"Are Tories attempting to buy academic endorsement of government policy?" asks McGowan
Edmonton – The Alberta Federation of Labour has released documents that suggest the Redford government has been spending taxpayer money in an effort to buy academic approval for their policies.
In March, 2012, just days after a provincial election was called, the government awarded a secret $500,000 grant to the U of C School of Public Policy and a $1-million grant to the U of C Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy. As reported in today's Calgary Herald, there was no record of an announcement of either grant.
Additional documents, obtained by the AFL under Freedom of Information laws, show U of C School of Public Policy chair Jack Mintz asked the Government of Alberta to vet his paper on imposing a sales tax in Alberta, before it was peer-reviewed or published.
Questions have also been raised about Mintz's seat on the board of Imperial Oil.
"All of our universities are publicly funded, so receiving money from the government is not the problem," AFL president Gil McGowan said. "The problem is the secrecy and the fact that the money was tied to supporting the government's policy agenda."
The contracts for the grants explicitly said the money was for research that "supports the policy agenda of Alberta Energy." Documentation for both grants also includes clauses that the U of C will "not make any public announcement or issue any news release regarding this agreement or the grant, except in consultation with the province and with the approval of the province."
"These secret grants raise concerns that the government is using public money to essentially buy an academic stamp of approval for its policies," McGowan said. "If academics are sitting on the boards of big corporations and receiving secret grants from government that seem to have political strings attached, how can the public trust their independence and objectivity?"
Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780-218-9888 (cell)
Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.289.6528 (cell)
or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Aid must cover lost wages as well as damaged property
HIGH RIVER, AB – As flood rebuilding gets under way in earnest, and property owners begin to apply for compensation, Southern Alberta’s small businesses and employees are on the outside looking in. Many businesses have been forced to close, leaving some employees without an income for the foreseeable future.
“A loss of livelihood, even a temporary loss, can multiply the damage of a disaster like this, and make it more difficult for employees and employers to recover even long after the waters have receded,” Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) President Gil McGowan said. “The Alberta government has responded quickly to help many touched by the flood, but so far workers have fallen through the cracks because the federal government is not doing its part.”
The AFL is asking the federal government to modify Employment Insurance (EI) to better serve working people in this and future disasters. EI must be flexible in times of crisis if it is to be an effective safety net. The federal government should:
- Waive the EI waiting period for all workers who have lost income during the flood
- Streamline the EI Work-Sharing program to work for employers and employees as they slowly ramp up production to pre-flood levels
Small businesses across the flood-hit regions are struggling with an EI program too rigid to respond in a disaster. “I had to take our employees to the EI offices yesterday and I worry about how they’ll pay their bills since we’ve had to shut down. That’s been the hardest part for us,” local business owner Jane Miller said.
The AFL is also asking the Alberta government to expand the flood-relief debit card program to workers who have lost income due to business closures.
“Workers are worrying about buying groceries, and employers are worried about losing qualified staff who are forced to find another job,” McGowan said. “Expanding the debit card program to employees who’ve lost income will help both employees and employers get through this difficult time and focus on getting back to work as soon as possible.”
Workers at large and small businesses alike are hurting in the pocketbook from flood-related closures. A lack of potable water has kept Cargill’s High River meat-processing facility offline since the flood, leaving 2,000 employees without an income. “Cargill wants to hold on to its employees and we want to stay, but some workers may need to look for other sources of income if the plant doesn’t get back to full capacity soon,” said Albert Johnson, President of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1118, the union that represents 1,500 workers at the Cargill plant.
“Workers in flood-affected areas have been instrumental in stemming the losses and beginning to repair the damage,” McGowan said. “Government at all levels must make sure they receive the support they need.”-30-
Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.218.9888 (cell)
April 2013: Join us at the AFL's 9th Biennial Convention, Unions Stand up for Majority of Albertans, STRIKE! The Musical, Solidarity with Post-Secondary Education
Unions Stand Up for Majority of Albertans
In the lead up to Alberta’s 2013 budget, Alberta’s public sector unions worked together to advance the interests of the majority of Albertans.
