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Honorary degree citation - Eric Kierans*

By: Thomas E. Kierans, June 1987

Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Eric Kierans: educator, businessman, business leader, politician, commentator and author. Few Canadians can reflect on so eclectic and so constructive a career.

As educator and economist, he eschewed the notions of empiricists, dismissing the contention that the dismal science could be practiced "stand-alone", isolated from the ideals ordering and conferring meaning on the lives of men and women. True to the founding principles of Adam Smith, a moral philosopher first - and a political economist second, he taught that economic policy must be formulated within the context of values - religious, humanist and social. From such deliberations emerged as well his commitment to Canadian distinctiveness, sovereignty and nationalism.

As a business leader and a politician, he has been in the forefront, debating many of the crucial policy issues of the day: rigorously dissecting the economic doctrines of the Créditiste Party; illuminating for Quebecers more flexible options for remaining in a revitalized federation; and authoring for Canadians a "Challenge of Confidence", his call for national purpose and domestic sensitivity. His application of David Ricardo's theory of rent to provincial and federal resource policies is a theoretical centre-piece, however contested, for such fiscal formulations. His identification of the challenges posed for governments and for the nation-state-by globalization and by the concentration of powers in multinational corporations is, if anything, more relevant today than when first he spoke out.

His influence remains current and his contributions contemporary. As commentator, writer and speaker, his views are part of the mainstream of Canadian politics and public policy. From coast-to-coast, opponents and supporters alike, acknowledge him - above all - as a man of integrity.

Mr. Chancellor, it is a privilege to present to you, on behalf of the Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Eric Kierans, so that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

* deceased

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