trade mission in China, Premier Alison Redford said she was sad to
hear of the death of “my dear friend and mentor,” calling Lougheed
an “icon” in Alberta and the rest of the country.
“Premier Lougheed was unquestionably
devoted to Alberta and Alberta’s interests. He not only believed in
a strong and united Canada, he believed that Alberta did not have to
succeed at the expense of Canada, but as a proud member of a country
working together — a country where all succeeded,” she said in a
Redford praised Lougheed’s vision of
paving the way for developing the oilsands, creating the Heritage
Fund and embracing Alberta’s arts and culture communities.
The founder of the Alberta Tory
dynasty, Lougheed swept the PC government to power in 1971, toppling
the Social Credit’s long rule and winning four majority governments
before retiring in 1985.
During his time as Alberta’s premier,
he championed the province’s energy industry, fending off Ottawa
policies designed to seize greater control of the resources. He also
established the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund and the
province’s Bill of Rights.
In June, he was named Canada’s
greatest premier of the past 40 years in a ceremony in Calgary — one
of his last public appearances.
His health deteriorated in recent
months and Lougheed was hospitalized in the northeast Calgary
Former Calgary MP Lee Richardson,
who’d once been an executive assistant to Lougheed, praised his
friend of 45 years.
“He was a great friend and a great
man, and I do believe the greatest Albertan of all time,” Richardson
“He was a wonderfully warm family
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi expressed
sorrow to the Lougheed family on behalf of Calgarians.
“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,” Nenshi said in a statement.
“He represented the Alberta that drew
so many (my parents included) to live and work and thrive here.”
Lougheed leaves behind his wife
Jeanne, children Stephen, Andrea, Pam, Joe, and seven grandchildren.
The family said they will celebrate
Lougheed’s life in a private service and plans for a public memorial
will be announced in coming days.
Lougheed’s youngest son, Joe Lougheed, declined to comment Thursday
Lougheed’s family Thursday expressed
thanks to the medical staff who helped care for the former premier
in the past months and days.
“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,” the family wrote in its statement.
“We will miss him terribly.”
The family also said it appreciated
the “outpouring of support,” from Albertans and Canadians, “which
has deeply touched our family.”
Alberta PC Party president Bill Smith
said Lougheed will be greatly missed.
“As Albertans and Canadians we stand
on the shoulders of many great men and women that came before us. In
my mind none are greater than Peter Lougheed. He will be missed,”
David Taras, professor of
communications studies at Mount Royal University, said few Alberta
public figures have such a towering place in the province’s history
books like Lougheed, pointing to his epic battles with former prime
minister Pierre Trudeau over energy policy, contributions to
federalism and the 1982 Constitution.
“It’s rare that a politician can
transcend the province and become a symbol of his province,” Taras
“This was a big man who created big
things and had a big vision,” he said.
Jim Dinning worked as an aide in the
Lougheed government before embarking on a business and political
career that included serving as finance minister.
“He was a taskmaster and he set high
expectations. He knew what was going on in the government and
considered it very important to spend more than half his time behind
his desk, meeting with, talking with people, reading, thinking,”
“The people who were around him, and
I was one of them, cherished the opportunity to work beside him and
work for him. And there were times he could be a tough son of a
bitch, like he had to be. But never mean-spirited.”
Trudeau’s son, Liberal MP Justin
Trudeau, issued his own condolences via Twitter on Thursday.
“It is with tremendous sadness that
we bid adieu to a giant of Canadian politics,” he wrote. “Peter
Lougheed was a man of vision, integrity, and heart.”
Former Ontario premier William Davis
recalled that he and Lougheed were both sworn into office in the
same year and worked together for more than a decade.
“We were known to have a difference
of opinion on occasion but I never questioned his integrity or his
motivation,” he said.
“Working shoulder to shoulder on
successfully patriating our Constitution was one of the proudest
achievements we shared.”
Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said
Lougheed’s legacy of the Heritage Fund and fighting for Albertans
with “tremendous dignity and effectiveness” during the days of the
National Energy Program will be appreciated for years.
“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,” she said, in a
Leader Raj Sherman expressed sadness over the news and offered
condolences on behalf of the party.
Sherman credited Lougheed as
inspiration for his move to Alberta from British Columbia in the
early 1980s. He also described Lougheed as “the father of modern day
Alberta,” who even offered paternal advice during their encounters.
“Pace yourself, look after your
children and your family,” Sherman recalled the former premier
telling him. “We didn’t even talk about politics — mostly it was the
Lougheed was a “tremendous builder of
our province,” who helped make it a fairer, more progressive place,
said NDP Leader Brian Mason, in a statement.