Stanley Schumacher, who served three terms as a federal Member of Parliament and three terms as an Alberta MLA, who became the province’s first Speaker to be elected by secret ballot, has died.
The 87-year-old died Oct. 10, according to an obituary in the Calgary Herald.
Premier Jason Kenney said in an emailed release on Saturday that he is saddened by the death of his friend.
“Stan was an Albertan through and through. His father was an Alberta Wheat Pool agent, and throughout his life Stan lived in rural communities like Hanna, Camrose, and Drumheller. Much of his life was dedicated to being a voice for rural Albertans and their values, both in Parliament and Alberta’s Legislature,” the premier said.
“Stan had a unique combination of personal charm and steely resolve. His politics were unapologetically conservative. He was both a Canadian patriot and a relentless champion of Alberta, our values and way of life.”
Schumacher was born in Hanna, Alta., in 1933. He studied law at the University of British Columbia, and while a student in the late 1950s, he joined the Canadian Officer’s Training Corps and served with the Royal Canadian Dragoons in Germany.
Between 1968 and 1979, he served as Progressive Conservative MP for the southern Alberta district of Palliser.
In advance of the 1979 election, the riding was abolished and incorporated into the new riding of Bow River. Schumacher was asked to step aside to allow leader Joe Clark to run in the new riding, but he refused, and later lost the party’s nomination to Gordon Taylor. He ran as an independent against Taylor and was defeated.
In 1986, Schumacher ran for the PCs again, but this time at the provincial level, serving as an MLA for Drumheller until his retirement from the assembly in 1997.
He served as Deputy Speaker for four years, and then in 1993 was the first speaker to be elected via secret ballot in Alberta.
A 1993 article from Medicine Hat News described Schumacher as a “tall, silver-haired lawyer” who was seen as a Speaker who would make non-partisan rulings.
“Stan was a true champion of Parliamentary traditions and institutions, and in my view stands out as one of the great Speakers in Alberta Legislative history,” Kenney said.
He was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for his contributions to public service.
Schumacher is survived by his wife of 52 years, Virginia, children David and Sandra, and four grandchildren.