The Alberta Federation of Labour, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Alberta Teachers’ Association, Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, United Nurses of Alberta and the Health Sciences Association of Alberta presented a united front against austerity policies and draconian cuts.
Polling, conducted by Environics in advance of the provincial budget showed that more than 70 per cent of Albertans reject public service cuts. More than three quarters of those polled agreed that there should be an increase on taxes for wealthy Albertans and for corporations. The majority of Albertans believe that the province should be investing more in health care, education and other services.
“Albertans aren’t as conservative as Alison Redford seems to believe,” AFL president Gil McGowan said. “She needs to listen better. Not to the radical tea party Tories, but to the majority of Albertans who are quietly progressive, and who want this province to be healthy and prosperous.”
STRIKE! The Musical
The Alberta Federation of Labour is proud to be bringing STRIKE! The Musical to Edmonton for its Alberta premiere.
This award-winning theatrical production, which tells the story of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, will be at the Timms Centre for the Performing Arts April 24 – April 28.
“When I saw Strike! three years ago in Winnipeg, I knew we needed to bring it to Alberta,” AFL president Gil McGowan said. “The 100th anniversary of the AFL was the perfect opportunity to organize this production. It’s an important story about the history of Canadian labour, and it’s one that inspires pride in the activism and work that our member unions do.”
For more information or to order tickets, please visit www.strikemusical.com
Solidarity with Post-Secondary Education
More than 500 students, workers, educators and activists marched on the legislature on March 15.
The rally, which was organized by the Coalition for Action on Post-Secondary Education, was protesting the massive cuts the Alberta Government imposed on universities and colleges throughout the province. The University of Alberta faces a 7.2 per cent cut.
Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan spoke at the rally, noting that the province’s economy depends on having a quality education system.
Join us at the AFL’s 9th Biennial Convention
More than 500 labour activists, leaders and delegates will gather at the Shaw Conference Centre in downtown Edmonton from April 25 – 28 for the Alberta Federation of Labour’s 9th Biennial Convention.
The convention, which has the theme “Unions Stand on Guard for Thee,” will examine how the labour movement has helped create, and protect the prosperous, inclusive society of which Canadians are rightfully proud.
Coming from all corners of Alberta, delegates will celebrate the achievements of unions, hear from dozens of speakers, and help chart the direction of our further growth.
Registration starts Wednesday, April 24 and continues on Thursday, April 25.
2013 AFL Convention runs Thursday, April 25, 2013 - Sunday, April 28, 2013.
Convention Committees meet Wednesday, April 24.
AFL Council meets Tuesday, April 23.
Convention venue is the Shaw Conference Centre
Convention hotel is the Crowne Plaza Chateau Lacombe
Location: Shaw Conference Centre, Edmonton
Contact: Maureen Werlin at email@example.com or 780-483-3021
April 28 – International Day of Mourning for Dead and Injured Workers
May 1 – May Day March
May 3 – Deadline to register for Summer Labour School
June 14 - Deadline to register AFL Kids Camp
Did you know ...
After production and development costs are factored in, Alberta only collects 54 per cent of the the excess profit from heavy oil production. By comparison, Norway collects 80 per cent, Russia collects 73 per cent and Angola collects 71 per cent.
- Once ravaged by debt and war, higher oil royalties have helped Angola turn a budget deficit of 8.6 per cent of GDP in 2009 into a surplus of 12 per cent of GDP in 2012.
- Alberta has the highest pay gap in Canada. Alberta women working full year and full time earn a median 68 per cent of what men earn. The pay gap is reduced for women in unions – to about 85 per cent of what men earn.
- According to Environics polling conducted in February, 77 per cent of Albertans support increased taxes on corporations and those making more than $200,000.
Federation president to set the record straight on bitumen glut
Edmonton – AFL president Gil McGowan will be tackling Alberta’s revenue problem this Saturday at the Alberta Economic Summit.
The summit will bring together industry, not-for-profit leaders, academics and government members to discuss Alberta’s economic future in light of the current low price of bitumen. McGowan will use this opportunity to ensure revenue reform and oil royalties are part of the discussion on how to tackle the deficit.
