Personal Data

United Farmers of Alberta
Vegreville (Alberta)
Birth Date
November 13, 1892
Deceased Date
April 21, 1973

Parliamentary Career

September 14, 1926 - May 30, 1930
  Vegreville (Alberta)
July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
  Vegreville (Alberta)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 57 of 58)

May 21, 1928


For a copy of school lands files No. 13380 to 13383, inclusive, with reference to one Robert Robertson, Lanark, Ontario.

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May 10, 1928

1. Have any representations been made to the Prime Minister by any citizens and residents of Canada, of Ukrainian descent, protesting against the sentence to death of Wasyl Atamanchuk and Iwan Werbyekyj, and demanding a new trial by a jury composed of Ukrainian members in proportion to the Ukrainian population in eastern Galicia and Volhynia?

2. Has the Prime Minister taken any action?

3. If not, will he do so in respect of this matter?

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February 27, 1928


The Jew? Well, I

do not think he believes in purgatory.

I have heard it stated many times in this house and I have heard it stated during this budget debate that the government has been responsible for the exodus of many young Canadian men and women into the United States. I have no reason for agreeing with the government, but on this occasion I would venture to state that the government is not wholly to blame for this wholesale emigration. I believe there are certain subtle and insidious influences entering into this matter which are beyond the control of any government. Some one in this house has said that Canada is a geographical absurdity. Perhaps this is one of the reasons; but there are other reasons which are not of a rational but rather of a mystical nature.

Last spring it chanced that I paid a visit to a doctor friend of mine in Detroit. I admit that I was deeply impressed when, on getting off the train at Windsor, I beheld the countless numbers of tall skyscrapers skirting the Detroit river on the American side and looming up into the skies in majestic grandeur. The sight seemed all the more striking when one compared the luxuriously constructed American side with that of the city of Windsor. I have often wondered ever since how that grand sight has affected the countless young men and women who have had the fortune or perhaps the misfortune of viewing it as I viewed it. I am not a student of psychology, but the place once seen must have stirred up a conflict of emotions in their young breasts. Many of them, doubtless, would feel that they could do better over on the American side; and this feeling is naturally augmented by the fact that many of their friends have done well in the states. If a poor young Canadian girl, unknown and unheralded, leaves Toronto and makes a name for herself as the greatest living American actress, is it not reasonable to assume that others would like to emulate her success? I refer to Mary Pickford. If it is possible for a poor young Toronto boy practically to traverse the continent down to Los Angeles and win a $25,000 prize, does it not follow that other boys would like to do the same?

The United States is a very populous and rich country, older by many years than Canada. There is no doubt that wonderful progress has been made in the last decade, but just the same I for one prefer to live in Can-

The Budget-Mr. Luchkovich

ada. I prefer the quiet dignity of Canada to the loud egoism of the States; I prefer the stem but fairer administration of justice in our law courts; and finally I prefer the splendid morale of my people to the looser living of the folks across the line. Once I stepped into a law court in the United States and I was quite surprised to find two lawyers sitting on chairs in the law court and smoking cigars. They had their hats on and they were vying with each other as to which one of them could emit saliva into cuspidors about twentydive feet away from them. I am sure nothing of that sort happens in Canadian courts. We have in this country decorum, dignity and many other things which the people of the United States do not possess.

You tell me that the youth of our land has gone to the States. Well I believe that the process will be reversed just as soon as we begin to forge ahead a little more. I do not, however believe in colossal strides in progress. That is what is wrong with the United States; they are going ahead too fast, with disastrous effects upon the chastity and morale of her people. It is better for Canada to forge ahead slowly but surely and to keep her traditions of dignity, courage, chastity and thrift intact, than to go ahead by leaps and bounds but at the same time destroy all we should hold dear as life itself. I am an optimist. Our boys and girls will come back and so will Canada, not because, but in spite of, the Robb budget.

