Hon. Gerry Weiner – Pace Law Firm: I spent a lot of time thinking about my friend and colleague Jim Prentice this weekend. I was stunned last week to learn of his untimely death in a plane accident late Thursday evening.
I got to know Jim during his bid for party leadership at the 2003 Progressive Conservative Convention. I was one of his floor lieutenants. A friend of mine was doing the same for Scott Brison.
Jim and Scott were two extremely well-qualified leadership candidates and they had similar views to mine on social issues. As things turned out, Scott Brison came over to our side after coming up short on one of the ballots. This momentum had those of us on Team Prentice believing that Jim would become leader of the party.
Leader And Team Player
It was only then that we found out about the secret deals that would decide the convention. The reality of politics. Jim ended up as the odd man out and the leadership position went to Peter MacKay. But Jim wasn’t bitter. Being the great team player that he was, he put his efforts into helping the new team, a team which could have led the country with vigour. Of course, this was not to be, as the Liberals stayed in power.
Both Scott and Jim would go on to enjoy great careers in politics, with Scott joining the Liberals and currently serving as the President of the Treasury Board of Canada. Jim Prentice would go on to become the Minister of Indian Affairs, Minister of Industry, and Minister of the Environment. Later, he would become the Premier of Alberta. He had come a long way from the student who had paid for his tuition at Dalhousie University by working in the coal mines.
Friendly And Gracious
Jim was extremely intelligent and an effective communicator. He was always prepared to engage in conversation and had a great habit of keeping in touch. He and Karen made sure that his many friends outside of the party structure got a note from them at least once a year, usually at Christmas.
I was grief stricken when I heard the news of the plane crash. Four lives snuffed out, including the life of a friend who was still in the prime of his life and career.
I would like to extend my most heartfelt expression of sympathy to Karen Prentice and their children. May they be strengthened by all of the good memories that they shared, and may they find comfort in the love that is being extended to the family. Rest in peace, Jim.