Mr. Chairman, I would be less than generous if I did not say a word of commendation of the work carried on under the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act in the constituency I represent. I want to say here and now, in rebuttal of what was said a moment ago by the Iron, member for Mel-fort, that the work in the Dauphin district, where there has been rehabilitated by P.F.R.A. about a quarter of a million acres, was done for less than a million dollars.
If the report is correct, that in connection with the South Saskatchewan project only about a quarter of a million acres could be irrigated within the next twenty years, even with the construction of a dam, I would point out that the work done in the Dauphin district cost about one per cent of what it is reported would be the cost of doing the same kind of work in connection with the Saskatchewan river dam.
I am not condemning the project at all; but it does seem to me that in the light of the 38,000 or more projects which have already been completed under the act, and at a cost much less than the estimated cost of the South Saskatchewan project, the right thing to do would be to proceed with smaller projects, such as the one at Dauphin and at Pasquia Flats in northwestern Manitoba. Projects of that kind would cost only a fraction of the reported cost of the Saskatchewan dam.
I would hope eventually that the dam on the Saskatchewan river would be completed. I must say I was most impressed by the statement made this morning by the Prime Minister. It was logical, fair and friendly, and I could not conceive how any hon. member could criticize it. What more could he say? He did not say it would not be built, nor did he say that it would be built immediately. The hon. member for Assini-boia made the comment-and I was tempted to reply to him-that the Prime Minister had said it would not be built. What he did say was that he would not promise it could be built immediately-at least, that was my understanding of his statement.
May I say a word of commendation of what the Minister of Agriculture did for us. It will be agreed that he has excellent officials in his department, particularly those who are connected with P.F.R.A. I have known and met them, and I have worked with them. They are excellent men; but I wonder who selected them. Who appointed them? Of course it was the Minister of Agriculture.