Prentice looking for Central Alberta support

  • Jun. 18, 2014 4:25 p.m.

Conservative leader hopeful Jim Prentice make a City stop recently with the aim of drumming up support for the September vote to land leadership of the party.

Earlier this month he toured Collicutt Energy Services and said he was struck by the vitality and dynamism of the City and Central Alberta in particular.

Prentice said his decision to run for the Tory leadership was prompted by his concern for the province and the “Direction for Alberta.

“I feel that we need strong leadership going forward. Really, the decisions to be made in Alberta over the next four years will really determine what this province is going to look like for the next 50 years.”

Issues run the gamut from infrastructure investment, public finances, the province’s industrial base, value-added enhancements to products, questions about the province’s relationships with the rest of the country and issues surrounding the environment, among others.

“These are all critical questions where leadership matters.”

In talks with supporters, Prentice said people tell him they don’t think the province is being well-governed. “They think there is a lack of focus and priority-setting. They want a premier that will take the time, sit and talk and listen to what their concerns are. They want leadership and they want a strong sense of direction.”

He also said people want to be part of finding solutions to issues ranging from education, health-care and jobs training to taking care of seniors, he said.

“They want solutions that come from Albertans; they don’t want solutions that are top down. They want a government that works with them in partnership. People are tired of some of the changes that have been coming at them from the top basically.”

As for ongoing plans over the Michener Centre closure, Prentice said he has spoken with family members. “I am sensitive to what they are saying.”

He added that he wasn’t part of the decision-making process to close the facility but would like to talk more with families and representatives of the families to learn more about the difficult circumstances they are facing.

“Once I’ve done that, and once I have the facts, and have met respectfully with some of the families who are affected by this, I will say more about it.”

In 2004, Prentice was elected as the Member of Parliament for Calgary North Centre and was re-elected in 2006 and 2008. During his stint in Ottawa, he held cabinet positions in a range of portfolios including Industry, Environment, and Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

After leaving federal politics, he later took on the posts of vice-chair and executive vice-president of CIBC. He announced his bid for provincial Tory leadership last month.

This fall’s leadership election was prompted by former Premier Alison Redford’s resignation in March.

A two-round system was chosen with Sept. 6th set as the date for the first round of voting. If no candidate receives a majority, a second round of voting with the top two candidates on the ballot will occur on Sept. 20th.

In the meantime, Dave Hancock is serving as interim PC leader and premier.