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Thread: Editorial cartoon: Conrad Black

  1. #41
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    Default Re: Editorial cartoon

    Quote Originally Posted by callee View Post
    look at what you did there though. You made a tiny change to the facts that make it sound worse than what it was.

    you said "taking the pensions of grocery clerks and cashiers". Well, when you pu tit that way, let's string the guy up right now! I mean, stealing the pension right out from under a little old lady cashier!

    But that's not what happened. The OP was quite clear that the money in dispute was a "pension surplus." Unlike the teachers pension plan, which has a huge deficit right now and not enough cash to meet its required pay-outs, this pension plan obviously had earned way more cash than it needed, and had more in the bank than it needed for all those pension cheques it had to write.

    Saying that someone took the surplus money is a whole lot different than saying that they took the non-surplus required money that was needed for the pensions.

    It's a real big difference. The one is a despicable, immoral act, while the other is a business dispute.

    So why would you make such a change in the facts as you described them? Why would you transform black from a surplus taker into a pension stealer?
    A surplus today doesn't mean that there's going to be a surplus in the future. There is no guarantee that the Dominion corporation is going to be in existence when current employees retire and Conrad black and the other owners are in no way personally liable to honour those pensions if the company ceases. Pensions are part of an employees compensation, they shouldn't be touched even if there are surpluses.

    You never hear of corporations looking at executives bank accounts and declaring that they've been paid a "surplus", more than enough to meet their needs and demand repayment.

    The fact of the matter is that regardless of what Conrad Black did in the past in Canada he is an unrepentant, convicted felon and tax cheat (he owes the IRS some $70M) and he isn't a citizen of this country. I thought this current government we have was supposed to be 'tough on crime"

    Quote Originally Posted by callee View Post
    Maybe you overlooked the OP, didn't read it clearly enough, and so you misunderstood? Possible, but I doubt that.

    Maybe you did it deliberately? I doubt that too, that doesn't sound like you.

    Or maybe it's the same thing that I think many people have: they just don't like Black. He's a fat, pompous, money grubbing snob who looks down on us and so we love to hate him. And that personal bias against him causes us to subconsciously spin the facts in a way that paint him in the worst light possible. If he takes the second to last donut in the box and leaves the plain one that no one ever wants, by the next day we'll remember that as him taking the very last donut and leaving nothing. The day after that we'll be sure that we remember that he took not just the last donut, but the other 11 in the box too, no one else got any!! And a week later we'll swear we remember him picking up the entire dang box of donuts and running off while a poor homeless child was reaching to get one feebly crying "please sir, some more!"

    That's how bias works, and I think I see it happening here big time.

    Just look again at the criminal statistics I posted. In just 2011 the canadian government granted re-entry to over 6000 convicted criminals, and that was well over 50% of the permits they granted. Obviously it is incredibly normal, common and standard for the government to let convicted criminals back into the country. And yet go back and read my post, and then count how many posts after it have someone still saying "he's a criminal so he shouldn't have been allowed in"! If that's not a text book example of how bias can cause selective perception of the facts, I don't know what is!
    First off how many of those 6000 convicted criminals granted re-entry weren't Canadian citizens? He has a home in GB as well as Canada. It's not like he doesn't have any other options.

    Second no one ever asked my opinion on any of those 6000 repatriated convicted criminals.

    I do have a bias against Conrad Black. Unlike other business magnates he has shown utter contempt for the working man. He was born into privilidge and considers himself superior to us and above the law.

    The fact of the matter is that regardless of what Conrad Black did in the past in Canada or my own feelings about him he is an unrepentant, convicted felon and tax cheat (he owes the IRS some $70M) and he isn't a citizen of this country. I thought this current government we have was supposed to be 'tough on crime". I guess that toughness depends on who you are friends with and how much money you have.

  2. #42
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    Default Re: Editorial cartoon

    Dave K has got it right.

    The money in the Dominion pension was in a trust, not a joint bank account.

