press and on TV on Canadian immigration, support of conservatives and criticism of both Liberals and NDPers.

Now he has chimed in with praise for Trump’s performance in the second (once third) U.S. presidential debate. That opinion was publicized on California Republican U.S. congressman Devin Nunes’ podcast (more on Nunes’ questionable antics below).

Viewers may remember that Black, heir to his father’s Argus Holdings fortune, parlayed the acquisition of the tiny Quebec Eastern Townships Sherbrooke Record paper into a vast international press empire with acquisitions in Canada, the USA, England, Australia and Israel. However, some dodgy practices led to a fraud conviction against investors and a U.S. prison sentence.

While incarcerated in Florida, he wrote a book, praising Trump, Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other (2018). Black had previously authored books on Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, so that gave him some credibility as a biographer.

Devin Nunes at CPAC in 2018

Nunes at CPAC in 2018 – Image: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Trump pardoned him in 2019. Will flattery get you everywhere, some ask.

Oh yes, about David Nunes. The representative for the gerrymandered 22nd district of California got into hot water over the Trump Ukraine scandal when, as head of the House Intelligence Committee, he privately contacted Rudy Giuliani’s “fixer” Lev Parnas to influence his testimony. He denied this despite telephone records from his residence to Parnas revealing dozens of such calls.

A member of Trump’s transition team, he also voted to abolish the Affordable Care Act, denies global warning, urged the early opening of restaurants, claimed COVID-19 would be over by Easter, champions fossil fuels and has been named by Steve Bannon as Trump’s most valuable congressional ally.

This partisanship may explain why he chose to host Conrad Black on his opinion on the debate.

Black argues that his convictions should not bar him from obtaining citizenship or high office, citing jailed Nelson Mandela as an example. To me, this has echoes of Trump comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln (and why not, George Washington and Winston Churchill as well). I guess that great egos boast alike.

Feature image: caricatures of Donald Trump and Joe Biden by DonkeyHotey via

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More articles from Byron Toben

Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.

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  1. TJ (Jim) Kirby

    Great article illustrating “birds of a feather” etc. Bullies, intellectual or other, are despicable. Black has been shamed and continues to suffer in the society he strutted atop like a peacock and now meanders outside of it, no longer in his ‘Cardinal’s robes’. As for Trump, we all know that he is a misogynist, a liar, a coward like all bullies, inept and a fraud when it comes to business. The world will turn, it has before and good karma will spread over like a cleansing oil. That’s my optimism from the UK on a wet, cold Sunday morning, that I know will be sunny this afternoon and warmer.

    • Caroline Jondahl

      Mr. Tobin’s piece is a reminder that rot attracts rot, as the records of both Black and the 45th President illustrate. Contemptuous of others, ill-gained profits and gross puffery attest to their corrupt mindset and ways. Let’s hope that the Citizen Court will think very hard before rendering a decision – for this man whose audacity allows any comparison with the internationally-renown Nelson Mandela. Caroline Jondahl, Westmount citizen

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