Premier designate Jim Prentice continues to form his government after receiving the majority of votes in last weekend’s leadership election.
Prentice won the post as party leader this past weekend with a member vote of 17,963 votes on the first ballot, defeating Ric McIver and Thomas Lukaszuk, who obtained 2,742 and 2,681 votes respectively.
This week, Prentice said he is focused on moving the party forward. “There is absolutely nothing easy about leadership campaigns, and both these men worked extremely hard this summer,” said Prentice of Lukaszuk and McIver. “I’m grateful for the opportunity I had to share my summer with them on the campaign trail, and I am looking forward to working together with them, and the entire caucus, to unite the party and move into a new era for Alberta.”
Red Deer South MLA Cal Dallas said he was pleased with the outcome of the leadership race.
“I was a supporter of Mr. Prentice from the beginning of the leadership race. And from what I’ve seen over the weekend Mr. Prentice is off to a great start,” he said.
In terms of moving forward in the week’s to come, Dallas said it will be a time to focus on government.
“Mr. Prentice has put forward a vision and articulated plans. I am also anxious to see how that plays out and I’m interested in seeing what my role in that will be.”
Meanwhile, during their meetings, both Lukaszuk and McIver exchanged ideas with Prentice and discussed a common vision for the party and a return to good government.
“As leader, I will ask every volunteer who has worked on all of our campaigns to join with me in rebuilding our party,” said Prentice. “In my 40 years in this party I have never seen such a talented group of young volunteers, and I am excited about the next generation of the Progressive Conservative party.”
Prentice also announced his transition team over the weekend as well.
As well, other party leaders congratulated Prentice on his win, but pointed out he will have his work cut out for him over in building up to the next provincial election.
“Mr. Prentice has a tremendous road ahead of him in order to rebuild trust with Albertans and get a grip on a government that has spiraled out of control,” said Danielle Smith, leader of the Wildrose Party. “Albertans will now look to him to start repairing the government’s damaged reputation and making progress on the many challenges we face as a province. I look forward to debating him in the Legislature and holding his government to account.”
Brian Mason, Alberta NDP leader, said it was his hope that although the party has voted in a new leader, it cannot change its political stripes.
“The PC party is broken and after 43 years in power, the PC dynasty is crumbling,” said Mason. “It is my hope that now that this leadership race is over we can return our focus to the issues that matter to Albertans, and away from the petty mud-slinging and infighting that we’ve seen from the PCs over the last few months.”
It is expected that Prentice will name his new cabinet early next week.