Former Okanagan-Shuswap MP remembers Prentice fondly

Colin Mayes served with Jim Prentice in the Conservative caucus

Jim Prentice

Jim Prentice

Jim Prentice was a high-level politician, but for Colin Mayes, he was a friend.

Prentice, a former federal cabinet minister and Alberta premier, died in a plane crash near Lake Country Thursday.

“He always had time to say hi and was very approachable,” said Mayes, former Okanagan-Shuswap MP.

Mayes was chairperson of the aboriginal affairs committee at the same time Prentice was Indian affairs minister.

Mayes says Prentice took great strides tackle housing and poor water quality on reserves.

“He was a guy of action. He just didn’t talk.”

Prentice then went on to the industry and environment portfolios before leaving federal politics in November 2010.

Following that, he became vice-chairperson of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

It was while he was with the bank that Prentice and Mayes reunited at a conference.

“He came over and said hi. I wasn’t a front player in the government but he was that kind of guy,” said Mayes.

“He was a real gentleman and professional.”

Mel Arnold, North Okanagan-Shuswap MP, didn’t have any dealings with Prentice but he says the death will be felt by many of his Conservative colleagues.

“The circle of MPs in Parliament is small and it’s a loss. You become friends quickly because the circle is so small,” said Arnold.