Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Honourable Jim Prentice 1956-2016

Premier Jim Prentice, QC (Government of Alberta photo)
Chris Davis - Former Alberta Premier Jim Prentice passed away on the evening of October 13, the result of a plane crash near Kelowna which also claimed three other lives, including the father in law of one of Prentice's daughters.

According to a press release by the Government of British Columbia and the BC Coroners Service "The four persons were aboard a Cessna Citation jet aircraft which had taken off from Kelowna airport only a few minutes before the crash, shortly after 10 pm on October 13, 2016, heading to the Calgary area."

"Preliminary reports indicate that this, like many air crashes, will be a complex scene to investigate. The BC Coroners Service personnel will be working closely with investigators from the Transportation Safety Board and RCMP."

Federal Minister of Transport Marc Garneau extended condolences and added “I have also appointed a Minister’s Observer, a departmental official who will keep us informed on the progress of the TSB investigation. The Minister’s Observer will obtain factual information from the ongoing investigation, advise the department of any significant regulatory factors, identify deficiencies that require immediate corrective actions, and coordinate the required support during the investigation.”

In his statement Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said  “Jim Prentice brought his deep convictions to everything he turned his hand to, whether it was law, business, or politics. At each step of his career, he worked tirelessly for the people of Canada and Alberta – both as a federal minister in several different portfolios, and later, as Premier of the province."

“He was broadly respected in the House of Commons – across all party lines – for his intelligence, commitment, and honest straightforward approach on tough issues. I greatly enjoyed the time I spent working closely beside Jim in the House, and know that he will be missed by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle."

“Today, we mourn the passing of a great Canadian. His legacy will live on in the work he did for Albertans and for all Canadians – particularly in the important role he played in finalizing the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement – and through his daughters, who he loved dearly and was incredibly proud of."

“On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to his family and friends and to the loved ones of all those who perished in this tragic accident.”
In Alberta the reaction to the tragedy was swift.  At least two planned Government of Alberta press releases were postponed to later dates.  Statements were issued by Prentice's family, colleagues, members of the press.  The Calgary Flames honoured him in advance of their home opener against the Edmonton Oilers.  A Premier Jim Prentice memorial website has been established for the public to write condolences to Prentice's family, friends, and colleagues.

Progressive Conservative Interim Leader and MLA for Calgary-Hays, Ric McIver issued a statement on behalf of the party Prentice served, saying “We are heartbroken to learn that former Premier Jim Prentice has lost his life in a tragic accident yesterday evening.

"Jim was a friend and mentor to us all and his dedication to public service was an inspiration to everyone who had the honour of working with him. As the Member of Parliament for Calgary Centre-North, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Minister of Industry, Minister of Environment and as Alberta’s 16th Premier, he made significant contributions to his community on both the provincial and federal levels.

"Beyond this dedication and commitment to public service, Jim was a kind and generous man who always put his family first. Our deepest sympathies are with his wife Karen, their daughters and the entire Prentice family.”

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean released a statement that said in part “I am deeply saddened to hear of the sudden loss of Premier Jim Prentice. This accident leaves a hole in our hearts and throughout the public landscape of our country.  Jim dedicated much of his life to public service on behalf of the people of Calgary, Alberta and Canada.

“For his colleagues who served with him in Ottawa and Alberta, we will remember him as a man of great compassion, who held firm in his belief in the dignity of all people and a leader who worked relentlessly towards his goal of making this province and this country a better place."

“On behalf of the Wildrose Official Opposition, I offer my prayers and deepest condolences to Jim’s wife Karen, to his children and grandchildren, and to the families who lost loved ones today. With all Albertans, we share in your grief.”

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said  "Like all Edmontonians and Albertans, I was shocked to hear news of former Premier Prentice passing away so tragically in British Columbia last night. Our thoughts are with the family and close friends of all victims as they come to terms with this sudden news."

"Jim was a dedicated public servant who worked tirelessly to build a better country and province. He was a consummate professional and someone who loved Alberta and believed deeply in its potential. His reasoned, pragmatic voice in Canadian politics will be sorely missed."

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said "In politics, I get to work with people from all political stripes who are filled with a desire to do good no matter what. I also get to work with people who are thoughtful, respectful, and driven by a need improve this community we all share. Jim was all of these things, and so much more. He is an inspiration to all of us who aspire to public service."

Alberta Legislative Assembly Speaker Robert Wanner said “Mr. Prentice was a dedicated Albertan who carried himself with dignity throughout his extensive and distinguished public service career. His tragic passing brings great sadness to Albertans and to those with whom he served."

Alberta Premier Premier Rachel Notley said “I spoke with his wife, Karen, and expressed the profound sorrow and sympathy I feel, and that I know all Albertans feel, in the face of this unspeakable tragedy (ed: her father Grant Notley died in a small plane crash in northern Alberta in 1984).  I also spoke with PC leader Ric McIver."

“There are no words adequate for moments like this, as my family knows very well."

“But there are words to remember Premier Prentice’s contributions to Alberta. 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. 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."

“We will find an appropriate occasion to fully remember Premier Prentice’s career and contributions."

“But today our thoughts are with his family. With Karen and their daughters Christina, Cassia and Kate. And with two grandchildren who will have much to be proud of in their grandfather."

“This tragedy was made worse by the death on the same flight of Premier Prentice’s good friend, and father of his son-in-law, Dr. Ken Gellatly.  Our thoughts are also with Premier Prentice’s friends and colleagues.  For Alberta, today is a day of sorrow in the face of terrible tragedy."

“To all Albertans, I urge you to look at the faces of those we love and remember that every moment with them is a precious gift.”

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