June 20, 1961

AMENDMENT WITH RESPECT TO RATES ON RAPESEED

PC

Léon Balcer (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Leon Balcer (Minister of Transport) moved

the second reading of Bill No. C-lll, to amend1 the Railway Act.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I wonder whether the house would be agreeable to calling it one o'clock.

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PC

Jacques Flynn (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Is it agreed that I call it one o'clock?

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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

At one o'clock the house took recess.

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AFTER RECESS The house resumed at 2.30 p.m.


PC

Léon Balcer (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Balcer:

The purpose of this bill is to apply to rapeseed the railway freight rates applicable to flaxseed under the Crowsnest pass agreement. At the present time subsections 6 and 7 of section 328 of the Railway Act read as follows:

(6) Notwithstanding anything in subsection (5). rates on grain and flour shall, on and from the twenty-seventh day of June, 1925, be governed by the provisions of the agreement made pursuant to chapter 5 of the statutes of Canada 1897, but such rates shall apply to all such traffic moving from all points on all lines of railway west of Fort William to Fort William or Port Arthur over all lines now or hereafter constructed by any company subject to the jurisdiction of parliament.

(7) The board shall not excuse any charge of unjust discrimination, whether practised against shippers, consignees, or localities or of undue or unreasonable preference respecting rates on grain and flour governed by the provisions of chapter 5 of the statutes of Canada 1897 and by the agreement made or entered into pursuant thereto within the territory referred to in subsection (6) on the ground that such discrimination or preference is justified or required by the said act or by the agreement made or entered into pursuant thereto.

Those two subsections set out the principles of the Crowsnest pass freight rate legislation. As the house knows, these rates have been in existence since 1897. At that time rapeseed was not listed, and it was not considered a grain because it was practically unknown, or at any rate it was not grown on the prairies. However, at the present time rapeseed is an important oilseed grain in western Canada. If hon. members would look at the figures they will see that they are very impressive. In 1960, 550,000 acres were seeded to this crop in Saskatchewan, 170,000 acres in Alberta and 36,000 acres in Manitoba.

Under the provisions of subsections 6 and 7 of section 328 of the Railway Act the rates on grain and flour from points west of Fort William and Port Arthur to those ports and

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to the Pacific coast are required to be governed by the provisions of the Crowsnest pass agreement.

Rapeseed is recognized as a grain within the accepted definition of that term and is classified as a grain under the Canada Grain Act. It has not, however, been recognized as a grain for the purpose of freight rates pursuant to the Crowsnest pass agreement.

On June 10, 1960 the board of transport commissioners rejected an application to have rapeseed classified as a grain under the Crowsnest pass agreement, but the board did not question that rapeseed was, in fact, a grain. Its ruling was based on the fact that rape-seed was not grown as a grain in western Canada at the time the Crowsnest pass agreement was reached. The purpose of the present bill is not to place rapeseed within the terms of the Crowsnest pass agreement but to apply to rapeseed the same rates as are applicable to flaxseed under the Crownest pass agreement.

The amendment provided by the present bill will add a new subsection 8 to section 328 of the Railway Act to provide that the reference to "grain" in subsections 6 and 7 shall include rapeseed, and that the rates applicable to rapeseed shall not exceed those applicable to flaxseed.

I think the effect of this legislation will be to make the growing of rapeseed more attractive to the farmers of western Canada and provide them with the possibility of an interesting return for the rapeseed grown. The great advantage of this will be that rapeseed will take the place, to a greater extent, of other cereals grown on the prairies, and this will have a tendency to reduce the acreage of cereal grains whose disposal is now presenting a considerable problem. The provision and consumption of domestic oil and meal should also assist the Canadian economy in a general way by reducing the volume of imports from other countries. Another effect of this reduction of freight rates on rapeseed will be, I think, to make it possible for this cereal to be sold as animal feed at a price attractive enough to realize a good market for this product.

As a member coming from the province of Quebec I think I have extended my knowledge of the grain situation on the prairies, and I hope my friends from that region have not detected too many bad errors in what I have said. I know the whole situation will be extremely well explained by the hon. member for Humboldt-Melfort-Tisdale (Mr. Rapp), who has been carrying on a tremendous campaign for the recognition of the importance of this grain ever since he has been in this house. I know this conscientious member will discuss this matter at some length, and

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I should like to take the opportunity of congratulating him for his continuous backing of this important legislation. I think the farmers of Canada as a whole should be very proud in knowing that an hon. member who is wholeheartedly in support of a piece of legislation such as this can, by continuous effort, sell his idea to his colleagues in the house and accomplish the passage of that legislation, thereby rendering great service to the country and to his farmer friends on the prairie.

