January 28, 1943 (19th Parliament, 4th Session)


Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Hon. R. B. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Mr. Speaker, I should be a little less than human and have an entire absence of pride and vanity in my make-up were I not deeply touched by the kind expressions with respect to myself to which utterance has been given here this afternoon by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and by the leaders of. the two groups to my left.
My first words to you, sir, and to the Prime" Minister are, many thanks but not good-bye. If I have contributed in any measure to>
The Official Opposition

government of this country and to the national effort during this trying time of crisis, I shall feel amply repaid. I unbosomed my soul to the members of this house on May 16, 1940, when I said that in accepting this position even temporarily I did not intend to engage in a day-to-day dog-fight over political subject matters. I have tried to keep to that path. How far I have succeeded in aiding the government in its war effort, in a constructive manner, and at the same time tempered by criticism which may have been sharp at times, I shall leave you to judge.
I should like to extend my personal thanks to the members of this house and to you, sir, for the courtesy which has been extended to me at all times. One of the efforts which I made was to maintain and, if possible, to enhance the dignity of parliament. Parliament is a great institution and, if it is allowed to degenerate, it will but deserve the condemnation of the people who have sent us here. It is one of the fundamental duties of members, and those of us who are entrusted for the time being with the responsibility of leadership, to make parliament not only the vital thing it ought to be, but an institution which will command the respect of the whole country. That is one of the very bases of our democratic institutions, and I hope, indeed I am sure, that my worthy and able young successor will make that one of his main objectives.
I am not here to-day to pronounce any swan-song. I am not leaving the precincts of this house. But I felt that I could not carry on the responsibilities of leadership of the opposition for any further period. I hope to make some contribution to the discussions and to the work of the committees of the house as long as I am a member. In leaving the official position which I have held I trust I shall carry with me the respect and friendship of every individual member of this house, and I shall value that more than the applause of the multitude.
I have lived now a fairly long life. I have had my full share of the ups and downs of public life and of political battle, and I may say to you, sir, that in the declining years of my life the thing that I crave most is the respect and regard of my fellow citizens, which I have had in such full measure from the people who sent me here. I thank you.

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