    Pensions have surpluses in good times and deficits in poor economic times. When you have a surplus, you can simply do nothing, increase benefits, or take a premium holiday if the plan allows. What Conrupt what doing had not been done before and would have opened the floodgates to the future horro of retirees all over.


    I happen to have met someone 25 years ago who was part of the group that worked on what Conrad was trying to do. He was actually going to buy annuities for everybody in the pension plan with an insurance carrier ensuring every dollar in future pension benefits, and in so doing have over 50 M leftover that actually was partly there not just because of being in an overfunded period due to "good times", but largely because there was a lot of unvested contributions in the plan.

    Today, all pension contributions must vest after two years to the employee, but back then, vesting was as long as ten years or based on the age of the employeee. With an employer like Dominion, there was a lot people that contributions were made for that were no longer there and who never see a dime of the contributions. Made for them. But Conrupt decided rather than other options to try to strip it out of there.

    Thing is, he's got a big mouth. When a reporter approached him having lunch at Winston's and asked a pre-Lord but wannabee upper class snob Black how he felt about what many viewed as stealing the money of Dominion employee's pension surplus, he offered "if they steal my lettuce, I'll steal their Pension surplus".

    We'll that did not go well in the public eye, and definitely not with the liberal ontario gov't of the day, and while the deal had been done, the Gov passed a moratarioum backdating legislation to prevent anyone from doing what Conrupt had done without getting approval signed from each member of the pension plan agreeing he could do so. Of course it's a mechanism to prevent it from ever happening, and conrupt had to restore what he was taking apart.

    While what he was doing at the time was legal, until the Gov made it illegal, it was simply an act of sheer greed and indifference to those who were being potentially put at risk in the future thru his actions. There's a big difference between being shrewd and cunning, to being morally void in character in business dealings.

    EDIT: Forgot to mention also, the two year vesting period limit came about because of this as well, so while this made for a more reasonable vesting period for employees, it made the chances of having surpluses even harder. So some good and bad came about from the actions of Conrupt.
    Last edited by Lost in the Woods; 05-06-2012 at 09:50 AM.
    Kevin

  3. #43
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    Default Re: Editorial cartoon

    Quote Originally Posted by Lost in the Woods View Post
    Dave K has got it right.

    The money in the Dominion pension was in a trust, not a joint bank account.
    Kevin:

    I will assume you are correct about the funds in question being a trust. So, then there must have been an agreement/legal contract for the trust. For CB to have stolen the money he would have had to violate the agreement.

    The summary of the Supreme Court judgement said that the original agreement would not have allowed the removal of surplus funds -- but that the "current" agreement that they were adjudicating permitted removal of the surplus funds. In effect they seem to have "set aside" the current agreement -- meaning that that opens the door to reneging on any contract and claiming that previous versions (or portions of them anyway) are "the real agreement" -- not the "current contract". (Just sayin')

    The final settlement was a "50-50" split of the funds. That tells me that there was an accepted issue where it was not clear who owned the funds. If there had been "theft" surely charges would have been laid and a jail term served -- by someone.

    Questions:

    Does anybody have a link to the original contract?
    If there was theft, why no charges?
    Why the form of final settlement where a "50-50" split was negotiated?

    Any thoughts?
    ---
    Will

    “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” —- Mark Twain

  4. #44
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    Default Re: Editorial cartoon

    On pension fund surpluses: It appears what the courts have decided is that surpluses belong to the workers and shortages belong to the employer, hence the demise of the defined benefit pension plans.
    It ain't the things you don't know that get you in trouble. It's the things you know for sure that just ain't so.

  5. #45
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    Default Re: Editorial cartoon

    Quote Originally Posted by Gene45 View Post
    On pension fund surpluses: It appears what the courts have decided is that surpluses belong to the workers and shortages belong to the employer, hence the demise of the defined benefit pension plans.
    That may be true in some cases, but in the case of the Canadian Government, Federal Employees had a surplus of 28 billion and the goverment decided to use it to pay down the national debt. Courts sided with the government and now employee contributions have increased to ensure the fund is sustainable into the future.