And what is that budget we hear so much about nowadays? From a Liberal viewpoint, summed up briefly it means a lowering of the cost of living to the people, while at the same time giving every reasonable protection to industry and every possible encouragement to the promotion of trade within the empire. They call it a "work and thrift" budget. But is it a "work and thrift" budget? Let us see. The government each year has been spending more than the preceding year. Its surplus is, therefore, not the product of economy. Now the Minister of Finance has declared that the government's policy is to work both ways-to reduce debt and to reduce taxation. These may be admirable objectives, but I feel sure he would be able to do each of these things more acceptably to the Canadian people if he would produce surpluses by economy as well as by budgeting for a large revenue. I believe the minister will admit that 1927 was a comparatively good year, so that when a government budgets for nearly $55,000,000 more than it spends and taxes the people enough to secure the budgeted income, it is not difficult in a period of expansion to produce a surplus.

I realize that when I speak of economy the Minister of Finance may say: "All right,

then, we shall withdraw our assistance for good roads and technical education and also increase the freight rates and use the extra income of the railways to promote immigration." This, I contend, would be false economy; and I understand he favours the withdrawals in all cases. I would like to point out, however, that the dominion treasury was enriched by about two and one-half million dollars last year from the liquor business in the province of Alberta alone; but that the amount for roads and technical education paid out to Alberta by the Minister of Finance was very small in comparison. Practically all the provinces are now engaged in the liquor trade. When one considers the fact that the government receives more from this trade than do the provinces themselves, the talk of economizing by withdrawing the grants for highways and technical education is extremely unreasonable.

I understand that Sir Henry Thornton, whether on the initiative of the government or not I do not know, has a proposal to increase freight rates and to apply the extra income derived therefrom to promote immigration. This would be discrimination, and I see no reason why the shippers of this country should carry our immigration burden. Immigration is a general policy and should therefore be a general charge upon the whole community. If the minister wishes to economize he can do so by a weeding out process in the departments, by amalgamation of branches that could be practically run under one head. Tax reductions were made last year at a sacrifice of $27,000,000 in revenue; this year the reduction amounts to $19,000,000, so that $46,000,000 might easily have been added to the curtailment of our huge war debt which, strange to say, hovers every year in the neigbourhood of about $2,600,000,000.

A payment of about $1,000,000,000 falls due in 1933. It bears interest at 5i per cent. The minister of Finance proposes to take advantage of the favourable condition of the money markets and retire this debt with money borrowed at 4 per cent. I think this is good business and I have no quarrel with the minister on that score. It is good economy.

In so far as the sales tax is a heavy burden on the consumer, I approve of its reduction on the necessaries of life.

And now I come to that "most unkindest cut of all"-the income tax. During the course of the budget debate last year I remember some one on this side of the house remarking that the farmer is opposed to a reduction in the income tax because he does not have to pay any income tax at all; that he desired the repeal of the sales tax law because he could not evade the sales tax.

The Budget-Mr. Luchkovich

The truth of the matter is that there are very few farmers whose incomes for taxation purposes reach beyond the exemptions set by law, and even if they had such incomes they would prefer to pay income tax to paying either tariff taxes or sales tax. It is the belief of all farmers' organizations that reduction of taxation, as it becomes possible, should take place by reducing and removing those protective duties on imports which increase the cost of living and production in preference to a reduction of other indirect taxes, such as the sales tax, and that the income tax should be maintained at substantially the scale then in force. Farmers want the retention of the income tax, not on the basis of any class interest but on the definite principle of equity in taxation and the desirability of taxation being direct rather than indirect. They do not ask the repeal of the sales tax, as an indirect tax, until after the existing duties on imports have been removed, since they regard the sales tax as somewhat less injurious than the tariff.

The income tax in 1926 produced $55,571,961.57, and after the 10 per cent reduction the Finance minister estimated that the income tax would, in 1927 produce $47,900,000, a loss of over $8,000,000 from this source. Of course, the government has been bombarded by all the large income tax payers, who naturally want relief. The argument that the income tax reduces funds available for investment in industry has been worked overtime. Of course it is quite true. But all taxes have the same effect. When the farmer pays his various taxes, visible and invisible, he has just that much less money to invest in the development of his own industry. But it must be remembered that the income tax is the only federal tax which compels people to contribute to the cost of running the country in proportion to their ability to pay. We do not believe that the income tax, even before this last reduction, bore unduly or unfairly upon any one. It should not be forgotten also that just as the income tax is reduced so will the proportion of indirect taxation increase, and a heavier load will be placed upon those least able to carry it.

