Friday, September 07, 2007

Best Premier Show Down

After 10 regional contests and 14 knock-out matches, it has all come down to this. Peter Lougheed versus Oliver Mowat for the title of Canada's Best Premier.

Voting will remain open until Monday night at 11 pm Mountain time, when a winner will be crowned.

The Matchup: Peter Lougheed squeaked out of the first round in the most hotly contested battle of the tournament, taking out Greatest Canadian winner, Tommy Douglas. After taking out another dipper in the quarter finals, Lougheed played Social Credit killer, beating Ernest Manning in a hotly contested 1620-1543 vote. One would expect the right to rally around Lougheed, although he has recently been quite critical of both provincial and federal Tories, and has advocated for slowed oilsands growth.

Oliver Mowat finished second in a tight three man race for Ontario's best Premier but got his revenge on John Robarts, defeating him handily in the first round. Mowat won a tight quarter final match against Louis Robichaud but then trounced Rene Levesque in the night of the long knives semi-finals, by a 6 to 1 margin. While Mowat died before anyone voting in this poll was born, that didn't stop Laurier from winning Greatest Prime Minister two summers ago, or George Etienne Cartier from going deep in "Greatest PM we never had" last year.

Peter Lougheed: Lougheed burst onto the Albertan political scene in 1971, leading the Progressive Conservative Party to victory, and ending the 36 year reign of Social Credit. Lougheed's youth, energy, and fresh ideas were instrumental in his win, especially when contrasted with the tired SoCred government of Harry Strom. Lougheed remained immensely popular throughout his tenure as Premier, never once coming close to losing power.

Lougheed oversaw economic growth in Alberta, raising oil and gas royalties, and creating the Heritage Fund to save the profits for future generations. While he did bring in modest advances in the areas of health, research, and recreation, he left his largest mark on the national stage, feuding with the Prime Minister (most famously with Trudeau, but also with Clark) and Ontario Premier Bill Davis. Lougheed raised holy hell over the NEP and fanned the flames of Western alienation but eventually signed a series of renegotiated deals with the Trudeau government.

Oliver Mowat: Mowat left his mark on both Ontario and on Canada as a whole. He attended the Quebec conference that laid much of the groundwork for confederation and was postmaster general in the Ontario government that helped bring confederation into being.

As Premier of Ontario from 1872 to 1896, he would reverse positions he held during the confederation talks and his fight to decentralize Canada was the defining characteristic of his premiership. He oversaw a period of rapid urban growth in Ontario and used his keen political instincts to manage language and religious conflicts with finesse. However, his ability to keep stability often led to timid moves on the legislative front and few decisions he made could really be classified as being of the "bold" variety. He also helped democratize and clean up the democratic process in Ontario, introducing the secret ballot and extending suffrage beyond property owners.

In 1896, he jumped to the federal scene, where the Liberals won under a "Laurier, Mowat, and victory" slogan. He would be appointed Justice Minister following the win.

Who Was Canada's Best Premier?
Peter Lougheed (2)
Oliver Mowat (12)
See Results



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