PETER ERIC JAMES PRENTICE PC QC (July 20, 1956 – October 13, 2016)
was a Canadian politician who served as the 16th Premier of Alberta
from 2014 to 2015. In the 2004 federal election he was elected to the
Canadian House of Commons as a candidate of the Conservative Party of
Canada . He was re-elected in the 2006 federal election and appointed
to the cabinet as Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians . Prentice
was appointed Minister of Industry on August 14, 2007, and after the
2008 election became Minister of Environment on October 30, 2008. On
November 4, 2010, Prentice announced his resignation from cabinet and
as MP for
Calgary Centre-North . After retiring from federal politics,
he entered provincial politics in his home province of Alberta, and
ran for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Association of
Alberta to replace
Alison Redford , who had resigned earlier that
year. On September 6, 2014, he won the leadership election , becoming
both the leader of the Progressive Conservatives and as such the
Premier, as his party held a majority in the Legislative Assembly of
As Premier of Alberta, Prentice formed a new cabinet consisting of
some members from the previous government , but also new Ministers
including two who did not hold seats in the Legislature—Stephen
Gordon Dirks . All three stood as candidates in
by-elections scheduled for October 27, 2014, and all three were
elected with Prentice becoming the MLA for
After introducing his first budget in 2015, Prentice declared an
early provincial election on May 5, 2015 , "bypassing" Alberta's fixed
election date laws. In the election, Prentice's PCs were defeated,
dropping to third place in the legislature with 10 seats – ending 44
Tory rule in Alberta, the longest unbroken run in office at
the provincial level in Canada. Despite winning re-election in
Calgary-Foothills, on election night Prentice resigned as both PC
leader and MLA and retired from politics after results indicated that
Alberta NDP had won a majority government.
On October 13, 2016, Prentice and three others were killed when the
aircraft in which they were travelling crashed shortly after taking
off from Kelowna,
British Columbia . The flight was en route from
Kelowna to Springbank Airport, just outside Calgary.
* 1 Background
* 2 Early political career
* 3 Early parliamentary career
* 4 Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
Kelowna Accord and residential schools
* 5 Minister of Industry
* 5.1 Copyright legislation and controversy
* 5.2 controversy
* 5.3 Auto industry
* 5.5 Text messaging fees
* 6 Minister of the Environment
* 6.1 Draft Prentice Movement
* 7 Resignation
* 8 Premier of
* 9 Death
* 10 References
* 11 External links
Prentice was born to a large, blue-collar family in
South Porcupine ,
Ontario . The family then moved to
Alberta in 1969. He
was the son of Wilma Lyle Marea (Mawhinney) and
Eric Prentice , a
professional hockey player who played five games in the National
Hockey League (NHL) in the 1940s. His uncle
Dean Prentice played in
the NHL for more than 20 years. Prentice was educated at the
Alberta (where he became a member of the Phi Gamma Delta
fraternity ) and
Dalhousie University . He paid for his tuition by
working as a coal miner in the summer months for seven years.
As a lawyer, he served as a Law Commissioner of the Indian Claims
Commission of Canada .
In his personal life, Prentice served for seven years on the Board of
Directors at the
Calgary Winter Club , including stints as President
and Chairman. He was an active member and volunteer leader in the
Presbyterian Church . Prentice and his wife Karen have three
daughters and two grandchildren.
He was also a member of the
Trilateral Commission , a non-partisan
organization that aims to increase cooperation within the developed
world. In this capacity, Prentice was one of 20 Canadian members.
EARLY POLITICAL CAREER
Prentice joined the
Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in 1976,
and was active in
Tory circles ever since. In the 1986 provincial
election , Prentice ran for the Progressive Conservatives in Calgary
Mountain View , being defeated by NDP candidate
Bob Hawkesworth .
During the early 1990s, Prentice served as the governing federal PC
party's chief financial officer and treasurer (1990–93). Prentice
first ran for Parliament as the nominated Progressive Conservative
candidate in a spring 2002 by-election in the riding of Calgary
Southwest that followed the retirement of
Preston Manning as the
Member of Parliament (MP). When newly elected Canadian
Stephen Harper replaced nominated CA candidate Ezra
Levant in the by-election, Prentice withdrew from the race, following
common practice to allow a party leader to win a seat uncontested so
they may lead their party within Parliament.
