Condolences from across the country are pouring in after former Alberta Premier Jim Prentice was confirmed killed in a plane crash.
In a statement from the Prentice family, they say “words cannot begin to express our profound shock and heartbreak at the news that our beloved husband, father and grandfather, Jim, has died in this tragic event.”
Statement from the Family of the Honourable Jim Prentice https://t.co/WGRZB6OKpp
— Jim Prentice (@JimPrentice) October 14, 2016
Global News has learned Calgary optometrist Dr. Ken Gellatly was one of the other three people killed in the plane crash. Gellatly is the father-in-law of Cassia Prentice, Jim’s daughter. His colleagues at Downtown Vision Care said Prentice, Gellatly and friends went to Kelowna for the day, golfed 36 holes and were on their way home when the plane crashed. “
To lose two family members at once is unbelievably painful and we are certain you will appreciate and respect our wishes for privacy at this time and the coming weeks,” said the Prentice family. “We are also thinking of the other families who have been affected by this tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
A third person on the plane has been identified as retired Calgary businessman Sheldon Reid.
Current Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says Prentice’s death is an unspeakable tragedy.
Premier Prentice deeply loved Alberta & worked tirelessly for all of us, in the true spirit of one who is committed to public service #ableg
— Rachel Notley (@RachelNotley) October 14, 2016
I benefited from his advice, and the government is continuing to pursue many of his initiatives. Albertans are the better for this. #ableg
— Rachel Notley (@RachelNotley) October 14, 2016
Former Wildrose Leader and former PC MLA Danielle Smith addressed Prentice’s death on her Friday show on News Talk 770 in Calgary.
— Danielle Smith (@ABDanielleSmith) October 14, 2016
Interim Progressive Conservative leader Ric McIver took over the party after Prentice stepped down in May 2015. McIver ran against Prentice in the 2014 leadership race and says Prentice reached out after what was a tough race.
“I ran radio ads that were negative towards him at the end of the campaign, I’m sure he didn’t appreciate that very much, but afterwards we shook hands and he said, ‘let’s work together. You want to serve Alberta? I’m going to let you do that.'”
Former PC MLA Kerry Towle says Prentice was one of the most unselfish people she had ever met.
“From November 24th to the day that caucus ended on December 17th, Mr. Prentice would call me into his office every day at 5 o’clock and tell me how humbled he was to have me on his team and asked me what he could do for me. (He) never asked me to do a thing for him. In my experience since leaving politics, he stayed in touch, he was kind, he was happy to see that I’d gone on. (He was) truly motivating.”
Former Alberta Health Minister and MLA Stephen Mandel spoke about his fondest memory of Prentice.
“I had thought about running for leader of the PC party as well, and Jim called me up — which is to his credit, I didn’t call him, he called me — he drove up to Edmonton and came to our house, and we sat and talked for a couple of hours. We talked about his passion for people, about what he needed to do in the province. I said to myself, ‘This is the guy we need in this province, he’s the guy that can help us go to the next level in Alberta.’ He was a very special man.”
Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson says he was shocked to hear of Prentice’s passing.
“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,” said Iveson. “He understood the need for reconciliation. I think he had seen first hand the challenges in Canadian inner-cities and in particular Edmonton, and reserves and northern communities where poverty and hardship were concentrated and I think he was very moved by that. So I think that’s a part of his story that’s not as prominent as his role in business leadership and other portfolios that he held.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Prentice always stood out to him.
“I greatly enjoyed my interactions with Jim, the time I spent working beside him, across from him in the house, and while we didn’t always share the same views he was always incredibly kind and respectful to me and I will miss him profoundly,” said Trudeau.
Jim Prentice’s legacy will live on in the work he did for Albertans & Canadians. My deep condolences on his passing. https://t.co/ezQjribLrQ
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) October 14, 2016
In Facebook post, Opposition Leader and Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose says the Conservative family is devastated and Prentice’s death is a huge loss to the country. “Jim was a leader in our movement, a valued colleague in Cabinet, and a close and cherished friend of so many, not just in our party, but right across the political spectrum,” said Ambrose.
— Conservative Party (@CPC_HQ) October 14, 2016
Thoughts and prayers for the former premier were also heard from outside of the political circle.
#Oilers Entertainment Group sends its deepest condolences to the family & loved ones of former Alberta Premier Jim Prentice.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) October 14, 2016
The Edmonton Eskimos would like to offer their deepest condolences to the friends and family of former Alberta Premier Jim Prentice.
— Edmonton Eskimos (@EdmontonEsks) October 14, 2016
(With files from Global News)(djs/kb)