Response by Leader of Opposition, Duma Gideon Boko to the State of the Nation Address

SHARE   |   Wednesday, 19 November 2014   |   By Staff Writer

1. Madam Speaker I have been instructed that it is a habit or convention of decorum of this House to refer to each other as Honourable. This should not be very difficult for me. As you all are aware I come from a background where this convention applies. We refer to the Honourable Court and learned friends. I am also aware that in neo-classical poetry the assumption is to treat kings as if they were noble and gracious, statesmen as if they were wise and just, soldiers as if they were brave and merciful, ladies as if they were chaste and fair, whatever may actually be the case. We condition ourselves always to clothe people with the garbs and accolades of virtues they are assumed to possess. Often when these titles or references are uttered they do not even remotely imply the speaker’s belief in the honour or erudition of those to whom we refer as either Honourable or Learned.
2. I would like to urge and challenge all the members of this house to attain and maintain a poise and manner that makes it worthwhile to refer to them as Honourable. An Honourable character and disposition demands of each one of us that we break free of the frozen crust of blindPage 2.
loyalty to persons however powerful they may appear to be. It demands that we act justly regardless of the artificial boundaries of political affiliation. It demands that we strive always to speak the truth and take the citizens of this country into our confidence. An honourable character creates a moral context for the habitual settings of all our actions. I know many who demand the title Honourable, who in the words of Gioconda Belli, “tell a lie with the aplomb of someone asserting the most unequivocal truth.” I challenge and implore the members of this 11th Parliament, to rescue the word Honourable from the clutches of sycophancy; from the resigned, crude and uncritical indorsement of positions held by the Executive. I challenge the members of this 11th Parliament, especially on the other side of the isle, to learn to say NO to Executive tyranny.
3. Madam Speaker I have been candid in sharing with you, somewhat informally, the fact that the members on my side of the isle nurse a species of suspicion and skepticism regarding your probity and ability to act fairly in the conduct of the proceedings of this House. I record here and now the assurances you and your Deputy have given me, that you will act most fairly and justly in executing the duties of your offices. I state these issues openly and formally in order to commit you once again to those strenuous assurances and hold you publicly to them. I state them in order to also afford you an opportunity to silence your critics and prove them wrong. What a pleasant surprise that would be. Madam Speaker, please do not disappoint the nation.
4. Permit me while still on this quest to cleanse the word Honourable of all improper accretions, to express our gravest disappointment with the manner in which the Executive has handled the issue of specially.
nominated Councillors and Members of Parliament. Once again the ruling party has exploited this dispensation to reward proven failures and rejects of the electoral process. It has used this dispensation to dilute and undermine the outcome of the recent elections. I must record the indignant rage felt by us in the opposition and indeed the scornful resentment all reasonable citizens feel at this disgraceful conduct. Madam Speaker there is nothing honourable about the conduct of the Executive in this regard. To force a proper debate on this matter the member for Francistown South, Honourable Winter Mmolotsi, will in due course table a motion in relation to the entire practice and procedure of specially elected Members of Parliament and Councillors.
5. Madam Speaker the just ended national elections have, despite all the pompous rhetoric marshalled by defenders of the status quo, served to highlight the truth in George Orwell’s observation that some elections only allow those in power “to don the mask of democracy.” As usual the contest played out in an unfair environment of serious abuse of state resources by the ruling party. The opposition faced near insurmountable challenges. We faced little to no coverage by the state media, especially Btv, as well as the deployment of Botswana Defence Force aircraft in BDP campaign activity. These were carried out without even an ounce of shame by the Presidency. While many may contend that the elections were generally free it would amount to unconscious fantasies and self-deception to suggest that the elections were fair. It is about time we reviewed our electoral system to avoid the anomalous situation of a minority government commanding only 46.7% of the vote. These elections have shattered all illusions of omnipotence and invincibility on the part of the BDP.
6. We in the UDC suffered a crushing blow in the passing of Gomolemo Motswaledi a few months before the elections. Madam Speaker, Gomolemo Motswaledi’s life depicted some of the finest human attributes- courage, humility, diligence, service to his people and a sense of purpose. Allow me to pay special tribute to him for the contribution he made towards changing the political landscape of this country. It is said that the most fertile seedbed beneath which to sow excellence is the seedbed of excellence. Motswaledi has been such a seedbed for our nation. From beneath his life has emerged a new generation of citizens filled with the spirit of excellence. There has been no other instance in our lifetime when an entire generation arose with such oneness of purpose. Our people have awoken to the gospel that they are powerful beyond measure. That they alone hold the key to making this nation great. They have realized that if they willed it they too could cultivate that seedbed that would nurture every flower or crop; their talents could one day catapult them to achieve anything for themselves if they put in effort and creativity.