He ran in the 2003 Progressive Conservative leadership election to
support the "
United Alternative " proposal to merge the PC party with
the Canadian Alliance. He was seen by many as an alternative to the
"status quo" candidate and front runner
Peter MacKay . A basic
platform of Prentice's campaign was that "no one has ever defeated the
Liberals with a divided conservative family." Prentice entered the
2003 convention day with some momentum, after delivering a passionate
speech to the assembled delegates that encouraged Tories to be proud
of their accomplishments, despite recent setbacks, and that recalled
the sacrifices of Canadian soldiers who fought in the Battle of
Passchendaele . He also unexpectedly received the support of fellow
Craig Chandler , who withdrew early. Prentice
ultimately emerged in second-place on the fourth ballot to the
eventual winner MacKay. Consistent with his positions during the
leadership race, Prentice was a supporter of the merger endorsed by
both the CA and PC parties in December 2003 that formed the new
Conservative Party of Canada.
Prentice was the first declared candidate for the leadership of the
new Conservative Party, announcing his run on December 7, 2003, the
day after the new party was ratified by members of the PC Party.
Prentice began his campaign in
Calgary and toured parts of Ontario,
specifically visiting Kingston,
Ontario , the hometown of the first
Canadian Conservative Leader Sir
John A. Macdonald and also the city
where one of his daughters attends Queen\'s University . However, he
withdrew from the race on January 12, 2004, citing difficulty in
raising new funds less than a year after his unsuccessful first
leadership bid. The leadership election was won by
Stephen Harper ,
who later became
Prime Minister of Canada after the Canadian federal
election, 2006 .
EARLY PARLIAMENTARY CAREER
Prentice ran in the riding of
Calgary Centre-North in the 2004
election for the new Conservative Party, and won the seat with 54% of
the popular vote.
After being sworn in as the MP for
Calgary Centre North on July 16,
Conservative Party Leader
Stephen Harper named Prentice to the Shadow
Cabinet as the
Official Opposition Critic for Indian and Northern
Affairs. In that role Prentice opposed the
Tli Cho land claim
agreement, which he said would make Canadian law secondary to Tlicho
local law. Prentice was also a strong supporter of the proposed and
controversial Mackenzie Valley pipeline . He criticized the Liberal
government for its treatment of aboriginal women, and its alleged
costs of administering the Residential School Claims program for
aboriginal victims of abuse.
Prentice described himself as a Red
Tory in the Conservative Party
and surprised many observers when he voted in favour of Bill C-38
supporting same-sex marriage .
MINISTER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS AND NORTHERN DEVELOPMENT
Prentice had been assigned the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and
Northern Development in the Conservative government , and was sworn
into this role on February 6, 2006 until August 13, 2007. One of his
main challenges as Minister was to implement "The Nunavut Project," a
2006 report authored by Thomas Berger , to show tangible, measurable
results to increase
Inuit representation in the Nunavut public
KELOWNA ACCORD AND RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS
In the fall of 2006,
Phil Fontaine , National chief of the Assembly
of First Nations , expressed disappointment over the Conservative
government's refusal to honour the
Kelowna Accord , endorsed by 14
jurisdictions (the federal government, 10 provinces, and three
territories). Fontaine previously described the federal government's
point person on Kelowna, Jim Prentice, as an "honourable" person
sensitive to native concerns. Prior to January 2006 election, Fontaine
and two vice-chiefs of the
Assembly of First Nations had a meeting
with Prentice. " acknowledged all the hard work that went into Kelowna
and (said) that the Conservative party would not put this aside," says
Fontaine. "We took him at his word." Prentice did not recall saying
that: "I've always been very, very careful about what I've said about
Kelowna," According to Fontaine, in their first meeting after the
2006 election, "(Prentice) wanted to apply a very focused approach to
his responsibilities." In the federal budget of May 2006, Fontaine and
other native leaders got a glimpse of what "focused" meant: just $450
million (over two years) was committed to implementing Kelowna, not
the $1.64 billion for the first two years that
Paul Martin had agreed
Prentice argued that there was actually $3.7 billion in spending on
native peoples in the May 2006 budget, "more than the previous four
budgets in total." That figure includes $2.2 billion in compensation
for victims of abuse in residential schools (another deal that was
worked out with the previous government) and $300 million for
On June 11, 2008 Prime Minister
Stephen Harper thanked Jim Prentice
for his work on addressing the matter of the Indian residential
schools and providing a government apology for the residential school
system. Stephen Harper's thanks to Prentice came before he made the
apology to former students of the schools.
MINISTER OF INDUSTRY
In a cabinet shuffle on August 14, 2007, Prentice became Minister of
Industry , succeeding
Maxime Bernier .
