Montreal: birthplace of Conrad Black
Two days ago, a group of some 80 practitioners rallied to the defence of specialist immigration lawyer Guidy Mamann, who had earlier launched a blistering attack on minister Jason Kenney for allegedly meddling in the decision to grant the British peer and convicted fraudster a temporary residence visa.
According to a report in the Toronto Star, the minister’s department responded by lodging a complaint with the regulator – the Law Society of Upper Canada -- claiming professional misconduct.
In support of Mr Mamann – a named partner at Toronto-based Mamann, Sandaluk & Kingwell – the lawyer group fired off an open letter to the minister, saying: ‘It was not credible that the decision taken in relation to the Conrad Black … was made without any input from yourself. Given the high degree of control which you exercise over your department, we do not believe that you did not give your consent.’
The letter went on to challenge the minister: ‘The use . . . of the Law Society … complaint process, in order to try to silence a critic for his opinion was rightly rejected by the Law Society. However, if you believe that our statement violates the Law Society of Upper Canada rules, please feel free to report us to the Law Society.’
According to the Toronto Globe & Mail, when it was first learnt that Lord Black had applied for a visa in April, Mr Kenney said matter would be handled by ‘highly trained’ civil servants. But according to the newspaper, Mr Mamann, told reporters he didn’t believe the minister would leave such a high-profile decision to his support staff.
Lord Black – who, with his wife, journalist Barbara Amiel, led a high profile and louche London high-society lifestyle as former proprietor of the Telegraph newspapers -- was convicted of fraud in the US in 2007 and released from prison in May having served three and a half years in prison. Despite having born in Montreal, the 67-year-old was forced to apply for a residency visa because he gave up Canadian citizenship to become a full British peer.