May 9, 1947

LIB

Roch Pinard

Liberal

Mr. PINARD:

A real rhapsody in blue.

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LIB

Léonard-David Sweezey Tremblay

Liberal

Mr. TREMBLAY:

Both denounced in the strongest terms the offer made by the government to each of the provinces of Confederation. I shall quote a statement of one of the premiers and I wager that you will be unable to say whether it was made by Mr. Drew or by Mr. Duplessis. I quote without disclosing the name of the speaker; I ask you to guess:

Putting all his cards on the table, the premier denied that his province had ever thought of negotiating, as six other provinces did, a secret agreement with the central administration. No provincial official has approached, directly or indirectly, any "minor dominion government official" in order to conclude an agreement by underhand methods.

After stating that Canada has reached a turning point in her history, he reminded everyone of his duty to fight to the end in order to prevent the "possible" setting up of a dictatorship which would spell the doom not only of provincial rights but of individual freedom.

. The Budget-Mr. Tremblay

A permanent reform of our nation's financial system will never be achieved by the methods which Messrs. Abbott and Ilsley have suggested.

And further on-you may think that I am trying to solve for you the riddle as to whether it is Mr. Drew or Mr. Duplessis speaking; that we shall see-the same gentleman added:

Moreover, Quebec has vital reasons to consider the respect of our constitution as of basic importance.

Now, who's words, do you think, I have been quoting? They are Mr. George Drew's and not Mr. Duplessis's. Turning now to the statement of the Quebec premier, I read as follows:

It is absolutely contrary to facts to say that government officials of the province of Quebec have been authorized to enter into negotiations with the federal government. None but the duly elected representatives of the people have that authority and I am sure that no official has even sought to exercise it.

I shall gladly participate to a plenary conference but I shall never be a party to secret parleys or to the trading of the rights, freedoms and privileges of our Canadian provinces, let alone those of the province of Quebec.

The premier of Quebec and the premier of Ontario are both using the same language.

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LIB

Roch Pinard

Liberal

Mr. PINARD:

They are Siamese twins.

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LIB

Léonard-David Sweezey Tremblay

Liberal

Mr. TREMBLAY:

My coevals will well remember that in 1911 the Right Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier said: "Scratch the skin of a nationalist, and you'll find a Tory." We have here the spectacle of a group leader loudly disclaiming connection with the Tory party, which he even goes so 'far as to rebuke within the province of Quebec. Yet . compare his statements with those of the Tory leader in the next province, and you'll find that they both talk the same language. I won't urge that you scratch the skin of the Union Nationale leader in order to find a Tory. You needn't even go to that trouble. Just listen to Mr. Duplessis, and then to Mr. Drew; they both talk the same language. They have the same epidermis, the same skin. They make the same sounds. They're twins, nay Siamese twins, as my hon. friend has just pointed out.

There was talk of autonomy back in 1911. It was then Monk and Hugh Graham who were plotting the destruction of our great fellow-countryman, Laurier. Now, in the year of grace 1947, it is the Drew-Duplessis combine, scheming the downfall of the best government this country has ever had.

Who are the ones, then that have already gone down in history as genuinely great autonomists? Let us look up the political annals of this country for the last half-century,

during which Canada has passed from the status of a mere colony to that of a truly autonomous nation and we shall discover the patriotic citizens whose passionate ardour and enlightened Canadianism secured for our country its status of free nation.

We have gone a long way since 1897 when Sir Wilfrid Laurier, French-Canadian prime minister of an English colony, had the pluck, or should we say the daring, to state, in Liverpool, before the Duke of Devonshire, during Queen Victoria's jubilee-and I quote:

In this united and confederated country which stretches from the Pacific to the Atlantic, the authority of the sovereign rests on the free and cordial allegiance of five million people who are still called colonials but who proclaim themselves a nation.

And the great Liberal leader borrowed the following quotation from Kipling:

Daughter am I in my mother's house, but mistress in my own.

Already Laurier proclaimed us a nation though in truth we were still a British colony. Constitutionally, we had and could have no accredited and official representatives in other countries; we could neither negotiate nor sign commercial agreements which, to be valid, required the seal of the official British representative; the inconveniences which this formality entailed for Canada can well be imagined; England's foreign . policy, drafted by London exclusively on behalf of the British empire bound not only England but all her colonies. In 1914, the Tories still claimed that "When England is at war, Canada is at war."

Even after we had secured Dominion status, in 1918, as eminent a personality as Premier Lloyd George stated, in a still celebrated declaration:

The instrument of the foreign policy of the empire is the British Foreign Office. The machinery must remain here. It is impossible that it could be otherwise.