  6. #46
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    Default Re: Editorial cartoon

    Quote Originally Posted by willr View Post
    Questions:

    Does anybody have a link to the original contract?
    If there was theft, why no charges?
    Why the form of final settlement where a "50-50" split was negotiated?

    Any thoughts?
    I have no expertise on the legal aspects of this case however I can't help but wonder what kind of a guy wakes up in the morning and even considers trying to take workers pensions. It's not like it's a matter of survival for him, he already had more money than even Michael Jackson could spend in a lifetime.


    Quote Originally Posted by willr View Post
    If there was theft, why no charges?
    It's a civil matter and obviously they didn't have a case at that time but they sure caught up with eventually didn't they,

  7. #47
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    Default Re: Editorial cartoon

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Shervill View Post
    Two things:

    1st: He HAD to renounce his Canadian Citizenship....his family has been here for 5 generations, but he was also offered the lordship. He applied for dual citizenship, but he was maliciously denied by a certain someone who had a bone to pick (Jean Chretien)

    2nd: I'm hopefull that his return to Canada will result in him putting his considerable expertise into starting a new company (or more) that will result in jobs for Canadians.
    Okay Ryan name one just one successful company he has run.

  8. #48
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    Default Re: Editorial cartoon

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Shervill View Post
    Two things:

    1st: He HAD to renounce his Canadian Citizenship....his family has been here for 5 generations, but he was also offered the lordship. He applied for dual citizenship, but he was maliciously denied by a certain someone who had a bone to pick (Jean Chretien)

    They may have in fact not liked one another and it was popular for the media to portray it this way, but the granting of a peerage to Canadians has been basically banned by legislation since 1919, with the exception of a few oddities in the mix. This has been upheld by both Liberal and Conservative governments over the decades.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_titles_debate

    Letting him into Canada is all about Mr Harper gettin cozy with the monarchy. He seems to care little about such silly things as legislation and such and likely he'll have Mr Black with a Canadian citizenship before you know it, and allow him to keep his peerage with The House of Lords.
    Kevin

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    Default Re: Editorial cartoon: Conrad Black

    Quote Originally Posted by Lost in the Woods View Post
    The money in the Dominion pension was in a trust, not a joint bank account.
    Quote Originally Posted by willr View Post
    Kevin:

    I will assume you are correct about the funds in question being a trust.

    Most pensions are held in trusts. That one may not have been, I don't know, but it likely was, but regardless any form of pension will have the same types of provisions that ensure that funds are secure for the benefit of the intended recipients. My use of the word trust was more to emphasize that it was not of a nature such as a joint bank account. The employer is only a contributor and not a beneficiary of the pension plan.
    Kevin

  10. #50
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    Default Re: Editorial cartoon

    Will, just an FYI, if I may. Your research as always is pretty thorough but not quite up to date. It happens that for the past two years, a Louisana Congressman, William Jefferson, free on bond, has been waiting for his appeal on conviction of bribery etc, after the Feds' finding $90,000 cash wrapped in aluminum foil in his freezer (where any reasonable person keeps his cash), to be granted Certiorari (acceptance to the court) based on his arguing Skilling. I know nothing about Conrad Black nor his issue (nor want to), but do about the Honest Services premise. At a glance, it appears that Mssrs. Black and Jefferson have some similarity. Jefferson does not contest the bribes etc., but says they weren't part of his job description, so they were not illegal (to paraphrase). In the meantime his associates and family members have been sent to the slammer, one died in jail.
    Last edited by Woodwreck; 05-07-2012 at 03:06 AM.
    http://forum.canadianwoodworking.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=12450&dateline=127309  6828 Wood Wreck - Structural framing specialist.

