September 22, 2012
Lougheed remembered as fierce Canadian
By Katie Schneider. QMI Agency
CALGARY -- Revered as a fierce Canadian and a guardian of Alberta, to others at his state memorial, Peter Lougheed was the greatest premier in our nation’s history.
Dignitaries including Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Alison Redford joined family and friends to honour Lougheed, who died Sept. 13 at age 84, as a leader who modernized Alberta and helped strengthen its place in Canada.
And in touching tributes to a man described as an inspirational icon who made people feel special, they thanked his family for sharing him with Albertans.
“Our shoulders are straighter and we all stand a little taller because of E. Peter Lougheed,” said Jim Dinning, who served as a deputy minister under Lougheed.
Lougheed, who served from 1971 to 1985, rose for Alberta’s rights to face off against then prime minister Pierre Trudeau over the National Energy Program.
“He was Alberta’s guardian and we trusted him to do the right thing -- we were so lucky to have him walk among us,” he said.
A video tribute opened the memorial at the Jubilee Auditorium with pictures of Lougheed as a family man, a scholar, an athlete, statesman and leader, after which political commentator Rex Murphy appeared stage, calling Lougheed “the greatest premier this country has ever seen.”
“He exemplified and refined what it was to be in the west, and what the west was to be,” he said.
“He deepened the understanding of what it was to be a Canadian.”
Redford said Lougheed, her mentor, was “profoundly devoted” to Alberta’s future.
“He is the architect of the province we all call home -- every one of us woke up in Peter Lougheed’s Alberta,” she said.
“Alberta was his heart, his passion and ambition. He spent his time in public service for us.”
Accompanied by siblings Andrea, Pam and Joe, son Stephen Lougheed said his dad was a team player, most fond of “the home team.”
“Dad always made time for each of us,” Stephen said, adding one of their last conversations was a reminder from the elder Lougheed of some upcoming birthdays.
“He was always a stickler to making sure we looked after each other.”
His dad was a coach, mentor, friend and cheerleader who valued good people, he added.
“He lives on in the actions in all those he touched, most of all in his family,” he said.
To Harper, Lougheed was a “fierce Canadian.”
“He brought to the job intelligence, integrity, energy and clear and practical sense of direction and an unwavering commitment to what he believed to be the wider public interest,” he said, adding that rather than shrinking from the fight over Alberta’s resources and rights, Lougheed embraced it.
“He asserted that the prosperity of some industries was a good thing for all and that the success of any province could mean a stronger Canada,” he said.
“As the folly of the National Energy Program became ever more clear ... at that moment in the history of our great country, we were all fortunate Peter Lougheed was there.”