Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Prentice Now the Master

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Prentice Now the Master

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Prentice now the master

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An editorial from the Prince George Citizen, published Sept. 9:

While there are no Progressive Conservatives at the federal level any more and Stephen Harper seems quite happy to operate without that progressive tag hanging over his head, there are Progressive Conservatives in Alberta and a new man is in charge.

Jim Prentice won the leadership race on the first ballot over the weekend and will become premier of Alberta once he wins a seat in the legislature in a byelection, which will likely happen this fall.

During his days as an MP from Calgary, Prentice served in Stephen Harper's cabinet, taking on difficult ministerial jobs with Indian and Northern Affairs, Industry and Environment, yet Prentice shouldn't be labeled as a stick-in-the-mud hard-core Conservative in the Harper mold. Rather, Prentice is like most Albertans, in that he sees no contradictions between being a progressive and a conservative. In fact, he seems proud of his progressive stripes and has, at times, even gone against his more conservatives colleagues to stand up for a bigger cause.

In 2005, when the Liberals were still in power in Ottawa, Prentice defied Harper and the vast majority of his conservative colleagues by supporting a controversial Liberal bill that endorsed same-sex marriage.

"I believe in the rights of individuals, including the rights of communities of faith," he said. "There's a duty to balance and protect the rights of everyone."

That is not the view of social conservatives, nor of Harper, whose disdain of the Charter of Rights and Freedom was made clear when he ordered millions spent on bicentennial celebrations for the War of 1812 (which one was that again? who did we fight?) and didn't even acknowledge the 30th anniversary of the Queen signing the Charter into law.

While Harper is an economist, Prentice is a lawyer and, based on those comments, he clearly admires the Charter as a defining document in Canadian history for the legal power it grants individuals. Yet Harper respected Prentice enough to still appoint him to cabinet a year later when the Conservatives formed government. …

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