RCMP take the casket of Peter Lougheed from the Alberta Legislature Building in Edmonton on Sept. 18, 2012.
Credits: CODIE MCLACHLAN/EDMONTON SUN/QMI AGENCY
CALGARY – Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be among a number of dignitaries who will attend a public memorial for former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed.
Harper was among the first to release a statement when news of Lougheed's death broke Sept. 13, calling him "one of the most remarkable Canadians of his generation," praising him as a "master politician" and "gifted lawyer" who was "instrumental" in laying the foundation of Alberta's current, energy-driven economic success.
Harper and his wife's attendance were confirmed by the Prime Minister's Office on Thursday, as Lougheed's closest friends and family gathered for a private ceremony in southwest Calgary.
Premier Alison Redford, Lt.-Gov. Donald Ethell and his wife Linda will also attend the memorial at Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium at 1 p.m.
Invitations have gone out far and wide across the political spectrum and confirmations were still being processed Thursday evening, said Kim Misik, press secretary to the premier.
With so many invited guests yet to confirm attendance, Misik said it was unclear how many seats inside the 2,300-capacity auditorium would be available to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis beginning at 10 a.m.
Alberta's 10th premier, Lougheed gave birth to Alberta's dynastic Progressive Conservative party that has maintained power since 1971.
He served 14 years as premier, during which time he forged the Heritage Savings Trust Fund and was the widely regarded keystone of oilsands development.
In June, Lougheed was named Canada's greatest premier of the past 40 years by the Institute for Research and Public Policy, a title he "richly deserves," Harper said following his death.
A webcast of the service at Jubilee will be streamed at alberta.ca