Tag: foreign aid

Hydroelectric Dams and the Hinterlands in Canada and India, 1953-1958

Developing the North: Hydroelectric Dams and the Hinterlands in Canada and India, 1953-1958, by Jill Campbell-Miller

Tues, February 15, 2022 – 7:00-8:30pm

Meghalaya. Photo by Jill Campbell-Miller

About the Event

“Electricity, now-a-days, almost symbolises Civilisation.” This quotation, taken from a c. 1951 report by the Central Waterpower Irrigation and Navigation Commission of the Government of India, states plainly the objective of waterpower development in the “hinterlands” of states during this era. Disconnected from the administrative state, often largely populated by Indigenous or other minority ethnic groups, yet rich in potential for natural resource development, the hinterlands of modern states posed challenges and opportunities for governments in the mid-twentieth century, and to a great extent, still do. Hydroelectric power offered governments a technical solution to perceived political and economic problems. During this period Canada saw a growth in the international potential of its consulting engineer sector. As the federal government in Canada sought to develop its own hinterlands, partly by providing hydroelectric power to these regions, they also supported the growth of Canada’s consulting engineering sector abroad, by promoting their businesses through the foreign aid program. This talk will examine two hydroelectric projects built during the same era, the mid-1950s, one in Canada in the Yukon Territory, and one in India in the state of Assam (present-day Meghalaya), and both funded by the Canadian state. Both projects involved the Montreal Engineering Company, a politically-well connected consulting engineering firm. Though such projects achieved the goal of providing cheaper electricity to these hinterland regions, they had major consequence for the Indigenous peoples that lived in the areas where the dams were constructed, a consequence of little concern to those in power at that time.

Dr Jill Campbell-Miller is Adjunct Professor of History, Saint Mary’s University

A link to the virtual event will be sent to registrants on Sunday evening, 13 February.

Registration for the event can be found on Eventbrite.

Yukon Territory. Photo by Jill Campbell-Miller

When Historians Meet Aid Workers and Policy Makers.

by Julie Van Drie

Reflections on the Conference, “A Samaritan State Revisited: Historical Perspectives on Canadian Foreign Aid, 1950-2016.”

On December 12th and 13th 2016, the colloquium, A Samaritan State Revisited: Historical Perspectives on Canadian Foreign Aid, 1950-2016  was held at the Lester B. Pearson Building, the main office of Global Affairs Canada, in Ottawa, ON. The conference involved an array of academics and professionals on the history of Canada’s foreign aid policies since 1950, on the 50th anniversary of the publication of Dr. Keith Spicer’s A Samaritan State?[1]  The conference featured 17 speakers, all of whom gave a presentation on a specific aspect of Canada’s humanitarian aid policy. With approximately 150 attendees, undergraduate and graduate students, research assistants, professors, academics, bureaucrats, ambassadors, and other distinguished guests gathered together in the impressive  Robertson Room at Global Affairs Canada to engage with this important field of study, and explore questions about Canada’s past role in foreign aid and development.

Continue reading