Jim Prentice's top 5 career highlights

Key moments in the life and career of Jim Prentice, from working summers in a coal mine as a student, to assuming ministerial roles in the Harper cabinet, and a run at the top job in his home province of Alberta.

Former Alberta premier and federal cabinet minister died in plane crash in B.C.

A timeline of Jim Prentice's leadership in Alberta politics


5 years ago
Some moments of note from Jim Prentice's career in Alberta provincial politics. 1:47

Former Alberta premier Jim Prentice, who died in a plane crash at age 60, had a storied life outside politics.

He was the son of a gold miner who also played pro hockey, earned a law degree while working summers in a coal mine, and was an entrepreneur and energy analyst. 

Prentice was one of four people aboard a twin-engine Cessna Citation that crashed shortly after takeoff from Kelowna, B.C., en route to Springbank Airport, just outside Calgary late Thursday.

Here are some highlights of his life and career:

Early life and politics

Jim Prentice was born to a blue collar family in Ontario in 1956. He had four sisters. (Jim Prentice/YouTube)

Prentice was born on July 20, 1956, near Timmins, Ont. His father was the youngest player ever to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs at age 17, and later moved the family to Grand Cache, Alta., when Jim was 13.

After an injury sidelined any chance of his own hockey career, Prentice graduated with a law degree while working summers in a coal mine. He went on to work as an entrepreneur and a lawyer dealing mainly with land and property rights.

Jim and Karen Prentice were married in Grace Presbyterian Church in Calgary. (Jim Prentice/YouTube)

Prentice joined the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada when he was just 20. In 1986, he lost his bid to be elected member of the legislature for Calgary Mountain View, but remained active in Conservative circles. He called for the unification of the fractured PCs and the Canadian Alliance, and in 2002, he stepped aside as the PC candidate in Calgary Southwest so that Alliance leader Stephen Harper could run unopposed to represent the centre-right. 

2004 to 2010: Federal politics

Prentice died at age 60 Thursday night in a plane crash in B.C. Prentice served as Canada's industry minister from 2007 to 2008, and held other high-profile positions in politics and business. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

In 2004, at age 47, Prentice won the Calgary Centre-North riding for the newly merged Conservative Party.

He was named to Harper's cabinet in 2006 as minister of Indian affairs and northern development, and moved to the environment portfolio in 2008 after a year as industry minister.

2010 to 2014: Banking career

Jim Prentice's statement


11 years ago
Federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice announces his resignation from politics in the House of Commons 2:16

In a surprise move in 2010, Prentice announced he was leaving politics to serve as vice-chair and senior executive vice-president with CIBC.

2014 to 2015: Provincial politics

RAW: PC Party elects Jim Prentice as leader


7 years ago
Hundreds gathered at the Edmonton Expo Centre Saturday night as members of the PC Party voted in Jim Prentice as their new leader in the first ballot. 1:04:45

In September 2014, he re-entered politics, setting his sights on the provincial scene. After winning the PC leadership, Prentice replaced Alison Redford as Alberta premier.

But victory was short-lived, and he stepped down in May 2015, when the PCs were handed a humiliating defeat by the NDP, after nearly half a century in power.

Jim Prentice resigns

CBC News Calgary

6 years ago
PC Leader Jim Prentice resigns during an election night speech, despite winning his seat 5:08

2016: Energy analyst

In February 2016, Prentice began a four-month fellowship at the Wilson Center, a think-tank in Washington, D.C. He worked on a book on energy and environmental issues that was due to be published later this year. In June, Prentice landed a job as an energy adviser with New York-based private equity firm Warburg Pincus.

On Thursday night Prentice was killed in a plane crash while flying back to Calgary from a golfing trip in Kelowna, B.C.

He is survived by his wife, Karen, a lawyer and former executive vice-president of Enmax, who has served on several high-profile boards, including the National Arts Centre, the Walrus and Canada's National History Society.

He also leaves three daughters and two grandchildren.