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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 15, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta Manitoba forest complex embarrassing Tuesday, October 18, 1974 THE LETHBBIDQE HERALD S By Fred Cleverly, Herald special commentator WINNIPEG There are many Manitobans'who believe provincial Liberal leader I. H. Asper is right in calling the publication of a report on a northern forestry complex as "the blackest day in Manitoba's political history." Besides telling Manitoba tax- payers they have about million less in assets at the complex than they paid for, the report will certainly cast serious doubts about the behavior of nearly all politi- cians involved in the project. Mr. Asper is able to call the report devastating, and dis- appointing because his party is the only one in Manitoba politics to escape criticism, simply because the Liberals were not in power when the project was started under the Conservative leadership of Duff Roblin in 1966, or when it was continued by NDP Premier Ed Schreyer from 1969 onwards. A three-man commission of inquiry, headed by former Chief Justice C. Rhodes Smith, took three years and spent more than million- compiling the page in- dictment of politicians, bureaucrats, consultants, auditors and accountants. The report- reveals an incredible sequence of events that resulted in what the com- mission describes as a payout of more than million in ex- cess fees to companies controlled by Alexander Kasser, an American in- dustrialist who began building the complex with public money. Mr. Kasser, two Swiss nationals and three Americans have been charged with fraud and theft in connection with the complex, but Premier Schreyer says the chances of their being brought to trial are slight. The complex, put into receivership in 1972 by the provincial government, is now being operated as a Crown corporation. While the consultants and accountants may lick the wounds inflicted by the report, it will be the politicians, and their credi- bility that will suffer most. Take the "blackest statement by Mr. Asper as ah example. He had deliberately paraphrased a statement by Premier Schreyer, in Novem- ber, 1969, when the Premier called the complex and its de- velopment "the blackest day in Manitoba's economic history." Manitobans will have to judge how much politics went into the Premier's statement at that time, considering that when it was made some million had been advanced to help build the complex. After making the statement, the Premier allowed another million to be advanced before Berry's World putting the complex into receivership, and an ad- ditional million after receivership. All of which accounted for the expenditure of million on a complex whose assets are currently valued at less than million. Politicians were less than candid concerning the com- plex from the day that the initial agreement was signed by Premier Roblin with the Swiss firm of Monoca-AG in 1966. The public announce- ment at the time described the Swiss firm as a "private Swiss finance and trust cor- poration." Manitoba's minister of in- dustry, Gurney Evans, said at the time he did not know whether the Manitoba development fund had extend- ed a loan to Monoca, but said the company would be eligible. While Mr. Evans was probably correct in saying he did not know if a loan had been made, the report points out that as one of the four cabinet members privy to the negotiations, he knew that such a loan was vital to the project, and that for the first. million advanced, the agreement called for the public share to be 86 per cent. When the loan agreement between the Manitoba development fund and Monaco AG was tabled in the legislature, no effort was made to point out that the whole project depended on the loan. While Mr. Evans said in the legislature the govern- ment had given no undertak- ing to guarantee the funds, evidence from directors of the MDF indicated they were un- der the impression they were loaning money on the direct orders of the government. Among the strongest critics of the deal was a New Democratic Party member, Saul Cherniak, who was to become finance minister for Premier Schreyer Mr. Cher- niak said he suspected that Book Review much of the funding of the pro- ject would come from public taxes. Mr. Evans, who had been on the cabinet negotiating com- mittee, and who, since the re- port became public, has de- clined comment on the grounds that he is now a private citizen, told the legislature "Monoca have their own financial resources and as far as I am aware they have made no arrangements with the development fund." Later, when Mr. Cherniak discovered that million had been loaned to Monoca, through Churchill Forest In- dustries, Premier Roblin said he wasn't aware of the loan, and would not make public any agreement between the MDF and one of its borrowers. During the election that pre- ceded his first administration, Premier Schreyer talked of