7. This, Madam Speaker, is our vision, the vision of my movement, the UDC, and the vision of all our people: that one day we will stand tall and every little child will be able say in their heart that he or she can become anything they wish to be, and in realizing that dream he or she will also carry their nation to greatness. This is the flame that Gomolemo carried, which now illuminates, eternally, the road ahead of us. It is a vision so crisp and crystal clear.
8. The electorate spoke with stunning eloquence on the 24 October 2014. They embraced this vision. They embraced change. When my nineteen colleagues and I were voted into parliament that day the people of Botswana did not just cast their votes in our favour they were, in fact, speaking in a language and voice they had been desperately longing to discover. And they spoke in one language and in one voice. They said they want change; they expect change and they demand change. Change is the language they spoke in. Change is the reason we are here. Change is our job description. And change is what we, all of us here, will live and fight for.
9. We are not the majority party. We are not the party that has formed Government. We do not hold the levers of administrative and executive power to effect the extent of the change that our people deserve. We do not allocate the budget, we do not appoint personnel to key national assignments and we do not coordinate the work of Government institutions. These are roles of the Government of the day; the role of the BDP led Executive. We want the people of Botswana to understand this. The people need to understand this so they are clear that the fullness of our mandate for change can and will come only when the UDC forms Government in 2019. Our mandate in Parliament over the next five years is, therefore, to build the foundation for change:
9.1 we will hold the Government accountable for all its actions by monitoring and evaluating the work of Government and subjecting it to the most rigorous scrutiny;
9.2 we will intervene to sow seeds for fairness and excellence in our system;
9.3 we will lend our ideas, understanding that the Government will not embrace them as wholesomely as we would if we were in Government, to nourish our current policies;
9.4 we will advance the rights of workers and those of people living with disabilities, women and all the forgotten people;
9.5 we will work to unite the people of this country;
10. This will not bring about wholesomely the change our people expect or are demanding from Government but will begin to lay the foundation for the change we will fully effect when we are in Government in 2019 through the implementation of our five pillars- the education beehive, a clean and effective Government, a humming economy, no one is left behind and happy and fulfilled families
11. Madam Speaker, very often, in the bloated language of bureaucracy sight is lost of the target audience. In his State of the Nation address, the President should have spoken reassuringly to that resident of Gaborone and the other urban areas, who has lost all hope of ever landing a job. He had a duty to speak to the small business person; the street vendor and backbone of the informal sector to whom doom watching has now become a pastime. He was under obligation to speak pointedly and credibly to the many young people whose lives continue to be thwarted and frustrated by landlessness and crippling joblessness. These are flesh and blood individuals not just dry statistics. Otlaadisa is a young economics graduate from the University of Botswana who is trapped at
the margins of subsistence on the meagre earnings he gets from waiting on tables at a local restaurant. He is unable to get a job that accords with his qualifications; an investment threatening to go to muddle and waste. He listened carefully for some reassurance and practical action from his President’s State of the Nation Address. He waited for that thunderclap in the President’s address when a concrete answer and timeframe would be presented to his situation. Sadly none came.
12. The little boys and girls at Bophirima Primary School as indeed in the rest of the Government schools across the country listened to the glib promise of a world class education being made by the President. They listened for something concrete and serious that spoke to time and circumstance. They waited with bated breath to hear when their school would be favoured with a library where they could, like their counterparts in other upper middle income countries, explore the vistas of uninhibited learning and swim in the wide oceans of the written word in books. These children in the Government schools are expected to, and can indeed, compete with their peers at Northside and Thornhill. The failure by this Government to offer them facilities comparable at the very least to those found in the private primary schools only adds to a residue of bitterness.
13. The workers listened for some indication that the Government has finally come round to taking them seriously as a partner in the development of this country. They waited to hear that the state of affairs in which the laws and institutions regulating their relations with their employer were ignored would be a thing of the past. No such message came through.

