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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 18, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta Cattlemen view Paletta as a 'man of mystery' By TERRY McDONALD Herald Staff Writer Fourth of a wriei Copyright 1974 A number of cattlemen and meat packers in this province and in The East view Larry Paletta, the man who wants to build a meat packing plant in Fort Macleod, as a man of mystery. That image is built on stories that have circulated about the flamboyant 33 year old packer about bombings at a Paletta plant in Burlington, Ont., and about his rise in the meat packing industry while defying a general economic commandment of the business. It is further fueled by the reputation of Mr. Palette's base of operations, Montreal. Suspicions, throughout the industry and law enforcement agencies, are that the city's meat trade is heavily influenced by organized crime. As Bert Margrave, Medicine Hat Conservative MP and well known district cattle producer, told The Herald: "I've heard enough that I think there is a connection between the so-called Mafia in the city of Montreal or in Canada and the packing in- dustry I'm sure there is some truth to these rumors." Many sources in the cattle and meat packing industries questioned by The Herald dur- ing the course of a 2Vfe-month investigation echoed Mr. Hargrave's opinion, but they insisted on remaining anonymous. One prominent Southern Alberta cattleman who believes stories associating Mr. Paletta with Willie Obront, identified in Quebec Police Commission hearings as an underworld financier, tells of the time he changed hotels in Montreal after Paletta called and wanted to discuss business. "I don't even want to talk to the guy, although he likely doesn't know it." LARRY PALETTA Travels to Calgary Interviewed at his office, the cattleman said he wouldn't do business with Mr. Paletta. Once, when the packer visited his place of business, the cattleman told him he had no cattle for sale which was not true. "I had cattle, but not for he said. Mr. Paletta flies to Calgary two or three times each month to buy cattle which are shipped back to Palmont Packers Ltd., his packing house in Montreal. Authorities at the stockyards call him "a major factor in the market here" and he buys several hundred thousand dollars of cattle at a time. By shipping live cattle to Montreal he has in the last year defied a major trend in the meat packing industry that it is much more economical to ship beef carcasses or processed meat than live animals. The major packers in Canada and in the United States, therefore, build plants near the cattle, kill the cattle, and ship beef to market. When Canada Packers Ltd. in July of 1963 shut down a plant in Montreal because its basic reasons for being custom kill- ing of animals for customers and slaughtering the company's Quebec purchased animals were becoming uneconomical, the company didn't entertain the thought of shipping cattle from the west. It just closed the plant. "In general we do think it makes better economic sense to slaughter the cattle west and ship the carcasses east. We con- tinue to think a CP spokesman in Toronto told The Herald. The economics of the shipping situation are not simple. They revolve around two things. First, that a live animal when shipped from Calgary to Montreal loses from five to 10 per cent of its body weight en route Second, a dressed carcass from a typical pound top grade steer will weigh only 570 pounds. The other 430 pounds is composed of 90 pounds of edible byproducts, 70 pounds of hide, and 270 pounds of inedible byproducts and animal waste, according to figures provided by the Meat Packers Council of Canada. The percentage of dressed carcass yield on live animals is further eroded somewhat by bumping and damage during tran- sit. CP Rail says it costs about to ship pounds of carcasses from Calgary to Montreal aboard refrigerated cars. It costs to ship a double-decker cattle car carrying about pounds of cattle. But a pound carload of beef that left Calgary arrives in Montreal weighing only about pounds, allowing seven per cent weight loss. Must have market Then only 57 per cent of that pounds becomes car- casses, and the packer therefore must have a market for all the byproducts that makes up the 43 per cent if he is to have a chance to make the shipment economical, says Keith Leckie, executive director of the Meat Packers Council of Canada. For a packer like Palmont of Montreal which buys mostly low grade cows and bulls, the dressed weight ratio dips, and a larger proportion up to 46 or 47 per cent of the animal yields edible and inedible byproducts for which the return is, of course, drastically lower than for dressed car- casses. Several packing industry spokesman explained how a packer shipping live cattle, as Mr. Paletta does, would be in a distinct economic disadvantage. They say it would be very difficult for a packer to make up for his shipping losses by plant efficiency or sales techniques, although they would not rule out the possibility existed. Toronto Canada Packers officials