Last year's budget has been described as a rich man's budget. In view of the further cut in the income tax I know of no better name for this year's budget than to call it the richer man's; for where the man who is capable of paying last year paid 10 per cent less, his income tax this year virtually becomes 20 per cent less. At this rate it will soon be eliminated, and this means that the great majority of Canadian people

[ Mr. Luchkovich. ]

will hereafter pay taxes to the federal authorities only upon consumption in the form of tariff duties, which go to the treasury when paid upon imported goods, or to the manufacturers, who, under shelter of the tariff, *can charge higher prices for competing articles of domestic production.

Why should we in Canada be so anxious to reduce the income tax when countries like England and the United States still retain it? Why should the Minister of Finance lend a willing ear to these who are best able to pay, many of them still enjoying the fruits of war profits, and then thrust the burden upon the backs of the common people? In the United States 64 per cent of their taxes come from the income tax, in Canada less than 14 per cent. Last year the income tax brought $48,000,000 to our treasury. Why should the government wish to reduce it? Not on the ground of equity, for it is the most equitable of taxes; not on the ground of visibility, for it is the most visible of taxes; not on the ground of certainty or convenience, for it is the easiest tax in the world to collect. There is absolutely no justification in the world for reducing the income tax in view of the paltry reductions made in the tariff. In view, therefore, of the staggering figures of our huge war debt, and in view of the almost negligible reduction in the tariff, I see absolutely no justification for the minister lowering the income tax.

The average man at home looks upon the member at Ottawa as a person who is supposed to " bring home the bacon ". In the old parties it means getting as much patronage for your supporters as you possibly can; and in this respect I look upon the Postmaster General (Mr. Veniot), as the grand daddy of them all; in a word it means " to the victor belongs the spoils".

The phrase about " bringing home the bacon " was coined by the old negro mother of Joe Gans, the prize fighter. On the eve of one of his greatest battles she said: "Joe, I expect you to get into that ring and win; your old mammy will be praying for you, so don't forget to bring home the bacon ". Thus when I speak of " bringing home the bacon " I mean bringing home victory for those who sent us here. What we want is a square deal for the farmer, nothing more and nothing less; but how can we do it when the Minister of Finance continues to sizzle our bacon to a frizzle? The farmer wishes to get the same equal treatment for his industry that the manufacturer is getting for his. I should like to dissipate the view held on this side of the house that we in this corner are a band of outlaws come out from the wild and woolly

The Budget-Mr. LucKkovieh

west to burn up their factories and carry o2 their wealth. We are just as law-abiding as they are, and we are just as serious in putting our industry on as sound a business basis as we already realize they have done with theirs. All we ask is an equalization of opportunity; in other words, we want equal rights for all and special privileges for none.

What I would like hon. members to know, who think that the farmer has no grievance, is that there is -too great a discrepancy between the prices the Canadian farmer receives and the prices he has to pay for what he buys. Nobody will kick about 75 cents a bushel wheat if shoes are down to S2. We realize that laws will not do everything for us-and I am sure this year's budget will not -so we are beginning to do things for ourselves. We have learned how, by cooperation and education, to avoid exploitation by middlemen. We are striving to put our farming on a business basis and we hope to see the time when we can make businesslike decisions on our own initiative.

I repeat, therefore, that all the Canadian farmer asks is the same right which other Canadian industries now enjoy, through their superior organization, to name a price in the first instance, and to acquire an organization which will secure to him the same power to maintain that price. This we are striving to do, mostly through personal initiative, and partly through legislation; and this is my idea of the noblest way of " bringing home the bacon

I should now like to deal with the question of immigration, especially in the light of what has been said during this budget debate. No one seems to oppose immigrants coming into this country, but they do question the method or manner in which they are brought here. I for one, deep down in my heart feel that we need more people here, and I am courageous enough to say that I do not oppose immigration. This country is big enough and good enough to contain three times its present population. There is one thing certain about the position of a member of parliament, and that is that he never lacks for material of all shades of opinion. Thousands of pounds of mail in the shape of letters, pamphlets, magazines, books and newspapers reach the members during the session for their information or misinformation. Yesterday I received a copy of the Montreal Star containing an article marked with a blue pencil, on the failure of our immigration policy. The whole argument is so much in line with what our Conservative friends have to say on this subject that I am intrigued into quoting a part of it:

It is an extravagant and cruel folly to entice people to come to this country and to leave them stranded here without means of earning their livelihood.