14. The whole nation listened for a message in the State of the Nation Address that would inspire and energize. They were left in total disbelief as the President gave them a speech overloaded with the same tired and empty promises he has delivered before.
15. The President misses the critical economic challenges facing our country, both in his diagnosis and in the remedies he proposes. He relies on the National Income Accounting figures to embark on an orgy of self- congratulation and triumphalism. He celebrates the fact that real economic growth exceeded 5% in both 2012 and 2013 and that this has continued year on year from 2011. He also lauds the fact that inflation has been contained within the Bank of Botswana’s range of 3 to 6%. The President flags the fact that the Government budget recorded a surplus of P 7.2 billion in fiscal year 2013-14 while a surplus of P 1.2 billion is projected for 2014-15. This assessment suggests that the macro economy is healthy, but it masks structural weaknesses that the President says nothing about. The President owes the nation a duty of candour; to highlight these weaknesses and share with the nation his vision for addressing them.
16. While the figures suggest that Botswana has prospered over the years, this prosperity has not been inclusive. This nation has serious problems of poverty, unemployment, inequality and exclusion. According to the 2014 IMF Country Report on Botswana, the country’s income inequality, with a Gini Index in excess of 0.64 is one of the highest in the whole world and fares more than badly when compared with other upper

middle income countries. Our country has the second highest income inequality in SADC after Namibia. Botswana is ranked worse than low income countries like Lesotho in this regard. It is a crisis when a fifth of the country’s population lives below the poverty line, 17% of active job seekers cannot find a job, more than one in ten able bodied people without a job are disillusioned to the point of giving up, wages are falling, in real terms, a growing number of young people with college qualifications cannot find employment for extended periods of time, and alarmingly, increasing wealth and opportunity get more concentrated in the hands of a few who, for the most part, are closely connected to state power.
17. Madam Speaker, we maintain that the magnitude and persistence of these problems, at levels atypical of upper middle income countries, require the Government and the President to admit that they are structural and need to be addressed as such. We cannot talk about “better days ahead” until we meaningfully commit to active measures to address the structural determinants of poverty, unemployment, inequality and exclusion. These are not decreed by God, they are a result of the policy and strategy choices of this Government.
18. The economy may be working for the business and political elites but it is not working well for poor households that subsist at the margin of the economy, low income workers who toil for eight hours or more a day but do not earn enough to meet the most basic of their needs, public sector workers who have endured stagnating real wages for more than five years, the youth whose dreams for the future are stolen by a failing
Page system and a Government unable to create employment opportunities for them, rural communities whose resources develop the nation and its capital and create wealth for outsiders but are denied a fair share of the benefits of those resources by government policies, informal, small and medium enterprises that choke under the strain of regulation and a crony form of capitalism that limits their access to business opportunities especially government procurement.
19. Ours is a country under the current President where, according to the World Bank 2013 Report a large number of children suffer malnutrition and 31.4% of children under the age of five exhibit stunted growth. A large number of children are either not in school or are below their expected grade level.
20. The President extols his prudent economic and financial management and offers it as the reason the country survived the 2008-9 global financial crisis with minimum impact on the domestic economy. This conjures up the spectacle of that lizard in West African literature, which jumped from the highest point of the iroko tree and proceeded to sing its own praises. What the President does not tell Batswana is that despite the Global Financial Meltdown the Gross Domestic Product has been rising for the past nine years except for 2009. Further, Government Revenues have been increasing since 2005 except for 2009 when they fell by 12% from 2008. In 2010 Government Revenues increased by 26% from the previous year.
21. The Government cannot pride and congratulate itself for having saved jobs when the reality is that the Government failed to create any meaningful jobs for the past nine years despite a higher expenditure in.
that period. The Government has spent up to P 45 billion in 2013-14 without any meaningful improvement in the welfare of Batswana.
