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Former B.C. Premier Bill Bennett holds a Bible as he swears to tell the truth prior to giving testimony at the B.C. Securities Commission hearing in Vancouver Tuesday into allegations of insider trading in Doman Industries stock.

Chuck Stoody/ The Canadian Press/Chuck Stoody/ The Canadian Press

15 YEARS AGO… (Aug. 28 – Sept. 3, 1996)

Former premier found guilty of insider trading

The B.C. Securities Commission this week found former B.C. premier Bill Bennett and his brother Russell guilty of insider trading during Oregon-based Louisiana-Pacific's unsuccessful attempt to take over Doman Industries eight years ago.

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In a long-awaited ruling, the BCSC concluded that Vancouver Island lumber baron Herb Doman tipped off the Bennett brothers just before Louisiana Pacific withdrew a bid to pay $12 a share for Mr. Doman's company early in November, 1988.

The Bennetts sold more than half a million shares in Doman Industries at $11 a share before the close of trading on Friday, Nov. 4, netting an estimated $2-million profit, the commission said. Doman shares reopened for trading the next Monday at $7.75.

The commission banned the former premier, his brother and Mr. Doman from trading in securities or from "being a director or officer of a public company" for 10 years.

The three men were acquitted of criminal charges in the case in 1989.

Flash forward: In 1999, after unsuccessfully appealing the ruling, the Bennetts and Mr. Doman agreed to abide by the BCSC's sanctions and pay more than $1-million to cover the cost of the investigation.

25 YEARS AGO… (Aug. 28 – Sept. 3, 1986)

Vander Zalm considers eliminating sales tax (PST)

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Premier Bill Vander Zalm said this week his government hopes to eliminate the province's sales tax, calling the 7-per-cent levy regressive and unfair because it "tends to take more from those who can least afford it."

"The whole of the sales tax system is one that I don't like," he told a Chamber of Commerce audience in Cranbrook.

In particular, Mr. Vander Zalm singled out the 7-per-cent tax on restaurant meals brought in under the previous Social Credit premier two years ago.

Mr. Vander Zalm, who named himself Finance Minister when he unveiled his first cabinet last month, is planning to open a large restaurant on his Fantasy Gardens property in Richmond.

Opposition Leader Bob Skelly said reducing the sales tax would put a further strain on government revenues, noting that the province already faces an $875-million deficit.

Don Bellamy, executive director of the Restaurant and Food Services Association of B.C., said "the "whole industry is pleased the tax may be abolished."

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Flash forward: Last year, Mr. Vander Zalm led a successful campaign against B.C.'s harmonized sales tax, triggering a referendum this summer in which 54 per cent of people voted to get rid of the HST.



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