Alberta MP, former deputy prime minister Mazankowski dead at 85

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Don Mazankowski, an Alberta and federal politician of 25 years and after whom the province’s heart institute is named, has died.

Mazankowski passed away Tuesday night at the age of 85.

“While Canadians knew him as Canada’s 4th Deputy Prime Minister, and a long-time federal cabinet minister, to his friends and colleagues he was known as simply ‘Maz,’” read a statement from Mazankowski’s family.

“However, first and foremost he was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, a legacy that he shared with his partner in life, his wife Lorraine.”


Born in Viking, Alta., Mazankowski’s political career spanned 25 years from his election as a member of parliament in Vegreville, Alta., to his retirement as government house leader in 1993.

He won seven general elections in Vegreville, and served a cabinet minister under two prime ministers — Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney.

When he left politics, he had also served as deputy prime minister since 1986.

Mazankowski is credited with advocating for Canada’s west, and helping develop the Farm Income Protection Act, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the Western Diversification Program.

The Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute in Edmonton was named after the late politician, who also was involved with the University of Alberta, Canadian Genetics Diseases Network, and Institute of Health Economics.  

He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2000.

Mazankowski’s family said a public memorial will be arranged when health guidelines allow it.

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