Mr. Speaker, I should also like to point out that later I will have one of my colleagues move an amendment to this bill adding the date upon which this legislation will come into effect. The intention of that amendment is to see that this measure will come into force on the 1st day of August, 1961, which is the beginning of the new crop year. This will give to our farmers in western Canada the opportunity of taking advantage of this piece of legislation.

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CCF

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Herridge:

Mr. Speaker, I should like to ask the minister a question in regard to a remark he made. The minister said rapeseed is used to feed animals, and I should like him to tell me what animals eat rapeseed.

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PC

Léon Balcer (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Balcer:

Mr. Speaker, I should like to explain to my hon. friend just what I meant. I received a letter regarding this matter from the edible oil division of the Saskatchewan wheat pool, which, as my hon. friend will know, operates a plant manufacturing products from rapeseed in the form of edible oils. These edible oils are used in the manufacture of animal feed because of the high content of protein which is extremely beneficial to beef cattle. This type of animal feed is manufactured for shipment to eastern Canada and British Columbia. The importance of rapeseed lies in the fact that it contains this extremely beneficial edible oil, and with the increase in consumption and sale of margarine in Canada, the increased production of rapeseed will add to the general economy through the lowering of our imports of this product.

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PC

Frank Exton Lennard

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lennard:

That was not so smart a question to ask after all.

(Translation):

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LIB

Samuel Boulanger

Liberal

Mr. Samuel Boulanger (Drummond-Ariha-baska):

Mr. Speaker, after the statement the Minister of Transport (Mr. Balcer) has just made, I only wish to add a few words in support of the bill now before us. In fact, we have always been in favour of a measure such as this, and we are pleased to support the request of the hon. member for Humboldt-Melfort (Mr. Rapp).

Ever since he came to this house, the hon. member has always advocated that freight rates applicable to flaxseed should also apply to rapeseed. We commend him for it and we can say that the tenacity he has shown in introducing this legislation has now produced concrete results.

In rising today to deal with this legislation, I should like to say that we endorse this measure because it will be particularly welcomed by Canadian farmers, and especially western farmers. It will contribute to increase the income of farmers and of rapeseed producers.

I should like to point out to the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Hamilton) in passing that we never opposed bills introduced in the house for the benefit of western farmers. In fact, I am taking part in this debate today to support the bill and to prove in a special way to the Minister of Agriculture, that we are never against bills which are profitable to the western farmers. Both the eastern and the western farmers are in need of measures which will protect their income and especially the family farm.

Those are the only remarks I wanted to make. I wish to congratulate the Minister of Transport for having introduced this bill which we wholeheartedly support.

(Text):

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Hazen Argue (Assiniboia):

Mr. Speaker, we are pleased that the government has seen fit to introduce this bill, but we think it is long overdue. We feel the result it will have will be equality of treatment, as far as freight rates are concerned, to the producers of rapeseed.

This subject is not new in this house but has been discussed by members of parliament on many occasions in recent years. The former member for Humboldt-Melfort, Mr. Alexander Bryson, pioneered in this field, as hon. members who were here at that time I am sure will recall. I remember that very often when Mr. Bryson raised questions in regard to rape in this house many hon. members snickered because they were not certain just what he was referring to. However, the question of rape or rapeseed has been raised in this house on many occasions, along with requests that freight rates be applied to rape-seed in the same manner as applied to other grain under the Crowsnest pass agreement.

The bill now before the house has been brought in following requisitions made by farm organizations of this country which have recognized the present injustice as well as the growing importance of rapeseed within the agriculture industry. I should also like to say that on many occasions the present member for Humboldt-Melfort-Tisdale-perhaps one day this riding will also include the

name of Wadena-has presented a good case for this kind of adjustment in the freight rate regarding rapeseed, and we are pleased at this time that the bill is being given support by all sides of the house. I also want to congratulate the minister on his wide knowledge of this subject and on the informative manner in which he handled the introduction of this bill, and particularly on his comprehensive answer to the question posed by the hon. member for Kootenay West.

During this session the minister has been extending his knowledge into many fields and we appreciate the comprehensiveness of his remarks when he pointed out so well that while this will be of particular benefit to the producers of western Canada, none the less it will be of national benefit as well. It will be a potential benefit to livestock feeders outside the prairie provinces. While it is a small contribution to the over-all problem, it should at least in a minor way reduce our great dependence on imports of commodities from the United States. Therefore on all counts it is a measure which should commend itself to the house at this time.

