James Alexander Lougheed

Sir James Alexander Lougheed, KCMG PC KC (/ˈlɔːhd/ LAW-heed or /lɔːˈhd/ law-HEED; 1 September 1854 – 2 November 1925) was a businessman, lawyer and politician from Alberta, Canada.

Sir James Alexander Lougheed

James Alexander Lougheed.jpg
Senator from Calgary, North-West Territories (after 1905, Alberta)
In office
10 December 1889 – 2 November 1925
Additional offices held
Nominated bySir John A. Macdonald
Appointed byFrederick Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby
Preceded byRichard Hardisty
Succeeded byDaniel Edward Riley
Minister Without Portfolio
In office
Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment
In office
Preceded byestablished
Succeeded byRobert James Manion
Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs,
Minister of the Interior
and Minister of Mines
In office
Preceded byArthur Meighen
Succeeded byCharles Stewart
Representative of the Government in the Senate
In office
Preceded bySir Richard John Cartwright
Succeeded byRaoul Dandurand
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate
In office
In office
1922 – 1925
Personal details
Born(1854-09-01)September 1, 1854
Brampton, Canada West
DiedNovember 2, 1925(1925-11-02) (aged 71)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Political partyLiberal-Conservative
Spouse(s)Isabella Clarke Hardisty (1859–1936)
RelationsPeter Lougheed, grandson; Samuel Lougheed, brother
ChildrenEdgar Donald Lougheed, Clarence H. Lougheed (1885–1933), Norman Lougheed; 2 daughters
ResidenceLougheed House
Alma materUniversity of Toronto
Professionlawyer, businessman

Early lifeEdit

Lougheed was born in Brampton, Canada West, to Irish Protestant parents, Mary Ann (Alexander) and John Lougheed.[1] The family moved to Weston (now a community within Toronto, Ontario) when Lougheed was a child,[2] and he attended King Street Public School (now H. J. Alexander Public School) and Weston High School (now Weston Collegiate Institute). He attended the University of Toronto and he studied law at the Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto and was sworn in as a solicitor in 1881. In 1887 he formed a law practice with Peter McCarthy and two years later in 1889 he became a QC.

In 1882 Lougheed moved with his brother to Winnipeg, Manitoba, and then to Medicine Hat, Northwest Territories, following the newly laid Canadian Pacific Railway main line. One year later he moved to Calgary, then at the end of the CPR line.

He started a legal practice in Calgary in the fields of real estate and transportation law, with the CPR as one of his main clients. He also invested heavily in real estate and opened a brokerage firm. His Lougheed Building in downtown Calgary still stands: it included the GRAND theatre which was saved from demolition in 2004 by the Company Theatre Junction[3] The Grand.

In 1884 James Lougheed would marry Belle Hardisty (1859–1936) daughter of William Hardisty and niece of Richard Hardisty whom James Lougheed would replace in the Canadian Senate in 1889, and Donald Smith, 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal.[4][5] In 1891 they would build "Beaulieu" (now Lougheed House), a mansion in what is now the Beltline district of Calgary. Beaulieu became the centre of Calgary's social scene, as the Lougheeds welcomed oil millionaires, politicians, royalty, and entertainment stars to their home.[2] He and Belle had six children,[2] four boys and two girls.

Political careerEdit

Lougheed had been a member of the federal Conservative Party since his days in Toronto, and had campaigned for Sir John A. Macdonald. Even so, his appointment to the Senate on 10 December 1889 (replacing Richard Hardisty, his wife's uncle, who had died[2]) came as a surprise to many, as Lougheed was only 35 years old at the time. However, he gained the respect of both his fellow senators and his fellow Westerners due to his staunch support of Western interests and his political abilities. Lougheed spent the next 30 years living both in Ottawa and in Calgary.

In order to protect his legal interests, he brought a young lawyer from New Brunswick named R. B. Bennett to Calgary in 1897.[4] Bennett and Lougheed worked together for over 20 years until an acrimonious dispute between the senator and the future prime minister caused each to go his own way.[6]

In the 1890s Lougheed emerged as the West's strongest voice in the Senate. He was constantly in the position of having to remind members of the Upper Chamber of the realities of life in the western provinces and territories (Alberta at the time being part of the Northwest Territories). He spoke out fiercely against certain provisions in the act creating the province of Alberta, and declared that it would be better to remain a territory than to have what he called archaic education statutes forced on the province.

