Farewell, Mr Lougheed
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Edmonton, AB - Last Sunday evening, the Alberta Legislature in downtown Edmonton greeted a motorcade escorting the hearse and casket of Peter Lougheed, former Alberta Premier (1971-1985) who passed away a few days earlier in a Calgary hospital bearing his name. By special invitation, I was able to represent the Pipestone Flyer and join a small crowd of friends, family, loyal fans and members of the region’s media to pay their respects to Mr. Lougheed as he was taken into the Legislature – one final time. His casket, draped in a Canadian flag, was carried by eight members of the RCMP, vested in red serge and surrounded by the soft glow of the setting sun: two of Mr. Lougheed’s children, his sons Joe and Stephen followed him inside, where the casket would lay ‘in state’ in the rotunda. Heralded as “Canada’s greatest Premier of the last forty years” by his peers and celebrated as such in an official ceremony in the Calgary this past spring, Mr Lougheed was a beloved representative of the people and a strong advocate of Alberta’s economy.
At the top of the red-carpeted staircase of the Legislature, the Deputy Speaker of the House George Rogers - MLA for Leduc-Beaumont - stood with the Sergeant-at-Arms Brian Hogson to ‘receive’ Mr. Lougheed’s casket on behalf of all the members of the Alberta Legislative Assembly. The Speaker of the House, the Honorable Gene Zwozdeski was rushing back to Edmonton and was expected to attend the official ceremonies of the following two days. The former Alberta Premier lied in state so that people could come offer their sympathies to family members, before being returned to Calgary where the last honors will be presented. Deputy Speaker George Rogers shared that he was “honored and humbled to officially ‘receive’ this great man that he had met on several occasions, and whom he admired deeply”.
I remember Peter Lougheed well, as he was the Alberta’s Premier when I moved here from Quebec in 1980: I remember his reputation as a fierce defender of Alberta’s wealth, and also as a man of wisdom and distinction. He was a self-described Canadian first, an Albertan second. He could have become a Prime Minister if he had chosen to run, but he believed that a Canadian Prime Minister should speak french, and sadly, he didn’t.
He remained active in politics after his retirement from office in 1986. Rest in peace, Mr. Lougheed, you deserve a sweet rest! As hundreds have offered the family their condolences on an online book, we also offer our sincere sympathies to the Lougheed family and to Mr. Lougheed’s friends and former colleagues. His family requested that donations be made in his name to a favorite charity: a donation of volunteer time would be adequate as well in honor of his memory.
As they say, “ even the best laid plans…” This was the case for me this past Saturday, when the 32nd Terry Fox Run took place in Leduc. Although I made a public statement that I would participate, and fully intended to join some friends there, the imminent arrival of a beloved son and his daughter Hailie who reside in Stettler changed my plans, and I opted for family… This event is quite complex to organize, a great fundraiser for a great cause and I salute SUSANNE RITCHIE, a friend and a Leduc mom who worked tirelessly for an entire year to get it together. KUDOS to all the Terry Fox Run volunteers!
Another great event has enlisted numerous volunteers, enthusiastic community supporters. The City of Wetaskiwin held an Arts and Agriculture celebration last weekend, and although I could not attend, I heard several comments that it was a successful event!
Wetaskiwin is planning a Women’s Conference for October 13, while The Women in Business Conference held in the City of Leduc will have happened already (Sept.19) by the time you read this … Kudos to the teams who had the vision, the energy and skills to organize these two informative and fun events, and BRAVO to the presenters, and all the participants!
I’d like to offer my sincere best wishes and CONGRATS to my sweet neighbors Dave and Dechelle Giasson who welcomed Little Miss Delainie into their family recently, and made lovely and sweet Danica into a big sister! Dave and Dechelle have been working on a major reno project in their home, and they were almost done when Miss Delainie decided to arrive…ten days early! Dainty, adorable and alert, this little one is already the talk of the neighborhood.
I am grateful for your friendly and helpful notes! You can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy the cool weather and colors of Fall!
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