Conrad Black has a way with words, government lawyers say, and the Order of Canada advisory council is well aware of that - he gave them a copy of his latest book.
Federal lawyers are set to argue in court today that Black should have no trouble making written arguments to the council deciding the status of his Order of Canada membership, documents show.
Black, 67, is asking Federal Court to force the advisory council to allow him an oral hearing as it decides whether to recommend the Governor General revoke Black's prestigious membership, bestowed in 1990.
His lawyers are arguing that his case is too complex to be handled in writing - the only medium Order of Canada rules allow. The for-mer media magnate went to Federal Court after his request to make arguments in person was denied.
But documents filed in advance of today's hearing show federal lawyers are relying on Black's own prowess with prose to argue that he doesn't need oral arguments to make his voice heard.
"Mr. Black is an accomplished author who suffers no disadvantage in communicating in writing," the filing states. "He has provided the council with a copy of his book on the subject of his convictions which runs over 500 pages."
Published last year, the book, A Matter of Principle, is 592 pages.
The council can recommend members of the order be stripped of status, but the final decision rests with the Governor General.
Government lawyers are set to argue that Black's argument that stripping him of the status would negatively impact his rights is unfounded, since "there is no right or legitimate expectation to an honour."
"The privileges associated with membership in the Order of Canada are purely symbolic," they say in the court filing.
Black was convicted in the U.S. of fraud and obstruction of justice while he was head of Hollinger International. He served 37 months of a 42-month sentence, but says he was unfairly maligned by the U.S. justice system.