22. The only explanation to all this expenditure without returns is that there is a culture of corruption and impunity in Botswana with no accountability at all. This President and his Government have presided over the worst kind of Government waste. The Government could not create jobs for Batswana because billions of Pula have been lost through corruption by politicians and Government officials. In fact recently, when addressing a Kgotla meeting in Tlokweng the President could only make the flippant remark, “Re jelwe”. He was referring to the following:
22.1 The BMC Corruption which impacted negatively on the rural economy;
22.2 The collapse of the Palapye Glass Project;
22.3 BDC Corruption where millions were embezzled by corrupt officials and foreign companies with no one being held to account;
22.4 Millions of Pula lost through ghost students in some colleges;
22.5 The CTO corruption where one official procured hundreds of vehicles without proper procedures;
22.6 Corruption with Government procurements;
22.7 The monumental failure of Morupule B despite Government having spent in excess of P 11 billion.
23. The fact of the matter is that on an objective assessment, for the past sixteen and a half years when President Khama worked either as Executive Vice President responsible for Project Implementation and as President, the country has lost billions of Pula through wasteful spending and corruption. Not a single project in the past six and half years has either been delivered on budget or on schedule. It is, therefore, simply not true that there has been any prudent management of the economy under President Khama.
24. There has also been a failure at the sectoral or micro levels. The national cake is not divided at the level of macro-economic policy alone. In fact, the distribution of the wealth of this country occurs at the micro level- when tenders are issued, prime land is allocated and positions of power are shared. It is here that poverty, exclusion and inequality are engineered through decisions that disadvantage many and advantage only a select few. Big contracts, especially in engineering and construction, are given to large firms, mostly foreign, without building meaningful participation of local firms into those projects.
25. Botswana owes much of its prosperity to good fortune. Mineral wealth has powered this country to the status of upper middle income countries (MICs) in less than half a century. Yet today, the country remains overly depended on mineral wealth for growth, government revenue and exports. We have neither diversified nor transformed the economy sufficiently to reduce the risks associated with external shocks.
26. Batswana need to know that this is a feature of the state of their nation. They need to appreciate the risks faced by their economy because these are risks to their livelihoods. They need to know why we are here and how we can get out. The IMF consults this Government every year and they profile the risks we face in their 2014 Article IV consultations. These include a deteriorating underlying growth trend, with prospects for reduced growth going forward, due to declining total factor productivity. They warn the country about rising household debt, inequality, structural bottlenecks and low rankings, relative to our MIC peers, on ease of doing business.
27. It is clear why we are here. Our economy is not diversified because of lack of creativity at the levels of leadership, policy and strategy. We have an economy that is straining under petty overregulation that adds to the costs of doing business. We deprive the economy of innovation by over centralizing economic management. Why are we moving towards greater centralization when the rest of the world appreciates that the future competitiveness of economies lies with empowered developmental local governments? The World Bank recognizes that cities are the future. The United Nations High Level Panel on the Post 2015 Development Agenda does not equivocate when it speaks of local government’s capacity to add impetus to economic growth, job creation and transformation of livelihoods. We therefore join the Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA) in calling for decentralized economic management to allow for more innovative and responsive local government. We also demand meritocracy and non-interference in the boards of our public enterprises to allow for professional management of these institutions.
28. The 2013 World Bank report indicated that formal sector labour market opportunities in Botswana are very limited and a large share of adults work in low productivity- low wage jobs for example in agriculture or are unemployed. The unemployment rate is also very high, sitting at 17.8% in 2009-10, although if discouraged potential workers are taken into account the rate would be closer to 30%. The type of jobs the President claims he protected would be low wage jobs.
29. Madam Speaker, the President also talks about creating jobs in the next three years without stating how this will be done. The unemployment rate has been sitting at 17.8% since 2007 clearly indicating that in the six and half years that the President has been in charge he has not been able to create any jobs for Batswana save for Ipelegeng.
30. We advocate targeted measures to support employment creation. There is a need to identify areas where job creation is possible- which we term “job drivers.” Specifically the UDC economic agenda points to employment opportunities in sustainable agriculture and food processing, entertainment, leisure, sport and tourism, services (niche sub sectors within services such as health services, education services, business process outsources, business services, logistics/transportation services) information and communications technology, pharmaceuticals and medicines, mining and mineral processing and sustainable energy and water.
31. To further unleash the full potential of our economy the UDC would invest substantial resources in modernizing public infrastructure in a comprehensive and systematic way. This is what we call “The Sky-is-the

limit Infrastructure expansion plan. Some of the challenges of our inadequate infrastructure include non-existent water drainage system to capture and conserve water resulting in our water capacity being far below the demand for both industrial and domestic consumption especially in Gaborone, southern and western parts of the country, internet access is still low and where available it is slow and at very high cost, our national electricity generating capacity is far below our needs, the standard of our roads, public physical structures, broad band capacity is poor.