I am in complete accord with that part, but it goes on to say that only through a protective tariff policy can we get immigration. With that I am not in accord. Some one has said that ouir immigration policy is very analogous to the famous old rhyme:

"Will you walk into my parlour,"

Said the spider to the fly,

"It's the prettiest little parlour That ever you did spy."

But if the fly was wise He never would go in;

He would know very well There was nothing there for him.

I know a case where some false representation has had beneficial results in the end, but this is an exception to the rule, and in any case it could never work out in the same way to-day. I know a district in Alberta where a settler who came here thirty years ago felt quite lonely because he was there all alone. He wanted more of his own villagers to settle there with him so he wrote back home saying that Canada was a most luxuriant country where everything from hay to coconuts, peaches and bananas grew in the greatest abundance. It was not long after that letter was received away back home in the old country that that whole village became depopulated, for they all sold out and came to Alberta. Of course at first they were all sorely peeved, but being a very hardy race they soon adapted themselves to conditions here, and to-day they are among Alberta's best settlers. I have said that this is an exceptional case and should not be followed as a general rule by the immigration authorities.

I object again to the commercialization of immigration, which enriches a few individuals at the expense of the country. Immigration should be controlled by the Dominion and not delegated to private individuals or associations. The Dominion should select the immigrant and when he gets here should see that he is properly placed.

I do not believe in paternalism or a spoonfed immigration. I know from experience with immigrants in the past that those immigrants who had the least means and help were the ones to make the best success; while those who came here i.n comparative luxury are now virtually begging off their more prosperous neighbours. I say emphatically that paternalism is a vicious animal which will finally turn upon and bite its master. This is no country for mollycoddles; what we want is the hardy red-booded pioneering type that

The Budget-Mr. Luchkovich

scorns being fed with a silver spoon, but will roll up his sleeves and tackle without a murmur any obstacle that may confront him.

And how best can we bring them over here? To my mind the best and safest method is to allow families already settled here to bring their relatives to this country, provided they are fit and of the proper type. This will ensure to the country that someone at least will be responsible for them when they get here, and that they will not become a charge upon the country. Of course other supplementary methods could be suggested, but my time is short. And from where shall we bring those immigrants? From any country under God's sun that has the proper, adaptable type for a country like Canada; meaning, of course, a type of the white race that would be amenable to our ideas and democratic form of government. I object strenuously to the suggestion that the central European does not make a good citizen. A good citizen is a man who behaves himself, pays his taxes, does the right thing by himself and his neighbour, and, last but not least, is a sticker. The Germans and Scandinavians make wonderful settlers, but so do the Ukrainians. In a few years they have acquired the language of this country, and an understanding of our institutions as good as the best of them. I think that the member for Saskatoon (Mr. Young) will agree with me that in the institute in his constituency there are about 120 of the finest Canadians of Ukrainian extraction one would ever meet. I repeat that measured by every possible standard the Ukrainian becomes as good a Canadian as any of them. I have said that he is a sticker, and I mean it; for what avails it to a country, if a native born would rather flaunt his patriotism by waving a flag and rocking the boat than putting his hands to the oar. I have seen many of our native born run up a debt and then leave their farms because they would not live within their means. True patriotism, I insist again, also includes persistence and frugality even under trying circumstances.

I know it is hard to be patriotic under trying circumstances, but no man is a true patriot unless he has character; and character after all can only be moulded by a persistent battle with those circumstances. The man who comes out of such an elemental conflict successfully is a man of strong character. It is probably this that the Irish politician had in mind when he said: "Oh, never mind the foreigner, he is all right. In a few years he'll be out of the skinned class into the skinners and he'll then be as patriotic as any of us." If we wish to make the foreigner patriotic we must meet him half way and give him a

fair chance in the world. If we wish him to share our responsibilities we must stop discriminating against him; we must stop making him the goat of all our social unrest. Let us remember that it was a central European who risked his life in the Hollinger mine to save native Canadians, from death. Surely this example alone should prove that he is actuated by the same high motives as our native born. So why should we not help him instead of hindering him from becoming a genuine Canadian citizen?