Mr. Speaker, what was impossible has become a fact. Not only does Canada have its own Department of External Affairs, headed by our eminent fellow-countryman, of whom we are very proud, who lays down and directs Canada's external policy, but we also have our ambassadors, consuls, Canadian diplomatic corps, testifying abroad that we have reached the status of a free and autonomous nation.

Obviously, the country was not transformed from "a modest colony into a powerful nation" in the twinkling of an eye, without effort or clash. "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."

The Budget-Mr. Tremblay

If, after being a colony, our country is now master of its own destiny, and if, on December 11, 1931, the British parliament adopted the legislation officially known as the "Statute of Westminster", it is only fitting that I should recall certain phases of our constitutional evolution, of which the above statute is but the logical conclusion.

We are proud of our autonomy, but- we should not forget that the Liberal party gave us its most valiant champions. Laurier was one of the pioneers in that task of national liberation, but Mackenzie King, Lapointe, St. Laurent and the Liberal party pursued without truce, intermisison or respite the lofty ideal of our great fellow-countryman, Laurier. He foresaw its achievement, because he never ceased repeating in his speeches:

Canada is bound to become a nation just as a child is bound to become a man.

Our Tory friends sometimes contend that they brought about the enactment of the Statute of Westminster in 1931. I wonder if they are really unaware of the title of that legislation. What is it, exactly? I quote:

An Act to give effect to certain resolutions passed bv imperial conferences held in the years 1926 and' 1930.

The 1926 conference, in which our great Liberal leaders, Mackenzie King and Lapointe, played such a leading part, recognized the sovereignty of the dominions and adopted the formula sometimes referred to as the Balfour formula, although some contend that it was drafted by Mr. Lapointe.

I have here a speech delivered at Quebec in 1938 by the Right Hon. Ernest Lapointe and I would like to quote a few excerpts which are of special interest at the present time. Here is what Mr. Lapointe said about the Liberal party's share in the achievement of Canada's autonomy.

The Statute of Westminster is our achievement. When, sometime after 1921, I joined the King government, with my friend, associate and leader, Mr. King, we began working for the recognition of Canada's rights.

In 1923, when I was called upon to sign a treaty with the United States regarding the Pacific fisheries, I refused to have the British ambassador to the United States sign it with us. I contended that Canada's signature was sufficient and I did not let anyone hold my hand.

During the same year, there was trouble in Europe and Mr. Churchill, who was then Colonial Secretary, asked Mr. King whether he would agree to send a contingent to Chanak. He replied: No, parliament will have to decide.

About the same time, at Lausanne, Canada was invited to sign a treaty regarding the boundaries of certain European countries, but Mr.

King refused to sign it on the grounds that Canada had taken no part in the drafting of that document.

In 1926, at the conference which has been mentioned yesterday, our charter was defined and Canada was recognized as England's equal, independent and self-governing.

In 1929, I had the honour of leading the delegation sent to discuss and to draft the Statute of Westminster. I worked during two months on the final draft.

At the following session, when I moved a resolution for the endorsement of our work, I was accused by Mr. Bennett of trying to cut the last bonds which united Canada to Great Britain. Mr. Cahan spoke of "stupid," "silly" and "childish" endeavours. But our plan was accepted by the House of Commons and placed on the British statute books in 1930. We were entitled to that right, but it was withheld and we had to fight for it. We were the ones who fought. There lies the difference.

Canadian autonomy was the work of the Liberal party and we owe it principally to the present Prime Minister, grandson of William Lyon Mackenzie, the rebel who, in 1838, was forced into exile with a price on his head because he had led the uprising in Upper Canada for the establishment of a government responsible to the people and not to the Governor General.

The leader of the Liberal party strove for this ideal which he had assigned to himself in his youth with consummate ability, tact and persistence.

Has anyone forgotten the Chanak incident? Mr. Mackenzie King had been leading the. Liberal party for only two years and had been Prime Minister for a year when this incident broke out in 1922. Had it not been for the Prime Minister's constitutional knowledge and strength of character, Canada might have been held up to ridicule and-an even more serious consequence,-might have been

plunged unwittingly into a new European war.

When the London government asked the dominions to send troops over-their appeal was published in Canadian newspapers before the telegram requesting expeditionary forces had even reached the dominion government-* the great Liberal leader answ-ered blandly that it behooved the Canadian parliament to pass judgment on such a grave question and not the Canadian government alone. He added that he would consider, in the light of all pertinent factors, whether the British government's request warranted the convening of a special session of parliament. Because of this firm, dignified stand of the Liberal Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Asquith was prompted to state in the British House of Commons that he was glad there were statesmen in the dominions who had the wisdom to ask why their country should go to war.