It is particularly gratifying to me, Mr. Speaker, since it runs against the propaganda directed against the Crowsnest rates in recent years. The enemies of the Crowsnest rates have been attempting to destroy them. Far from being successful, we have an indication today that parliament is going to reaffirm those rates by providing their necessary and justifiable extension to rapeseed. With the passage of this legislation not only the rapeseed producers but western producers generally will take satisfaction from the fact that parliament is reaffirming and strengthening the argument in favour of the Crowsnest rates.

I do not think it would be appropriate for me to have the complete text of my remarks consist of approbation and compliments. I think I should make some constructive suggestions to the minister. The question of rapeseed is very important in many parts of western Canada, including the constituency of the hon. member for Humboldt-Melfort-Tisdale. Maybe he could get those three communities to agree to use just the initials from now on; if we could do so we might shorten the duration of the session. This, of course, could apply to the names of a great many constituencies in the house.

Rapeseed is important in the hon. member's riding and in a great many other constituencies. In the important and well known constituency of Assiniboia, where there are producers as efficient as producers in other ridings, we are getting into the production of another grain that in the days ahead may have a real economic importance. I refer to

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the production of mustard seed. A great many farmers in that particular part of Saskatchewan sowed mustard this spring on a contract basis. Therefore it would be most appropriate if the minister would give the same kind of sympathetic consideration toward extending the rates to mustard seed that apply to rapeseed. I should think it would get the general approval of the house in the same way this bill is getting the approval of hon. members.

Western farmers have been advised to diversify their crops. They have never been short of advice, and they have never minded taking it so long as they could see some economic advantage in accepting it. The production of rapeseed will undoubtedly have increasing importance in the years ahead. I suggest that to further stimulate the diversification of crops on the prairies and to bring about equality of treatment in the freight rates applying to the various grains the minister should give consideration to the suggestion I make, so that the producers of mustard seed in my part of Canada will have the same well deserved advantages under the Crowsnest pass rates now to be enjoyed by the producers of rapeseed.

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PC

Reynold Rapp

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Reynold Rapp (Humboldi-Melforl-Tis-dale):

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted, and it gives me a great deal of pleasure, to support the proposed amendment to the Railway Act to apply to rapeseed the rates applicable to flaxseed by virtue of the Crowsnest pass agreement.

My first words should be to congratulate the Minister of Transport on bringing in this timely and very important bill so far as the western grain producers are concerned. I would also be remiss in my duties were I not anxious to give credit to those who have played such an important role in this historic event for our agricultural industry. I know only too well that had it not been for the keen interest of our Prime Minister in the welfare of agriculture and in particular his keen interest in the rapeseed producers, this legislation would never have come in. If it had not been for the hard working Minister of Agriculture, who has done everything possible to put agriculture on a sound economic basis, and if it had not been for the sympathetic understanding of the cabinet, this historic event would never have occurred.

Much credit must also go to my good friend the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Baldwin). This learned gentleman, together with the hon. member for Bow River (Mr. Wool-liams), so ably presented the rapeseed case before the board of transport commissioners it is my belief that this actually laid the foundation for having rapeseed classified by

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the board of transport commissioners as a grain. The decision of the board was unanimous. All these contributions were really important and instrumental in bringing in this bill. I would be remiss if I did not mention also the members from the three western provinces who appeared before the board of transport commissioners as witnesses and were anxious to take the witness stand and give evidence to the effect that rapeseed is a grain.

This is the day for which the rapeseed producers have been waiting for 18 years. This is the day when justice has been rendered after a long and relentless struggle by the western farmers to bring rapeseed under the Crowsnest pass agreement. This is the day when the name of John G. Diefenbaker will be inscribed in the hearts of the western farmers. Whatever else will be said, credit must go to the Prime Minister and the members of the treasury benches because they were the ones who brought about this legislation.

Let me also say, Mr. Speaker, that I would be less than fair were I not also to give credit to the opposition. Ever since I have had the opportunity of speaking in this house as a member of parliament on behalf of the rapeseed producers, of whom I have many in my constituency, the opposition have always supported me wholeheartedly in my presentations and have given me much appreciated assistance. They never disappointed me in this respect.

