Conrad Black to renounce Canadian citizenship

Media tycoon Conrad Black has announced that he's giving up his Canadian citizenship in order to claim a British peerage title that Prime Minister Jean Chrtien blocked in 1999.

"Having opposed for 30 years precisely the public policies that have caused scores of thousands of educated and talented Canadians to abandon their country every year, it is at least consistent that I should join this dispersal," Black said in a statement issued Friday.

Black, a dual citizen of the United Kingdom and Canada, said he actually took the first steps towards renouncing his Canadian citizenship last February, when his $25,000 lawsuit against Chrtien entered its sixth month.

U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair told Black in May 1999 that he would be elevated to a peerage, which would give him an appointment to the British House of Lords, on the condition that he became a U.K. citizen.

Black did so, but on the day before his peerage appointment, Chrtien invoked a decades-old precedent called the Nickle Resolution, which blocks the monarch from conferring titles on Canadian subjects.

The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled Friday that the prime minister's decision to block Black's peerage is beyond the influence of the courts.

"In my view, in advising the Queen about the conferral of an honour on a Canadian citizen, the prime minister was exercising his honours prerogative that is beyond the review of the courts," Justice John Laskin wrote in a unanimous decision.

Black's suit had alleged that Chrtien was getting even for unfavourable stories written about the prime minister in newspapers owned by Black.

Black said he plans to keep his home and office in Toronto and remain as publisher of The National Post.