“In the debate so far, we’ve heard a lot of misinformation, some obfuscation – and even outright lies,” McGowan said. “Our economy is red hot. Balancing the budget should not be difficult, unless you’re either being deliberately dishonest, or you’re just bad at math.”
McGowan noted that Alberta does not spend more than other provinces on services, and when looking at expenditures on public services as a percentage of the economy, actually ranks dead last in Canada.
“We need to make sure that revenue is part of the discussion,” McGowan said. “By the government’s own numbers, we could collect $10 billion more in taxes and still be the lowest taxed province in Canada. We could use that $10 billion to protect and strengthen public healthcare and education.”
The summit, which will be held at Mount Royal University in Calgary, will involve four moderated panels. McGowan has been asked to participate in the moderated panel on “Balancing Expectations on the Services Albertans Need.” He notes that the ‘Services Albertans Need’ are already understaffed — Alberta has nearly the fewest public employees per capita in the country.
“It’s childish to think that Alberta can maintain good public services without having a revenue base to pay for them,” McGowan said. “That means royalty reform and it means returning to a progressive income tax like Alberta had before 2001.”30-
AFL Factsheet: “Revenue, spending, and public-sector wages”
Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780-218-9888 (cell)
Olav Rokne, AFL Communications Director at 780-289-6528 (cell) or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CALGARY — The Wildrose lost the popular vote in last spring's hard-fought provincial election but won the money contest against the ruling Progressive Conservative dynasty, new financial disclosure documents show.
In what is believed to be a first in the Tories' four-decade rule, the Conservatives spent $4.6 million but were beat handily when it came to election fundraising.
According to party documents submitted to Elections Alberta, Wildrose reported total election-time revenues of $3.1 million — nearly double the $1.6 million raised by the PCs.
Speaking to reporters in Edmonton, Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said her party — which elected 17 MLAS compared with 61 Tories — raised more than the PCs because a lot of Albertans wanted to see the government challenged.
Wildrose was also the only party in the legislature to fully finance its election push with money raised during the campaign fundraising period, which went from March into June.
"We look at the party finances as being an indication to the public of how we would run government," Smith said.
"That will just indicate to Albertans who the true fiscally conservative party is."
But PC president Bill Smith said Tory donors were already exhausted from the party's gruelling leadership race in 2011, when more than $6.3 million was spent during the eight-month contest.
He said the party spent exactly what it had budgeted for during the election campaign, even if it dipped into its savings to the tune of $3 million to pay for the difference.
And Smith said there's still money in the bank.
"You always have to keep your eye to the competition, for sure," he said Wednesday. "My guys will be looking at how they were successful."
The documents show Premier Alison Redford's party spent $4.6 million, including $2.7 million on "communications" such as TV and radio ads, en route to winning the April 23 election.
It points to a changing dynamic in Alberta that should worry Redford's party, said Grant MacEwan University political scientist Chaldeans Mensah.
He noted that while Wildrose got thousands of Albertans to open their wallets, the PCs survived mainly on the strength of large, corporate donations.
"The Tories' loss of support from individual donors poses a serious risk for the party in terms of stable, long-term support required to maintain power," Mensah said.
"It's a warning that the party has a lot of work to do to maintain its relevance to its membership and strong linkage to the wider voting public."
The Wildrose party ran a less expensive campaign, spending just over $3 million and running a $29,000 surplus. The party didn't disclose a detailed list of where dollars went, but party officials say more information will come out during the party's annual general meeting next month.
The Wildrose also got a significant proportion of its money from individual donors who gave less than $375 — more than $1 million total, compared with $64,000 for the PCs — which they say shows "the true grassroots nature of the Wildrose."
"It means that our party isn't beholden to these types of special interests or backroom deals," party executive director Jonathon Wescott said.
But the two largest parties received significant contributions from the province's business giants. For instance, Cenovus Energy gave $25,000 to both the Wildrose and Conservatives, Prairie Merchant Corp. gave $30,000 to the Wildrose, and Northwest Upgrading Inc. gave $10,000 to the Tories.
The Redford Tories received a total of $150,000 from billionaire and Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz, his family members and his company.
