It's likely the most exclusive gathering of powerful people in the world, and you've probably never heard of it.
The annual Bilderberg Meetings are underway this weekend in Austria, a gathering of 140 leading figures from Europe, the U.S. and Canada.
Behind closed doors, they'll discuss topics ranging from the threat of chemical weapons to the U.S. elections to artificial intelligence.
But not much more will ever be known about the conference, due to its secretive rules: No minutes are taken, no reports written, and participants are forbidden from revealing who said what.
The group's secrecy has made it a popular target of conspiracy theorists who believe the group is actually trying to orchestrate a sinister new world order. The group maintains that the privacy encourages freer discussion about big issues facing the world.
And there are just five Canadians on the guest list this year that will be privy to that discussion:
- Ed Clark, former president and CEO of TD Bank
- Andrew Coyne, National Post columnist
- David McKay, president and CEO of RBC
- Heather Munroe-Blum, chair of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and former principal of McGill University
- Heather Reisman, CEO of Indigo
They'll be attending along with PayPal billionaire Peter Thiel, Henry Kissinger and former CIA director David Petraeus. Other global elite invited include:
- Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands
- Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google
- Robert Zoellick, former president of the World Bank
- Heinz Fischer, president of Austria
- Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn
- Ursula von der Leyen, the German minister of defence
- Charles Michel, prime minister of Belgium
- Ben van Beurden, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell
- Mary Erdoes, CEO of JP Morgan Asset Management
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