Mr. Lougheed became leader of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party in 1965 and was first elected as Premier in the 1971 election, defeating the long-governing Social Credit Party dynasty. He served as Premier until retiring from politics in 1985. His Premiership began what has now become 41 consecutive years of PC Party government in Alberta.
I was only 23 months old when Mr. Lougheed retired from politics, so I have no personal recollections from his time in the Premier’s Office. Growing up in Alberta, I am acutely aware of the common myth that Mr. Lougheed’s time in government represented a Camelot era in our province’s politics.
Historical revisionism and embellishments aside, Mr. Lougheed was not afraid to play a strong role on the national stage and his government made huge strides on social policy, economic development, public infrastructure, and opening the Legislative Assembly to Albertans. One of the first laws passed by Mr. Lougheed’s PC government in 1972 made all daily proceedings in the Assembly recorded and distributed in Hansard. Soon after that, debates on the floor of the Legislative Assembly began to be televised.