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Quebec Hydropolitics The Peribonka Concessions of the Second World War by David Massell

Quebec Hydropolitics The Peribonka Concessions of the Second World War

Part of the Studies on the History of Quebec/Etudes d'histoire du Quebec Series


Quebec Hydropolitics The Peribonka Concessions of the Second World War by David Massell

The construction in the 1940s of hydroelectric dams and reservoirs, Lakes Manouan and Passe Dangereuse, were enormous projects that had consequences not only on the environment but also on international affairs. Built by the Aluminium Company of Canada (Rio Tinto Alcan), the project helped meet the American and Allied Forces demand for electrical power and aluminium ingot during the Second World War but also forced Innu/Montagnais hunter-trappers from their ancestral lands. Examining sources as varied as the papers of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and interviews with Montagnais elders, Quebec Hydropolitics presents a compelling synthesis of business and social history as well as wartime politics. David Massell reconstructs the story of a changing landscape through the perspectives of corporate executives, government officials, and Aboriginals to show the effect that war had on Canadian resource extraction and energy policy as well as its indigenous peoples. A narrative that flows from the Saguenay watershed to the centres of political power, Quebec Hydropolitics is an informative look at the costs and benefits of large-scale industrialization.


A rich and nuanced text that forces the reader to think again not only about the war and its immediate effects but also its enduring legacies in Quebec and beyond. Matthew Evenden, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia Quebec Hydropolitics sheds important new light on just how vital the Peribonka concessions were for the development of both the Quebec economy and the province's regulatory state. Laurence B. Mussio, Department of Communications and Multimedia, McMaster University

About the Author

David Massell is associate professor of history at the University of Vermont and the author of Amassing Power: J.B. Duke and the Saguenay River, 1897-1927.

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Book Info

Publication date

27th January 2011


David Massell

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McGill-Queen's University Press


264 pages


Drought & water supply
Water industries

Second World War



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