Edgar Peter Lougheed was born on July 26, 1928, at Calgary, Alberta, grandson of Alberta pioneer Sir James A. Lougheed. He was educated in Calgary public and secondary schools before attending the University of Alberta where he received his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Law degrees.
During his years at the University of Alberta, Lougheed played football for the University Golden Bears Intercollegiate Football Club and the Edmonton Eskimos and was elected president of the Students’ Union. Later, he graduated from Harvard University with a Master of Business Administration degree.
On June 21, 1952, E. Peter Lougheed married Jeanne E. Rogers of Camrose, Alberta. He was called to the Alberta Bar in 1955 and he began practicing law in Calgary. In 1956, Lougheed joined the Mannix Corporation, as general counsel. He returned to private practice in 1962.
In 1965, Lougheed was elected leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta which, at the time, had no seats in the Provincial Legislature. In 1967 he was elected as Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Calgary-West, becoming Leader of the Official Opposition.
In 1971, the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta formed Government, ending the Social Credit Party’s 36 years in office, and Lougheed became Premier of Alberta. Lougheed led his Party to successive majority governments in 1975, 1979 and 1982, retiring from public life in 1985.
As Premier of Alberta Lougheed was a staunch defender of Alberta’s interests. His Government’s many accomplishments included the extensive development of Alberta’s resources and confirmation of resource ownership by the people of Alberta in Canada’s Constitution in 1982. In 1976, Lougheed used resource royalties to establish the Heritage Savings Trust Fund to meet future needs of Albertans, including the creation of the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research.
Lougheed’s government invested in health care and education and pushed to modernize Alberta’s public services. His leadership supported arts and culture and facilities for all Albertans, such as the creation of Kananaskis Country and Fish Creek Provincial Park.
Lougheed was instrumental in the negotiations leading to Canada’s new Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982. He pushed, at every conceivable opportunity, for Alberta and the West to be at the centre of national decision-making.
After leaving public life Lougheed returned to private legal practice and served as a director or advisor to more than 45 companies. He played a key role in securing the 1988 Winter Olympic Games for Calgary, later being inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame and the Canadian Olympic Order. He also played a key role in promoting the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement and promoted Alberta as a leading trade partner globally.
In recognition of Peter Lougheed’s distinguished service to our province and nation, a park in the Kananaskis area of Alberta, and a Calgary Hospital were named in his honour. Queen Elizabeth II appointed Lougheed as a Member of Canada’s Privy Council in 1982. E. Peter Lougheed was named a Companion of the Order of Canada (1987) and inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence (1989). In June, 2012 an independent panel, on behalf of the Institute for Research on Public Policy, chose Lougheed as the Best Premier in Canada over the previous 40 years.
On September 13, 2012, at the age of 84, E. Peter Lougheed died in the hospital that bears his name in Calgary. He was surrounded by his wife Jeanne and their four children, Stephen, Andrea, Pam and Joe.
The Honourable Peter Lougheed will be remembered as the face of an emergent West in the 1970s and 1980s. He transformed his province from a largely rural economy to become a player on the national political and economic stage. Peter Lougheed was one of Canada’s most prominent political figures, a nation-builder and true statesman.