The Budget-Mr. Tremblay

With the leader of the Liberal party, this proud attitude is rooted in a deep feeling of Canadian patriotism; with the erstwhile Tory leader it was the inconsiderate cry of the arbh-imperialist for whom Canada is still merely "talliable and liable forced labour at pleasure." "Ready, aye, ready" he spontaneously exclaimed at the mere call of the British cabinet, not even knowing why he was prepared to launch Canada into another war.

Then when the British government asked the Canadian government to take part in the treaty of Lausanne, Mr. King's reply was that since Canada had not been consulted in the matter, had not taken part in the negotiations, it would not sign the treaty. He added that he would not even seek ratification from the Canadian parliament.

When in 1923, Canada and the United States signed the epoch-making halibut treaty the prime minister, seconded by Mr. Ernest Lapointe, emphatically proclaimed Canada's sovereignty and, for the first time in history of this country, a Canadian minister, our great patriot Mr. Lapointe, signed a treaty on behalf of Canada "without a British representative holding his hand" according to his own words I was just quoting. To be sure, it created quite a stir in London and there were representations not to say protests from the British minister in Washington; but thanks to his staunch Liberalism and enlightened patriotism, Mr. King managed matters so well that all obstacles were cleared-even Canadian Tory opposition-and Mr. Lapointe alone signed the treaty for Canada.

Meanwhile Canada, under Liberal guidance, has kept proudly proclaiming, on every occasion. its independence and diplomatic autonomy: in refusing to ratify the Locarno treaty, which it had not been invited to negotiate; in declining to sign the protocols of Geneva; in sending out i

In 1926, during Mr. King's second term of office, a Canadian, for the first time, was appointed as representative of our country abroad. Since 1935, we have opened legations in almost every South American country and it may be pointed out that, under the present Liberal government, some ten of our representatives have seen their status raised to that of ambassadors.

During the whole of the last world conflict, Mr. King scrupulously and meticulously adhered to the proud Liberal tradition of ever asserting the sovereignty of the Canadian parliament; in 1914, the participation of

Canada in the war had been formally acknowledged by the reproduction in the Canada Gazette of the declaration of war, issued in London at the request of the British government. In 1939, His Majesty the King declared war on Germany for Canada, at the request of the Canadian cabinet, by a special proclamation issued and published seven days after the British declaration of war.

From 'this fact a well known Canadian newspaperman concluded:

This can mean -but one thing: by asserting its right to declare war in its own name, Canada has also asserted its right not to declare it whenever it may decide that its interests are not at stake.

Then he added this significant sentence:

It is a certainty that Mr. King is waging war at the side of Mr. Churchill, not behind him.

Writing of " Canada yesterday and today," here is what Mr. Andre Siegfried stated in Le Monde Frangais of last July:

French opinion is now very much interested in everything concerning Canada. The reasons for this are numerous: Canada is one of the victors of the last war, one of the countries who contributed most to victory; it is, on the other hand, and this is of interest _ to us, a British country with an important minority of French stock. Besides, the Dominion is remarkably placed, due both to its geographical location and its political relations, to serve as an efficient intermediary between the Anglo-Saxon powers. Last, it is a country with a future on this American continent which remains a continent with a future.

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate, in view of the immense problems of the day which the provincial, and especially the federal, governments have to face, that, for paltry political reasons, not only the policies of the federal government are being opposed, but attacks are being launched even against the most distinguished members of the cabinet and discussion is barred of propositions that everyone, or at least the majority of citizens of the province of Quebec, acknowledge as being of immediate concern to that province. They are always the same ones as shown by history. Whether they be disguised tories, a nationalist or a national unionist, we cannot admit that they do not at least recognize the good faith of their opponents. Mr. Lapointe condemned those trouble-makers in his speech of December 12, 1938, when he said:

More than ever we must rally round our institutions and the authority which protects our rights and our liberty. The world situation is difficult, painful and dangerous. Everywhere distrust, hatred and brutality are rampant. Hatred, which divides people, nationalities and races, rears its ugly head.

Here also, he added, we have our troublemakers. Those who foster the spread of misunderstanding between provinces or between some provinces and the Dominion authorities,

The Budget-Mr. J. A. Ross

those who pit one race against another, are not worthy of our confidence. Democracy protects our most prized freedom. It even protects its detractors.

