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Canada at War: QUEBEC: Power & Politics

1 minute read

Shrewd little Premier Adelard Godbout last week introduced in Quebec’s legislature a bill to: 1) create a five-man Hydroelectric Commission, thereby putting the Province in the power business; 2) expropriate, by April 15, the $210,000,000 Montreal Light, Heat & Power Cons. Said he: “[This bill] will change the economic life of the Province.”

Along narrow St. James Street (Canada’s Wall Street) in Montreal, financiers twitched and twittered: this was a step toward nationalization of all Quebec’s water power, which generates 53% of Canada’s hydroelectricity. There was nothing the financiers or the company’s shareholders could do about it except argue about the allotted payment for their holdings.

Plus whatever honest interest Premier Godbout had in cheap public power, he was clearly bidding for reelection. He was well aware that his French-Canadian constituents were in a mood to applaud any blow at the trustards, Quebec’s epithet for the English-Canadian capitalists who control much of the Province’s industry.

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