Born in 1888, Gerald Gratton McGeer was a
young child when his family moved to Vancouver. His father had emigrated from County Kildare. .
He studied law at Dalhousie University and first attained notoriety in the 1920s representing the Government of British Columbia in its case against discriminatory freight rates to the West Coast. McGeer won the case and earned a reputation as “the man who flattened the Rockies”. He carried on a lifelong battle against all forms of bias against the West, claiming it was 3,000 miles from Vancouver to Ottawa but 30,000 miles from Ottawa to Vancouver.
He entered political life in 1933 by winning a seat in the British Columbia Legislature for the Liberal Party of B.C. Government. He entered civic politics by winning the 1934 Vancouver mayoralty election against incumbent L.D. Taylor with the biggest margin of victory in Vancouver’s civic history. McGeer then launched a Baby Bond scheme in the midst of the great depression to finance a new city hall.
The location in what was then considered the boondocks of 12th Avenue and Cambie Street was universally criticized. He next organized elaborate celebrations to mark Vancouver’s golden jubilee in 1936. While some applauded his efforts to boost civic pride, others denounced extravagances such as the $35,000 fountain for Stanley Park’s Lost Lagoon.
While still Mayor, McGeer ran as a Liberal Party candidate in the Canadian Federal Election of 1935, narrowly winning the Electoral district of Burrard. He became a vocal advocate of monetary reform as the answer to the great depression. His was one of the most forceful voices in Canada calling for government intervention in the credit system even before the establishment of the Bank of Canada.
His lifelong ambition was to obtain a position where he could implement his reform ideas, but his theories were too radical to be entertained in Ottawa.
McGeer remained on the back benches until his appointment to the Senate in 1945. He returned to Vancouver civic politics with another landslide mayoralty victory in 194. He died in office a few months later and therefore did not see the fruits of his latest reform drive. Gerry McGeer’s economic ideas are described in his 1935 book, Conquest of Poverty, or Money, Humanity and Christianity. David Williams has written an entertaining biography entitled Mayor Gerry.
Mayor Gerry Furney
One of Canada's longest serving mayor - 46 years
Maureen Conway Maher
Furney, Gerry Mayor 146
Debra Hanuse is a retired lawyer who previously practiced in aboriginal and corporate and commercial law for more than 25 years. Debra formerly served as a BC Treaty Commissioner. She also served on the Board of Governors of Simon Fraser University, and in this capacity, served as chair of the Board’s Audit Committee. In 2014, she was elected chief of the ‘Namgis First Nation, which comprises more than 1,700 members, and whose principal community is located on Cormorant Island (Alert Bay) in British Columbia.
The Corrigan name has been proudly associated with public service and patriotism from the first Irish immigrant through the generations that followed.
Derek Corrigan was born in Vancouver and attended Sir Charles Tupper High School. After winning a scholarship to UBC, he was granted early admission to law school after three years of undergraduate study in political science and philosophy. He was called to the B.C. Bar in 1978. A Burnaby resident since 197 elected to Burnaby City Council in 1987; elected Mayor in 2002 re-elected in 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014 to serve 29 consecutive years as a member of Burnaby Council.
Throughout his political career he served on many key committees at the local, regional and national levels and as the chair of B.C. Transit from 1994-97 assuming responsibility for all transit systems in British Columbia. He is proud that during his tenure, B.C. Transit received both the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Outstanding Public Transportation System of the Year Award (1996) and the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) Transit System of the Year award (1995). He currently sits on the Mayor’s Council on Regional Transportation.
He served for four years as an elected director of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and currently serves as a Trustee of the Municipal Finance Authority of British Columbia. On an international level, Corrigan has been an active supporter of the Mayors for Peace movement and has served as the Canadian secretary for the 3,793 member cities. He was honoured to receive a special recognition award for his participation in the United Nations Nuclear Non-Proliferation Conference.
Corrigan’s Irish ancestry is typical of many Canadians. His great grandfather, James S. Corrigan was born in the Parish of Ballinkill, County Laois, Ireland in 1847. He immigrated as a young man and made his way across the continent to follow the lure of gold. Unsuccessful in prospecting for riches, he settled in Hope B.C. where he opened the Corrigan Hotel and was a mainstay of the community, serving as a School Trustee and involved in developing a thriving town. In 1882, he married Louisa Wirth of German-American heritage. They had 6 children.
