Jim Prentice byelection talk triggered by Redford resignation
Now that Jim Prentice has confirmed he won’t vie for Alison Redford’s former riding if he becomes Progressive Conservative leader, political watchers are speculating where he might run.
Redford, the former Alberta premier, resigned as the MLA for Calgary-Elbow on Wednesday.
If Prentice, a former Conservative MP and cabinet minister, becomes leader in September he would have to seek a seat in the Alberta legislature.
One scenario would see interim Premier Dave Hancock resigning his seat in Edmonton-Whitemud once a new leader is selected.
“He hasn’t said specifically that he’s going to resign but the thinking within the party is that he will resign fairly soon, step down and might make a spot available,” said pollster Bruce Cameron of Calgary firm Return on Insight.
Hancock has held the seat for the Progressive Conservatives since defeating the Liberal candidate in 1997 and won 60 per cent of the vote in the last provincial election.
When asked on Wednesday whether he would make way for Prentice, Hancock brushed the question away.
"It would be awfully premature for him to be looking for a riding until he's actually won the leadership,” Hancock said with a laugh.
Cameron believes the PC stronghold would be a better fit for Prentice than Calgary-Elbow, as it wouldn’t remind people about Redford and former Premier Ralph Klein, who also represented the riding.
“That's a much more intriguing scenario because Jim Prentice would then represent an Edmonton-area riding and not be associated with the aura of entitlement that seems to come out of Calgary-Elbow,” he said.
Prentice is seeking the leadership along with Thomas Lukaszuk and Ric McIver, both former cabinet ministers under Redford.
The first ballot will be held on Sept. 6. If none of the candidates receives more than 50 per cent of the vote, voting on the top two candidates will take place on Sept. 20.