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February 27, 1928


Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak neither in praise of the budget nor yet in absolute condemnation of it. I appreciate the difficulties of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) and I know it is no easy task to budget the accounts of this great country of ours in such a manner as to satisfy and conciliate not only this house but also the conglomerate elements in his own party.

The Budget-Mr. Luchkovich

I believe it is a rule in this house to use as much courtesy as possible when commenting on the speeches of other hon. members delivered here. It has been very noticeable however, at least to myself, that whilst the custom of congratulating and complimenting other members on their excellent addresses has been adhered to in the opening of one's speech, it soon becomes apparent that these chivalrous remarks must soon give way to criticism, at first mild but progressively hostile and vituperative. Honeyed words rapidly turn to the bitterest vitriol; sweet-scented bouquets become the hardest of bricks.

It is not my intention to hurl any boquet-wrapped bricks at the Minister of Finance; suffice it to say that the budget of 1928 is a marvellous piece of manipulation, considering the circumstances under which he had to work and the diverse elements with which he had to deal. There are many people in Canada who think that the success of any government is contingent upon compromise; that no government can successfully deal with or satisfy the electors unless by compromise. Their philosophy of politics is summed up in one phrase: No government can function successfully without compromise; its very stability depends upon it. In view of past events it would seem that this philosophy was sound so far as the government were concerned. At any rate they all seem thoroughly imbued with this doctrine, as is proven not only by the budget but by certain things that have been said and things which have taken place in this house in the past few years.

It is now a matter of history that this corner of the house once boasted of a fairly large group. What has become of that group of yesterday? Ask compromise. Where are those ten Progressives who used to glare so defiantly from this corner at those who sat on the government side of the house? They were led astray by the siren voice of compromise. What force is it that can transform the free and militant eagle into the gentle and cooing dove of peace? It has been the magic wand of compromise wielded by the Prime Minister of Canada (Mr. Mackenzie King) who is possessed not only of an intellect of a very high order, but a genius for compromise unrivalled by any member in this house. Consequent upon this understanding there has been an agreement reached whereby it is recognized that the country has demanded a stable government and the group are anxious to comply with that demand; that the policies upon which Progressives and Liberals were elected are based upon commons principles; that the Progressives shall give united support to the government upon those principles, and that the

Progressive group shall retain its identity as hitherto. I agree that this is a masterpiece of compromise and admit that it is very cleverly stated, but whether or not the Progressive group is capable of retaining its identity, they have an opportunity even while sitting on that side of the house to act as guardian angels over the Liberal party, to stop them from committing the unpardonable sin of breaking pre-election promises and keep them in the straight and1 narrow path in-dicf ted by the low tariff reform pledges which have put them in the high position they now occupy in the country. I am sure that any reasonable person when offered strawberries and cream will refuse to accept apple sauce instead; if promised the substance we should not grasp at the shadow. I should like to believe that the members who left our group have acted and will act in all sincerity, for I should not like to hear it whispered in application to them, when the roll is called out west: "Oh compromise, what indiscretions

have been committed in thy name!" I hope that the Liberal-Progressives are still the evangelists of low tariff. I sincerely urge them to practice what they preach, and if they feel it incumbent upon themselves, in view of their non-activity in the matter, to offer up a prayer, I wish they would include in it a solicitation to their colleagues for a more consistent attitude towards the tariff policy on which they were elected.

When I say this I am reminded of a band of evangelists who were holding a revival some time ago, in order to make a sinful world see the error of its ways and repent. At the conclusion of one of the meetings it was suggested by one of the brethren that some hats should be passed around among the hard boiled sinners in order to take up a collection. This was done, but when the hats came back they were found to be full of old nails, buttons and pins, but not one red cent. Thereupon one of the brethren remarked "Let us now thank God." "For what?" inquired another. "Let us thank God that we have got our hats back," was the reply. Now before our Progressive friends over there pass their hats to their so-called Liberal friends by conviction let their high priest, the hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Brown) give them first a sermon, taking as his text: Come unto me all ye that are heavy laden and seeketh relief, and I shall give you the protection .of my low tariff. Let him then without any further admonition go boldly to the Minister of Finance, hat in hand, with one eagle eye on the minister and the other equally concentrated on the hat, and see to it that the hon. minister puts in . that hat not the old nails of futile promise and

The Budget-Mr. Luchkovich

adroit circumvention, but the new and shining pennies of a promise fulfilled, of an agreement unbroken, of a tariff policy unsullied, yea, even by a certain element on that side of the house. The member for Lisgar is a man of strong and commanding presence who looks like a likely person to scare the Minister of Finance into relinquishing a vise-like hold on the nickels that are entrusted to his care.

