Lougheed, grandfather of Alberta’s former Premier, Peter
was also a leading political figure in Canada’s history. A highly successful businessman, he was also a Senator and
Cabinet Minister in Ottawa for many years. He worked hard to transform Calgary from a frontier town to a
thriving city and was a strong advocate of provincehood and control
of natural resources for Alberta.
came to Calgary in 1883, before the arrival of the Canadian Pacific
Railway (CPR). He set
up a law practice with future Prime Minister R.B. Bennett and became
involved in various real estate ventures, and later, industrial
developments. In 1884,
he married Isabella Hardisty, whose father and uncle were Chief
Factors of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Her uncle by marriage, Lord Strathcona, was a principal
shareholder in the CPR and president of the Bank of Montreal. These connections helped James Lougheed gain influence, both
as a businessman and government official.
1889, after the death of Isabella’s uncle, Senator Richard
Hardisty, Lougheed was appointed to fill the vacant seat. He remained a Senator for thirty-six years. During his tenure, he also served as Conservative Leader of
the Senate from 1906 to 1921. Prime
Minister Sir Robert Borden appointed him Minister Without Portfolio
in 1911, even though he was not an elected Member of Parliament. Five years later, Borden named him Minister of the Interior
and Minister of Civilian Re-establishment (Veterans Affairs). Lougheed held these portfolios until Mackenzie King’s
Liberal party defeated the Conservatives in the federal election of
Lougheed died while still a Senator in 1925, having achieved greater
representation for Calgary and Alberta in Parliament. However, the federal government still held control of the
province’s natural resources. Then, in 1930, the Conservatives returned to power under
Lougheed’s former partner, R.B. Bennett. That year, Bennett agreed to transfer this control to the
province. The agreement
included financial compensation for lost revenues from the lease of
Alberta’s public lands. Bennett
offered these favourable terms despite declining federal revenues as
a result of the Great Depression. Alberta was a constitutional equal at last.
more about James Lougheed, visit the Lougheed
House Conservation Society 's website.