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Interview: Conrad Black on Duplessis

This week, the Prince Arthur Herald is proud to present an interview with Conrad (Lord) Black as part of a series on Hydro-Québec and the Québec state.This year marks the 50th anniversary of Jean Lesage’s famous “Maîtres chez-nous” election victory in 1962, which led to the nationalization of Québec’s hydro-electric sector and ushered in a period of unprecedented government intervention. Fifty years later, the role of Québec’s increasingly sclerotic and inefficient public sector is increasingly coming into question. The Prince Arthur Herald is pleased to present a series of articles discussing both the past and present of the so called “modèle québécois”. Yesterday, we featured a ground breaking study by economist Vincent Geloso, which demonstrates that Québec’s pre Hydro hydro-electric sector was surprisingly successful, efficient and beneficial to Québec consumers. Today, we present an interview with Conrad (Lord) Black on Hydro-Québec and the Québec state under the leadership of premier Maurice Duplessis, on whom Lord Black is the leading authority. Tomorrow we will feature an article by former CFCF President and potential provincial Liberal leadership candidate Adrien Pouliot on the SGF, the powerful state investment agency established by the Lesage Liberals in 1962, whose legacy of mismanagement affects us still. On Friday, Claude Garcia, former President of Standard Life Canada and an outspoken critic of Hydro-Québec, will discuss the performance of the state utility in more recent years. The Prince Arthur Herald: What is your view of the performance of the privately run hydro-electric power companies in Quebec prior to Duplessis’ first election victory in 1936 and during his latter terms in government?Conrad Black: They were scapegoats in the Great Depression and subjects of simplistic demagogic demonization. They may have been guilty of moderate over-charging, and were probably under-indulgent of delinquent accounts, but I have never seen anything that would justify… Read More
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