To the Editor:
That the recent death of Peter Lougheed evoked widespread sadness did not surprise me in the least. Neither did the volume of tributes to his achievements as premier of Alberta and following his retirement.
As associate editor and editorial page editor of the Calgary Albertan from 1960-1980, I got to know Lougheed quite well. Ours was a Liberal newspaper, but not slavishly so. We commended the Conservative government when it did something we felt was good for Albertans. We disapproved when we judged that the government was misguided, but in a polite and reasoned way rather than with vicious contempt.
In the latter case, however, I would invariably get a phone call from Lougheed — but not at all couched in anger. The premier simply wanted to ensure that we understood his government’s reasons for taking the action at issue.
These conversations were always amicable. Through them and through occasional face-to-face meetings we developed what I believe was a friendly and mutually respectful relationship. Certainly I greatly respected him and I agree with everything said about him when he died.
Peter Lougheed was among the three political leaders who were active during my journalistic career for whom I hold that level of respect and admiration (the others: Tommy Douglas and Lester Pearson). More importantly, Lougheed was a fine gentleman, a model politician and, indeed, a statesman. Canada — and the world — sorely need more of his ilk.