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Tribute Statement in Honour of The Late Honourable Jim Prentice, P.C

Hon. Donald Neil Plett: Honourable senators, I would like to add my voice to offer condolences. I am not from Alberta, but I certainly was a very good friend of Jim Prentice, and I want to offer my condolences to Karen, Cassia, Christina and Kate, and to Jim and Karen's two grandchildren.

I met Jim Prentice at the last federal PC convention. I was there as the President of the Alliance Party of Canada, as an observer. There I was at the PC convention, and I found myself campaigning for Jim Prentice on the floor of the convention for him to win the leadership. That leadership was ultimately won by Peter MacKay, and Jim continued his work in unifying our party. He ran as a unity candidate when he ran for that election.

As has already been said by Senator Unger, Jim Prentice then won the nomination as a PC candidate in Calgary Southwest and stepped aside for our future Prime Minister showing the unity that he had.

Jim and I were very close friends in the years of my presidency in the Conservative Party of Canada. We didn't always agree with each other. Senator Black mentioned the samesex marriage that Jim was passionate about. Jim and I had words on that issue, and yet we found that when the vote was done, we continued to work together because we had an ultimate goal and an ultimate purpose.

As has been said in a campaign south of the border, you cannot fake good children, and I believe that to be the case with Jim Prentice as well. What a great tribute Jim has in his three girls and two grandchildren. Cassia, of course, has a double loss in losing both her father and her father-in-law.

But Jim's legacy will continue.

I want to echo what Senator McCoy said. There was not one life lost here; there were four lives lost. We need to pay tribute. When we read the papers, we read about the devastating tragedy of Jim Prentice losing his life. Four other lives were lost.

I was travelling with Senator Harder in Ukraine when I received an email while I was in a car. I received the email from my office that the tragedy had happened.

I think we can collectively, on all sides of this chamber, say that four souls went to heaven that day, and four families are grieving today. I simply want to offer my very best wishes to Karen and her family. I want to offer my best wishes to Albertans who have lost a great leader and to Canadians who have lost a great leader. On behalf of my wife and me, God bless.

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