confirm that Mr. Paletta recently hired three Montreal based CP sales personnel, at salaries the CP man said "We just couldn't touch." One well known cattleman told The Herald: "I don't know how the hell he does it. The prices he pays for cattle, the loss he must take on the shipping, the salaries he can afford to pay these new sales people I just don't know." And now, adding more fuel to the mystery is the proposal to build the Fort Macleod meat packing plant. Meat packing plants are extremely labor intensive in- dustries requiring great outlays of money to build and establish and a constant source of money to operate. The questions circulating in the industry are: "Where will he get his labor when skilled persons needed for packing plants are scarce in "How can he finance such a large Mr. Paletta has consistently refused Herald requests for interviews concerning his background and business operations. How would another packing house, such as the one Palmont proposes for Fort Macleod, affect the packing and cattle in- dustries? The consensus seems to be that cattle producers would benefit. Cattlemen: Continued on Page 3 The Uthbtukje Herald LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 18, 1974 15 Cents STEVE MAKOHONIUK AND FRIENDS "Pass man had 52 dogs 'All I wanted was to live in peace with my friends9 By VERN DECOUX Herald Crowsnest Pass Bureau COLEMAN The boys at the mine used to call him "Scruffy so he gradually shut himself away from the rest of this Crowsnest Pass town 90 miles west of Lethbridge. For a number of years, isolated in a small frame house in East Coleman, Steve Makohoniuk devoted his energies to manufacturing furniture from junked oar bodies. "Some of it was damned says Second World War buddy Al Krywolt, an in- surance agent here, and the legion's liaison service of- ficer. Then six or seven years ago, Mr. Makohoniuk turned to dogs as his only real friends. Last week, Mr. Makohoniuk and most of his dogs were separated. The Edmonton SPCA did its best to find homes for the 52 pets it removed from the home, says shelter supervisor Peggy Palmer. But only two or three were adopted and the remainder were destroyed. Mr. Makohoniuk, 53, kept six of his friends. None of the animals have AN EDITORIAL ever been outside his small house to run or relieve themselves. "We're sorry about the old boy's dogs, but you can't work miracles Mrs Palmer said in a telephone interview today. They were undernourished and suffered from eye infec- tions and diarrhea. Archie Bruce, SPCA superintendent, removed the dogs by truck last Thursday. He said the inbred animals were presented in as favorable a light as possible to prospective pet owners. A number of healthier dogs were destroyed to make room for the sudden influx as well, he said. But people still chose the healthier animals for pets. "All I want is a place away from society where I can live at peace with my Mr. Makohoniuk said in an inter- view. "I had to keep the dogs in the house and couldn't let them out to play because they would bother people. "The thing got out of hand because I had a female dog that had a litter of pups, then another litter and another and then I just had 50 dogs that I loved." Mr. Makohoniuk's last con- tact with Coleman's everyday life was reluctantly cut not long ago by the owners of Kropinak's General Store. "We had to tell him we would send a boy to take his order and then deliver it. The girls in the store just couldn't stand the Albert Kropinak said today. "It was very sad." Mr. Makohoniuk spent vir- tually his entire a month veterans' pension at the store on 25 pound bags of dry dog food and cases of canned dog food "I don't know what he Mr. Kropinak said. "He only bought a few loaves of bread." "I have destroyed my home and my property looking after the Mr. Makohoniuk said. "But I still love them. "I know it's not right for me to have 50 dogs but that's not the point. "The point is I'm a human being and have a right to live how I want. We're supposed to be civilized and understanding but I wonder." Then Mr. Makohoniuk, tears running down his whiskered cheeks, turned and walked back into his house. NDP may stall MPs' pay bill OTTAWA (CP) The 50- percent pay increase that most MPs and Senators had hoped to vote themselves by Cnirstmas appears to be slip- ping from their grasp, tem- porarily. A bill to authorize the in- crease ran into two roadblocks Tuesday, making it doubtful of passage before MPs and senators go home Friday for an expected one- month recess. The New Democratic Party was responsible for both delays, announcing that it would block the increase at every stage of passage and then forcing an early Com- mons adjournment because not enough members were in the House. House technicalities pre- vent the bill from being pass- ed without unanimous consent before Saturday. Ed Broadbent, NDP parlia- mentary leader, said follow- ing a morning caucus that all 16 NDP members are opposed to the increase Their opposition will pre- vent approval this week but cannot hold up- the bill indefinitely, he said. Mr. Broadbent has said he will accept the increase and a number