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This day in history: Jan. 8, 1975

Premier Barrett looks to salvage winter drilling B.C.
Fort St. John Mayor Peter Frankiw was the centre of attention at the city's inaugural ball in 1975, delighting the crowd by shedding his politician's garb and showing off his musical talents.

Premier Barrett looks to salvage winter drilling

B.C. Premier Dave Barrett made an urgent appeal for a meeting with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in a bid to resolve a resource revenue dispute that was strangling oil and gas drilling operations in the Peace, the Alaska Highway News reported on this day in 1975.

Exploration had dropped significantly since then-federal finance minister John Turner announced in late 1974 that Ottawa would seek a greater share of wealth from B.C. resources.

"My government believes that this problem can be resolved satisfactorily to the interest of the national and provincial governments," Barrett wrote in a telegram to Ottawa.

A proposal in the 1975 federal budget aimed to tax provincial natural gas producers as if they were receiving 57 cents per thousand cubic feet, far above the 23 to 33 cents they were receiving at the time from the BC Petroleum Association.

At the time, just 17 rigs were drilling, down from the 26 rigs drilling at the same time in 1974.


Oberle wants 33% pay hike

Former Peace Region MP Frank Oberle was defending the need for a 33 per cent pay hike on this day in 1975.

Oberle was earning $18,000 in salary at the time, including $6,000 in tax-free expenses, it was reported. However, Oberle said said he had been supplementing his yearly expense allowance by about $5,000.

"We need an increase. I make no apologies about it. I can't live on it," he told the News.

Oberle had also been receiving a $1,200 top up due to the size of his federal riding.

He said that limiting MP salaries risked turning parliament into a "very exclusive club" for those with wealth.

Oberle added the question of who was running the country was also at stake.

"There are 3,000 civil servants in Ottawa who make more than the MPs," he said. "Are we supposed to be running the country or are the mandarins? If we are the ones who are, then we should be treated as executives and paid executive salaries.


Coalition Coal eyes Chetwynd expansion

Coalition Mining Company was eyeing the expansion of its mining operations in the Sukunka area near Chetwynd.

"It's true to say the company has made an emotional decision to go ahead but the whole question of financing is still under discussion," a spokesperson told the News.

The company had been developing its colliery at the mine for the last number of years, putting it in a position to expand. Details of the timing and size of the expansion were not available.

The town of Chetwynd was reported to be in the dark as to how many additional workers would be needed, but the main requirement of the town would be more housing and recreational facilities, the News reported.

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