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University research professor releases lost debates

By Janet Harron

The debates from the 1932 and 1933 Newfoundland Legislature have now been released, thanks to University Research Professor Emeritus Dr. James Hiller of the Faculty of Arts' history department.

"I'm frankly surprised at the amount of interest," said Dr. Hiller. "These two big volumes are not exactly racy!"

But they do shed a light on the final sessions of the legislature before the collapse of responsible government in 1934 and provide first hand accounts of the state of the dominion at that time.

Hansard wasn't published in 1932 and 1933 (which Dr. Hiller attributes to a cost-saving measure) although there were transcript fragments and newspaper reports the historian and a team of students spent a number of years compiling and organizing.

"This was as much a reconstruction job as an editing job," said Dr. Hiller, who credits a grant he received from the J.R. Smallwood Foundation that allowed him to complete the work.

Some 800 pages each, the published volumes of the 1932 and 1933 debates will be available in the Centre for Newfoundland Studies. The Office of the Queen's Printer has a limited number of copies for sale to the general public and can be contacted on 709-729-3649 or at queensprinter@gov.nl.ca.

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