The Toronto Star
BUSINESS, Saturday, June 1, 1996, p. E8
Bilderberg secrecy lid intact CIBC rails against luxury label on site
by John Deverell TORONTO STAR
The Bilderberg Conference of 120 world business and political leaders is unfolding in secrecy, just as they planned.
The only word to come out of the four-day event so far is that Al Flood, chairman of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, doesn't like to see the former King City Ranch beauty and fitness spa, now the CIBC's leadership centre, described as a luxury resort.
"The media are perpetrating a myth," a CIBC official complained to The Star yesterday.
The bank bought the former Koffler family property after it failed as a luxury spa and turned it into a staff training centre.
Conrad Black, this year's Bilderberg host, is a director of the CIBC and Flood is the only Canadian banker in attendance.
A conference official said the former resort where all participants are staying should be compared to "a modern working facility, not a 19th century hotel. It's not opulent or extravagant."
The elite group meets in plenary session between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. with breaks, the official said, "like a day-long conference or working meeting anywhere."
The dining room is operated buffet-style without table service. The food is "very good - the quality of a nice restaurant." Wine, liquor and other beverages are readily available, the official said.
Black has pointed out that the influential group doesn't adopt resolutions or take votes, but this doesn't prevent speculation about what it's up to.
The Spotlight, a right-wing populist newsweekly based in Washington, D.C., for example, claims that Bilderberg is part of a larger scheme to squelch nationalism in Europe and the United States, and establish a European superstate that will join an "American Union and Asia-Pacific Union."
An Internet site known as Conspiracy Nation offers this summary in one lengthy essay: "The role of the Bilderberg group is a one-world totalitarian, socialist government and economic system."
The essay goes on to allege initiation rites, such as spitting on a Christian cross, and how Bilderbergers ordered the assassination of former U.S. president John Kennedy because he found out about a plot involving drugs and space aliens.
Paul Fromm, a Mississauga teacher with affinities to the extremist right-wing Heritage Front, said yesterday that his Canadian Association for Free Expression and other groups plan to demonstrate at the conference site this afternoon.
"We're asking for openness," Fromm said. "We'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt, but our fear is that they are internationalists and free traders making plans.
"They are people with the power to make things happen, and as their plans become reality, Canadian sovereignty is likely to be compromised."
Star color photo (DAVID COOPER - p.E1) Heavy secrecy at VIP Central: An aerial view yesterday of CIBC's King City leadership centre, where world political and business leaders are meeting.
Subject(s) - The Toronto Star : Bilderberg Conference Ontario
Length: Medium, 382 words
Copyright © 1996 Toronto Star, All Rights Reserved.
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