March 14, 1939 (18th Parliament, 4th Session)


Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. J. MANION (Leader of the Opposition) :

I wish to say just a word with regard to the remarks of the right hon. gentleman. The reason I mentioned this matter last night was that it has been the custom of all governments once in a while to move to go into supply on Mondays and Tuesdays, to give to any private member the right to take up some subject in connection with which he thinks redress is required. There was no intention, may I say, on the part of our party of taking up more than perhaps part of a day in discussing the question. However, so far as I am concerned the right hon. gentleman can bring it on when he wishes. I am not going to worry about that any further. I merely suggested it because it looked to me, and it does yet, as though the government were dodging the question of moving into supply. I am not going to argue any more about it. The government can do as it wishes.
The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) has a very clever habit of picking out some little slip of the tongue and harping on it, referring to it over and over again. That

Pacific Ocean Defence
is what he did when he picked out the remark I made about supply. I simply meant this, and we all know it to be true, that when this government or any other government run out of business, they swing over to the estimates of some department. There is no particular hurry about them. They are not particularly helpful to anything; they are merely fillers-in. That is what I meant, and I stick to it. When governments have no other legislation ready, they move over into estimates, perhaps public works or agriculture-agriculture by preference on Friday, for example. We know that that is so, and that is all I referred to. The Prime Minister keeps on harping on the fact that I said "supply." Everyone knows that the government has to get supply, but what I meant was that governments constantly move into estimates when they have nothing else to move into.
With regard to the defence purchasing board, I quite agree we should get on with that. I certainly had no desire to delay the [DOT]government's business at this time, and as regards the attitude which the right hon. gentleman has taken to-day, I repeat what I have said on a number of occasions. We have done nothing on this side of the house to hold up the business of the government. The questions that have been debated have been of the utmost interest. Certainly none will assert that important questions were not brought up in the debate on the address, and I submit that the Bren gun question was of the utmost importance, so much so that a good many of the details in connection with the defence purchasing board are, I contend, the result of the Bren gun investigation. Again, the trade treaty is public. business; no one will deny that. I say, therefore, that we have not been holding up public business in any manner. However, whatever the right hon. gentleman desires will suit me.
As regards a vote of want of confidence, that was not our desire. One of our members did wish to bring up a certain question because he is of the opinion, and I agree with him, that it is of the utmost importance. With a view to expediting public business, I would suggest that instead of a want of confidence motion, after we have disposed of the defence purchasing board, the Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers) might bring on his resolutions with respect to youth training and unemployment, and on that motion the remarks which the hon. member on this side wishes to submit to the house might then be made. That would suit us and it would not delay matters, because the subject is one that will be discussed in any event. After
we have got through discussing the defence purchasing board, the Minister of Labour, I suggest, might take up the resolutions with respect to youth training and unemployment and the other question could then be discussed. I am not asking for favours; I wish to have that distinctly understood. I neither ask for them nor am I particularly anxious to give them. My right hon. friend can do just as he likes.

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