"Alberta has the most lax campaign finance rules in Canada," said Public Interest Alberta executive director Bill Moore-Kilgannon.
He said major corporations and wealthy individuals provided most of the money for last April's election — meaning they set the political direction in a province that already has low energy royalty rates and a flat provincial tax.
"It's nothing against any individual or any individual companies," said Moore-Kilgannon. "But federally, corporations and unions are not even allowed to contribute to a political party."
In Alberta, donations from individuals, companies or unions are limited to $30,000 in an election year.
Smith's and Redford's parties left all other contenders in the dust, financially.
The Liberals, who won five seats, took in $112,427 in revenue — their largest donation was $10,000, also from Cenovus — and spent $150,667. But party president Todd Van Vliet said the party plans to have all its campaign bills paid by the end of the year.
The NDP, winner of four seats, raked in $517,165 and had $654,241 in expenses. The party doesn't take donations from corporations, but received its largest contributions from the Alberta Federation of Labour and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, at $15,000 each.
Brian Stokes, the NDP's provincial secretary, said the party debt now sits at about $360,000, but the party plans to pay it off within a couple of years, and then begin building for the next provincial election in 2016.
"We're very happy with the results and where we're sitting," Stokes said.
Edmonton Journal, Wedn Oct 25 2012
Byline: Kelly Cryderman
With files from Darcy Henton, Calgary Herald, and Keith Gerein, Edmonton Journal.email@example.com
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
Reality Check: Profits, Prices, and Access to Markets
Alberta is producing too much of the wrong product; no mystery why oil companies are getting a low price.
The Government of Alberta’s evidence filed with the Joint Review Panel for the Northern Gateway pipeline shows Alberta’s failure to upgrade bitumen is what is causing lower prices for bitumen and what is driving the alleged need for the Northern Gateway pipeline.
The Government of Alberta hired energy consultant firm Wood Mackenzie to do an analysis on the need for “new markets” for Alberta’s bitumen. The analysis is designed to support the Northern Gateway pipeline.
The report is technical in nature.
The GoA evidence says oil sands producers “could” lose up to $8/barrel because bitumen is flooding North American refineries incapable of handling it. Chinese refineries can handle bitumen, and it makes sense for oil sands operators deeply involved with Chinese state-owned oil companies to ship raw bitumen to Chinese refineries, who rely on lower labour and environmental laws.
There is plenty of North American refinery space for synthetic crude oil, which is upgraded bitumen. But the Government of Alberta hasn’t forced companies to build upgraders, and has allowed a stampede of development without any regard for keeping jobs in Alberta.
The Government of Alberta is responsible for the problems they describe in their evidence. We are pulling bitumen – a lower-quality product – out of the ground, shipping it out as fast as we can, flooding the market with a low-quality product, and wondering why we are losing money.
The Wood MacKenzie report before the NEB might be complicated and technical, but the explanation is quite simple. Upgrade the resource before it leaves Alberta, keep the good jobs here, earn more tax and royalty revenues for Albertans, and the economic case for the Northern Gateway pipeline evaporates.
Technical Backgrounder on the Wood MacKenzie Report
Wood MacKenzie’s $8/barrel “discount”
WMK’s $8/barrel discount prediction is a figure based on the concept of “refining value.”
The discount of value is driven by the fuel oil yield in the cracking configuration, which sells at a discount to the gasoline and diesel produced in a coking configuration.
“The Refining Value, which is the value of refined petroleum products produced from a given crude oil, falls as a refinery configuration becomes more ‘simple’ because the simpler configuration has less capability to convert the lower-value heavy end of the crude assay to higher-value products, such as transportation fuels.”
