By Letter to the Editor on February 11, 2018.
There is a total absence of “modern-day heroes” in our Canadian era. I had a lively debate about this lacking phenomenon with a friendly professor recently. I argued that there was a great unheralded Alberta premier who deserves recognition and praise for his beneficial and progressive manifestations during his tenure.
I recollect his conversation with a past Calgary Herald editor, then working for Le Devoir in Montreal, asking him to how to get into politics. He told Peter Lougheed, whom this story is about, that “even a three-legged donkey could get into the Conservative party of Alberta. Peter answered that he was not a conservative. Lougheed,had just finished the University of Alberta and playing football for the Edmonton professional team, but yearned to get into politics. He was from a well-to-do family. He advanced in the party was elected as premier, and saw the changes that were needed in the economics of Alberta.
The tarsands oil development was at its beginnings, and Premier Lougheed stated that Alberta’s next few generations would be blessed with a well-deserved modest Iiving and jobs. He was visited by a delegation from Norway, who had just discovered oil in the North Sea, and they were seeking information on the royalty rates they should be receiving on the oil production. The famous Lougheed answer still rings out loud and clear: “It’s 35 per cent or get off the lot!”
The stature of the great man grew, but alas, as the time passed and government leadership changed, the royalty rates declined and the Klein government dropped the rates to a meagre seven to nine per cent; for shame! Lougheed brought in many beneficial legislative protocols and deserves to be recognized and honoured for his forthright legislative and public manifestations.
Personally I think that he should be justifiably honoured and and provincially declared a hero.
Lougheed purchased 300 grain cars and had the name of every Alberta town that had a grain elevator emblazoned on each grain car. This is just one of the many positive and beneficial efforts he was known for.
This man deserves to be honoured and declared an Alberta hero. We need heroes!
Frank J. Toth
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