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Jim Prentice honoured with portrait at legislature
Published Monday, February 4, 2019 9:52PM MST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 5, 2019 9:46AM MST
The late Jim Prentice, Alberta’s 16th premier and the last of the 44-year Progressive Conservative run, was honoured at the legislature Monday with his portrait.
The portrait—by artist David Goatley, who Prentice talked to on the phone and never actually met—shows the premier with his hands on the marble railing of the legislature’s third floor, staring ahead.
“The expression and gaze that showed Jim’s sense of vision,” his wife said. “He’s thinking of the future and not the past … To me, this portrait reflects that sentiment.”
Prentice died in a plane crash near Kelowna, B.C., in October 2016.
He became Alberta’s premier in September 2014, and lost an election to Rachel Notley nine months later.
Notley spoke highly of Prentice’s efforts to end child poverty and his commitment to reconcile with Indigenous People. She credited Prentice as “one of the most significant” people in the Lubicon Lake Band settlement.
“One of the things that he spoke on most passionately was the progress being made on the Lubicon Land Settlement,” the current premier said. Prentice said to Notley: “’I think it’s possible to get this done.’ And you could hear in his voice how important this was and how much he cared and how much he wanted to help people, but particularly the people of Lubicon. He saw a path forward and he advised me how to travel that path, for which I and many other people are very, very grateful.”
Stephen Mandel, now the leader of the Alberta Party, met Prentice when he was the mayor of Edmonton. He’s well aware of Prentice’s work, having joined his cabinet after being mayor, but Mandel remembered the late premier as a family man.
“He was so much more … but really Jim was defined most by the love of his family, and especially his greatest supporter, and his best friend: his wife Karen.
“One of the most precious moments was Jim playing with my grandson and giving him a high five at a legislative event … the joy in that picture was quite remarkable,” Mandel said.
Prentice was not premier for long, but he fell in love with Alberta immediately when he moved west. It’s what made him want to become its leader.
“Jim carried his love for Alberta with him his entire life,” Karen said.