Churchill Falls, a Difficult Decision

Daniel Johnson (1915-1968)

For Premier Daniel Johnson, keeping the Manic-Outardes project on schedule and accelerating the start of hydro development in the Baie James region were preferable alternatives to making such a large commitment to a project in Labrador, which Québec still considers part of its territory despite the fact that the Privy Council in London had ceded it to Newfoundland in 1927. His decision was made, in his words, with "a knife at my throat". On October 6, 1966, the premier agreed to give Hydro-Québec the go-ahead to participate in developing Churchill Falls, only after the company had convinced him that the Labrador project was the most economical way to meet Québec’s growing energy needs.

Daniel Johnson

On September 28, 1968, on the occasion of the inauguration of the dam at Manic-5, planned for the following day, Premier Daniel Johnson (right) met with ex-Premier Jean Lesage (centre) and future Premier René Lévesque.

Subsequently, the dam was named after Daniel Johnson, who passed away that night.