The $8/barrel “discount” is attributable to:
- A glut of supply for coking refineries
- Too much non-upgraded bitumen looking for a home. It is finding its home in cracking refineries, thus simply producing fuel oil rather than diesel or gasoline
Prediction of losses of refining value are further attributable to:
- Not enough pipeline capacity to “premium heavy crude markets,” aka refineries that can process bitumen straight into gasoline or diesel
- Runaway growth in bitumen supply and a glut on the market
The Wood Mackenzie analysis relies on the following assumptions:
- A lack of upgraders in Alberta. If bitumen is upgraded to SCO in greater amounts, higher refining values can be achieved
- A prediction of just 26% of Alberta bitumen being upgraded by 2025, far below the Government of Alberta’s stated policy goal of 2/3 bitumen upgraded in Alberta
- A growth in supply due to ERCB approving every project, without associated upgrading capability
- A total lack of pacing by the GoA Department of Energy
- Ignoring the use of rail entirely, which is not only being used right now but also contained in Enbridge’s analysis
Heavy Crude Refining Predicted to Fall in Western Canada With Northern Gateway
According to Enbridge’s evidence before the National Energy Board, Western Canadian “heavy crude” – aka bitumen coming from the oil sands - will be increasingly refined in China, where state-owned companies are building massive refining complexes capable of handling bitumen.
2011 Refinery Throughput – Reported to CAPP
2018 Forecast By Enbridge – With Northern Gateway Pipeline
Heavy Crude, All Grades
Total Throughput – Western Canada
About the AFL Northern Gateway Reality Check Series
The Alberta Federation of Labour is a full intervener in the Northern Gateway Pipeline.
The debate around the Northern Gateway pipeline is heated, and we hear governments and industry saying all kinds of things to justify locking Canada in to being a raw resource producer, but never move up the value chain with our natural resource wealth.
“The Northern Gateway pipeline hollows out our value-added industries, imposes higher oil prices on consumers, and rewrites the rules of Canada’s oil industry. Gateway will reduce the amount of oil sands upgraded in Alberta and ship thousands of jobs to China,” Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour.
Page 1 of 12, A Netback-Impact Analysis of West Coast Export Capacity, Addendum Report for Alberta Department of Energy by Wood Mackenzie Inc, Appendix A, The Government of Alberta Responses to Information Request No 1, to Gitga’at First Nation.
 All 2018 Forecast figures for Western Canada and Ontario are taken from Enbridge Northern Gateway, “Market Prospects and Benefits Analysis For the Northern Gateway Project,” July 2012. Attachment 1 to Northern Gateway Reply Evidence. Prepared by Muse, Stancil & Co for Enbridge. Table A-9: Disposition of Canadian Synthetic and Light/Medium Conventional, Northern Gateway Case; Table A-10: Disposition of Canadian Synthetic and Light/Medium Conventional Base Case (No Northern Gateway); Table A-12: Disposition of Canadian Heavy Northern Gateway Case, All Heavy Grades.
Government of Alberta does not consider jobs, taxes, royalties, or the public interest in their evidence at Northern Gateway hearings
Government of Alberta does not consider jobs, taxes, royalties, or the public interest in their evidence at Northern Gateway hearings
Edmonton – AFL President Gil McGowan will be available to the media throughout today as the Federation quizzes the Government of Alberta on their evidence before the Northern Gateway panel.
“We are very troubled by what we’ve heard so far today. The Government of Alberta did not put any evidence before the Board about jobs, taxes, or royalties, says McGowan, President of the Alberta Federation of Labour, representing over 145,000 unionized workers.”
“The Government’s evidence confuses what’s good for foreign-owned oil companies with what’s good for Albertans. Their evidence at Northern Gateway looks exclusively at industry profits, without considering jobs or royalties for Albertans.”
The province is “blurring the lines between profits for the world’s largest corporations and the public interest,” says McGowan.
“Oil companies are capable of advocating for themselves, they shouldn’t need the government’s help. It’s the government’s job to advocate for Albertans. They are failing to do that job at the Northern Gateway hearings.”
McGowan says the Government of Alberta’s evidence – though technical in nature and written by high-priced energy consultants – really tells a very simple story.
“The government allowed a stampede of development in the oil sands, without making good on their commitment to have 2/3 of our bitumen upgraded here,” says McGowan, adding that the province’s evidence predicts only 26% of Alberta’s bitumen will be upgraded in Alberta by 2025.
The result is a flooded market of an inferior product.
The Government’s evidence shows oil companies are getting a lower price for bitumen because Alberta doesn’t force them to upgrade it before it leaves Alberta.
