For conspiracy theorists, it doesn’t get much better than the Bilderberg conference (then again).
Roughly 140 or so members of the Western world’s power elite are gathered this weekend in a rural hotel in Hertfordshire, UK to discuss – well, that’s the rub. No one really knows what exactly gets discussed, or how the discussions influence the thinking of the world’s movers and shakers.
BBC characterizes the conference as “off-the-record discussions about megatrends and the major issues facing the world.”
Others with visions of a secret world order controlled by shadowy illuminati-types view the annual gatherings as a rare incidence of publicly viewable proof of an elite conspiracy to dominate global affairs and steer them toward their own advantage.
But the group, formed after Second World War between European and North American business and political leaders, has a website.
And on it, it lays out what this year’s talks will be about: “Can the US and Europe grow faster and create jobs,” is one topic. “How big data is changing almost everything” is another – a poignant subject to be sure.
It’s simply a gathering where politicians and business leaders can shed the interests of their parties and companies to explore ideas as human beings, the Web site suggests.
“Thanks to the private nature of the conference, the participants are not bound by the conventions of office or by pre-agreed positions. As such, they can take time to listen, reflect and gather insights.
“There is no detailed agenda, no resolutions are proposed, no votes are taken, and no policy statements are issued.”
Canadians on the list of attendees this year are some of the country’s most respected and public figures: Galen Weston, the executive chairman of Loblaws Cos. Ltd. Ed Clark, the chief of TD Bank Group. Saskatchwan premier Brad Wall and Frank McKenna, the chair of real-estate giant Brookfield Asset Management. Not exactly a shadowy sort.
Yet that’s perhaps what some find so maddening about Bilderberg meetings, which have drawn protestors and media attention – at a comfortable distance – for decades.
It’s at once all out in the open but completely shrouded in mystery. What’s your take – are the conspiracy theorists right about this being where an agenda is fixed by the elite? Or not.