The chair of the Senate agriculture committee yesterday would not comment on an Italian junket so costly other senators expressed unease with the expense. Senator Robert Black (Ont.) submitted a $66,940 budget to lead a four-member farm delegation to Italy in July for a study of “soil conditions in Canada.”

“Europe is astronomically expensive at that time of the year,” Senator Donald Plett (Man.) told the Senate committee on internal economy. “The agriculture committee was given some very clear instructions to bring the costs of their flights down in different ways,” he added.

The Senate agriculture committee proposed to send two senators and two aides to Rome in mid-July to visit the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The budget included $42,600 for transportation including business class air tickets, another $13,120 for hotels at $820 a night for four nights, $2,800 for Roman taxis and $2,000 for meals.

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