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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - May 15, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta THE 1ETHBRIDGE HERAID Mom! y Me y THE SURPRISED LOOK Prime Minisler Trudeau and Ken Robinson, MP for Toronto- Lakeshore, bolh appear surprised by a question during a queslion-and-answer period at a suburban high school in Toronto. Many of the questions related to the current escalation of the Vietnam crisis. Undersea B.C. pipeline stirs political waters A (CP1 -The Hrilish Columbia Public Utili- ties Commission opens hearings today on proposed construction of a multi-million dollar un- dersea pipeline lo Vancouver Kl iiul that has already been damaged by political dynamite. The natural gas transmission project, which would connect Ihe island with existing pipe- lines in central B.C., is one of Ihe holiest potatoes that Pre- mier W. A. C. Dennett's Social rcdit government has ever had to juggle. The fate of Die entire project could be at stake during next- week's sessions before the three member PUC, u n d e r chairman J. F. K. English. Four companies and the B.C. Ilvdro and Power Authority [he crown owned agency that i slribulcs electricity a n d natural gas across B.C. will present briefs. Thirteen montlis ago, Pre- mier Bennett announced that the government had decided lo call for bids on (he long-await- ed pipeline. The controversy grew steadily into what Liber- al leader Pat McGeer calls "the political scandal of the decade." The premier's specifications called for bids on a northern route from Williams Lake in the interior to coastal Powell River north of Vancouver and undersea to Vancouver Island at Comox. There were five proposals. Mines minister Frank Richter announced Sept. "0, 11171, lhat a Vancouver company, Melaspi- nn Gas Pipeline Co. Ltd., had won cabinet approval with a bid of S103 million. j The opposition parties and Vancouver journalists discover- ed that one of the powers be- hind Ihe Malaspina bid was Daniel Ekman, a Vancouver public relations consultant who is a long-time friend of and former executive assistant to Premier Bennett. The battle was on. U re- sumed uiUi increasing ferocily Ihrough the rest of 1971 and into Ihis year's legislature session in a barrage of charges and counter charges centring on political patronage. !t was a fantastic kaleidos- cope of contradictory govern- ment policy statements, enrag- ed cabinet ministers, fist-shak- I ing opposition MLAs and a I who's who of the pipeline in- I dustry that went on and on. By the lime the details were out. two of Malaspina's three original directors had quit. The government backtracked and reopened the bidding. And Ihe names of more than 20 lop United Stales and Canadian corporations and their subsidi- aries had been dragged through the deal. In calling for bids April 29, 1971, Premier Bennett laid down strict ground rules and told in- terested companies to get their bids, along with "acceptable" performance bonds into the A trim-size Pontiac LcMans always has offered great value. Even before Pontiac dealers started 'summer'dealing. LeMans Hardlop Coupo. at dquipmtinl ilhtsirakHl is .if fixtrn cost. Don't lorgel to buckle up lor safely. government by July ot last year. The premier said (he pipe- line had lo be coiisLrudeil, owned, operated and maintain- ed hy a B.C. incorporated company so thai the transmis- sion facilities would he control- led to the greatest extend pos- sihle hy Canadian residents of this province. At least half the capital had lo IJG in Ihe form o[ shares, ownership of ivliich was re- stricted to Canadians, corpora- lio.is thai would be customers of the sj'slcm, and fi.C. Hydro. No individual or corporation would be allowed more than 10 per cent of the shares with the exception of Hydro, w h i c h would he allowed up lo 25 per cent. The other half of the capi- tal was to he raised ]jy hands or debentures subscribed only hy the shareholders. Mr. Bennett's carefully de- signed conditions went out the window one by one. At this poinl, Malasina did not exist. The company was registered in Victoria May 31, 1971, and three directors were named July 28: Dick Wilson, former mayor of Victoria, Al- lan McGavin of McGavin Toast- master of Vancouver and Dick of Vancouver, a partner in Kichardson Securi- ties. On Aug. 5, Premier Bennett announced that the deadline for bids bad been extended lo Sept. 15. Some of the bidders, he said, were having problems meeting the province's routing specifications. A'.ex Macdonald, New Demo- cratic Party MLA for Van- couver East, told a B.C. legis- lature sitting Feb. lo of this year that the Malaspina bid was worked out at a secret meeting here in early before Mr. Bennett invited the pipeline proposals. Mr. Macdonald, who led the Deposition