Prentice a great politician and family man

15 Oct 2016

Lethbridge Herald

Dave Mabell [email protected]

Shocked by his sudden death, political leaders spoke out Friday in tribute to former Alberta premier Jim Prentice. Retired from politics since the Progressive Conservatives lost power in May 2015, Prentice was one of four people killed when a small aircraft crashed Thursday near Kelowna.

“For Alberta, today is a day of sorrow in the face of terrible tragedy,” said Premier Rachel Notley.

“He served our province in so many roles for so many years. He deeply loved Alberta. He worked tirelessly for all of us, in the true spirit of one who is committed to public service,” she said.

“I benefited from his advice, and the government of Alberta is continuing to pursue many of his initiatives. All Albertans are the better for this.” Shannon Phillips, MLA for Lethbridge West, paid tribute to Prentice’s work on environmental issues while serving in the federal cabinet.

“I did not know him personally, but I see the echoes of his work on the environment,” she said, particularly with regard to oilsands monitoring.

As a Calgary MP, Prentice filled several roles in Stephen Harper’s federal cabinet including minister of the environment.

Phillips, now Alberta’s environment minister, said she’s learned more about his efforts from other government officials who worked with him.

The minister was scheduled to address members of the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce during their “Opportunity South” conference Friday. Out of respect, Notley and her cabinet members cancelled appearances for the day.

Lethbridge East MLA Maria Fitzpatrick praised Prentice’s spirit of public service.

“Anyone who has put themself out for public service the way Mr. Prentice did deserves every accolade anyone can give,” she said. “He served both his province and Canada well.”

Mayor Chris Spearman voiced city council’s sorrow at the former premier’s death.

“The sudden passing of Mr. Prentice is a shocking and tragic loss,” he said. “My heart goes out to his wife Karen and the entire Prentice family.

“Mr. Prentice was a dedicated public servant who enriched our province with his leadership and passion.”

The mayor ordered flags be lowered to half-mast at city hall and other civic locations.

Former Lethbridge East MLA and city council member Bridget Pastoor praised Prentice’s contributions as the nation’s aboriginal affairs minister.

“The work he did with First Nations was exemplary,” she said. “His heart was in it, and he knew what he was doing.”

Prentice was a political leader with integrity, Pastoor said, and “You probably couldn’t find a nicer gentleman.

“He served Canada very well, and devoted his life to public service.”

Greg Weadick, MLA for Lethbridge West and a cabinet minister under several Progressive Conservative premiers, described Prentice as “very hard-working MP, MLA and premier.”

Part of that work, he said, was finding ways to support First Nations in southern Alberta and elsewhere in their economic development initiatives. When Prentice served as environment minister, Weadick added, he attempted to balance the needs to safeguard Canada’s environmental values while recognizing the importance of resource-based employment.

At the same time, Weadick said, Prentice was “very dedicated to his wife and family.”

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