In concluding, I hope I have shown that the true autonomists are those who have worked sincerely, conscientiously, intelligently, tactfully and with common sense to attain the real autonomy of our country. Those who refuse to meet the Dominion will have to answer to the intelligent electors of the province of Quebec for their insincerity and for the harm which they are causing daily to our good old province of Quebec.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FULTON:

Does the hon. member

know that under the regime of the Right Hon. Sir Robert Borden, conservative prime minister of Canada, this country, for the first time as an independent and sovereign nation, signed the treaty of Versailles? On that occasion, the prime minister of the day fought resolutely, even against the British, in order that Canada might take part in that conference.

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LIB

Léonard-David Sweezey Tremblay

Liberal

Mr. TREMBLAY:

I did not quite understand the remarks of the hon. member. However I know that Sir Robert Borden was not at the Versailles conference in 1919 for I happened to be on leave in Paris at that time and I am positive that Mr. Borden was not there.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FULTON:

I shall repeat my question in English.

(Text):

My question was this: Does he not know that it was the Prime Minister of that day, Sir Robert Borden, who fought even against the English and obtained for Canada a place as an independent nation at the peace conference and in connection with the peace treaty signed at Versailles?

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LIB

Léonard-David Sweezey Tremblay

Liberal

Mr. TREMBLAY:

I do know that.

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PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. A. ROSS (Souris):

May I. first of all, offer my congratulations to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott). I well remember when he was a new member in this house in 1940, as I was. He has come a long way since that day. In presenting the 1947 budget to parliament on April 29, he certainly made much of a rather disappointing budget, which he said would give an average reduction of twenty-nine per cent in personal income tax, or fifty-four per cent reduction for the single taxpayer in the lowest income tax bracket. He did not go farther and tell us that in that bracket it would mean a saving of $6 for the taxpayer, and that in the case of the seven per cent reduction which is for the much higher bracket, on $200,000 it would mean a saving of $10,385.

Lest I be misunderstood, I want to say right here that we do appreciate the reductions-which have been offered; but, coupled with that statement, I must say that the people of Canada were expecting much more along other lines. No increase is allowed in the exemptions, which are now $750 for single people, $1,500 for those who are married and 81,700 for a married couple with two children. We maintain that these exemptions should be at least $1,000 for single persons, and $2,000 for married people.

This budget distinctly discriminates against parents of families. It in no way encourages family life in Canada. That has been the condition in this country for some time, and I wish to give a short example. Let us take three persons, each- earning $3,000. Of course that is above the average because, as has been pointed out, the great mass of our people are not able to pay any tax. I am sorry that they are not. At any rate, in the case of the single person receiving $3,000 the gain in the tax reduction is $172.50; the childless married man gains $112.50; and the parent of six gains only $67.50. Yet the percentage tax reductions were 29, 29, and 31 per cent respectively in these cases I have cited.

At the $3,000 level the family allowance for children is almost entirely repayable as income tax, while in -the higher brackets it disappears altogether, so that it does not help in any way whatever.

Surely now, two years after the war, something should have been done for family people throughout the country. Up until 1946 a married woman was allowed to earn as high as $660 without taxation. This figure was reduced to $250 in the 1946 budget apd now remains at that figure. A levelling-up process should have taken place. Many married nurses and other skilled women are indifferent about working these days, though there is great need for people of this type. This tax affects the production of much required foodstuffs. The farmers' wife should be allowed a greater exemption in respect of dairy produce raised on the farm such as poultry, eggs, garden produce and so on. I wish to endorse the request made by my colleague the hon. member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Miller) when he suggested some time ago and again yesterday that there should be an exemption for the married couple on -the farm of at least $500 for the production of dairy products or of pork products on the farm. If that were done it would have a most desirable effect and, spread over the whole country, it is surprising what added production it would bring about in hogs and dairy products at this time.

The Budget-Mr. J. A. Ross

Thea there are what have been termed the nuisance taxes on soft drinks and chocolate bars for the children. Certainly these should be repealed, and the five-eent rate on soft drinks and chocolate bars should be provided for the children of this country at this time.

Then there is the twenty-five per cent luxury tax on jewellery, and I have always approved a luxury tax. The Minister of Finance was reported in the daily press quite a few months ago as having said that the budget would provide for an adjustment in this tax. That statement at that time was, I think, improper, because it distinctly slowed up business for that type of merchant throughout Canada. These people would certainly approve fewer words and more action from the minister in that respect. I am one of those who think that clocks, flatware, watches and such articles are essential to young people setting up housekeeping and certainly should not be termed luxuries, as they are for the purpose of taxation at this time. I endorse fully the request made by the hon. member for Fort William (Mr. Mclvor) that the tax on wedding rings should be repealed.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE:

Hear, hear.

