February 13, 1939 (18th Parliament, 4th Session)


Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)


At the present time he
is supporting ours, and I have no doubt that he will continue to support ours. The fact that a man changes his party is no disgrace. Wasn't it Lincoln who said that anybody who has not a little more brains to-day than he had yesterday has no brains at all? And I believe it was Morley who once said, "Anybody who wants my discarded opinions can have them," and I say the same.
In the case before the house the Liberals have ignored the issues altogether. They have ignored the report with the exception of three paragraphs which deal with members of parliament and senators not profiting by the contract, and with the "no corruption" paragraph.
They based their replies largely on personal and political abuse, on affection for the minister, and on the tu quoque argument, that from 1914 to 1918 there was graft and profiteering in war contracts. I know nothing about that. I do not deny it, but I do say this: if that was true in war time, it is all the more important in peace time that we should avoid all grafting and suspicion of grafting.

Bren Gun-Mr. Manion
My book was also quoted freely by hon. gentlemen opposite, and I have no objection to that. In the book I pointed out some of the duties of an opposition, but there are men much more prominent in public life than I who have discussed that question. I well remember that Stanley, the so-called Rupert of debate, said that the duty of an opposition is to oppose, and that dictum has been often quoted. But in quoting my book hon. gentlemen opposite omitted to mention entirely a paragraph which shows that when I wrote that book, at a time when I was not even dreaming of being leader of this party, I had the same opinions that I have now with regard to profiteering in munitions. This is the paragraph, to which I refer:
If ever again men are compelled to risk their lives at a dollar a day, others who do war work at home should be put absolutely upon the same basis, and no one permitted to profit in any manner whatsoever by war.

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