It would appear as though I knew this in advance, because if one refers to my maiden speech in this house on May 26, 1958 one finds that I expressed the following opinion of the opposition. Let me quote what I said at that time. After congratulating the Prime Minister on his overwhelming victory I said as recorded on page 477 of Hansard:

My heartiest congratulations go also to the ministers of the cabinet, to members of our party both senior and junior, and to all hon. members of either parties, too, who are here to serve Canada in whatever capacity they may be called upon to do so. We who are conscious of the merits of our democratic system will appreciate very much their constructive contributions so that we can all serve the Canadian people in this parliament to the best of our ability.

It has been very gratifying to me to find that the opposition has not disappointed me in this respect. I know my rapeseed producers in the west would want me to say these things about our cabinet, our Prime Minister and our opposition.

Before I deal with the bill itself I should like to let you, Mr. Speaker, into a well concealed secret. It concerns a person by the name of Mr. Rapeseed, who is a good friend of mine of long standing. He was born and

raised in the west. I could almost say that we grew up together in the prairie provinces. My friendship with Mr. Rapeseed is a long and intimate one. When I was elected to this house in 1958 Mr. Rapeseed told me that he was going to come down to Ottawa and sit beside me in the House of Commons. Of course I told him this was impossible; after all, only elected members are allowed to be in the House of Commons. However, he insisted and he assured me that he would remain invisible, thus doing me no harm.

After following me to Ottawa he followed me in the corridors and every place I went, constantly whispering in my ear "Don't forget to mention Mr. Rapeseed". He would come and sit beside me in the house. Every time I rose to speak he would whisper in my ear "Don't forget to mention Mr. Rapeseed". Being a good friend of mine, I had no alternative but to follow his advice. He even followed me into the caucus. Of course, Mr. Speaker, you do not expect that I would reveal anything that occurred in that holy place, except to say that he was very bold and he was very insistent that I mention his name continually. He was with me when I visited the ministers' offices. He would not miss, for anything, my visits to the Prime Minister. He really enjoyed those. He always sat beside me and said "Don't forget to mention Mr. Rapeseed".

On the last of such visits he insisted that I take a picture of the Prime Minister, myself and Mr. Rapeseed. Again, because he was a good friend of mine, I did take a picture. He was bold enough, too, to insist that I take a picture of the Minister of Agriculture, who he said was a very good friend of his of long standing. This picture turned out not too badly. Once he conceived the idea that a picture would serve him well and help him advertise his name, he became so bold as to suggest that pictures of Mr. Rapeseed and myself should be sent to every member of parliament, every member of the Senate and the members of the press gallery. If anyone wants to see a picture of Mr. Rapeseed, together with his biography, I shall be very pleased to show them. I received many replies to this document from the members of the other place, even from Mr. Speaker, who was very pleased to meet Mr. Rapeseed.

But something happened here today. When I came down to the House of Commons he stopped me again and said, "Mr. Rapp, I am very sorry but this is going to be my last trip to the house. I am a native of the prairie provinces, and I must go back to the place where I belong." Then he said, "Of course, times have changed now; I can travel much cheaper on the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railways. I shall take advantage of that and go back to my own province."

He asked me what I would like him to say when he gets back to the prairie provinces. I told him that he should help the Canadian grain producers to reduce their acreages of wheat and be a good friend. This is the story of Mr. Rapeseed.

Now, speaking to the bill itself, I find that I have a good deal of material prepared on the subject of rapeseed. In looking over my files and in looking over the many speeches I have made here on the subject, I discovered that there is not one thing I have not said about rapeseed. Since there are so many of my good friends from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and I am sure some members of the opposition, who would like the opportunity to speak on this subject today, I thought it would be a waste of time to give you some of my old, warmed over speeches on rapeseed to which you have listened during the last three and a half years. I thought I should give other hon. members the opportunity to tell you the story of rapeseed. They are just as interested in the subject as I am, although in my constituency, as the hon. member for Assiniboia said, more rapeseed is grown than in any other place in western Canada.

I know that rapeseed has a great future. It will serve our purpose well, that is to take acreage out of wheat production. There is a tremendous export market available for rape-seed, especially if we take into consideration countries like China and India which produce only 15 million to 18 million acres of rape-seed. These countries cannot even begin to grow enough rapeseed to take care of the requirements of their populations for edible oils. We are now on the list as an exporter of wheat to China. I am looking forward to the time when this country will be able to supply China, India and Japan with much needed edible oilseeds so they will have enough edible fats to meet the needs of their populations. This is where the future of rapeseed lies.

We have never exported less than 90 per cent to 95 per cent of our rapeseed production. Since 1943, when I started producing it, I have never seen a time when we had to store on the farm one pound of rapeseed. We could take it away right from the combine to the elevator and sell it. It is all sold on the export market.

