Former Alberta Premier Jim Prentice was one of four people who were killed in a small plane crash near Kelowna last night.
The plane was reportedly heading towards the Springbank Airport.
Transportation Safety Board official Bill Yearwood says the Cessna Citation aircraft with four people on board was taking off from the airport in Kelowna about 10:30 Thursday night when it went down.
The wreckage was discover northeast of Winfield, about 18 kilometres north of Kelowna early today. Everyone on board was killed.
Family members have also confirmed that Calgary optometrist Dr. Ken Gellatly was also killed.
He was the father-in-law of Prentice’s daughter, Cassia.
His colleagues at Downtown Vision Care tell Global News that Prentice, Gellatly, and friends went to Kelowna for the day to golf, and were on their way home when the plane crashed.
The third victim has been identified as retired businessman Sheldon Reid, of Calgary.
Jim Kruk has been identified as the fourth person killed in a small plane crash.
Kruk, 62, was a member of the RCMP and, after retiring, pursued his passion: aviation.
“Jim is dearly missed by his family and his lifelong friends in the Air Cadets, RCMP and aviation communities,” the family said in a statement Saturday. “Jim was a professional’s professional, meticulous and methodical in all his accomplishments. Jim was an avid aviator since 1976. After a full career and retirement from the RCMP, Jim pursued his true passion, aviation, which is only usurped by his dedication and love for his two sons Grayden (19) and Ryland (17), and devotion to his loving wife, Darlene.
“We also thank friends and family for their ongoing support and prayers during this difficult period.”
The Williams-Kruk family, who reside in Airdrie, Alta., also extended their condolences to the other families affected by the crash.
Prentice, who leaves behind his wife Karen and three daughters, was born in 1956 in South Porcupine, Northern Ontario.
Both his father and his uncle played professional hockey in the NHL, but his father Eric’s main job was as a miner. Prentice himself played junior hockey (his career was ended by a knee injury) and worked in a coal mine for several years to put himself through school.
He told the Canadian Press in a 2014 interview that his work in the mines shaped the man he became.
“I always said I got my education there,” said Prentice, who eventually earned a law degree at Dalhousie University.
“I learned teamwork, I learned respect for other people. I learned the fact that the smartest guy in the room is often not the guy you think is the smartest guy.”
Prentice began his involvement in political life four decades ago, joining what was then the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in 1976. He remained largely behind the scenes in the early years, but would never stray from the Tory fold.
Watch: Global’s Tom Vernon reflects on the political life and career of former Alberta Premier Jim Prentice
In the mid-1980s, he made his first run for public office as a provincial PC candidate, but lost the Calgary riding to the local NDP candidate.
Prentice then made the leap into federal politics, albeit still not as a candidate, serving as the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada’s chief financial officer and treasurer through the early 1990s, when the party was in power in Ottawa under Brian Mulroney.
It would be more than a decade later before he was finally elected to the House of Commons — but it was not for lack of effort.
Prentice’s first run at a federal seat in a 2002 by-election was derailed after Stephen Harper announced his candidacy for the Canadian Alliance in the same riding. Prentice withdrew to avoid splitting the vote, allowing Harper to win the race and become the MP for Calgary Southwest.
Prentice’s own debut in the house of Commons would not come until 2004, when he handily claimed the riding of Calgary Centre-North under the banner of the newly formed Conservative Party of Canada.
As a member of the official Opposition, Prentice quickly rose through the Harper Conservative ranks, becoming the critic for Indian and Northern Affairs and taking the Liberal government to task for various decisions linked to First Nations policy and spending.
He often cited a 2005 vote on same-sex marriage as a defining moment of his career. Prentice voted against party lines, supporting the right to marry for the LGBT community. The decision prompted backlash in his constituency and beyond, but he held his ground.
After the Conservatives formed government under Harper in 2006, Prentice took on a series of high-profile ministerial files, starting with Indian and Northern Affairs and then moving to Industry and Environment.
He then made a surprise exit from politics in 2010, stating that he wanted to spend additional time with his family and start a new job with CIBC.
But four years later, Prentice was back.
— Kerry Towle (@EverydayABn) October 14, 2016
The former cabinet minister returned to his provincial political roots in 2014, announcing that he wanted to lead the Alberta Progressive Conservatives following the resignation of former premier Alison Redford. He won the leadership race with an overwhelming majority and was sworn in as premier in September 2014. Prentice’s premiership got off to a strong start that fall as he managed to attract eight members of the Wildrose Party, who crossed the floor in what was deemed an unprecedented move in Canadian politics. But in the spring of 2015, he called an election a full year before it was required, and the honeymoon came to an abrupt end.
Albertans overwhelmingly rejected the PC party, which lost power for the first time in 44 years and dropped to third place with just 10 seats. Prentice promptly resigned, and in early 2016, began a new chapter of his life back in the private sector. Last February, the former premier joined the Washington-based Canada Institute at the Wilson Center as a visiting fellow. At the time, the center said Prentice would be devoting his time largely to a book on energy and environmental issues, including climate change and pipelines. The book was set to be published this year. With files from the Canadian Press.
Tragic news about @JimPrentice – thank you for everything you did for our party and country. Family and friends are in our thoughts #cdnpolipic.twitter.com/PlMLLuZREC — Conservative Party (@CPC_HQ) October 14, 2016