32. Under this Government per capita expenditure on infrastructure is the largest in Sub Saharan Africa but because of inefficiencies and corruption this expenditure has never created sustainable jobs in Botswana.
33. Botswana faces a serious problem of youth unemployment estimated at 50% of the total unemployment in the country. A phenomenon known as the youth bulge has caught up with us. Properly handled the youth bulge can become a demographic dividend, meaning the size of its potential labour force is twice that of the dependent population (children and the elderly) presenting an opportunity if decent jobs are generated for this youthful and highly productive workforce. It is important therefore to create employment and opportunities for the youth to avoid the youth bulge turning into the demographic bomb it will inevitably become with such massive youth unemployment.

34. It is also critical to link Government procurement with skills development for the youth thus encouraging companies to offer apprenticeships to them and revamp their training programmes.
35. The failure to make minimum inflationary adjustments to civil servants’ salaries for well over five years has been tragic in the sense that it has resulted in a huge decline in economic activity. The decline in welfare for Government workers has negatively affected every sector of the economy. The middle class, which is the driver of economic growth, is therefore not contributing much to the economy. The Government employees are the largest spenders in the economy and if they are unable to spend the economy will not grow, hence the decline in economic activity in the past five years. It is simplistic and misleading to argue against salary increment on the basis of the Government wage. Civil servants pay back the wage bill in the form of income tax, VAT, the various levies and sin taxes. It is totally disingenuous of the BDP Government to claim that they could not adjust civil servants’ salaries because of the 2008 Global economic meltdown. As I have indicated, Government revenues have been increasing in all these years and Government chose to spend the revenues on projects that have collapsed.
36. Diversifying the economy beyond Botswana’s principal export-diamonds- is proving to be impossible under the BDP led Government. Diamonds account for approximately 83% of total merchandise exports, 35% of GDP and about one half of Government revenues. The key to diversifying
the economy is identifying key strategic sectors. Once his is done, the Government then puts in place a deliberate Procurement Law that ensures promotion of these strategic sectors. Even the World Trade Organization (WTO) provides for support of strategic sectors for developing economies.
37. To create sustainable jobs there is need to develop strong linkages between the SMMEs and big business in Botswana. The current situation where SMMEs do not get much support from big business is not good for economic diversification. Clearly a large number of private companies are not playing any meaningful role in the drive to develop and diversify the economy. The reason is simply that Government, which is the biggest investor in the economy (where the private sector is the largest beneficiary) does not have mechanisms in place to ensure that its investment accrues to companies that add value to the economy and contribute to skills development and job creation.
38. There is an urgent need, therefore, to develop a broad industrial policy framework instead of using EDD as an industrial policy. Such policy would then be aligned with a stable and supportive macro-economic regulatory framework, appropriate skills development and educations systems which are readily integrated with the needs of the industrial policy, reliable infrastructure: roads, telecommunications and suchlike, investment in Research and Development, Procurement Law, Citizen Economic Empowerment Law and a Trade Policy that is informed by the Industrial Policy Framework.

39. The President’s treatment of education is very disappointing. He mentions “disappointing examination results” without acknowledging that the crisis in education has been going on for a long time. It warrants a fully-fledged Commission of Inquiry to probe and make recommendations on what should be done to arrest the ever declining standards in primary and secondary schools. The President observes, en passant, that there is a skills mismatch between many of our graduates and potential employers. He offers no solution. This is despite the fact that the Revised National Policy on Education had recommended that education should prepare learners for the world of work through “a programme of pre-vocational preparation” which “will require a transformation in the curriculum, school organization, teacher approaches, teacher training and the relation of the school to the community.” Tragically, none of these envisaged revolutionary “transformations” have been pursued.
40. Vocational and technical education has been in disarray for many years because of structural and ideological problems. The Government has, over the years neglected vocational and technical education because of fixation with the academic curriculum. As long as the Government has no comprehensive industrialization strategy and no long term strategy for the development of agriculture including investment in water development for irrigation purposes it is difficult to see how the status of vocational education can be improved to the level where it can begin to serve the needs of a diversified and internally integrated economy.

