Alberta premier lauds Prentice for role in public life; state memorial planned

0
39

CALGARY — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley remembered Jim Prentice on Wednesday as gracious, statesmanlike and visionary as her office announced plans to honour him at a state memorial.

The public service for the former premier, who was killed in a plane crash last week in British Columbia, is to be held Oct. 28 at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary.

Details of the service, including speakers and those expected to attend, are still being worked out.

Prentice and three other men were killed when a twin-engine Cessna Citation crashed shortly after takeoff from the Kelowna airport on Thursday.

Notley began her annual state-of-the-province address by lauding Prentice”s contributions to public life.

Notley, whose father Grant Notley was Alberta”s NDP leader when he died in a plane crash in 1984, said she understands the pain the families of the victims are going through.

“Words are not really adequate to describe that kind of loss, but there are words to remember the many, many contributions that Jim Prentice made to Alberta and to Canada,” she said.

“Online, through social media and in print, people everywhere are sharing those words and heartfelt outpouring of grief and remembrance — words like generous, compassionate, caring, genuine,” she said.

“From personal experience, I can add the words gracious and statesmanlike as he provided me with valuable advice during the post-election transition.”

Prentice left politics after the Alberta Tories lost a more than four-decade lock on power to Notley”s NDP in May 2015.

She said Prentice was a friend to indigenous people and an advocate for balancing responsible resource development with protecting the environment.

Also killed in the crash were optometrist Ken Gellatly, the father-in-law of one of Prentice”s daughters, and former RCMP officer Jim Kruk, who was the pilot on the aircraft.

The family of Calgary businessman Sheldon Reid, another victim of the crash, said in a statement Wednesday that he enjoyed telling stories about his travels around the world and was most proud of his son Dylan.

“Sheldon was a man of incredible generosity — generosity for his family, his loved ones, and the community of Calgary,” the family wrote.

“He will be fondly remembered for his smile, his laugh, and the depth of his care and compassion for those he loved.”

The Transportation Safety Board has completed its work at the site where the plane went down, but the overall investigation into the crash is expected to take at least a year.