Black Magic

Antonia Zerbisias
Toronto Star
October 11, 1997

BLACK MAGIC: Lawrence Solomon, editor of The Next City, comes up with a rather startling notion in his magazine’s fall issue

In “Maude And Conrad: Behind Every Successful Man There’s A Good Woman,” he describes how Maude Barlow, chair of the Council of Canadians, has, through her cultural nationalism, helped Conrad Black assume control of most of this country’s, English-language newspapers.

This, even though she led the legal battle against Black’s takeover of the Southam newspaper chain.

Is Maude Barlow actually helping Conrad Black?

Because Barlow has fought so long and hard against the foreign ownership of Canadian media, Solomon argues, she cleared the way for Black’s buying spree.

“Banks and other financiers knew that ownership restrictions made Canadian newspapers illiquid and poor credit risks ….” he writes. “Barlow helped cheapen Southam and other Canadian newspaper companies, helping to deliver them into Black’s embrace. Barlow has many commendable qualities: She is sincere, articulate, passionate and well meaning. She is also Black’s dupe.”

Barlow, along with James Winter, a University of Windsor journalism prof, just put out The Big Black Book: The Essential Views Of Conrad And Barbara Amiel Black (Stoddard), which uses the couple’s own words against them.

If Solomon’s hypothesis is correct, one shudders to think how Barlow could be unwittingly aiding and abetting Black’s next move.

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