chapter  7
24 Pages

Powering Injustice: Hydroelectric Development in Northern Manitoba

WithSteven M. Hoffman

The pattern of ecological destruction and the dislocation of Aboriginal peoples in northern Canada caused by the Manitoba Hydro project make it an important case of environmental injustice deserving of greater attention. The Churchill River Diversion and the Lake Winnipeg Regulation projects allowed Manitoba Hydro to develop the Nelson River as a "power corridor" and to turn Lake Winnipeg into a gigantic "storage battery". Hydroelectric development was perhaps the single most important vehicle for the perpetuation of this history in the last decades of the 20th century. Critics of the Cross Lake position argue that the community cannot expect Manitoba Hydro or the governments of Manitoba and Canada to restore a now-extinct way of life. The impacts of hydroelectric resources in northern Manitoba extend far beyond the traditional lands of the Crees and, indeed, far beyond the boundaries of Manitoba. The development of Manitoba's northern resources offers a case of transnational environmental injustice breathtaking in its scope.