PC leadership hopefuls spar over accountability in debate

The Progressive Conservative leadership hopefuls faced off against each other Thursday night in a debate organized by the PC Youth of Alberta that focused on accountability.

Jim Prentice's recent announcement about term limits became a hot topic during the debate

The PC leadership hopefuls faced off Thursday night in a debate focusing on accountability. 2:04

The Progressive Conservative leadership hopefuls faced off over accountability Thursday night in Edmonton in a debate organized by the PC Youth of Alberta.

But it was perceived frontrunner Jim Prentice’s recent announcement about implementing new term limits for provincial politicians that became the focus during the debate.

Prentice said MLAs would be limited to three terms, while a premier would only be allowed to serve for two terms.

Opposing candidates Thomas Lukaszuk and Ric McIver were both critical of the announcement.

“I was surprised with the content of it, because frankly this is one of the most bizarre things I have ever heard,” Lukaszuk said. “In the background he should have had Michael Jackson playing man in the mirror.”

He added the decision should come down to the Alberta voters.

Meanwhile, McIver said he found the idea undemocratic.

“For somebody that wants to lead this province to say that their opinion overrides the democratic opinion of Alberta voters frankly is reprehensible,” McIver said.

Prentice grilled his rivals about their roles in the Alison Redford travel expense scandal.

“Mr. McIver, I hope tonight you are going to tell us why you sat silently at the cabinet table, ignoring the outrage of Albertans,” Prentice said.

“Thomas, you were the deputy premier of Alberta. You were the deputy premier, you knew what you were seeing, you sat silently. There was no excuse.”

Another debate between the candidates is scheduled to take place in Calgary on Friday. Alberta PC party members will vote on a new leader on Sept. 6.