Windsor

Jeff Watson shocked by Jim Prentice's death

Watson was in his yard when he learned Prentice, the former Alberta premier, was among four people killed when a small plane crashed shortly after taking off from Kelowna, BC on Thursday.

Watson and Prentice often shared advice on their political careers and their marriages

Former Essex MP Jeff Watson didn't want to believe the initial news reports about the death of Jim Prentice, an old colleague and friend. 

Watson was out in his yard when he learned Prentice, the former Alberta premier, was among four people killed when a small jet plane crashed shortly after taking off from Kelowna, BC on Thursday.

Watson and Prentice had known each other for years, often sharing advice on their political careers and their marriages. Prentice would always send flowers after having dinner at the Watson family home. 

Hearing the news of the tragic crash was not easy to handle.

"It was one of those stop-everything-you're-doing moments," Watson said. "At first it's disbelief. Then as reports later confirmed it, it's been a tough one to absorb."

The two politicians worked together when Watson chaired the Government Auto Caucus and Prentice was the Minister of Industry. 

Watson was also part of the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development when Prentice was Minister of Environment.

"He was not only a colleague, but also a personal friend," Watson said. "We talked about everything from life, marriage, faith - you name it."

Prentice made several visits to the Windsor region, often giving Watson advice on how to handle pressing issues of the time. 

"He would tell me often that he believed in me and the work I was doing here," Watson said. "I think that was, in part, why he was so active in coming to the region and looking to fulfill a number of the priorities we were pursuing down here."