Jim Prentice considering PC leadership run, claims friend

Speculation remains on whether former Calgary MP Jim Prentice will jump into the Progressive Conservative (PC) leadership race to succeed Alison Redford.

Calgary MLA Ken Hughes the only candidate for the Alberta Tories so far

Some political analysts say Jim Prentice could be a front-runner if he enters the PC leadership race. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

Speculation remains on whether former Calgary MP Jim Prentice will jump into the Progressive Conservative (PC) leadership race to succeed Alison Redford.

Businessman Jim Gray says people are encouraging his friend to take on the role of Alberta's next premier.

"He's talking to a lot of people," he said. "Clearly, I don`t think it's speculation that he has some interest, so he's assessing all of his options, and assessing the interest in the caucus, in the province, in urban and in rural Alberta."

Gray feels the former federal cabinet minister could be the new face the party needs after the sudden demise of Redford's leadership.

"So he's got that knowledge of Alberta and politics, with a global perspective that is really very much important," he said. "And he is a conservative — a long-term conservative — so I think he fits perfectly here."

Political science professor David Stewart agrees that Prentice's outsider status could help him, but there are other factors to consider.

"If he is not going to run, the dithering is damaging to the party because it puts a lot of speculation, a lot of media attention, on somebody who is supposed to be great and then decides it's not worth it," he said.

"It also may discourage other candidates from launching their campaigns."

Prentice remains quiet on intentions

But the former MP's name is still being raised as a potential successor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Stewart says that still factors into the equation.

"If Mr. Harper has a successor, who then loses the next election, and Prentice has a good run as premier of Alberta, including bringing a party back that looks on its way out, then he'll look pretty good," he said. 

Prentice has remained quiet about what he intends to do — or not do. A spokesperson told the CBC today that the former MP will have something to say next week.

As a Calgary MP, Prentice served as environment minister and aboriginal affairs minister before leaving to become a bank executive.

He was also enlisted by Calgary-based Enbridge to resuscitate stalled talks with First Nations in B.C. and Alberta over the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.

Calgary MLA Ken Hughes is the only candidate to announce he will be running in the PC leadership race.


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