Bring on the Bilderberg

I don’t usually scrape content for fear of the big bad media monitor swooping down to crush me like a fly but this article is neat and I can’t find you a free link:

The New Brunswick connection: Did Frank McKenna make a secret pact to enslave the workers of Saint John, or was the Bilderberg conference just a place ‘to meet interesting people’?
The Ottawa Citizen Friday, June 9, 2006

Here’s one for the conspiracy theorists.
New Brunswick’s controversial economic rebirth from a depressed resource-based province to the telephone call-centre capital of North America may partly stem from a meeting at the secretive 1994 Bilderberg conference.

While attending the conference, Frank McKenna, then the premier of New Brunswick, met the CEO of a large multinational corporation. As a result of that meeting, “we ended up landing a very large industry in our province,” Mr. McKenna said in an interview yesterday.

Mr. McKenna, in keeping with the rules of the Bilderberg group, refused to divulge the name of the CEO, the industry, or the details of their conversation.

But it is known that Paul Allaire, then the CEO of Xerox Corp., attended the 1994 Bilderberg meeting. And in February 1995, Xerox opened a call centre in Saint John, N.B. with a $3.8-million grant from the McKenna government, contingent on creating 225 jobs.

“You do meet interesting people there. There’s just a lot of opportunities,” Mr. McKenna commented of the Bilderberg meetings.

Mr. McKenna, who served as premier of New Brunswick from 1987 to 1997, was widely credited with bringing an economic upswing to his province, his salesmanship and promises of government money attracting 35 call centres between 1991 and 1996.

But he also had his critics, including union leader Bob Davidson, who accused him of turning the province into “Alabama East,” with low wages, low corporate taxes, and government handouts to businesses.

The same vein of criticism is often levelled at the Bilderberg group, which is accused of being a secretive, elitist organization that influences international events to the advantage of the rich and powerful, at the expense of ordinary working people.

So, was the creation of Xerox’s New Brunswick call centre a Bilderberg-inspired conspiracy to enslave the workers of Saint John, chaining them to their telephone headsets?

Mr. McKenna said he doesn’t believe any of the conspiracy theories swirling around the Bilderberg group.

“I don’t pay attention to that kind of horse crap,” he said. “I have just found it’s better to ignore that kind of foolishness.”

Mr. McKenna, who is now deputy chairman of the Toronto Dominion Bank, will be attending his fourth Bilderberg conference this year in Ottawa.

He also attended last year’s conference in Munich, Germany, when he held the position of Canadian ambassador to the United States. That time, the public picked up his $9,813 travel tab, an expense that is recorded on the Department of Foreign Affairs website and that was pre-approved by both the ethics commissioner and the department, Mr. McKenna said.

He said he received an invitation to fly over privately, but had to decline due to ethics rules.

Mr. McKenna said that as a result of his attendance at the 2005 conference he received an invitation to the White House, as well as several invitations to meet with senators and members of the legislature.

“I found in Washington, because you’re exposed to cabinet secretaries who would be there, senators or members of the business community, that it led to many opportunities to widen the network of contacts,” he said.

“It became very useful to the work I did as an ambassador.”

Far from drawing up plots to govern the world, Mr. McKenna said that people attend the Bilderberg conferences simply to discuss the timely issues of the day — including issues surrounding the European Union, the World Trade Organization, and the Middle East.

“It’s an opportunity for people from Europe and America to be stimulated by discussions, almost invariably surrounding foreign policy,” he said.
“There’s no resolution, it’s simply a matter of thought-provoking discussion.”

Couple of comments:

1. How come we haven’t seen any McKenna influenced deals since his departure? Some enterprising Premier should suck it up and ask for McKenna’s help. What’ya bet that’ll never happen?

2. As for Alabama East, gosh, I hate it when people don’t do their research.