Jim Prentice absence from Calgary-Foothills debate disappoints organizer

Five of the seven byelection candidates in Calgary-Foothills attended a debate Wednesday night in the city’s northwest, and Premier Jim Prentice wasn’t one of them.

5 of 7 candidates attend Wednesday night event in northwest Calgary

The organizer of an all-candidates debate in Calgary-Foothills says she's disappointed Premier Jim Prentice didn't show up. (CBC)

Five of the seven byelection candidates in Calgary-Foothills attended a debate Wednesday night in the city’s northwest, and Premier Jim Prentice wasn’t one of them.

About 100 people came to watch the debate at the Edgemont Community Association sponsored by the Alberta Society for the Visually Impaired.

Organizer Stephanie Hawking said she is disappointed Prentice didn’t take part.

Alberta Premier Jim Prentice speaks with a resident in the riding of Calgary-Foothills. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

“I’ve reached out to his campaign a number of times. I've been trying for … just over a week and a half now to secure his attendance and haven't had any positive response,” she said.

“I think the conservatives are taking the riding for granted. I can't speak for Mr. Prentice … but I think the conservatives are taking this riding for granted. It was established in 1971 and it has been held by conservatives ever since.”

Independent candidate Dave Woody Phillips was also a no-show.

Doorknocking campaign

Prentice has been out on the streets in Calgary-Foothills knocking on doors.

Alberta Premier Jim Prentice rushes from one house to another in Calgary-Foothills as he knocks on doors to meet voters in the riding. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

He said some people are surprised to see a premier on their front steps looking for votes.

“It’s very surprising ... but after they recover, they, you know in the confidence of their own home, they tell me exactly what they're thinking,” he said.

“Which is the reason actually I love doorknocking, because when you meet people in their house, they'll tell you exactly what's on their mind.”

A premier hasn’t run in a byelection in Alberta for 25 years.

Prentice said the key issues he's hearing about on the doorsteps are health, education and the need for new leadership.

Voters in Calgary-Foothills, Calgary-Elbow, Calgary-West and Edmonton-Whitemud go to the polls Oct. 27.

The candidates in Calgary-Foothills are:

  • Jennifer Burgess – NDP.
  • Polly Knowlton Cockett – Green Party.
  • Michelle Glavine - Alberta Party.
  • Kathy Macdonald - Wildrose Party.
  • Dave Woody Phillips – Independent.
  • Robert Prcic – Liberal Party.
  • Jim Prentice – Progressive Conservative Party.


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