Derek’s grandfather, Roy Corrigan served Canada in WW, his father, Ronald served Canada in the Korean War. Mayor Corrigan was very honoured to be the recipient of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities 2011 FCM Green Champion Award. It spoke to the many years of environmental leadership the City of Burnaby has shown, enthusiastically supported by the people of Burnaby and hundreds of citizen volunteers. Mayor Corrigan was also awarded a life membership in the Union of B.C. Municipalities. He serves as the Honourary Foundation Chair for Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion and the Honourary Chair for the Burnaby Empty Bowls Campaign. Corrigan was very honoured to be the recipient of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities 2011 FCM Green Champion Award. It spoke to the many years of environmental leadership the City of Burnaby has shown, enthusiastically supported by the people of Burnaby and hundreds of citizen volunteers. Mayor Corrigan was also awarded a life membership in the Union of B.C. Municipalities. He serves as the Honourary Foundation Chair for Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion and the Honourary Chair for the Burnaby Empty Bowls Campaign.
Derek and his wife, Kathy (n. Henry, from Armagh, Ireland) have four children – Sean, Darcy, Patrick and Kelsey. The family has enjoyed years of involvement in local sports, including the South Burnaby Metro Club, Burnaby Minor Lacrosse Club and Burnaby Minor Hockey Association. Both Derek and Kathy were involved in the West Burnaby Parent Participation Playschool. Kathy served as a member and chair of Nelson School Parent Advisory committee and on the Burnaby School Board for 9 years.
Kathy Corrigan was elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia as a candidate for the BC New Democratic party representing Burnaby-Deer Lake in the 2009 provincial election with her party forming the official opposition, and again in 2013. She did not seek re-election in 2017. She acted as the critic for the 2010 Winter Olympics and women's issues, and following the 2011 election as critic for Public Safety, Solicitor General and women's issues. She served on the Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts in all four sessions and the Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations in the final two sessions. She currently serves as the Official Opposition Spokesperson for Advanced Education.
Kathy was born in Toronto, Ontario, to a mother who worked as a physics teacher and a father who worked as an engineer.She had three siblings. Her family moved to Cornwall, Ontario and then to West Vancouver in 1961] She graduated from Sentinel Secondary when she was 16 and went on to the University of British Columbia. entering Law. There, at a student social event in March, she met Derek Corrigan. They were married in December. Kathy graduated in 1978 and practiced law before their first child was born in 1980. She decided to focus on raising their family and became a full time wife-mother-community activist and more for the next six years..
Maureen’s love for her Irish heritage has taken her on quite a journey. Maureen was born and raised in the the culturally rich Irish community of Shannon, Quebec, near Quebec City. Her father, Martin Conway, of Lahinch, Co. Clare, Ireland was himself a witness to a defining moment in Irish history – he was present at Béal na mBláth the day that Michael Collins was shot. Her mother, Julia Donaldson, was 4th generation Irish and so Maureen’s cultural heritage has deep roots and a source of immense pride and love for all things Irish.
Always civic-minded and community-oriented, Maureen has a long list of accomplishments and firsts to her credit: she is one of the founders of the Shannon Irish Show, which just celebrated its 50th consecutive year this past year; she held the position of president of the CWL in Shannon for a two-year term and later was elected as president of the Quebec City Diocese, again for a two-year mandate. In the International Year of the Woman, 1975, Maureen was the first woman elected as Municipal Councillor, for a four-year term.
She served as the first woman Mayor of Shannon for 10 years. While in office, Maureen hosted a number of Irish parliamentarians who were in Shannon as part of an organized Irish celebration.
Later, when Maureen was in Ireland, she was received at a luncheon at Leinster House and asked to speak about her impressions of Ireland and the differences and similarities between Ireland and Canada.
During her time in office, Maureen and her husband, the late Roy Maher, himself a 4th generation Irish, raised three children – Angie, Jimmy and Darren. She also enjoyed a long career with the Bank of Montreal having worked in Montreal, Valcartier and Quebec City.
Maureen’s involvement with Comhaltas began when she attended the 1989 Convention in Ottawa. She became a member at that time, and later, when she re-located to Ottawa in 1991, her significant leadership experience was the gain for the Ottawa Branch. She’s since held the positions of chair and vice-chair (twice) as well as chairing the North American Convention held in Ottawa ten years ago. Maureen has also worked on a number of Echoes of Erin tour committees. Maureen has long been a voting delegate on the Regional Board and was the Vice-Chair. In 2009 she was inducted into the CCÉ Canada East Region Music Hall of Fame.
