Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Reform Party I would certainly like to pay tribute to someone I thought was a great man, Bert Hargrave, a man respected by all people who knew him.
I was personally involved with Mr. Hargrave on a number of occasions, at a variety of meetings, a variety of delegations and a variety of presentations not only in the provincial legislature but in other meetings across the province dealing with agricultural issues.
Bert's constituency of Medicine Hat overlapped with the constituency of Little Bow, my provincial constituency, and as two elected persons, although not of the same political party, we often dealt with issues together.
One of the qualities of Bert Hargrave was that he was able to step over partisan barriers and deal with issues in a very common sense way. In my memories of Bert Hargrave that will be the marquee of his gentlemanly, sophisticated and rational way of dealing with responsible matters for his constituents in southern Alberta.
If we recall part of Bert's history, he was born in 1917 in Medicine Hat and attended school in that city. He received a bachelor of science in agricultural engineering from the University of Saskatchewan in 1942. Bert served the country in World War II in the Canadian army RCEME corps from 1942 to 1946, serving in northwest Europe.
After returning he married Amy Reinhart and they lived near Walsh, Alberta. Often in our conversations we talked about the beautiful rolling hills, that gem of the southeastern part of our province of Alberta.
Bert was an active member of the agricultural society, in particular the cattle industry. Once in a while I would say to Bert: "You come to meetings and you are so proud that you would even wear a little bit of that on your shoes for us". He was known for that. He was certainly an active member of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association and gave that organization good leadership.
Entering politics was something that Bert had not really thought about until the early 1970s when he became increasingly concerned over Canadian agricultural policy. Thus at that time he sought the Progressive Conservative nomination for Medicine Hat. He never looked back, winning in 1972 by a margin of 5,600 votes, and won re-election in 1974, 1979 and 1980.
In 1979 he was appointed as the parliamentary secretary to the minister of agriculture where his firsthand knowledge of agricultural issues and his common sense shone through. He fought for the average farmer, whether it was urging tax relief for drought stricken farmers or fighting for the rights of cattle farmers against U.S. beef bans or the injustice of the Crow rate.
Bert retired from Canadian politics in 1984, citing his own failing health and the loss of his beloved wife one year earlier. He returned to his farm which was never far from his heart but kept abreast of federal politics. Bert served as a member of the senate of the University of Lethbridge during the period when my wife Ingrid was the chancellor. He made a common sense contribution to the institution's success.
In 1993 he was inducted into the Alberta Agricultural Hall of Fame. He lived on his farm until this past June when he moved to the Central Park Lodge in Medicine Hat. He passed away in his room on Tuesday, September 24, 1996. Bert is survived by his son and his daughter and four grandchildren.
On behalf of the Reform Party of Canada I would like to extend my sincere sympathies to his family and his friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you remember Bert this afternoon.