Excerpt from Progressive Conservatism in Alberta: The Rebuilding of a Political Party

The Progressive Conservative Party in Alberta in 1965 had no leader and no seats in the Alberta Legislature. What little active support it still held was more apparent during Federal elections than during Provincial campaigns. That year a Provincial leadership convention was held in Edmonton. It was a scene which had been re-enacted regularly throughout the half century during which the Conservative voice had never been more than a squeak of protest in the Legislature. This time, however, the Party chose the 36-year-old Peter Lougheed to recruit and direct its Provincial forces against the firmly entrenched Social Credit Government.

Jeanne & Peter Lougheed

Jeanne & Peter Lougheed

Peter Lougheed was one of the few men who could have acted as a catalyst to his almost moribund Party. As a third-generation Albertan and grandson of Alberta’s first P.C. Federal Cabinet Minister, he received the loyalty of the Party “regulars”. As an imaginative and determined leader, he was able to attract new members to the Conservative Party — men and women of ability who shared his goal of routing the complacent Social Credit Party and replacing it with a government capable of fully developing the Province’s great potential.

What Do We Stand For?

On that March weekend in 1965, the Conservative cardholders were few and Party organization practically non-existent. By the following January, many new faces appeared at the annual meeting at the Palliser Hotel in Calgary and the revitalization of the Party was beginning to be evident. It was at this meeting that the “Guideposts” were introduced — those twelve statements of Progressive Conservative principle which have remained unchanged as the basis of Party direction. But it was not until the provincial election in the spring of 1967 that the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta emerged as the coming force in Alberta politics.

Continued in Part II