COPYRIGHT LEGISLATION AND CONTROVERSY
Bringing "Canada into
WIPO treaty compliance" had been stated as one
of Prentice's goals in future copyright legislation. It has been
pointed out repeatedly, however, that at the time of Prentice's
statement of his rationale for introducing amendments to the Copyright
Act, there was no international legal obligation to implement any
provision of the
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
Copyright Treaty (WCT) or the
WIPO Performances "> An opponent of
the proposed Bill C-61 holds up a protest sign at a public breakfast
event held during the
Calgary Stampede by Canadian Industry Minister
Prentice did not immediately provide a rationale for not discussing
the issue with CBC Radio Canada despite the hundreds of questions that
flooded in from concerned Canadians. He also refused to talk to a
group of protesters who went to his office to express their concern,
stating "When Canadian Heritage Minister
Josée Verner and I have
reached a consensus and we're satisfied, we will introduce a bill."
Prentice has also implied that he will not follow the Government's
policy to table the WCT he had committed to spending 10 years in
politics, and at that point he had. He expressed a desire to step down
so he could explore new opportunities in his life. His resignation
raised some questions with the opposition; NDP leader Jack Layton
expressed concern over the apparent connection between Ministers and
the large banks.
PREMIER OF ALBERTA
Danielle Smith announcing that Smith and eight
other Wildrose MLAs would be crossing the floor to join the
Though previously rumoured to have been interested in succeeding
Stephen Harper as federal Conservative leader, Prentice entered the
Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership election on May 15,
2014. On September 6, 2014 Prentice won the leadership race with
more than 76% of the vote on the first ballot.
He was formally sworn in as premier on September 15, 2014. He
immediately named a 20-member Executive Council of
Alberta , smaller
than the cabinet had been under recent premiers. His recommendations
for cabinet appointments included two people, former Edmonton mayor
Stephen Mandel and former
Calgary Board of Education trustee Gordon
Dirks , who were not members of the Legislative Assembly.
Prentice was elected to the legislature in a by-election in
Calgary-Foothills , the seat formerly held by MLA
Len Webber . The
by-election took place on October 27, 2014. The PCs won all four of
the provincial by-elections held that day in what was seen at the time
as a major electoral success for Prentice.
On November 24, 2014,
Kerry Towle , (
Innisfail-Sylvan Lake ), and Ian
Donovan , (
Little Bow ) crossed the floor to join the ruling PC
Party's caucus giving the turmoil within the Wildrose Party,
uncertainty about Smith's leadership and confidence in Prentice as
reasons for their move.
On December 17, 2014,
Danielle Smith , leader of the official
Wildrose Party confirmed she and eight other Wildrose
members – Rob Anderson ,
Gary Bikman ,
Rod Fox , Jason Hale , Bruce
Blake Pedersen ,
Bruce Rowe and Jeff Wilson – would
cross the floor to the Progressive Conservative caucus. The
defections were termed by a journalist as "an unprecedented move in
Canadian political history", although they did not change the overall
make-up of the government – the Conservatives still held a vast
majority of the seats and the
Wildrose Party was still the Official
Opposition with a smaller caucus in the Legislature. Prentice at
a campaign stop at the Whitemud Creek Community Centre in Edmonton
during the 2015 election
On April 7, 2015, Prentice advised the Lieutenant Governor to call an
early election for May 5 claiming that he needed to seek a new mandate
in order to pass his budget, a full year before he was mandated to by
law. Several gaffes by Prentice hurt him and his party in the
campaign, including a comment before the election call in which
Prentince appeared to be blaming Albertans, telling them that they had
to "look in the mirror" to understand the root cause of Alberta's
financial problems. He also came under fire for saying "I know math
is difficult" to
New Democratic Party
New Democratic Party leader Rachel Notley
during the televised leaders' debate, a remark which was widely seen
as being deeply patronizing as well as potentially sexist .
The provincial election resulted in the end of the Progressive
Conservatives' 44-year run in government, with the
Democratic Party winning a majority government , the first time the
party had been elected to government in the province's history. The
Progressive Conservatives fell to third place, with 10 seats, behind
both the NDP and the Wildrose Party. While the PCs placed second in
terms of the popular vote, their caucus was decimated due to being
completely shut out in Edmonton and losing all but eight seats in
Calgary. Thirteen members of Prentice's cabinet were defeated, though
Prentice himself was re-elected in Calgary-Foothills. However, with
the overall result beyond doubt, he resigned as PC leader, disclaimed
his seat (thus voiding the election result in his riding) and retired
Wikinews has related news: FORMER ALBERTA PREMIER JIM PRENTICE
KILLED IN PLANE CRASH
Prentice was among the four people killed in a small-plane crash in
British Columbia on October 13, 2016. He was aboard a twin-engine
Cessna Citation that disappeared from radar and crashed in nearby Lake
Country shortly after takeoff from
Kelowna International Airport , en
route to the Springbank Airport , just outside of
Calgary . He had
spent the day golfing in the Kelowna area and had been returning home
to Calgary. The crash is still under investigation by the
Transportation Safety Board of Canada .
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