launching an investigation into the complex, an idea he dropped as soon as he took of- fice. Premier Schreyer later claimed to have negotiated major changes in the agree- ment so that the ratio of private to public input would be increased. The commission report suggested the Premier must have misunderstood what had taken place at the meeting between himself and the. principals of Monoca, because in fact no change took place. By January, 1970, so many questions were being raised about the complex, and the fact that public contributions had risen to million, that the matter was hotly debated on several occasions. Throughout this period, Premier Schreyer consistent- ly refuted suggestions that there was anything wrong, and as late as December the premier dismissed as 'mis- chief" suggestions by Liberal leader I. H. Asper that the project was "on the brink of exploding." Less than a month later the government seized the com- plex, and placed it in bankruptcy, subsequently ap- pointing a commission of in- quiry to determine what went wrong. The commission report points out that among the ma- jor failures happened to be the politicians' disregard of can- dor in their statements. One of the biggest lessons to be learn- ed was suggested as "never lend money to strangers, par- ticularly those who won't give you their names and addresses." BUt Mr. Asper appears to be right when he says the report will haunt Manitoba politicians for many years to come. Although loans from the Manitoba Development Corporation (changed from the MDF by the Schreyer government) are supposed to be public, the practice has long been to conceal them as long as possible through the use of quarterly reports which are often late, and through the stand taken by the present minister responsible, Sidney Green, that he is not responsi- ble for the day-to-day opera- tion of the corporation. This position has resulted in the un- announced resignations of five of the top executives of the government's bus plant, which were laboriously un- earthed by the news media. And the report will haunt Premier Schreyer in his pre- sent statements that the forestry complex is on its way to becoming a viable operation, with employees and a profit pic- ture that within two years should see the beginning of debt repayment. The latest statements will have to be compared to the "blackest and subse- quent statements of praise of the complex issued by the same politician. In short, the report may make it difficult for Manitobans to believe their political leaders. Sport's broadcasters book "Have you tried a Ouija board to get some answers about the economy, "My Wide World" by Jim Jim McKay's 12 year McKay (Collier Macmillan tenure with ABC's Wide World Canada Ltd. 272 of Sports has proven one im- Now! A yard wheel loader... the Cat 910. If a cubic yard bucket is the size you need for your job, get the Caterpillar quality features in the Cat 910 working for you. Check it out! 65FWHP. 13.400 Ib. operating weight. Articulated 1 cubic yard bucket Full power-shift transmission. Sealed linkage. Caliper disc brakes. AVAILABLE OPTIONS: Four-wheel caliper disc brakes. ROPS cab. General Purpose Bucket is all welded with straight-through cutting edge design and bottom and side wear plates. 1 cubic yard. Multi-Purpose Bucket loading, dozing, scraping and backfilling. 1 cubic yard clamp design. Bucket Teeth bolt on for easy replacement. R. ANGUS GENERAL OFFICE: P.O. BOX 2405. 16900 107 AVENUE. EDMONTON, ALBERTA TS4 2S1 PHONE 484-0601 ALBERTA LIMITED Nme Operations servicing Alberta ana 3he NoritmesJ portant facet in the man's character, he is a professional. And this book is as sincere, personable and professional as the TV image projected into millions of homes each weekend. When he writes of dynamic little Olga Korbut, of her triumphs and her dejections, he comes through with as much emotion as he did during the memorable live TV broad- casts of the Munich Olympics. His off the cuff remarks, his intimate moments with the superstars of sport, his reminiscing of past shows and his sombre reflections make this book a must for every sports fan. Viewers of the Munich Olympics will recall the tragic slaughter of the Israeli athletes and McKay's award winning reporting of these events to the world. McKay captures that drama again in this writing and adds some behind the scenes reflec- tions, often bitterly sad, oc- casionally ironically out of place with their lightness. Despite the political jostling, the shafting of various athletes and the tragedies of this past Olympics, McKay echoes the words of many Olympic athletes, among them Jay Sylvester and Mike Burton, when he defends the Olympic Games as a necessary part of today's society. Politics is not visible in the faces of the athletes, and the opening parade cannot reflect a perfect world when one does not exist What we are watching does not show now things are. but bow they might be one day. The Olym- pics are more hope than history." Not