He was a football star, a Harvard graduate, a visionary, a statesman and Canada's blue-eyed sheik. He was Peter Lougheed. And for many, he was the greatest premier in Alberta's history.
Although only in office for 14 years, Lougheed’s legacy surrounds us, from a provincial park and a hospital that bear his name, to social programs and energy policies that guide the province today.
Lougheed’s vision paved the way for developing the oilsands, the Heritage Savings Trust Fund and Alberta Bill of Rights and led to government support for education and arts and culture.
He was also a giant on the national stage, fending off Pierre Trudeau’s hated National Energy Program and becoming a key player in the constitutional debate.
Although he was passionate about Alberta and its right to control its resources, and its future, Lougheed always maintained he was a Canadian first. That bears out in the many tributes since his death from former colleagues and adversaries such as former prime minister Jean Chretien, former Ontario premier Bill Davis and Marc Lalonde, the Liberal cabinet minister who introduced the NEP.
Lalonde said Lougheed played “hardball” for Alberta at the negotiation table, “but nobody could question his strong views about Canada, and his strong support for Canadian unity.”
The Calgary Herald has covered every part of Lougheed’s life, from his storied family background to his stunning election win over the Socreds in 1971, through to his retirement in 1985 and his death on Sept. 13, 2012.
Alberta’s Champion pulls together articles, photographs and front pages from some of the most important phases of his life and includes columns written by Lougheed himself.
“We got Albertans to think as Canadians. We didn’t think of ourselves as just provincial, we thought of ourselves nationally and we contributed nationally not just in public life and in government but we contributed in a multitude of other ways--the arts and culture and sports, in writing and business and science. All of those were contributions by Albertans into Canada.”