attack on the pro- ject, identified the participants as: Mr. Ekman, Douglas Owen, former president of Westcoast Transmission Co. Ltd. and an unnamed "high ranking offi- cial of the pipeline and service division of Bechlcl a huge American firm operating in 35 countries. Malaspina, he charged, was fronting for Westcoast a n d B c c h t e I and Mr. Ekman through his connections with the government and Westcoast was overseeing the operation. Mr, Ekman is a mysterious figure in the annals of B.C.'s 20- year-old Social Credit admini- stration. A favorite in the Ben- nett's entourage, he is a Ire- qucnt travelling companion of the premier's and a sometimes speech writer for the Social Credit lender during election campaigns. A tormer newspaper man, Mr. Ekman became Mr. Ben- nett's exectutive assistant in 3059 after two years as head of Westcoast's public relation de- partment. He left the premier's office in 1961 and rejoined Westcoast as assistant lo presi- dent Frank McMahon. Mr. Ekmau rarely hits the public prints. But lie broke his silence briefly last week to give the Canadian Press a few de- fails of his in the Malas- pina affair. He confirmed that he was the man who organized Malaspina and its bid for the pipeline project. He said he worked for West- coast on a contractual basis as a consultant until March 31 of last year "when my conlract expired." And lie flatly denied inferences of. political patron- age. "ft's quits obvious that there was not any patronage involv- said Mr. Ekmaii. "If that were Ihe case, the PUC would not be scheduling hear- ings on the Malaspina applica- He said he was never a direc- tor of Malaspina and served as the new company's tant." Other than Ibis, Mr. Ekman declined to go into spe- cifics. "I don't want to appear unco- operative, but 1 jusl feel I can't make stntemenLs on the policies of the company." Mines minister Frank Rich- ler announced last Sept. Ill lhat five proposals had been receiv- ed. Malaspina, II. A. Simons Lid. of Vancouver and Colum- bia Natural Gas, n subsidiary of Trans Prairie Pipeline I.ld. of Edmonton all Mlbmillcd bids on the Premier's northern route. However. B.C. Hydro and Island Transmission Co. of Na- naimo based Iheir bids on a southern route through the greater Vancouver area. Eleven days lalcr Mr. Hicb- Icr announced lhat Ihe cabinet !iad decided in lavnr of Malas- nina and hrd "invited" I h e firm lo submit it.s spi'c'ficatinrs lo Ihe I1UC for approval so Ihal work could slait as soon as lo.ssihle. Mr. Ilichler said Iwo of the 'inns had failed In snbmil pi'r- "ormanop bonds and had I heir applicalmns rcjirlcd on that basis. One of Ihi'si: lurned out lo he B.C. Hydro, Ihe crown ai'.on- cy wll.li employees and million hi gross revenues list year. Mr. Whillall said in an inter- view Sept. 30 Ihal Malaspina had been incorporated will cquily, fewer lhan 20 employees and "no hidden part- ner." The company, ho said, had retained Canadian Uechlel lo handle Ihe engineering. [TV HIGHLIGHTS; MONDAY CRIME DRAMA: "The Monk. 7 p.m., Ch. A lough suspense tale involving an investigator in blackmail and murder. MATING: Water World, p.m., Ch. 7. Lloyd Bridges travels down the Tennessee River in a luxury houseboat with a look at the perils and pleasures of the inland waterways. SPECIAL: George Kirhy, p.m., Ch. 13. Comedian George Kirby heads an hour of comedy and music with spe- cial guests. DOCUMENTARY: Nalurn of Things, 10 p.m., Ch. 7. An underwaler exploration of the blue holes of Andros, a network of limestone caves in Ihe Bahamas. HISTORICAL: Man Alive, p.m., Ch. 7. A repeal of Ihe firsl of four historical interviews. The assassination o7 Thomas a Becket is tonight's feature. TUESDAY MOVIE DItAMA: 1 p.m., Ch. 7. A coura- geous girl risks her life to bring about reform in London's infamous home for the menially ill in Ihe 17lh century. MOVIE THRILLER: "Alomic 1 p.iii.. Ch. 13. A suspense yarn about the kidnapping of a nuclear physicist's son and the ransom demand is the atom bomb formula. ANGLO'S Radio TV Listings ire lined by the radio and ttlmriilon ifotloni. Any variation in program ii dirt to lad- minute changei by the itatlon gnd Ii not iht rtipon- ilblllty of Ihe Herald or Anglo Distributors Stereo and Photographic Centre. CHEC Roger Channon wilh Conlemporary Sporls Morley McGill wilh Contemporary News MONDAY NIGHT Dave King Barry Hegland Jack Ncwfeld MONDAY NIGHT Anuil.rr World Any Hung You Car KRTV Great Falls Channel 3 (Cablevision Ch. 9) MONDAY NIGHT f.-.m Merc's Lucy (c) LaufiH-ln (c) 7-30 DDTJ'S Day (c) :00 Movie- Tne Sev Today Show 'c Today in Mcni. Ccncenifrtlion i Snlr frnlury Squares (c) n Jeopardy (c) of Dr. Lao Who, Wli. (c 1 itif Show Giout Frills Chnnnol 5 (Cabtnvision Ch. 11) MONDAY NIGHT 7.00 C.inrnl nin.ih' fl 30 Ini 9.W rtu.lny 10 M r 10..10 A ft Whnrr Iho Hu.ul is ;