“Don Mazankowski was a truly great Albertan who loved and served his community and country without reserve.
“Born in Viking to immigrant parents, Don was raised in humble circumstances, attending a local one-room school. In a reflection of Alberta’s rural roots and entrepreneurial culture, he grew up working on the farm before starting his own automotive business. Inspired by John Diefenbaker to get involved in politics, Don was elected in 1968 to represent the Vegreville constituency in Parliament at 33 years of age, a position he held for more than 25 years and seven elections.
“Don developed a reputation as a leader of the Progressive Conservative Caucus in Opposition, and served as minister of transport in the Clark government. With the election of Brian Mulroney’s majority government in 1984, Don became known as the “Minister of Everything,” serving variously as deputy prime minister, government house leader, minister of transport, and minister of finance. He played a leading role on critical issues as chairman of the Cabinet Operations Committee, including the negotiation of the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement.
“After his departure from elected politics in 1993, Don continued public service in countless ways, from chairing Alberta’s Advisory Council on Health, serving on the board of the University of Alberta, paving the way to the creation of the Don Mazankowski Heart Institute at the University, raising funds for scholarships, and much more. He continued to play an important role in politics, helping to negotiate the merger agreement that led to the creation of the Conservative Party of Canada, and served as a board director with some of Canada’s largest corporations.
“Through all of that, Don and his wife Lorraine stayed true to their rural roots, continuing to live in Vegreville, and more recently Sherwood Park. Even after serving in the highest offices in the land, he continued to be known by his countless friends simply as “Maz,” a man who personified the virtues of humility and servant leadership.
“At the heart of his public service was a belief that Western Canada needed strong voices to defend its economic and political interests in the Canadian federation. Maz was such a voice for decades. For that and for all that he did, Albertans are deeply grateful. In the words of Scripture, it can be said of Don “well done good and faithful servant.”
“Flags at the Alberta legislature have been lowered to half-mast to honour his memory.
“On behalf of the Government of Alberta, I extend my sincere condolences to Don’s widow Lorraine, their children and grandchildren, and to all of his friends and loved ones.”