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

CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I deny it. I repeat, the best way of securing contracts is to let the British government know that they will get a fair deal.
Another statement I made was that this was patronage, and the minister replied heatedly that it was not. What is patronage? My definition of patronage is that it is favouritism to friends of the government in connection with government business to the exclusion of all others. I think that is a very simple definition. Surely this is favouritism to friends of the government in connection with government business to the exclusion of all others. What makes it worse is the fact that it is patronage in connection with munitions, something which should be above and beyond politics.
Then I made a statement about Lieutenant Jolley. I simply quoted the commissioner who pointed out that Lieutenant Jolley was inexperienced. Some hon. member then said, forsooth, that I was making an attack on youth. As a matter of fact I made no attack on youth. I know something of the problems of youth. I have three youths myself who have had their troubles in getting established in life. I know something first-hand about the problems of youth, and I have every appreciation of the difficulty of those problems. I based my remarks on the statement of the commissioner, who said that obviously Lieutenant Jolley was without the business experience and judgment necessary for a job such as he was given.
I said that there was no competition in connection with a contract where millions

Bren Gun-Mr. Manion
were involved. I said it was an injustice to others, many of whom were more capable than Major Hahn. I pointed out that Major Hahn had no special experience for this work.
Then I pointed out that this was a cost-plus contract with ten per cent going to Major Hahn. There are times when cost-plus contracts cannot be avoided, but I do not admit that this was necessarily such a time. A cost-plus contract is one of the most dangerous types of contract to give unless you are very sure of the man to whom you give it. There is generally an inclination to increase expenses under the contract, because the higher they are the greater the profit. Ten per cent on the cost of the work was allowed by this contract. Such a contract is always undesirable if it can be avoided. It was stated that there was no competition possible. If there was no competition possible as far as price was concerned, there must have been competition in connection with the percentage allowance. There may have been many who would have been willing to take this contract on a 71 or 5 per cent basis instead of ten per cent.

Topic:   BREN MACHINE GUN CONTRACT
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