It has often been said that the Progressive movement is an anomaly in Canadian politics; that if they do occupy a place it is only as a sort of left wing to the Liberal party. This view is based on the supposition that both these groups are advocates of the low tariff; the only difference between the two being that while the one group is a little impatient in its attempt to reach that goal, the other believes that we should-

-move forward cautiously with the aid of knowledge of the facts secured by the tariff advisory board toward the goal of making our tariff structure bear as lightly as possible on producer, industry, and the people generally, having always in view the greatest prosperity of all legitimate industries of Canada. The tariff must be made to serve the best interests of the Canadian people as a whole. It must be adjusted from time to time to meet the needs, not of one class or group of industries alone, whichever one that might be, but of our whole economic structure.

Now, what I admire in any person and no less in a government, is courage-the courage of one's convictions. The Finance minister of Canada in concluding the budget speech of last year said:

We are recognized throughout Canada, and we are proud of it, as the low tariff party.

There is an old saying that caution is the better part of valour. If that is true, then I say that the present Liberal government is the most courageous government that Canada ever had. It is cautious to a fault. And why are they so cautious? They are cautious because they believe that is the only alternative. They are cautious because they do not wish to lose their parliamentary quota from Ontario; they are cautious because they do not wish to antagonize protectionist Quebec. I do not believe that hon. members will gainsay me when I emphasize the protectionist temper of our Quebec members. Who but our member from Quebec-Mont-morency (Mr. Lavigueur) had this to say in his speech on the budget last year? I quote from his address on that occasion:

I consider it an honour to follow the hon. member for Southeast Grey (Miss Macphail) the only lady member in the House of Commons, although I do not share her views generally and particularly as far as the tariff is concerned. She has told us she is absolutely in favour of a low tariff. Let me assure her

that neither the province from which I come, nor I myself, can sympathize with her in that regard. We are in favour of protection for industry. We do not believe in a low tariff. I am glad to have an opportunity to-night to state my views on the tariff question. I am pleased to see that the budget contains no items of reduction.

I have spoken of courage. I believe I must take those remarks back after reading the above quotation. The member for Que-bec-Montmorency is very brave in bearding the lion in his own den; but at the same time he is throwing caution to the winds.

No, we are not Liberals. We are a separate entity called the United Farmers' Association. We believe in low tariff, and it is our duty to jack up the Liberal party every once in a while and remind them constantly of their duties in that regard. Like Atlas, we have been holding the world on our shoulders for ages-a thankless task of which there should be some recognition. Now, it has been our fate that we have to sit on this side of the house with hon. members who uphold the doctrine of protection. Owing to the fact that we often sit, talk, and smoke together in the lobbies we have come to love each other almost to the point of brotherly affection. I also wonder whether it has not been by the same token that the Liberals and the Progressives kiss each other's cheeks on that side of the house. Notwithstanding our congeniality in some matters I am sorry however that in matters of policy over here we must disagree. I hope that our differences in this world will be reconciled when we pass off to a better world.

High protection is not the doctrine of the United Farmers' Association, We do not think it is a good thing for a dominion such as ours with its preponderating agricultural industry and among whose constituent provinces there are such wide and glaring differences of interest in this matter. It appears to me that at best protection is an expedient to which the Tories would like to resort to safeguard our industries against foreigners who might unfairly injure them; at worst it is a form of domestic robbery which is very obnoxious when it goes so far as to rob the state to enrich the individual; it is based on a bad principle when importation is forbidden in order to prevent reasonable competition; and finally it is only justifiable when the taxes which it imposes are made available for the needs of the national treasury.

I think we on this side of the house would be very illogical if we did not support a low tariff doctrine. Indeed we must either hang together on that tenet, or hang separately when we get back home.

The Budget-Mr. Luchkovich

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February 27, 1928


I wonder whether

it was the member for Provencher who made that observation?

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