“We are selling the wrong product,” explains McGowan.
“If we were selling upgraded synthetic crude oil, we would be getting better prices, and higher royalties as a result,” says McGowan.
Raw bitumen can only be turned into gasoline or diesel by a small number of refineries in North America. The rapid pace of development means there is too much bitumen on the market. The choice is simple: bitumen could be upgraded to synthetic crude before it leaves Alberta, creating thousands of jobs. It could then be refined at a large number of refineries around the world. Or, it could be shipped raw to China, and take thousands of jobs with it.
“There is not one word in the Government of Alberta’s evidence about the public interest. We are left to wonder if they care about jobs and royalties for Albertans, or if the priority is profits for oil companies backing the Northern Gateway pipeline – none of which are majority-owned by Canadians,” says McGowan.-30-
MEDIA CONTACT: Gil McGowan, President at 780-218-9888 (cell) or 780-483-3021 (office) Alberta Federation of Labour
New farm safety rules 'useless'
Experts hit out at voluntary certifications
A provincially funded research body says a leaked proposal for voluntary safety certification of Alberta's agriculture industry won't curb the rising rate of farm deaths and injuries.
The director of the Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research said Monday that his group's advice to a government-appointed committee - that the province impose health and safety regulations on farms like every other jurisdiction in the country - was ignored.
"Our input was based on the science but it wasn't listened to," U of A epidemiologist Don Voaklander said.
"These corporate farms, large feedlots and custom haying operations are no different than businesses that are drilling for oil or fixing your car. The agrarian myth of the rugged family farm just doesn't apply."
Recent statistics show 355 Albertans have died and 678 were seriously-injured in the past three decades. About nine per cent of the fatalities involved hired workers.
In a report obtained by The Herald and submitted to the province last February, the Farm Safety Advisory council recommended increased education and voluntary certification of farms to improve the industry's worsening safety record.
But Voaklander, whose centre depends on $1.5 million a year from Alberta Health, said a 2008 study of a similar program in neighbouring Saskatchewan found no significant difference in injury rates among participating farms.
"We're directed to be at arm's length from the government," he said.
"I mean I'm not going to go out and (criticize a minister or the government) ... but there's very little evidence that education of farmers actually works."
Premier Alison Redford promised during her Tory leadership campaign last fall that she would extend health and safety law protection to farm workers if elected, but on Monday her staff referred questions on the issue to cabinet.
With Agriculture Minister Vern Olson and Human Ser-vices Minister Dave Hancock both declining to be inter-viewed about a report they've been studying for nearly seven months, opposition critics hammered the Tory government for delaying while farm workers continued to be killed and injured on the job.
"It's immoral," Calgary Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann said.
"This government, whose voter base has been traditionally rural, is hard-pressed to put in place what they would call onerous rules but which are absolutely the norm in Western civilization."
New Democrat MLA Rachel Notley said it would be delusional for the government to accept the advisory council's philosophy that farm workers, particularly a fastincreasing number of vulnerable temporary migrants, can be educated to assert their right to refuse dangerous work.
"Premier Redford has capitulated to a strong conservative lobby within her caucus and without," Notley said.
Calgary Wildrose MLA Jeff Wilson said his party supports the council's call for farm safety education programs to curb the rising fatality and injury rate.
"We do believe the safety of those working on farms should be worldclass," said Wilson, "but we also don't want to add more burdens or complicated regulations to the farming community."
Calgary Herald, Sunday Sept 16 2012
Byline: Matt McClure
An outpouring of love and respect has touched the hearts of Peter Lougheed's family in the wake of his death Thursday at age 84.
A simple bouquet of white roses rested under his portrait in the premier's wing of the Alberta Legislature the day after his death. As flags flew at half-mast, around the province tributes and memories poured in for the man whose leadership moulded modern Alberta.
Edmonton resident Charles Bradbrooke recalled how Lougheed's campaign call for diligence and reward prompted him to relocate to Alberta.
"We moved from Saskatchewan to Alberta to help work our buns off so we wouldn't have to pay any taxes later," Bradbrooke remembered.
