Former premier hailed as ‘exceptional leader’

Peter Lougheed is being remembered by Albertans as one of Canada’s greatest and most popular premiers.  Lougheed died Thursday night at the age of 84. The former premier died at the northeast Calgary hospital bearing his name. His family reported Lougheed died of natural causes.

Lougheed was born and raised in Calgary and served as premier of Alberta for 14 years, from 1971 to 1985. Alberta’s current premier, Alison Redford, remembers Lougheed as an influential icon.

Peter Lougheed shown with wife Jeanne, and Premier Alison Redford.

Photo courtesy of Office of the Premier (flickr)The Lougheed family issued a statement Thursday, expressing the loss of a loving family man.

“Although he was known to many for his contributions to Alberta and to Canada, his first dedication was to his family. He was a deeply caring and loving husband, father and grandfather. We will miss him terribly. Thank you to all Albertans and Canadians for their outpouring of support which has deeply touched our family.”

Meanwhile, political leaders across Canada have begun expressing their condolences for the loss of who many consider to be one of the more influential premiers in Alberta’s history.

Naheed Nenshi

Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi took to Facebook Thursday night to react to the passing of a man who he says represented the Alberta that drew many parents including his, to live, work and thrive there.

“I, like every Albertan of my generation, am a Lougheed baby. I was born the year after he was first elected, and I have never known an Alberta or a Canada that did not benefit from his legacy. We owe him so much: our strong industries; our magnetic cities; our sense of identity within Canada.

Remember the line from Christopher Wren’s epitaph: “If you seek his monument – look around you.”

Stephen Harper

Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada The Prime Minister of Canada issued a statement saying that Canada has lost a truly great man.

“Today we mourn the loss of an exceptional leader, a true Canadian and a trail blazing Albertan. And yet his legacy will live on in the institutions that he pioneered which continue to generate benefits for the people of Alberta and the people of Canada,” Harper said.

Alison Redford

Alison Redford, Premier of Alberta Premier Alison Redford reacted to the news from a trade mission in Asia, stating that she is deeply saddened by the death of Lougheed.

“He was a powerful inspiration to me. He was a role model and mentor for me both personally and professionally since I first met him many years ago,” Redford said.

“He was a great leader and an icon not only in this province but in Canada as well. I’m so thankful that we had the opportunity earlier this summer to pay tribute to Premier Lougheed as the best premier in Canada in the last 40 years.”

Danielle Smith

Danielle Smith, leader of the Wild Rose party Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith in a recent statement said that her thoughts were with the Lougheed family.

“On a personal level we will remember Mr. Lougheed as a man of great personal integrity, who treated others with great compassion and who had an unwavering commitment of service to the people of Alberta,” Smith said.

“He will be sadly missed across Alberta and I once again offer my condolences to his family, his loved ones and all Albertans impacted by the loss.”

Duane Bratt

Duane Bratt, Political Analyst, Mount Royal University Duane Bratt, Chair of Policy Studies at Mount Royal University,  issued a statement to the Calgary Journal, hailing Lougheed as, “one of the top 10 politicians in Canadian history .”

Bratt continued: “Peter Lougheed was Alberta’s greatest premier and his contributions were many … he is remembered for his epic battle over the National Energy Program versus Pierre Trudeau and the governments of Ontario and Quebec. A battle he won.  He was also a key player in the patriation of the Constitution. He was able to enshrine provincial control over natural resources in the Canadian constitution and eliminated the idea that any single province had a veto.

He must be considered …  a 20th century Father of Confederation.”

cmahoney@cjournal.ca, mhayhurst@cjournal.ca, asiad@cjournal.ca