In 1906, he became Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. The Conservatives were in opposition for many of Lougheed's early years as a senator.

When the Conservatives took power following the 1911 election, he became Leader of the Government in the Senate and minister without portfolio in the government of Sir Robert Borden. He was made Chairman of the Military Hospitals Commission in 1915, and, as a reward for this service, was knighted by George V in 1916 (Order of St Michael and St George), becoming the only Albertan to ever earn the honour.[4]

After Borden formed his wartime Union government, he appointed Lougheed as Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment in 1918. From 1920 until the Conservative Party's defeat in the 1921 election, Lougheed also served as Minister of Mines, Minister of the Interior and Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs in the government of Prime Minister Arthur Meighen.[4]

With the Liberals in power, Lougheed resumed his position as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate until his death in 1925, aged 71.

Lougheed was a strict conservative in many ways. His relationship to the First Nations people could be both patriarchal and supportive. Generally, he held the virtually ubiquitous Western view that First Nations people were essentially unintelligent children who needed white control in order to survive; this even though his own mother-in-law was from a First Nation. However, when Indian Affairs officials refused to allow the six Nations to participate in the first Calgary Stampede in 1912, Lougheed with R.B. Bennett fought that decision.[7] He adhered to a strict interpretation of the British North America Act, was against women voting, disliked social innovations, and believed Canada's future was as a subordinate nation in the British Empire.

Lougheed was also a successful businessman through his real estate, newspapers, and other ventures in Calgary. He was a staunch advocate of provincial status for what became Alberta and argued that the province rather than the federal government should have control of natural resources. This argument was carried on by his grandson, Peter Lougheed, when he was premier of Alberta in the 1970s and 1980s.


Sir James Lougheed died of pneumonia on November 2, 1925 at the age of 71 in the Ottawa Civic Hospital, and was buried in Union Cemetery in Calgary at the Lougheed family plot on November 8, 1925.[8] Lougheed's funeral at Calgary's Anglican Church was unable to accommodate the number of people who came to pay tributes.[4] James Lougheed and other members of the Lougheed family are buried at Union Cemetery in Calgary.

James Lougheed would die only four days after the 1925 Canadian federal election which would see his Conservative Party under Arthur Meighen return to power with a minority government.



  1. ^ http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/lougheed_james_alexander_15E.html
  2. ^ a b c d MacKinnon, Doris Jeanne (2017). "Metis Matriarchs". Canada's History. 97 (6): 38–43. ISSN 1920-9894.
  3. ^ "Theatre Junction GRAND". Archived from the original on 2014-07-16. Retrieved 2014-07-15.
  4. ^ a b c d e MacEwan, Grant (1975). Calgary cavalcade from Fort to fortune. Saskatoon, Canada: Western Producer Book Service. pp. 77–80. ISBN 978-0-91930-650-9. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  5. ^ Sanderson, Kay (1999). 200 Remarkable Alberta Women. Calgary, Canada: Famous Five Foundation. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-96858-320-3. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  6. ^ Stanley,George F. G. (1975). Rasporich, Anthony W.; Klassen, Henry C. (eds.). Frontier Calgary: town, city, and region, 1875-1914. Calgary, Canada: McClelland and Stewart West. pp. 250–251. ISBN 0771210175. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  7. ^ Smith, Donald B. (1994). Centennial City: Calgary, 1894-1994. Calgary, Canada: University of Calgary Press. pp. 51–52. ISBN 1-895176-57-3. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  8. ^ "Union Cemetery history". Calgary.ca. City of Calgary. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  9. ^ "Lougheed Building". Canada's Historic Places. Parks Canada. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  10. ^ "S.W. location chosen for all-boys school". Cbc.ca. CBC News. Retrieved 19 May 2020.

External LinksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Richard Hardisty
Senator from Alberta
Succeeded by
Daniel Edward Riley
Preceded by
Mackenzie Bowell
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate of Canada
Succeeded by
Sir Richard John Cartwright
Preceded by
Sir Richard John Cartwright
Leader of the Government in the Senate of Canada
Succeeded by
Raoul Dandurand
Preceded by
Hewitt Bostock
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate of Canada
Succeeded by
William Benjamin Ross