Archive | The great electricity nationalization project of 1962

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Archives | The great electricity nationalization project of 1962

René Lévesque, Minister of Natural Resources, explains the benefits of nationalizing electricity during the November 1962 election campaign.

On August 30, 1962, Jean Lesage's Liberal Party adopted the principle of nationalizing electricity. Back to the archives on this historic moment for Quebec.

The nationalization of electricity has been an idea debated in Quebec since the 1930s.

It is notably advocated by Dr Philippe Hamel, outraged that natural resources are exploited by private interests.

From 1944, the State of Quebec had a minority presence in the electricity sector thanks to its state-owned company: Hydro-Québec.

In 1962, the Liberal Party of Quebec, led by Jean Lesage, proposed the nationalization of all private electricity companies in Quebec.

An early general election is called for November 14, 1962 so that Quebec voters support or reject this proposal.

Camera 62, September 24, 1962

It is in this context that the program Caméra 62 paints on September 24, 1962 a portrait of the situation of the ownership of electric power in Quebec.

Journalist Jean-Paul Nolet presents the situation, while Jacques Fauteux introduces an interview with the Minister of Natural Resources, René Lévesque.

René Lévesque presents with verve the nationalization plan of electricity.

In a few sentences, he describes the many benefits that such a gesture would bring to the rural population of Quebec and to the cities of the province.

René Lévesque also demonstrates that this project would give Quebec a powerful tool for economic development.

This plan has nothing to please the 11 cartel private electricity companies which are now threatened with nationalization.

They are campaigning against the nationalization of electricity. electricity, calling liberals “socialists”.

Excerpt from an interview with René Lévesque on the campaign of private electricity companies

In this short excerpt from the program Aujourd'hui of February 12 1968, René Lévesque returns to “the propaganda” coming from these trusts.

A large part of Quebec economic circles as well as the Union Nationale which constitutes the official opposition also opposed the principle, or the terms, of the nationalization plan proposed by the Liberals.

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The central theme of the 1962 election campaign was the nationalization of electricity.

“We had to come to the conclusion that the most important factor in industrial expansion is the electricity factor. »

— Prime Minister Jean Lesage, during the 1962 election campaign

“I have the impression that it's #x27;is a fight to end between the Union Nationale, rejuvenated and democratized, and the Liberal Party. I can tell you as a certainty that the communists, the leftists and the most extremists are probably not with the National Union. »

— National Union Leader Daniel Johnson, 1962 election campaign

With its slogan “Masters in our own house”, the 1962 Liberal election campaign would make history.< /p>

A documentary produced by the Liberal Party of Quebec, dated November 1962, and held by the Radio-Canada archives, shows an excerpt from a speech by Prime Minister Jean Lesage which extols the advantages of nationalization.

It was also during this campaign that the first televised debate in Canada took place. Liberal leader Jean Lesage and unionist leader Daniel Johnson clash there.

The alarmist speech of the leader of the Union Nationale during this debate and the propaganda orchestrated by the companies deprived of electricity will not be able to curb the momentum of Quebec voters.

On November 14, 1962, the Liberals easily obtain their mandate from the people.

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