I have said, Mr. Speaker, that I do not wish to go into this story of rapeseed now. However, it is my pet subject and if I start talking about rapeseed I might be filibustering the bill. I think I had better leave to other hon. members the story of rapeseed.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Hon. Paul Martin (Essex East):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to support this bill along the lines indicated by the hon. member for Drum-mond-Arthabaska. In doing so, of course, I

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join with him and others in extending to the hon. gentleman who has just spoken our congratulations on the realization that now confronts the house. I am sure the hon. gentleman will realize the fact that he has not been alone in this effort; he in fact has done so. He has paid tribute, naturally, to his own colleagues who have supported him but, I think quite generously and characteristically of him, he has acknowledged the debt he owes to members of the opposition who have given him support in this matter.

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PC

J.-H.-Théogène Ricard

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ricard:

The hon. member for Essex East.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. Marlin (Essex East):

I should not wish to be accused of being falsely modest if I did not note that I myself, over the course of the last two or three sessions, gave what I would hope was valuable support to the hon. member. I gave that support on the merits of the question and also because, I, like other hon. members in this house, find that the hon. gentleman is a man who deserves support in good causes.

I have told him privately and I repeat publicly that I will never forget his first speech in this house, when he said he stood in front of the monument of Sir Wilfrid Laurier and said to himself that, as an immigrant, he was proud of the fact that he was privileged to live in a free country in which a man born with his antecedents and in his particular circumstances was able to become a representative of the people in this parliament. That speech and the hon. member's conduct since then have won him many friends in this house. They are happy to support him today.

I was about to remark that when he stood in front of Sir Wilfrid Laurier's monument he possibly confessed some matters that he would not find it convenient to pubicly acknowledge in this house at the present time. I have always suspected that the hon. gentleman, while a member of the Conservative party, really was a misfit in that party. He obviously belongs to the Liberal party. No one could have his qualities and belong to any other party. I am glad that the hon. member for St. Hyacinthe-Bagot agrees with what I have said.

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PC

Paul Raymond Martineau (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Mariineau:

Will the hon. member permit a question?

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. Martin (Essex East):

Certainly, in this very happy mood; in this pre-election, prebudget mood.

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PC

Paul Raymond Martineau (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Martineau:

I should just like to know whether the hon. member had ever heard of rapeseed before the advent to this house of the hon. member for Humboldt-Melfort-Tis-dale.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. Martin (Essex East):

The hon. gentleman asks me an understandable question. However, if he knew the kind of county from which I come, namely the county of Essex where we grow soya beans, and if he understood the relationship between that oil bearing product and rapeseed, he would not have humiliated himself by asking that question.

What I was going on to say was that this bill now before the house, which was given first reading on June 17, followed the introduction of another bill, namely Bill No. C-90, on May 10 by the hon. member for Humboldt-Melfort-Tisdale. I have been looking at that bill as I listened to the Minister of Transport explain the provisions of Bill No. C-lll. I cannot understand why the government did not accept the bill of the hon. member for Humboldt-Melfort-Tisdale. In the first place it was the hon. member for Humboldt-Melfort-Tisdale and not the government who took the initiative in this matter. He having taken that initiative, I think he should have been accorded the honour of having his bill accepted and not one put forward in the name of the Minister of Transport.

I am not so sure that Bill No. C-lll is as good a bill as Bill No. C-90, notwithstanding the fact that they both deal with the same principle, namely to apply to rapeseed the freight rates on flaxseed that are applicable under the Crowsnest pass agreement. However, I suppose the government has reasons of its own for wanting to put forward bills which were first of all thought of and thought about by private members. Notwithstanding all of this, the Minister of Transport has recognized the contribution of the hon. member for Humboldt-Melfort-Tisdale.

As this is a day when we are trying, before the introduction of the budget, to treat one another with great fairness, I think we ought to recognize the fact that the hon. member for Assiniboia, who comes from western Canada, has put forward a proposal by way of an amendment to include mustard seed. Mustard seed is grown in very considerable quantities in the riding of Assiniboia as well as in other parts of Canada, and there are about the growing of mustard seed potential features that give it much of the hopefulness that attends the growing of rapeseed. I should like to see mustard seed included so as to assist the constituents of the hon. gentleman and the people of Saskatchewan generally. When the hon. member for Assiniboia returns to his constituency I know he will remind his constituents of the great support received this day by him from members of the Liberal party, who sought to join with him in the amendment which he has put forward on behalf of his constituents.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Argue:

Agreed.

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June 20, 1961