Hours after it was confirmed Jim Prentice had died in a small place accident in British Columbia, Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi released a touching statement remembering the former Alberta premier.
The political friends - and occasional foes - worked side-by-side, helping to lead Alberta and its biggest city over the course of Prentice's time as premier.
Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi, left, and former Alberta Premier Jim Prentice embrace during a state memorial service for Alberta MLA Manmeet Bhullar at the Jubilee Auditorium, in Calgary, on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Ridewood
While they didn't always see eye-to-eye, Nenshi says he was inspired by Prentice, calling him an "an important part of our city."
Read Nenshi's full statement :
"This morning, I was shocked and deeply saddened to learn that former Alberta Premier, Jim Prentice, was amongst four people killed in a plane crash in southern BC. The loss of all of these lives is devastating.
Jim came to see me when I became mayor (one of my very first meetings, in fact), and he helped me navigate those tough first few weeks. Even after he left federal politics, he was an important part of this city and always ready to help however he could.
I remember getting a call while I was at a function at Heritage Park. I snuck into an employees-only hallway to have a long chat with this man I had long admired. He told me he was thinking of running for leader of the PC party and for Premier. I think I asked him: “why in the world would you want to do that? You’ve got a great career and a wonderful family, and you’ve given so much to the community already.” He replied in a way that clearly and plainly spoke of his love for this province and his hopes for the future.
In politics, I get to work with people from all political stripes who are filled with a desire to do good no matter what. I also get to work with people who are thoughtful, respectful, and driven by a need improve this community we all share. Jim was all of these things, and so much more. He is an inspiration to all of us who aspire to public service.
It wasn’t even a year ago that we lost Manmeet Bhullar, but I’d like to share one of his stories. When the Sikh community was struggling to set itself up in Calgary and trying to build the first gurdwara in this city, they faced a lot of opposition from a community that didn’t know much about their faith. They were represented by an idealistic young lawyer who fought for respect, acceptance, and diversity. That lawyer was named Jim Prentice.
All of our thoughts and prayers are with Karen, their daughters, and their families. Thank you for sharing Jim with all of us. I also want to extend sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives with Jim. This is a devastating loss for everyone."
Government sources confirmed that Prentice was on board the small jet that went down Thursday night shortly after taking off from the Kelowna airport.
The plane was en route to the Springbank airport, outside Calgary. All four people on board died, according to the Transportation Safety Board.