Most Albertans will be sad to learn that Peter Lougheed has passed away. Lougheed was an Alberta giant. He formed government in 1971, defeating the 36 year-old SoCred regime, and became the face of a changing, modernising and diversifying Alberta.
Lougheed was premier and guided Alberta at crucial moments in the province’s history. He established the Heritage Fund, he established Alberta’s Bill of Rights, and he led Alberta against the infamous federal National Energy Policy. No Albertan of the time can ever forget him standing up to Pierre Trudeau’s naked grab of Alberta’s wealth.
Lougheed also made an indelible mark on the country as a whole during the process of patriating the Constitution, leading the Gang of Eight that resisted once again Pierre Trudeau’s centralizing assaults between 1981 and 1982. The Amending formulae and the Notwithstanding clause in particular bear his personal mark. Even after retiring, Lougheed made a considerable contribution helping to negotiate the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement.
One of the best premiers Alberta has had, Peter Lougheed also founded the Progressive Conservative dynasty that has been in power in the province for 41 years.
Although in retirement since 1985, he will be missed. His departure constitutes the end of an era in Alberta history.