Subsequent government excesses blew that lead away, he said.
Solicitor General Jonathan Denis recalled said Lougheed's 2003 visit to his school shaped his career.
"He suggested three of us in the crowd would become MLA — at that moment I decided it was a career I wanted to pursue," Denis recalled.
What impressed Denis the most, he said, was the retired premier's positive attitude.
"His example to me is one of service — he looked at everyone around him as someone he served, one of his bosses," Denis said.
At the Alberta Legislature, where the Calgary native's upstart Progressive Conservative party blazed a new path four decades ago with a victory over the Social Credit party in a tide-turning election, tributes came in from all sitting parties.
"He modernized Alberta, toppled a political dynasty, diversified the economy, and established strong public institutions," said Liberal leader Raj Sherman, recalling Lougheed strengthening Alberta's role in confederation, taking on Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's contentious National Energy Program over energy revenue sharing. A University of Alberta-educated lawyer with a Harvard MBA, Lougheed was well-served by his keen business sense and an aptitude for game-changing legislation.
"A true federalist, he was an outspoken proponent of Canadian unity and the Constitution Act. He also fought to enshrine our freedoms, defend property, and enhance civil liberties through the creation of the Alberta Bill of Rights," Sherman said.
Alberta NDP Leader Brian Mason said Lougheed's work is recognized nationally because as he stood up for Albertans, he remained a passionate Canadian.
"He was a giant of Alberta political history and, in many ways, the founder of modern Alberta — he was a huge figure in my political development, and I will miss him," Mason said.
Alberta Federation of Labour President Gil McGowan said Lougheed was a visionary and principled leader.
"He was unafraid of challenging his successors as they moved away from his priorities for the province.
Even when he was being actively critical of governments and leaders who came after him, he was always statesmanlike, always with a view to the bigger picture of Albertans' public interest," McGowan said.
Lougheed's family thanked all the professionals at Alberta Health Services who have helped care for him over the last months and days, which included a stay at the Peter Lougheed Centre named after him.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Jeanne (née Rogers), four children and seven grandchildren. The family plans a private service, and a public memorial will be announced, said Lougheed family spokesman Jason Hatcher. "The family are extraordinarily touched and grateful — in fact, overwhelmed — by the outpouring from Albertans and Canadians," said Hatcher
"They're very touched by the sentiments and many memories that have been expressed."
Citing Lougheed's many charitable interests, including The Banff Centre and the Lougheed House Conservation Society, as well as sports, health, education, parks and public spaces and culture, the family asked that donations or volunteer actions be given in lieu of flowers.
"Any donations or volunteer actions that support his charitable interests would continue to fulfil his hopes and vision for Alberta and Canada," Hatcher said.
Edmonton Sun, Friday September 14 2012
Byline: Jackie E. Larson
Peter Lougheed Passing Statement
On behalf of 150,000 Alberta union members,
I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Peter Lougheed
EDMONTON- "On behalf of 150,000 Alberta union members, I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Peter Lougheed. We have lost a visionary and principled leader. Using our tremendous natural resources wealth, Peter Lougheed built the modern Alberta - investing in schools, hospitals, infrastructure, building industries, and protecting the environment, such as establishing Kananaskis Country. He built the Heritage Fund and urged us to think like owners of our resources. Lougheed understood the concept of the public interest, and did not confuse what was good for private industry with what is good for the public as a whole. He was not a cheerleader for narrow business interests, and he did not engage in gimmicks or short-term thinking. He used our wealth to build a better Alberta.
Lougheed was concerned about Alberta's future right to the end of his life, and used his political stature to raise important questions about the pace of development in the oil sands and the rapidly increasing trend towards shipping bitumen raw instead of upgrading it in the province. He was unafraid of challenging his successors as they moved away from his priorities for the province. Even when he was being actively critical of governments and leaders who came after him, he was always statesmanlike, always with a view to the bigger picture of Albertans' public interest. He remained engaged and outspoken in the affairs of our province, I think, because he saw Alberta's potential as more than just the success of a few industries, or short-lived booms and busts - he saw us as a community. "
Gil McGowan, AFL President, 780-218-9888