41. Another area of grave concern is the Government’s educational policy of one size fits all which is clearly disadvantaging some of the culturally distinct communities particularly the Basarwa. The low level of participation of children from the so called Remote Area Dwellers, who are mostly Basarwa, requires greater flexibility in the provision of educational services to these communities.
42. The improvement of Land Administration, Procedures and Systems (LAPCAS) project is a good initiative that, however has a lot of implementation challenges. Despite the fact that the project is in its sixth year and a lot of money has been spent on it, there are no tangible benefits in terms of land registration and security of tenure. There are still no efficiency gains from LAPCAS.
43. Batswana continue to lose prime land to foreigners under the watch of the BDP. The land along the Okavango, Thamalakane and Chobe rivers is now dominated by foreigners.
44. Government has also failed to consult and engage meaningfully over Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and this has adversely affected the rural communities in these areas. There are unresolved disputes in Kweneng, Kgalagadi, Gantsi and the Central District in relation to poor or improper consultation.
45. This Government is also expropriating tribal land from Batswana instead of helping them derive economic value from their land. Land is being
expropriated without prompt and adequate compensation as required by the Constitution.
46. The rigidity of land zoning continues to disadvantage Batswana from optimizing the economic value of their land.
47. The Land Boards continue to frustrate Batswana with their outdated and slow allocation processes. The President was content only to announce that about three thousand plots will be available for allocation in Palapye without disclosing that the waiting list there presently stands at 16 348. He also conveniently avoided stating that the waiting list in Mochudi stands at 5 146 while in Oodi it stands at 2 841and that applications in these areas were frozen in 2006. In Mogoditshane the waiting list stands at 140 000. What solutions did the President offer in his state of the nation address? Absolutely none. He failed even to so much as indicate the full extent of the problems.
48. The President asserts that the rule of law is a cornerstone to our national development. He then rehearses ratings given by several institutions. Having done so he then berates various persons or groups and singles them out as being primarily responsible for besmirching the country’s reputation and standing internationally. He then trains his guns on the press and the social media. The entire treatment by the President of the rule of law and human rights is most revealing. It betrays a complete lack of understanding of the entire edifice of human rights and the rule of law.
49. Madam Speaker I could present pages of eloquent and elegant dicta on human rights and the rule of law, these forming part of my subject of study and research over a long period of my academic life and professional engagement. I choose not to do so. What I choose to do, and this is how I will end my response, is to remind this House and the nation of the gruesome violations of human rights under President Khama. I cull just randomly and call up the name of John Kalafatis. To bring it all home I read from the press statement I issued shortly after his death. Here goes,“The day was 13 May 2009. A tranquil winter evening. The clock could have struck ten. Stars pierced the blanket of darkness which the night had spread. A small two door Corsa hatchback pulled up at Extension 12 in Gaborone and parked facing the car wash there not far from a little complex of bars and shops. It had three occupants. Two sat at the front and one at the back. The man at the back was John Kalafatis. He had spent that day drinking with his friends. He had no weapon either on him or anywhere near him. Unarmed! No sooner had the car parked than was the tranquility of that ruptured by the staccato echoes of coordinated and targeted gunfire. The target was John Kalafatis. He took a bullet around the top of his head. Another was planted at the base of his head. He took several other bullets. All of them were fired at close range, from behind. They left him still, as they had found him, but lifeless. Dead. It was a scene of unmitigated horror. It bore all the hallmarks of an execution. The number of bullets fired attested to the grotesque brutality of it all. Imponderable horror. The two remaining occupants were bundled out and made to lie on the ground. They lay there for well over two hours. The men who had carried out this act patrolled and controlled the scene. They only left much later and faded into the darkness, savagely exultant at their success. One more down. How many more to follow? Imponderable horror.The many bullets that were fired and which took the life of John Kalafatis did more than just take his life. They left the presumption of innocence that attaches to any person under Section 10 (2) of the Constitution supplanted and sacrificed. In the loud staccato echoes of their shell blasts, the Constitution of Botswana was denigrated, insulted and stained with blood. Our national flag is now soaked in the bold and tears of those that the Constitution was established to protect. Our democracy is fast depreciating and sliding, at pandemic velocity, into a democracy of terror.”50. It is a matter of public knowledge what the President did with the killers of John Kalafatis.

51. Madam Speaker to deny that these truths would be most dishonourable. I have urged that we maintain the honour and dignity of this House.

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