only has Jim McKay succeeded as a broadcaster but he is now a top flight writer. If you like him on the screen, then this book is es- pecially for yon. GARRY ALLISON The fish are still laughing By Eva Brewster, freelance writer "On average, it takes 20 hours of fishing to land a says a lady sharing my rock as she expertly casts her line far into the lake. Almost immediately, her red rubber ball float begins to bob up and down and dis- appears under the water. While she calmly winds back her reel, I lose my footing in the excitement of watching; and while she plays in her line and a large rainbow trout slashes around in the water, I graze my skin, get winded, suffer unnoticed in silence and am as hooked on fishing as the poor fish is at the end of that rod. Now begins my slow initiation in an art that requires endless patience. A day that starts with a clumsy, painful fall over your own feet is bound to continue with a certain humility, dragging in its wake doubts, error and possibly defeat. To observe my instructress hook a live grasshopper-bait through its soft yellow belly all but puts me off fishing for good. "Don't grasshoppers feel I ask my husband who, as a veterinarian, must know the nervous system of every creature in the animal kingdom. he says firmly, "the grasshopper simply has built in reflexes that enable him to escape danger." "Aha, you ad- mit then he knows fear and that, I remember from experience, can be worse than physical hurt." "No, just a safety mechanism no fear, no pain." Yet, doubts remain. Does God from his height look down on humanity with a similar detached view? That would expbin a lot of suffering on earth. Anyway, no grasshopper for me. Earthworm is the bait I settle for. The worm, after all, can be ac- cidentally cut and both parts riggle happily away in different directions, an indication he doesn't mind too much if you use part of him to lure fish. Once this moral quandary is solved, the new fisherwoman confidently casts her line to soar over the still water, her eyes searching the horizon for her float, just to dis- cover that it plopped down only a few mis- erable yards away under her feet. What went wrong? "Lots of little the instructress advises patiently. "Your float is too light, the reel isn't full enough and you were leaning in the wrong direction to effec- tively cast your line." Persistent as always, I try to get over my short comings and all but throw myself in head first in an effort to lean more effec- tively while casting my bait. With angelic patience, my teacher continues to straighten out my tangled line, to free my hook caught under rocks and to rejoice over little fish "nibbling" at my worm. At the same time, she nonchalantly lands trout after trout in all sizes from pan fry to eight pounders while our husbands are indulging the whims of liberated women, their stomachs rumbling in expectation of breakfast, lunch and dinner we never got round to cooking, baby sitting our dogs and sharing a frustrated fisherman's joke over a glass of beer. At the end of the day, I haven't caught a fish but certainly a cold, a badly grazed leg and soaking clothes. Apparently it rained while we had our eyes fixed on that little red float and we never noticed. Well, tomorrow is another day, 20 hours aren't up yet. By the law of averages and with a new reel, a heav- ier float and a net to bag all the fish I haven't yet caught, I'm almost honor-bound to fill our freezer. Trout will then brighten our winter meals with memories of summer holidays. Yet, at the moment it seems more likely we'll be talking of all the big fish that got away. To be truthful, I really like to sit on sun baked (or rain soaked) rocks and listen to all the fish in that huge lake laughing at me. If they can cleverly avoid my bait and hook, they deserve their life and freedom. Who says a woman can't be a sport? Dismaying ruling From the Calgary Herald People in recreation and rural areas everywhere in Canada will be dismayed by the Supreme Court of Canada's decision holding a property owner liable for injuries sustained by a trespassing snowmobiler. In a narrowly split 5-to-4 decision, the nation's highest court ordered Kerr Addison Mines Ltd. to pay to a snowmobiler who was injured in 1970 while riding his machine on a road owned and maintained by the company. The man was injured when he struck his head on a steel pipe placed across the road. It had been there for twenty years and was designed to keep unauthorized traffic away from a company powder magazine. According to news reports of the judg- ment, the court adopted the doctrine that the property owner is liable if he has reason to believe that trespassing is occuring and has failed to. post notices of hazards. The im- plications of this ruling are serious enough for enterprises like Kerr Addison, but at least a business enterprise can charge the costs of signs and higher fences to business expenses. Perplexed and frightened by this decision will be literally