Press-Republican

Black

June 17, 2011

Quebec premier looks north

Historians tend to associate long-serving Quebec premiers with a certain legacy of their time in office.

Maurice Duplessis (1944-59) is the master of the "great darkness" of autocratic control and, ironically, the brightness brought by the electrification of rural Quebec.

Jean Lesage (1960-67) is the author of the revolution tranquille, which launched Quebec into secular modernity.

Rene Levesque (1976-85) shaped the province's secessionist movement into a powerful political force and staged the first referendum on sovereignty.

Robert Bourassa, although his second stint in office (1985-94) was consumed by constitutional matters, made his mark in his first term (1970-76) as the premier who started harnessing Quebec's immense hydroelectric potential. For this, he was known as Bob le Job for the massive employment that the hydro mega-projects in northern Quebec created.

The current premier, Jean Charest, just celebrated his eighth year in office, with at least another year to go before he calls an election. While he's done a lot of this and that, his rule has lacked a project with a larger vision than holding power for three straight elections.

Enter le plan Nord — or the Northern Plan — which sets out an ambitious goal to "shape and develop" northern Quebec's stupendous resources.

Charest rolled out the plan a month ago with a considerable amount of ceremony and with a lot of emphasis on Quebec's partnership with native communities. This would be a departure from Bourassa's blithe invasion of the mighty rivers of James Bay in the 1970s, which provoked years of native political militancy and litigation.

This time, the politicians from the south think they've done right by the first nations and Inuit communities who are now and will be affected by the sweeping Plan Nord. Indeed, one of the key combatants of rampant hydropower development on Cree territories, Grand Chief Mathew Coon-Come, was a proud signatory to the agreement.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Black
  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Big shift in Quebec vote

    Being a man of science, Philippe Couillard, premier-designate of Quebec, chose to use a geological term (though his field is actually medicine) to describe what happened in Monday's election, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Trench warfare in Quebec elections

    I've seen many a Quebec election in my day (I'll skip the "by cracky"), writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Dr. Phil's election prescription Philippe Couillard is a brain surgeon, not a psychiatrist, so his expertise is not necessarily understanding the collective mind of Quebecers, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    March 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Party's charter flight to majority

    It's not surprising the political maneuvering in recent weeks in Quebec City has been dubbed the "winter games," writes Canadian columnist Peter Black

    February 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Joe Ryan's mountain vision

    Eventually someone surely would have taken the initiative to turn what the Algonquins called Manitonga Soutana and the locals called Mont Tremblant into a popular outdoor recreational destination, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    February 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Montreal's Genie on the courts

    In a land where raquettes de neige (snowshoes) are more popular than raquets (tennis), a young Canadian with classic California surfer girl looks is turning heads on the court.

    January 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Columnist's Canada in 1954

    I will depart from my usual discreet journalistic anonymity just this once and offer a few personal reflections on my life as a Canadian, writes columnist Peter Black.

    January 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • peter_black.jpg Prime minister's hockey history

    By my count, President Barack Obama has written three books under his own pen, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    December 27, 2013 1 Photo

  • peter_black.jpg Quebec City displays Holy Door

    It's the first and only such thing in North America: a Holy Door, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    December 13, 2013 1 Photo