MPA Major Research Papers

Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration


Political Science


Sancton, Andrew

Geographical Areas

Three Gorges Dam, China, James Bay, Quebec


This paper examines the political systems of China and Canada with respect to involuntary resettlement induced by hydroelectric projects. It uses case studies from the two countries – namely the Three Gorges Dam in China and a series of dams in James Bay, Quebec – to analyze the similarities and differences found under each system. The findings reveal that, with regards to similarities, in both countries, certain marginalized groups were further disadvantaged as a result of resettlement and the organized resettlement practices in the two countries are relatively short, although the history of dam construction is relatively long. With regards to differences, the findings reveal that the cultural and historical legacy of land for Aboriginal peoples in Canada has been given more attention than the land concerns of peasants in China, the approval process of dam construction and resettlement takes more time in Canada, and the central-local government relationship tends to be more hierarchical in China.