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PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

I think that is most essential; and I am especially pleased to have the endorsation of my very good friend, the Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Mackenzie). I hope it will have a beneficial effect, because I have certainly noticed many of the fair sex' with their eyes on him in the past.

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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GREEN:

Is that why he has been waiting so long?

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LIB

Robert Wellington Mayhew (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Mr. MAYHEW:

He will not care if you take up a collection and buy one for him.

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PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

The government should be practising greater economy at this time. I know that the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. McCann) replied along those lines today. He gave a set of figures of government employees. I remember speaking on the budget a year ago; in fact, on July 10, 1946, and I used these figures which will be found at page 3314 of Hansard:

... in pre-war days there were about 70,000, and during the war the number has increased to approximately 150,000. One year after the termination of the war there has been a decrease of approximately one-half per cent-less than one per cent. Sometimes it is difficult to decide just who are within the civil service and who are in other branches of work under the government today.

The Minister of National Revenue today set forth a number of figures. He stated that in

1939 there were some 52,000; at the end of the war, 142,000; and practically that same figure as of October, 1946. I realize that figures, especially when they are obtained from different government departments, are confusing.

I want to refer to a return, sessional paper No. 106F, dated March 27, 1947. The mover was the hon. member for St. Paul's (Mr. Ross), and his questions were as follows:

1. What is the total number of employees of the government of Canada, including employees of boards, commissions and corporations appointed by the federal authority as of the thirty-first of December, 1946?

2. What is the total amount of salaries, wages and allowances paid to such employees in the month of December, 1946?

Then it says:

The attached information has been received by the Secretary of State of Canada from several departments of the government.

I am not going to burden the house with all these details; they are lengthy. But, Mr. Speaker, these add up to a total of 173,961 employees of the government of Canada as of December 31, 1946.

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LIB

James Joseph McCann (Minister of National Revenue; Minister of National War Services)

Liberal

Mr. McCANN:

All the fellows who were shovelling snow for a day or two.

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PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

No; they are not included in this sheet. It is lengthy, and if I had the time I should like to put it on Hansard.

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LIB

James Joseph McCann (Minister of National Revenue; Minister of National War Services)

Liberal

Mr. McCANN:

All the casual employees.

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PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

The total amount of salaries, wages and allowances paid these employees of the Canadian government for the month of December, 1946, amounted to $26,462,000; that is for one month. At this rate, for twelve months of the year, it would mean 8317,544,000 annually. I think the people of this country expect some decrease in the number of these employees at this particular time.

It has been set forth that the cost of the Canadian information service under the Department of External Affairs, will, according to the government's own estimate, be $241,200, for this year. Added to that, each department of the government has its own publicity service at great cost over and above this to the taxpayers. According to another return, dated March 15 last, War Assets Corporation spent some $210,000 last year just to remodel and alter their office building in Montreal to take care of some of their 7,000 employees.

I am sure that everyone in Canada realizes the deplorable situation with regard to veterans housing from coast to coast in Canada, and the great amount of money

The Budget-Mr. J. A. Ross

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

If I might ask a question, will the hon. member not agree that the same condition does not apply to wheat that applies to cattle? The Canadian government is responsible for the fact that cattle cannot be exported to the United States, but the United States government is responsible for the fact that, regardless of price, Canadian wheat cannot be exported to that country.

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PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

a majority of the electors who cast ballots in the various constituencies. I would sincerely appeal to the government to make provision for the transferable vote before another general election is held in Canada.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I understand that some announcements are to be made before six o'clock, so I should like to conclude by saying that I support the amendment moved by my colleague the hon. member for Muskoka-Ontario (Mr. Macdonnell), which reads:

That all the words after "that" be struck out and the following substituted therefor:

"This house regrets that the proposals of the Minister of Finance (a) offer no relief from the oppressive burden of indirect and hidden taxes on staple necessities that compose the family budget, all of which taxes directly increase the cost of living; (b) offer no encouragement to those engaged in the development of our natural resources, especially mining and agriculture; (c) fail to provide for reconvening the dominion-provincial conference in order to complete satisfactory agreements with the provinces and a dominion-provincial programme of social security, health and public investment."

On motion of Mr. Gardiner the debate was adjourned.

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May 9, 1947