79 Thomas Kierans, Eric Kierans and Thomas William Kierans
1. Thomas Kierans, born 09-Oct-1872, Gortnana, County Monaghan, Ireland, occupation Insp. Montreal Tramways, died 11-Feb-1947, Montreal, Quebec, buried: Notre Dame de Neiges Cemetery. Thomas’s surname, according to his birth certificate, is Kerrians. After emigrating from Ireland, Thomas joined his brother James in Vermont where they both worked at lumbering and moved to Montreal. Shortly after Thomas’s arrival in Montreal in the early 1890s he involved himself with the Irish Society and with the Hibernian brotherhood. In time, Thomas became President of the United Irish Societies and represented these offices at many conventions in Canada and the United States. Thomas married Margaret McAran, the daughter of a prominent general store owner on Notre Dame Avenue. After his death, John Loye (President of the United Irish Societies) paid Thomas a fraternal tribute and said, et al, “To those of us whose memories go back over 50 years in Montreal, the death of Tom Kierans comes like a closing period in a picturesque paragraph of time. It would seem to us that with his passing a definite era has been consigned to the past and another age and different (path) has come to the Irish community of our city.”
Eric Kierans, Born in Montreal on Feb. 2, 1914, Kierans grew up in the working-class Saint-Henri neighbourhood; his father worked at Canadian Car and Foundry and his mother came to Canada as a domestic. After serving as director of the school of Commerce at McGill University and president of the Montreal Stock Exchange, Kierans entered provincial politics in 1963. He was appointed Minister of Revenue and then Minister of Health in the Liberal Party. Of Quebec.
At the time of the Quiet Revolution, Kierans became president of the Quebec Liberal Party and clashed with former cabinet minister and colleague Rene Levesque in 1967, daring him to give up the idea of Quebec Sovereignty or quit the Liberal Party. Lévesque did quit the Liberal Party and established the Mouvement Souveraineté Association which became Quebec‘s leading sovereignist party as the Parti Québécois
Initially a critic of Walter L. Gordon’s Economic nationalism, Kierans’ experience in government changed his mind, and he became a believer in the need for state intervention in the economy.
In 1968, Kierans entered federal politics running unsuccessfully for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada. at its leadership convention in 1968. He was elected to the House of Commons in the Canadian Federal Election of 1968. Kierans served as Postmaster-General and Minister of Communications in the Canadian cabinet of Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau. He did not run for re-election in the Canadian Federal Election of 1972.partly as a result of his criticisms of Trudeau’s economic policy.
Kierans called for Canada to leave the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in 1969. He argued that the organization might have served a useful purpose on its initial formation, but had since become anachronistic. Some others with the Trudeau government agreed with Kierans, while others strongly disagreed. The Trudeau government did not ultimately withdraw Canada from NATO, although it did reduce the country’s troop deployment.
He considered running for the leadership of the New Democratic Party in 1975, but declined in favour of Ed Broadbent. After leaving politics, Kierans taught at McGill and Dalhousie University. In the 1980s, he became a familiar voice appearing with the “Dalton Camp” and Stephen Lewis as part of a weekly political panel on Peter Gzowski’s CBC radio show.
In 1994, he was made an Officer of the Oder of Canada.
Thomas William Kierans. FCSCE, P. Eng. is an engineer and innovator. He is the originator and principal proponent of the Great Recycling and Northern Development Canal or Grand Canal. Kierans is a Montreal native and 1939 McGill University Mining Engineering graduate. As a student he prospected by canoe and bush aircraft across Canada’s northlands. From graduation to 1967 he lived in Ontario working for eighteen years at Inco mines, smelters, and refineries and specializing in industrial safety and rock mechanics. From 1957 to 1967 he was mining and water resources consulting engineer and visited most mines in Canada twice each year. That experience led him to decide that his eventual home would be in St. John’s Newfoundland.
Kierans recognized the increasing greenhouse effects since the 1930s “dust bowl” were a clear indication that fast-growing Canadian and United States populations would require a new, large, controllable, environment-friendly source of fresh water to stabilize shared Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River water levels and flows and end widespread and worsening water deficits and flooding in both nations. To meet this need, Kierans used proven Netherlands and California experience to design his Great Recycling and Northern Development Canal concept in the 1950s. This would recycle (not divert) some of the now huge and harmful run-off to Canada’s Hudson Bay to the Great Lakes from a new sea-level freshwater dike-enclosure in James Bay. This should substantially increase Canada’s freshwater supply and improve Hudson Bay and east coast environments, fisheries and shipping. However, despite Quebec’s past Premier Bourassa’s and prominent engineering groups’ endorsement of detailed study of his concept, as well as an invitation to outline it to the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2001, some Canadian authorities unfortunately failed to understand basic differences between run-off recycling as opposed to potentially harmful headwater diversions or simply fear any joint water management with the U.S.
In 1967, he was invited by project owner CFLCo to be Mining Engineer responsible for underground design at the 5500MW Churchill Falls Hydropower Project in Labrador. His duties were expanded to include project safety and environment protection. He organized detailed studies on the environmental impacts of diverting some of the Naskaupi River headwaters to the project’s Smallwood Reservoir.
In 1973, he was appointed Professor of Engineering at Memorial University of Newfoundland where he worked with Newfoundland and Labrador on the 1975 attempt at a hydropower only crossing of the Strait of Belle Isle., chaired the Environmental Committee on Brinco’s Kitts-Michelin uranium project, and was on the Editorial Board of the American Society Of Civil Engineers’ Manual on Nuclear Structures And Materials. In 1978 he proposed comprehensive underground and surface development of St. John’s Southside Hills and founded Friends Of St. John’s Harbour, the first public group to promote much-needed clean-up of that historic Canadian seaport. He was the founding Chairman of the Newfoundland and Labrador Peat Association and worked with MUN and several industry representatives to initiate the University’s Seabright Corporation cooperation with industry.
In 1978, he retired from MUN to be the Director of the Alexander Graham Bell Institute at the University College of Cape Breton. In 1983 he founded Deltaport Limited to create a very large, mid-ocean, floating, sea and air base using tetrahedral space frames. A floating dock built for such research on the MUN side of St. John’s Long Pond is still in use for recreational purposes. From 1989 to ‘91 he was technical advisor to Canada’s Environment Department for the Fixed Link to Prince Edward Island.
He is a life member of the Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Newfoundland and Labrador (PEG-NL), Canadian Society of Civil Engineers (CSCE), the Canadian Institute of Mining Metallurgy and Petroleum and other professional groups. He was awarded PEG-NL’s Order of Merit for 2000 and in 2001 received a CSCE fellowship. He currently authors three websites that reflect his interest in large-scale joint North American water management, floating mid-ocean sea-air bases, and the proposed Newfoundland-Labrador fixed link. He is the father of nine children and a citizen of both Canada and Ireland.”