of NDP members have said privately they want it, even though the party is officially opposed. If approved, the bill will raise the total pay of MPs, including tax-free allowances, to annually from Senate salaries and allowances would go to annually from The surprise afternoon ad- journment came when Arnold Peters noted that fewer than the re- quired minimum of 20 MPs were present. Seventeen of the 264 MPs were on hand. The adjournment prevented two hours of evening debate on the salary bill and killed an informal agreement to dis- pose quickly of an NDP amendment that would stop the increase and leave the issue for an independent com- mission to decide. The NDP amendment is considered certain to be defeated but the delay in bringing it to a vote made it unlikely that the bill will pass before Friday. The government has said the pay increase only is about sixper-cent-a-year calculated from the last boost in 1970 to the next, expected in 1978. If approved, the bill would add million to the current million annual cost of paying the country's 264 MPs and 93 senators. There are 102 Senate seats but nine are vacant. STRIKE HAL TS MAIL TORONTO (CP) About Christmas parcels ready for delivery in Metropolitan Toronto were left in storage this morning after about 20 post office employees set up picket lines at five locations in the city. The workers, most of them vehicle mechanics, are members of the general labor and trades section of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. The union is negotiating in Ottawa for a new contract. The previous agreement expired Ncv 24. Israelis trade raids with Arabs THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Israeli and Arab raiders crisscrossed the Lebanese border early today. The Israeli command said its troops blew up six houses in southern Lebanon and took two Arab prisoners, while Arabs infiltrated a kibbutz and set off half a dozen grenades. In Lebanon the Israeli cuin- mandos crossed the border by helicopter at 2-30 a.m. and at- tacked the village of Majdel Zoun, six miles from the fron- Seen and heard About town City police Const. Jim McKay saying he shaved off his mustache because someone told him he looked like Inspector Bill West County of Lethbridge Coun. Jim Nicol asking planner Code Clements where the planning commission was when they built that "tomb in the coulee that's called U of L" tier. The defence ministry said they blew up six houses, kidnapped four villagers and fled before a Lebanese patrol arrived Less than three hours after the Israeli raid, a band of Arabs slipped past guards at the Haruta kibbutz, threw half a dozen grenades at a bmise and escaped back into Lebanon, the Israeli com- mand said The kibbutz is four miles from the border No casualties were reported. The command had reported first that Hanita was hit by rockets fired from across the border. Salmonella found OTTAWA (CP) Poisonous salmonella organisms have been found in a number of hamburger samples checked recently by the health department, Health Minister Marc Lalonde said Tuesday. As a result, the government plans to step up its hamburger inspection program 'Did the Wilsons send us a card last Inside 56 Pages Classified 28-32 Comics 26 Comment 4 13-15 Family 33-35 Markets 27 Sports 21-23 Theatres.....19 TV 18 Weather..... 3 LOW TONIGHT 20; HIGH THURS. 45, SUNNY, MILD. How you can give hope to a child The news out of Bangladesh, on television, radio and in print, continues to be painful. Literally millions are starving. It would be so much more comfortable not to know about it. But Herald readers do know about it. They know that the over crowded young country was starv- ing at birth, that it has almost no industry, that floods and storms have destroyed vast areas of rice land and left millions homeless. They also know that the Unitarian Service Com- mittee of Canada has excellent contacts there, 'he most trustworthy local distribution agents. They know that the effort of the USC won't solve the problem that for every child kept alive by milk from Canada 20 or 100 will die. They know that except, possibly, for some oil sheikdoms, no place on earth is better equipped to give a helping hand than Southern Alberta. They know that there's plenty of money around here. They are reminded that will buy as much milk this year as the they gave a year go bought. So is their target this year. If more than that is contributed, it will all be spent as carefully and helpfully. Who will get the milk? Nameless, helpless, hopeless children. And because there isn't enough for the other 19, Herald readers cannot say to the 20th, "it wouldn't be fair to help you when we can't help the others." The Cup of Milk Fund fits in with Christmas, because it is an act of giving. The milk goes to and Christmas belongs to children. Some of the more fortunate babies are born in mangers. They don't ask for gold, or frankincence or myrrh. Milk they need most of all, and the feeling that somebody far off in Canada cares. We know Southern Albertans care. They always have. They will again this year. Cleo Mowers, Publisher IX9W1 USC MILK THEIR ONLY HOPE ;