Eric William Kierans | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Eric William Kierans

Eric William Kierans, OC, economist, politician, businessman (born 2 February 1914 in Montreal, Quebec; died 10 May 2004 in Montreal). Educated at Loyola College and McGill University, Kierans was director of the School of Commerce at McGill 1953–60, president of the Montreal Stock Exchange 1960–63 and then minister of communications and postmaster general of Canada 1968–71. He served in two governments — Jean Lesage's  Quiet Revolution (in which he served as minister of revenue 1963–65 and as minister of health 1965–66) and Pierre Trudeau's first Cabinet.

Eric Kierans achieved political prominence, in part because he stirred up controversy outside government. Examples include his attack on Walter Gordon's 1963 budget; his 1967 challenge to René Lévesque to abandon separatism or quit the Québec Liberal Party; his candidacy for the national Liberal leadership in 1968; and his sustained criticism of Trudeau's economic policies. Although he was often labelled an "economic nationalist," his views were rooted more in his belief in the primacy of politics over economics, his distrust of economic, political and intellectual "monopoly," his insistence that Canada's natural resources belong to the public and his conviction that things do not improve unless somebody speaks out.

After leaving politics, Kierans returned to McGill University (1978–80) to teach economics and then taught at Dalhousie University (1983–84). Kierans was also a visiting lecturer and fellow at UBC (1984), Memorial University (1985) and the Institute for Research on Public Policy (1985–90). He was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1995. From 1983 to 1994, Kierans appeared weekly on Peter Gzowski’s CBC program Morningside, as part of a political panel with Stephen Lewis and Dalton Camp

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