CALGARY -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper lauded Peter Lougheed on Friday as a visionary and a statesman with the intelligence to wage a successful fight and the fortitude to see it through.
"He brought to the job intelligence, integrity, energy, a clear and practical sense of direction and an unwavering commitment to what he believed to be the wider public interest," Harper said at a public memorial for the former Alberta premier at Calgary's Jubilee Auditorium.
"Every place and every era have their leaders. They are confronted with the challenges of the events of the times in which they live. More often than not, these define them," Harper continued. "However, a leader sometimes defines his own age and Peter Lougheed was that kind of leader."
Harper was among 2,400 dignitaries and citizens from across Canada who came to bid a final goodbye to Lougheed.
Lougheed, premier of Alberta from 1971 to 1985, died last week in hospital of natural causes. He was 84.
With Lougheed's wife, Jeanne, and four children looking on, Harper recalled Lougheed's epic battles with the federal government over oil resources in the 1970s and '80s.
"His motives (outside Alberta) were often questioned, his patriotism frequently attacked," said Harper. "But Peter Lougheed did not shrink from that fight. He embraced it.
"Peter Lougheed was always a proud Albertan and a fierce Canadian, understanding clearly that one part of Canada cannot succeed at the expense of another because our destiny is sown together in the fabric of this great nation."
Alberta Premier Alison Redford recalled the man she called a personal mentor and the transformative "architect of the province we all call home."
"Every single one of us woke up this morning in Peter Lougheed's Alberta," said Redford.
"It was the Alberta of which he dreamed and it was the dream that he was able to make real."
Stephen Lougheed, Lougheed's oldest son, told the mourners he would always recall a devoted and doting father.
"My dad was always a team player. And the team that he was most proud of was his home team -- his family, starting with Mom," said Stephen.
-- The Canadian Press