  11. #51
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    Default Re: Editorial cartoon

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodwreck View Post
    Will, just an FYI, if I may. Your research as always is pretty thorough but not quite up to date. It happens that for the past two years, a Louisana Congressman, William Jefferson, free on bond, has been waiting for his appeal on conviction of bribery etc, after the Feds' finding $90,000 cash wrapped in aluminum foil in his freezer (where any reasonable person keeps his cash), to be granted Certiorari (acceptance to the court) based on his arguing Skilling. I know nothing about Conrad Black nor his issue (nor want to), but do about the Honest Services premise. At a glance, it appears that Mssrs. Black and Jefferson have some similarity. Jefferson does not contest the bribes etc., but says they weren't part of his job description, so they were not illegal (to paraphrase). In the meantime his associates and family members have been sent to the slammer, one died in jail.
    That is how the "Honest Services" act was intended to be used.

    There were no bribes involved in the Conrad Black case. They simply took the attitude that he was not entitled to draw money out of the company without permission of the minority shareholders.
    ---
    Will

    “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” —- Mark Twain

  12. #52

    Default Re: Editorial cartoon

    Quote Originally Posted by callee View Post
    honestly though, if an american court sent you a letter ordering you, a canadian, in canada, what to do with your canadian papers in your canadian office, really, how much deference would you give that order? I don't deny he was being dishonest, but I'm still a little troubled about someone being prosecuted in america by an american court for something they did in canada that wasn't illegal under canadian laws. If other people didn't love to hate ol' black, I think they'd be more bothered by that too. My personal opinion, some people focus on the fact that he probably did do some shady business and so he probably did deserve some punishment, so they agree with the end, but they agree with that end so much that they don't notice that the means by which that end was reached were really very questionable.
    When I read this comment, I thought that CB was lucky the US didn't send him to Guantanamo Bay, given their record on due process!

    BOB

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    Default Re: Editorial cartoon

    I feel that CB should be treated as any other person would be, regardless of station in life or wealth... nothing more and nothing less. Isn't this the fundamental underpinning of this 99%/1% movement?
    Regardless of all the wrangling and legal arguments and conjecture, the overall situation looks, smells and tastes like ****..... (to quote many famous thinkers) to what I will guess is the majority of Canadians who have followed the to's and fro's of this sordid tale. No question about it that his decision to relinquish his Canadian Citizenship was viewed by very many as a terrible insult. This gap between what is considered moral and ethical seems to have little to do with the law.
    Time, space and life in general have a way of adding prospective to the facts and issues of the moment and day, and it's overall importance. I suspect CB's place in history and his legacy will not be what he hoped for or that of a "great Canadian" and perhaps not even that of a great builder in the field of news and media. Knowing that he may be relegated to a very few lines and the source of fodder for a few business case studies when history is written. That may hurt him more than most other punishments that could be devised.
    Last edited by Rick Thom; 05-08-2012 at 08:08 AM.

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    Default Re: Editorial cartoon

    I find the whole thing.... unctuous


    sorry guys just having fun with ya...I am in Rick's camp....treat him as any other person would be...
    "every man is the maker of his own misfortune"

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    Default Re: Editorial cartoon

    Now Con-Rupt is trying to undermine the process of his Order of Canada review.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...rticle4403405/

    Of course like all convicted criminals, he is innocent and was wrongfully convicted. He's so full of himself.
    Kevin

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    Default Re: Editorial cartoon

    Great cartoon! That's Canada for you!
    He is a criminal, he got caught, he did his time. Yeah he has a rich boy ego and is as arrogant as they come but so are most politicians! I don't have to like him but he is no threat and he will definately not be living off of my back financially.
    If we are looking at throwing people out of the country then we should target gang members who have nothing to offer the country. There are far worse than Mr. Black as far as I am concerned.

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    WARNING: Thread from a few months back.


    The gasbag is his own worst enemy.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...rticle4649024/

    He's been also told to butt out of the hearings on his Order of Canada.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...rticle4651536/



    A true gasbag!



    Kevin

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