tens of thousands of cottage owners and farmers, who detest the incursion of snowmobilers but who simply haven't found a way of stopping them. The marauders will cheerfully knock down fences or open gates. The cottager or fanner doesn't want them there. He takes reasonable efforts to Book reviews prevent them from being there. Yet, ac- cording to the doctrine of court, they know they will be there. Thus, in addition to having their property trampled on and violated by one of the most thoughtless and objectionable breeds of trespassers yet developed by modern in- dustrial society, the person being sinned against runs the risk of incurring a legal liability for the safety of the violator. How does the homeowner know what the court will identify as a hazard that should have been identified as such for night time prowlers? Now people in danger of snowmobile trespassers may legitimately wonder if they have to supply road signs and corridors for detestable interlopers. The case had an interesting legal history. It succeeded at the Ontario Supreme Court level, was thrown out by the Ontario Court of Appeals, and then squeaked back into successful standing by the close 5-to-4 vote by the Supreme Court of Canada. Under the circumstances, provincial governments like Alberta may have to take a long and careful look at their own laws of trespass to see if a bit of legislative rewording won't eliminate the probable effect on small property holders of a judg- ment that appears to protect the guilty at the expense of the innocent. Decision making society "The Bohemian Grove and other Retreats" by G. William Domboff (Harper Row Publishers, 258 pages, distributed by Fitzhenry and Saint John of Nepomuck, a 13th century priest of Bohemia (Czechoslovakia) was known for his integrity, he uncompromisingly gave his life for it He would turn in his grave knowing that he has become the patron saint of a club whose members rule with much cynicism and shape arbitrarily the future of the U.S. and to a considerable extent that of the Western world. The club is the Bohemian Grove, its members are the most powerful men in the U.S. It costs merely to join, the monthly fee is Membership, which is restricted, can only be obtained by invitation and at least two members must vouch for the applicant's character and quality. A Bohemian can invite a guest and most rare combinations explain some unusual decisions; as the one of Walter J. Hickel (at the time U.S. secretary of the interior) after he was a guest of Fred L. Hartley (president of Union Oil, the company that was responsible for the Santa Barbara oil The club also supplies the nucleus of government appointed commissions as well as government officials and advisers. It also raises funds for presidential campaigns. A 25- page appendix that lists prominent members includes the most powerful men in business and politics. William Domboff presents an interesting study of the American class system (that everyone tries so much to his book is a testimony of bow little the average citizen really figures in daily decision making; how completely yet unwittingly he is dominated by a small percentage of apparently benevolent pillars of society. HANS SCHAUFL Modern identity seeking Of course I'm driving with the hand-brake take chances, vou know. "The Homeless MM: ModeraiutioB nd CoBscfonaess" by Peter Berger, BrigJtte Berger aad Hanfried Kettier (Raadon Hone, Vurtaf e paperback, 258 pages) Technological production and Bureaucracy are key phenomena of modernity. They tend to produce a dichotomization of private and public spheres for the individual who then finds that he is subject to the influence of a plurality of life-worlds. The result is a dif- ficulty hi finding identity, of being "at Old religions which once provided certainty amid the exigencies of human existence now suffer from plausibility and people feel homeless in the cosmos. This is probably why so many are conversion-prone to whatever cults and creeds come along. A most interesting reaction to moderniza- tion is found in the youth culture, where an attempt at dentodemization is made. Al! that is characteristic of modernity is rejected: standardization, living in the time of the dock and the calendar, multi-relauonality and so on. Bat, as the authors say, "the irony of the youth culture is that everyone is sup- posed to 'do his own thing' in dyamk disorder with the result that almost everyone seems to be doing the same things." In fact, the dis- senters survive as a result of subsidies, direct or indirect, from the "straight" society which they claim to reject The authors confess to a "cognitive ner- vousness" a humbleness or skepticalness about their analysis of modernity. I would like to plead the same attitude for my attempt at giving some idea of the contents of their book. The argument is heavy going at times. I missed the spritdiness of style employed by Peter Berger in his several books on the sociology of religion. DOUG WALKER ;