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High hopes for the James Bay Project

In 1971 northern Quebec became a political battleground as the provincial government and the James Bay Cree faced off over a hydroelectric mega-project. Quebec sees the James Bay Project as the key to future prosperity. The Cree believe the massive development will destroy their traditional way of life. Their tense relationship will continue for decades.

On April 30, 1971, Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa announces plans for a massive hydroelectric-power development in northern Quebec. Hydro-Québec will build a series of dams, dikes, reservoirs and power stations and divert major rivers to harness massive amounts of power. The government believes the James Bay Project is the key to its economic future because cheap power will encourage new industry and create jobs.
• Quebec nationalized its private electricity companies beginning in 1944 with the creation of Hydro-Québec. In 1963, as part of its efforts to modernize the province — a process dubbed the Quiet Revolution — it nationalized all the remaining private network and companies. The idea to nationalize was promoted by the Minister of Natural Resources René Lévesque in 1962.
Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News
Broadcast Date: May 2, 1971
Guest(s): Robert Bourassa
Duration: 0:44

Last updated: January 11, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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