Her three grand-daughters, Grace, Molly and Emma are the loves of her life and she is a very active grandmother indeed
Ernest Roderick Patterson
Alberta Centennial Medal - outstanding service to the province
The Queen’s Jubilee Medal Mayor of the Town of Claresholm for 33 years 106
Mayor Derek Corrigan 242
MLA Kathy (Henry) Corrigan
In 1956 Gerry Furney boarded the SS Catala heading north from Vancouver and landed in what would become Port McNeill. He was looking for adventure. He needed a job and, on his word that he'd been a logging truck driver in Ireland, got a job in an isolated logging camp near the north end of Vancouver Island. It was an experience that would serve his future, and Canada, well - as a former logger he related to the forest industry and was able to relate to the community, the aquaculture and fishing interests. All of which would be the strength of his 46-years as Mayor of Port McNeill.
Furney was elected a member of the community's first council in 1966. He served for seven years before he was elected mayor. He was defeated only once and that by only one vote.
He was an avid follower of the news, keeping up to date with where the community could find support. He didn't hesitate to write to the Prime Minister regarding U.S.-funded charities: "Having observed our resource companies and resource communities being the victims of some very unkind campaigns by these so-called charities, I have yet to observe or experience any “charitable” actions by them. In fact, their actions appear to be the antithesis of charity. ... I believe that a review should be undertaken of all these organizations that claim to be “charitable,” to ensure that they meet the stringent “charitable” requirements of our Government. If they do not meet the charitable standard that we expect, then their tax-free status should be rescinded. Is this possible?"
Furney saw Confederation as a collective that would look out for each other so faced with the sorrow and crisis in Lac- Mégantic he had his council commit $1. for each Port McNeill resident be sent to their aid and fired off letters to every mayor and council in Canada urging them to pitch in as had Port Alice and Alert Bay First Nations fishing
community on Cormorant Island.
Gerry Furney headed for Port
McNeill in search of adventure
and he found it ... not what he
expected but the greatest.
He was Mayor for 46 years
and whilst Ireland is always his
roots, Port McNeil was home
and his 'extended' family.
Couples who mean business in BC .
First woman Councillor & Mayor of Shannon.
REFORMER. Mayor. Senator. Member of Parliament.
“ERNIE” was born near Roscrea, County Tipperary, Ireland, on 25th September 1936 to W.E. “Ted” Patterson and Lucy Patterson. In 1948 his family emigrated to Stavely, Alberta. They moved on to Claresholm, Ab. In 1949 where Ernie completed high school and went on to the University of Alberta, Edmonton, earning his first teaching certificate. He returned to Claresholm to take up his teaching career and went on to earn his Bachelor and subsequently his Maser of Education through summer school and evening classes at the Universities of Lethbridge and Calgary.
Stavely would be home for most of his working and political life as he progressed through the steps of Assistant Principal, Principal, Deputy Superintendent of Schools and Superintendent of Schools for the Willow Creek School Division with the head office in Claresholm.
When Ernie became involved in federal politics running for the Social Credit Party in the 1962 Federal Election – he lost by 1890 votes. It was followed by losing federal and provincial election campaigns, switching from Social Credit to Liberal. In 1964 he turned to municipal politics and was elected Mayor of the Town of Claresholm where he served a total of 33 years.
In 1990 he became involved in Health Care governance by being elected Chair of the Claresholm and District Hospital Board for six year and worked to create the Claresholm and District Health Foundation and served as Chair from 1998 to 2008.
Having been appointed a Commissioner with the Canada Metric Commission, 1981 and 1984, he was appointed a member of the Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission for 2002/2003. In 2003/2004 he was elected President of the Alberta Municipal Association (AUMA), which represents all cities, towns and villages in Alberta. This also meant that he served as President of the Alberta Municipal Service Corporation, which at that time was providing over one hundred million dollars of services to Alberta municipalities.
In his capacity as Chair of the Beverage Container Management Board for Alberta from 1996 to 2004, Ernie provided leadership to the start of the recycling of beverage containers for Alberta through the local bottle depot system.
In August 2004 he was named as one of Alberta’s “50 Most Influential Citizens” by Alberta Venture magazine and specifically identified as one of seven “political power houses” in the province and, in February 2005, he was awarded the Alberta Centennial Medal for outstanding service to the province and in, 2012, he was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for playing a pivotal role in shaping modern municipal politics in Alberta.
He credits his family in playing an important role in his involvement with politics and social issues. His first wife, Alice, the mother of his three children died in 1987. She helped greatly in influencing them in their education with Donna becoming a teacher, David a Professional Forester and Edward becoming a doctor.
In 1993 he married Edna Allwright. Both Ernie and Edna had been widowed and acknowledge how fortunate they are as, between them, they have the support of five children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Gerald Gratton McGeer
Mayor Furney consults with Namgis Chief Debra Nanuse 146