Undercurrents: beneath the obvious

December 2, 2006

A Brief History of the Great Recycling and Northern Development (Grand) Canal Project

Canadian Provinces

The Great Recycling and Northern Development (GRAND) project (called the Grand Canal) is certainly one of the larger proposals having to do with Great Lakes diversions.

The Grand Canal project involves building a dyke across James Bay, separating James Bay from Hudson Bay. James Bay would be transformed from a salt body into a fresh water lake. The now-fresh water James Bay would then annually pump 20% of its runoff to the Great Lakes, whose water could then be redirected to dry regions of the United States and Canada.

The Grand Canal — estimated in 1994 to cost $100-billion to build and another $1-billion a year to operate — envisaged a string of nuclear reactors and hydro dams to pump water uphill, and nine inter-basin transfer locations. All told, 17% of the fresh water in Quebec and Ontario would have been captured and reversed.

This water would then be diverted from the Great Lakes to the U.S. Midwest or to Lake Diefenbacker in Saskatchewan and then on to the U.S. South, Southwest, and perhaps Mexico.

This $100 billion project has been called the “darling of the engineering industry.” The chief proponent of the GRAND Canal project is Thomas Kierans of St. John’s, Newfoundland.

First proposed in 1959, this enterprise continues to be on the drawing board and periodically rises to a higher profile.

The Great Recycling and Northern Development (GRAND) Canal concept was revived in 1985. The project briefly captured the imagination of a number of Canadian public figures, including Quebec premier Robert Bourassa.

However, it has never been seriously advanced by any government.

Thomas Kierans incorporated GRANDCo (a privately – held St. John’s [Newfoundland] company) on 15 October 1984 to advance the Grand project. Although GRANDCo is in a “state of suspension,” Kierans is still actively promoting the idea.

Some observers believe that large-scale engineering projects such as the Grand Canal were foreseen in the U.S.-Canada-Mexico free trade discussions; before his appointment as Canada’s negotiator for the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement, Simon Reisman was a director of GRANDCo Ltd.

Rather than building the complete project at once, the more likely scenario would be the construction of small parts of the project one at a time.

Source: The Fate of the Great Lakes: Sustaining or Draining the Sweetwater Seas?

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  1. Hello

    Do you have a present e-mail address for Thomas Kierans?

    I would like to contact him in regard to some water issues

    Yours very truly,

    John F. Carten

    Comment by John Carten — December 6, 2006 @ 3:30 am | Reply

  2. Hello John,
    No I don’t have a contact for him. Sorry.

    Comment by nemo — December 6, 2006 @ 12:19 pm | Reply

  3. Interesting project. If the dam would be built enclosing James Bay it might help to keep the Gulf Stream running as it would keep the fresh water out of the Gulf Stream system. Global warming will probably make the northern Canada area wetter and thus more fresh water running into the Gulf Stream thus weakening the Gulf Stream.

    Comment by john — September 10, 2007 @ 11:24 pm | Reply

  4. Hello:
    Another selling point for pumping water from James Bay to the Great Lakes would be the raising of the St. Lawrence River level, which is slowly decreasing from year to year.
    This argument way help offset the negative reactions from the environmentalists.

    Comment by Pierre Jutras, P. Eng. — October 8, 2007 @ 10:56 am | Reply

  5. I forgot to mention that the need for fresh water supply around the world is being filled more and more by improved desalination technology (lower cost per cubic metre) in areas located close to seawater . It has reached the point where it is often more feasible economically and technically to build and operate a seawater desalination plant than to transport freshwater over long distances.

    Comment by Pierre Jutras, P. Eng. — October 8, 2007 @ 11:28 am | Reply

  6. The Rafferty and Alameda dams are in Southeast Saskatchewan, near Estevan. The Alameda Resevoir provides the water necessary to cool the Shand Power plant. These dams also provide flood control for Minot, ND. While they may be a part of the GRAND project, they are not located in Alberta.

    Comment by Evan — November 9, 2007 @ 4:43 pm | Reply

  7. Evan,
    Thanks for the comment. I pulled the reference to the Rafferty and Alemeda dams as this political issue didn’t seem related to the purpose of the original post.

    Comment by nemo — November 12, 2007 @ 11:42 am | Reply

  8. John & Pierre: Fresh water affecting the Gulf Stream isn’t coming from Hudson’s Bay, it’s coming from melting ice in the Arctic, incl. Greenland — & it’ll come down whatever you do to James Bay. What’s hurting water levels in St. Lawrence River is what’s happening to the Great Lakes, & one of the cures for THAT is to close the system to deepdraft shipping — because dredging for those ships has drained Superior almost a meter’s depth. It’d take water from James Bay 10 years to make up the difference.

    Comment by mweitzmann5 — November 14, 2007 @ 11:14 am | Reply

  9. John F Carten.
    Been trying to contact you re Alan Evans and recycling plant here in Ireland.

    Comment by Liam O'Mahony — November 24, 2007 @ 2:47 am | Reply

  10. I would like to get in touch with Thomas Keiran as well. I am a Geography teacher in Noewfoundland and it would be great to hear his perspective on the subject.

    Comment by Campbell Laird — March 4, 2008 @ 9:00 pm | Reply

  11. […] of NAFTA and uncle of Heather Reisman, also a Bilderberg alumnus, was director of GRANDCo, which has previously advanced ideas for large scale water export. It’s a small world at the top, it seems, and these ideas have been floating around for quite […]

    Pingback by statism watch » Blog Archive » Bilderberg-connected Desmarais dynasty thinktank supports exporting Canada’s water — September 16, 2008 @ 4:45 pm | Reply

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    Comment by mE — December 7, 2008 @ 8:39 pm | Reply

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    Comment by N. Blais — July 28, 2009 @ 4:13 pm | Reply

  14. Even more ambitious, the whole of Hudson Bay could be dammed. The geography allows several opportunities. By allowing the water level to rise, it would be possible to compensate for sea level rise. Adequate compasation to Canada should of course be afforded, obviously, many bangladeshi inhabitants would be saved, and cities from Venice to New Orleans would benefit.

    Comment by Pérez — November 11, 2009 @ 12:29 pm | Reply

  15. […] Great Lakes, whose water could then be redirected to dry regions of the United States and Canada. More] – Diversions cannot be made without consequences. Science frequently produces unforeseen […]

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  16. Hmm….will this project really boost our economy? Many water factories across Canada will have to be shut down, and many people will lose their jobs. Plus, a lot of animals and wildlife will be affected, as well as Canada’s tourism.

    Comment by Melydely — March 19, 2012 @ 1:53 pm | Reply

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