Calgary

State memorial for former Alberta premier Jim Prentice set for Oct. 28

There will be a state memorial next week for former Alberta premier and federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice, who was one of four people killed in a plane crash last week.

Former Alberta premier killed in B.C. plane crash last week

There will be a state memorial for former Alberta premier Jim Prentice in Calgary on Oct. 28. (Todd Korol/Reuters)

There will be a state memorial next week for former Alberta premier and federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice, who was one of four people killed in a plane crash last week.

Last Thursday, Prentice, 60, was aboard a twin-engine Cessna Citation that crashed shortly after takeoff from Kelowna, en route to the Springbank Airport, just outside Calgary.

The public memorial will be held at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary on Oct. 28 at 11 a.m.

Three other men died in the crash, including the pilot Jim Kruk, retired Calgary businessman Sheldon Reid and optometrist Dr. Ken Gellatly, the father-in-law of Prentice's daughter Cassia.

The Transportation Safety Board says while its work at the crash site has been completed, its investigation will take time to complete.

The wreckage will be removed by helicopter from the wooded area and some pieces will be taken to the TSB's lab in Ottawa, officials say. Investigators will look into the pilot's background, review the weather conditions, radar information, all communications with air traffic control and examine the aircraft's records.

Officials have already revealed the plane did not have flight data or voice recorders on board and there were no distress calls sent before it crashed.

Prentice took PC helm in 2014

Prentice became Alberta premier in September 2014 when he won the leadership of Progressive Conservative Party.

In February 2015, Prentice discussed the challenges facing his province and the country at large in the wake of plunging oil prices in an extended interview with Peter Mansbridge.

Peter sits down with the Premier of Alberta, Jim Prentice to discuss the challenges facing his province and the country due to plunging oil prices. 22:26

In May 2015, the PCs were handed their first electoral defeat in 44 years, at the hands of the Alberta NDP, and Prentice resigned as both party leader and member of the legislature.

Before becoming premier, he served as vice-chair and senior executive vice-president with CIBC from 2010 to 2014.

Prentice also had a career in federal politics. He served as MP for Calgary Centre-North from 2004 to 2010, with stints as industry minister, environment minister and minister of Indian affairs and northern development in Stephen Harper's cabinet.

This June, Prentice became an energy adviser with Warburg Pincus, an international private equity firm, but politics was always a passion of his.

He started working for federal and provincial parties at age 20, mostly in backrooms.

Apart from one failed run for provincial office in 1986, he said he had an agreement with his wife, Karen, to wait until their three children were grown before venturing into the rigours of elected life.

But long before he would hold political office, Prentice was a boy who grew up "under the bins" of a coal mine.

Prentice was born on July 20, 1956, in South Porcupine in northern Ontario.

His dad, Eric Prentice, was a gold miner and former pro hockey player, a 17-year-old whiz-kid winger and the youngest player ever signed by the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was a career minor leaguer, but had a minor stint in the big leagues — playing five games with Toronto in 1943.

As the gold mine dwindled, Eric Prentice picked up his family in 1969 and moved to a new coal mine in Grande Cache, Alta., when Jim was 13, and eventually to the mines farther south in the Crowsnest Pass.

Jim Prentice became a top-flight winger in his own right, but his promising junior hockey career ended with a devastating knee-on-knee hit.

As a university student, he worked seven summers underground in choking dust and heat amid deafening machinery.

He graduated with a law degree before working in Alberta as an entrepreneur and a lawyer dealing mainly with land and property rights.

Conservative reunification

After his failed 1986 bid for provincial office, Prentice wouldn't take a political run again until 2002, when he earned the PC nomination in Calgary Southwest, but later withdrew as a byelection candidate.

The federal conservative movement was in turmoil at the time, fractured between the PCs and the Canadian Alliance.

Prentice urged reunification and stepped aside so that Alliance leader Stephen Harper could run unopposed to represent the centre-right.

In 2004, at age 47, he won the Calgary riding for the newly merged Conservative Party.

In 2006, Harper won a minority government and Prentice was in cabinet. Over the following six-plus years, he was given high marks for his work in diverse portfolios — in the ministries of Indian and northern affairs, industry, and environment.

But the defining moment, he said, came before his cabinet days, when the Conservatives were still the Opposition in 2005. Prentice decided to vote for a controversial Liberal bill endorsing same-sex marriage.