Entries Tagged as 'National Post'

The Senator and I

David Frum October 22nd, 2011 at 8:00 am 11 Comments

The editors of the National Post this week asked all their columnists to write about the influence of siblings on our lives. My entry : Senator Linda Frum.

It would be another year before I was told that my mother had been diagnosed with the cancer that would kill her. Yet even in advance of the formal revelation, cialis my sister and I lived in a house unusually conscious of mortality.

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Norwegian Bomber Strived to be a White Supremacist Martyr

July 25th, 2011 at 2:28 pm 7 Comments

In the National Post, Jon Kay claims that Anders Behring Breivick, the 32-year-old Norwegian bomber, copied much of his manifesto from the provocative 1978 novel, The Turner Diaries, which was written by a white supremacist promoting the extermination of Jews and non-whites. Breivik’s approach is also described as resembling that of Islamic terrorists:

“To read The Turner Diaries is to understand that the worldly beliefs of right-wing terrorists such as Breivick are not nearly so different from Islamic terrorists as some might believe. Members of both groups imagine themselves to be “martyrs” fulfilling some ordained and holy purpose, for which civilization will one day thank them. (In his manifesto, Breivick repeatedly references his upcoming “martyrdom.”)

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Black Kept Dignity Behind Bars

June 7th, 2011 at 3:54 pm 9 Comments

As reported in the National Post, order Conrad Black was not the “model prisoner” as depicted by his lawyers when he was in the Florida prison, online but treated other inmates “like servants” and “projected an attitude that he was better than others.”

The Post report by Theresa Tedesco – an excellent journalist – is based on sworn affidavits at the Federal prison at Coleman, Florida by unit manager Tammy Padgett and education specialist Carrie De LaGarza.

To those in Canada it’s hardly news that Conrad Black can appear “haughty” and arrogant, but he’s usually ineffably courteous and polite, especially to those who show an interest in him. His 29 months in the Coleman prison complex were not only uneventful, but he was liked by staff and inmates – not an easy achievement.

As one who visited him a couple times at Coleman, I was surprised at the claim “inmates cooked for Black, cleaned for him, mopped his floor, ironed his clothes . . . .” For Tony Soprano, perhaps, but hardly for Conrad Black who wielded no gang or intimidating power. De LaGarza implies Conrad was not a keen tutor, even though “a lot of inmates looked up to him and some even saluted him ever day in class.”

Supposedly, when he was released on bail, Conrad told his case worker something like: “I believe I should be addressed as Lord Black from this point forward.” That simply doesn’t ring true. Comic book stuff.

On June 24 in Chicago, Conrad Black is to appear before the judge Amy St. Eve — who sentenced him to 78 months in 2007 — for re-sentencing. Theoretically he could be sent back to jail to complete the 78 months. Or he might be convicted to time already served, since two of the four guilty verdicts against him have since been dismissed.

Informed opinion leans towards time already served. But “informed opinion” in this case has often proved wrong. Prosecutors radiate a vindictiveness that on occasion has undermined their case against him.

When visiting Conrad Black in prison, I detected nothing resembling haughtiness or a superior attitude. Even if he tried, Conrad would have difficulty appearing humble, but in the prison meeting place, he was obviously well-liked and affable. The idea he “demanded special treatment” is patently ridiculous. Inmates in Federal U.S. prisons are wary about “demanding” anything.

The last time I visited him, Conrad expressed satisfaction and surprise that inmates he was tutoring in English and history were responding well. One inmate, on release, broke down in gratitude and credited Conrad for advancing him in high school. A woman in line visiting an inmate, said “God bless him” about Conrad, for how he had helped her son or whoever it was she was visiting.

In prison, Conrad caused no trouble, and deliberately kept under the radar, was adaptable and cooperative. He gave history lectures that were popular among inmates and custodial staff. While I was there, inmates chatted with him, informally and comfortably. They knew who he was, but in minimum security all are slated for release someday, none are knuckle-draggers or thugs. Wry humor seemed Conrad’s shield.

I’d venture that it reflects more on prison staff who felt moved to file sniping affidavits than it does on Conrad Black.

One even wonders if the prosecution seeks to influence the judge by encouraging peculiar affidavits by custodial staff? Otherwise why do it?

Senator Frum

David Frum August 27th, 2009 at 4:00 pm 8 Comments

linda_frum_sokolowski

Linda Frum Sokolowski

 

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today that he will appoint my sister, Linda Frum Sokolowski, to the Canadian Senate. I am so proud of and thrilled for Linda, a woman of unique grace, talent and accomplishment. Linda is the author of three books, including a beautiful biography of my mother, the late Barbara Frum. She cowrote and coproduced a documentary that won Canada’s highest film award, the Gemini, in 1996. Over the decade 1998-2007, her interviews and articles in Canada’s National Post newspaper were among that paper’s most hilarious and popular features.

Linda and her husband Howard have been supremely generous supporters of civic and philanthropic causes. Linda served on the board of the Ontario Arts Council and the Art Gallery of Ontario Foundation. In 2006, she chaired the United Jewish Appeal’s annual women’s campaign and broke all previous fundraising records.

Linda has been a tireless supporter of Canada’s Conservative party, dating back to the time when that party could count on precious few supporters anywhere in central Canada. She raised money – mobilized support – and sustained spirits through some very dark and dreary defeats. She did all this while raising three children, comforting and consoling our mother through illness, and suffusing the lives of all around her with happiness and joy.

The Canadian Senate is an appointed body. Most Canadian conservatives believe the Senate should be elected. Since winning office in 2006, Prime Minister Harper has repeatedly attempted to reform the Senate. He has been balked at every turn.  Nine months ago, I wrote a column for the National Post about Harper’s predicament.

For two years, Stephen Harper pressed the provinces to hold elections so that he could appoint democratically selected senators. They ignored him.

For two years, Harper minimized prime ministerial powers of patronage in the Senate. Again: Nobody responded.

Harper’s principles exposed him to political danger. The partisan balance in the Senate has deteriorated to the point where the Liberals outnumber Conservatives by a margin of nearly 3-to-1 (58 to 20).

Fears that the Liberals would abuse this unelected advantage are well grounded in history… So Harper acted. He acted as almost every prime minister before him has acted, following some of the most ancient traditions of Canadian politics.

If we don’t like those actions (and I suspect that few like them less than Harper himself), blame the traditions — not the man who was thwarted in his every attempt to repair and improve the traditions.

In December 2008 and now again in August 2009, the prime minister has sought a second best to elections: appointments of outstanding individuals of proven public spirit. Congratulations to Linda as she begins this new chapter in a life of service.