As Peter Lougheed’s casket laid in the provincial Legislature, it was draped with two flags, both the flag of Alberta and the flag of Canada, a fitting tribute to a man who loved his country, but always defended his province. He is, without a doubt, one of the University of Alberta’s most distinguished, and loved, alumni.
As Premier, he demonstrated a tenacity perhaps never before seen in Alberta’s political history. His fight with Trudeau over the hated National Energy Program is well documented and was, eventually, successful. However, unlike so many leaders fixated on maximizing their popularity with the current voters and discounting future generations, Mr. Lougheed also established the Heritage Savings Trust Fund, a clear indication of his forward thinking and desire to assure future generation’s enjoyed limitless potential.
During this time of mourning, time should also be taken to reflect on his achievements, which serve as inspiration to any student aspiring to make a difference in their community. Mr. Lougheed defined a well-rounded student, active in the SU, an editor for the school newspaper, a Golden Bears football player, while still managing to graduate from both the Faculty of Arts and Law, with a high enough standing to attend Harvard for his MBA. Never static, Mr. Lougheed spent his career in a variety of fields, continuing to demonstrate his ability to excel in anything he chose to do.
Natural leaders are rare. Mr. Lougheed was a man to whom vision and drive came naturally. He was also a man who never forgot his roots, or lost sight of the goal of, as Henry Marshall Tory said, “uplifting the whole people”. As he is laid to rest later this week, let his life serve as a testament to the power of education, motivation and heart.
Dave Jones is currently entering his third year of University, studying Political Science and Economics. When he isn’t meandering around HUB, he’s out enjoying Alberta’s great outdoors or taking in Edmonton’s cultural gems. He is currently reading all the assigned readings he’s fallen behind on. Check him out on twitter, @davejonesy. Criticism is always welcomed.