The Pipestone Flyer was invited to join the media core as Deputy Speaker of the House George Rogers ( Leduc-Beaumont MLA) greeted Mr. Lougheed's casket into the Legislature, where he was to lie in state for two days. Peter Lougheed was a popular Alberta Premier from 1971-1985, a
defender of Alberta's wealth and of the Constitution.
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.