September 11, 2012
Former Alberta premier Lougheed in hospital
By BILL KAUFMANN, QMI Agency
CALGARY - Former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed is currently in hospital with a serious illness, his family says.
“Peter Lougheed and his family are very thankful for all of your kindness and prayers at this time,” said a statement released Tuesday by the family of Lougheed, 84.
“We are grateful to the media and the public for respecting our privacy.”
Lougheed’s health challenges have seen him in and out of hospital recently, said Ron Ghitter, one of the original 49 MLAs elected with him in 1971.
“It’s been going on for a couple of months,” Ghitter said.
“Hopefully, he can turn it around.”
Fellow 1970s-era PC cabinet minister Allan Warrack said he last saw Lougheed at an Edmonton reunion a year ago marking the 40th anniversary of the party’s ascension to power.
It’s not certain what illness Lougheed is battling but sources say he’d been suffering from heart ailments and pneumonia.
“He was very, very energetic and friendly but he didn’t quite look himself,” Warrack said.
“We kind of reflected on the old days.”
Many of those reflections, said both Ghitter and Warrack, centred around Lougheed’s vision of a more modern province benefitting more from its energy wealth.
A major part of that was the mid-70s establishment of the Heritage Savings and Trust Fund.
They also say Lougheed was responsible for updating the province’s social and justice systems while giving taxpayers a window on industry with the purchase of businesses like Pacific Western Airlines and other corporations.
Lougheed, they said, also brought Alberta to the forefront constitutionally in staring down Ottawa during the energy wars of the late 1970s and early 80s.
Last June, Lougheed was honoured as Canada’s greatest premier of the last 40 years.
Both men said it’s a designation that’s well-deserved.
“Surely to God he was,” Warrack said.
Calgary lawyer and one-time Edmonton Eskimo Lougheed was first elected to the legislature in 1967, from where he worked to topple a Social Credit dynasty of 35 years.