Jason Kenney

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A lot of immigration lawyers think the government helped Conrad Black with his residence permit

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney (Image: Twitter)

In June, it seemed the rumours that Conrad Black had high-ranking government help with his application for Canadian residency had been quelled—but now they’re back. More than 80 lawyers (all immigration specialists) have signed an open letter to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, saying they believe he helped speed along the newspaper magnate–cum–jailbird’s temporary permit. The letter is in support of a Toronto lawyer, Guidy Mamann, who had suggested such a high profile case wouldn’t have been left solely in the hands of civil servants without a “wink or nod” from the minister. Following Mamann’s comments, Kenney’s office asked the Law Society of Upper Canada to investigate and formally censure him, but the file was closed due to lack of evidence. Surprisingly, the famously litigious baron has steered well clear of this particular war of words. [Globe and Mail]

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Barbara Amiel on Conrad Black’s flabby figure, terms of endearment and similarity to her dogs

According to Amiel, press coverage is only good if you’re Kim Kardashian or a Nobel laureate (Image: Charles LeBlanc)

Since getting out of jail, Conrad Black has rejected all media requests save a chat with CBC News anchor Peter Mansbridge. Thank goodness Barbara Amiel agreed to write a firsthand account for Maclean’s on bringing Black to Toronto. The lengthy article brims with candid recollections (“We had both become marginally bonkers in our caution and pessimism”), personal details (apparently, Black left jail with foam earplugs, four chewed-up pens, a tube of lip balm and a battered comb) and—of course—multiple dog references.

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Conrad Black’s getting out of jail, but he may not be able to move back to Toronto

(Image: Charles LeBlanc)

America’s haughtiest jailbird, Conrad Black, is getting out of the slammer this weekend—and thinking longingly of Toronto. After serving more than 38 months for financial misdeeds, the media tycoon and former Canadian citizen wants to move back to the city where his wife, Barbara Amiel—and several beloved dogs—live. However, Black’s fate is in the hands of Immigration Minister Jason Kenney since Black renounced his citizenship to take a seat in the U.K.’s House of Lords (of course, there’s also the whole convicted felon thing). If the baron is allowed onto Canadian soil, he already has at least one invite: his epically loquacious memoir, A Matter of Principle, was nominated for this year’s National Business Book Award, which will be announced May 28 at a downtown hotel. See you there, Conrad? [CBC]

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Ottawa rumours: election may arrive earlier than anticipated, Liberals grow spine

In the increasingly fevered world of Ottawa politics, it’s looking like opposition parties may not wait for an opportunity to bring down the government and instead will make one of their own. While the opposition could vote against the Conservative budget after it is announced on March 22, the fear is that the budget will be filled with goodies for voters that the opposition would prefer not to run against. So, no doubt hoping that fortune will favour the bold, the Liberals and other opposition parties are whispering loudly about making their own move.

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Battleground Toronto: leaked memo shows that Conservatives really, really, really want “very ethnic” Toronto votes

The latest scandal in Ottawa is that immigration minister Jason Kenney, who’s been charged with building the Conservative brand in Canada’s immigrant communities, seems to have allowed a Conservative fundraising memo [PDF] to go out on government letterhead—a big no-no. There have been a number of reactions, from the NDP demanding Kenney’s resignation to the Liberals trying to look above the fray. We can’t help but have a reaction of our own: the Conservatives like us! They really, really like us!

Of the 10 target ridings profiled in the Conservative memo, two are in Toronto proper and five are in the G.T.A. The memo gives some idea of how the Conservatives see the ridings in and around Toronto:

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