Former Alberta premier Jim Prentice killed in plane crash

Former Alberta premier Jim Prentice was killed in a plane crash outside of Kelowna, B.C., late yesterday.

He was among four who died when the plane headed for Alberta crashed at Winfield in a heavily wooded area. The incident is still under investigation by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

Prentice was Progressive Conservative premier of Alberta in 2014-15 and resigned immediately after losing the election to NDP leader Rachel Notley, who achieved a majority win after 44 years of Conservative rule.

He was a federal cabinet minister in the Stephen Harper Conservative government from 2006-10, holding the portfolios of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Industry and Environment.

He resigned from federal politics and held a senior position with CIBC before winning the Alberta Progressive Conservative party leadership in 2014.

Born in 1956 in Ontario, he moved to Alberta when he was 13. He earned a bachelor of commerce degree from the University of Alberta and a law degree from Dalhousie University.

He specialized in property rights law and Aboriginal land claims before entering federal politics in 2002.

He is survived by his wife, Karen, and three daughters.

Tributes to Prentice included statements from Brad Wall, Saskatchewan premier, who said:

“I enjoyed working with Jim Prentice when he was a key federal cabinet minister and then as premier of our closest friend and neighbour, Alberta. Tami and I express our deepest condolences to Jim’s family and friends and to all Albertans. This is a deep loss for all of Canada.”

The following statement was issued by Alberta Premier Rachel Notley:

“There are no words adequate for moments like this as my family knows very well,” said the premier whose father NDP leader Grant Notley died in a plane crash in 1984.

“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 benefitted 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.”

British Columbia Premier Premier Christy Clark said: “Like many Canadians, I was shocked to hear the news about Jim Prentice. This is a terrible loss for our country. It’s a rare privilege to meet people of Jim’s character in any walk of life. He was a man of his word, would keep confidences and his handshake was worth more than any written agreement.

“Simply by being himself, Jim Prentice elevated political discourse in this country with his dignity, kindness and focus. Jim devoted his life to making Canada better — and he succeeded.

“Jim had a remarkable and distinguished career, but I think he took the most pride in being a husband, father, and grandfather. My thoughts are with Jim’s family.”

In addition to Prentice, family friend Ken Gellatly, a Calgary optometrist, was among those killed in the crash.

Contact barbara.duckworth@producer.com

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