Jim Prentice was elected leader of the Progressive Conservative party today with about 77% of the votes.
Here’s his acceptance speech:
Thank you. I want to begin by thanking my family who have been by my side for this entire campaign.
When Karen and I were married many years ago I promised her a motorhome trip across Alberta. It took me 31 years to fulfill that promise but this was THAT summer.
I could not have done this without Karen, our daughters, my grandchildren, and my extended family. Please then join me in saying thank you to them.
Friends, I am standing here as an Albertan:
With a sense of pride;
With a feeling of humility;
and with a promise for the people of Alberta;
The END of this leadership campaign represents a NEW beginning.
Tonight, we begin the work of restoring trust in government – and making Albertans proud of those who serve our province.
Tonight, we begin the work of advancing and protecting sound, conservative fiscal principles.
And tonight, we begin the work of helping Alberta achieve its remarkable potential and secure our prosperity for generations to come.
I cannot do any of this alone but together… Well together we can do all this and more.
It is a great honour to be entrusted to serve as the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party – and the future 16th Premier of the province we love.
I was a young boy when I first came to Alberta. From the moment I saw the Rocky Mountains from the window of the family station wagon I knew this was the place for me. I knew I would never leave it.
More than 40 years later, I still can’t imagine wanting to be anywhere else. Nor can you.
I want to start by acknowledging the efforts and dedication of the two men with whom I shared my summer: Thomas Lukaszuk and Ric McIver.
As I said throughout the leadership campaign there is absolutely nothing about leadership campaigns that are easy, and both of these men worked hard through the summer. So let’s hear it for THEM and for all those who worked so hard on their behalf.
I want to be clear.
As your leader, I will ask every volunteer who has worked on all of our campaigns to join with me in rebuilding our party.
We will all be governed by a test of loyalty for our Party and a commitment to support each other.
This leadership process wasn’t perfect. While the results are overwhelming the process followed by our party has created frustrations and disappointments at the very time that we did not need this.
Let me again be clear this evening.
My election as the leader of this Party marks the beginning of a commitment to integrity and the acceptance of responsibility.
Albertans expect excellence and performance from those who are in positions of trust. They will not accept excuses. This must apply to the Government of Alberta, but first and foremost it must apply to our Party.
As your leader and as the person accountable to those who are disappointed, there will be no excuses.
I want to thank all those who took time away from their families – and from their summer vacations – to help me in my campaign.
The thing that I am proudest of are the hundreds and hundreds of young people who comprised my campaign from the bottom to the top. Young, talented men and women in their twenties and thirties who represent the future of our Party, and the future of our Province.
Our campaign had over one thousand volunteers, and there is one thing about leadership races- they battle test you for the coming election.
I have been in this Party for over 40 years, I have never seen volunteers work as hard as the volunteers on my campaign. Never.
I look out at the faces here tonight, and I see so many people especially young people who gave their time, their energy, not only because they believe in me, but because they believe in our party, our province, our future.
We did this together -to all of you: thank you.
I have also had the tremendous support of people from our caucus.
And as an old hockey player, who believes passionately in team work, I have been struck by how hard caucus has worked, the united sense of teamwork, and the shouldering of heavy lifting. As someone said to me they have not seen caucus work this hard in a leadership race since 1985.
This is now a competitive and disciplined team and I am proud of their effort.
And I want to thank the people of Alberta.
For the past over 100 days I have criss-crossed this province and have been everywhere.
People have often asked me what that has been like. For sure it has been a lot of hard work. At last count I have given that stump speech about my five priorities over 750 times.
But let me tell you what it was really like. It has been one of the most fun and rewarding times of my life because I had my jeans and my cowboy boots on and because I had the opportunity to meet with Albertans in every corner of this province.
To be sure, they have shared their disappointments with me, but more importantly they have shared their confidence and their optimism about the future and the promise of Alberta.
I have been moved by this and by what I heard
In our cities;
the community halls like the one in Triangle;
in the auction mart in Consort;
and back home in the Crowsnest Pass.
It is that experience that will define the kind of Premier I will be.
I have been to rodeos, to ranches, and roundtables. In fact, I even did some announcing at the Danes family rodeo in Innisfail. Frankly I wasn’t very good at it.
I’ve been to local fairs and I have engaged the communities of faith in every corner of this province, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Jewish and Hindu. I have engaged our First Nations and Metis communities.
I’ve sat down for so many coffees that I probably won’t sleep until November.
Actually, there may not be any time for sleep until November anyway.
And hard as it may be to believe, I’m pretty sure I’ve taken more selfies this summer than any one of your kids.
In every city, in every town, in every farm and on every ranch, I’ve found this to be a province of honest, strong-willed, hardworking and independent-minded people.
People of character.
They know what they want from government and believe me: They aren’t shy about sharing their feelings.
They want honesty and hard work. They want straight talk. They expect their politicians to understand the difference between right and wrong, and to behave accordingly.
They want a Party and a Premier who reflect their values, shares their hopes and has understanding of where the world is heading – and how Alberta can make the most of its opportunities, in agriculture, in forestry, in tourism, and obviously in energy.
Above all else, they want their voices heard, because good policy and good government always begin with the people.
Under my leadership, our new Progressive Conservative government will begin immediately to address the people’s priorities. And in short order, I will seek a seat in the legislature so I can continue to work and fight for the interests of Albertans.
I want to be candid with the people of Alberta – those of you here tonight, those watching at home, and those who will hear or read these words in the coming days.
Over time, the government has lost its way.
Watching from afar, I was as disappointed and as frustrated as anyone.
I wasn’t at the table when those decisions were made – but I am at the table now.
In fact, I will be sitting at the head of it, and I can tell you this:
I will restore a commitment to fiscal prudence and ethical conduct.
I will enforce the rules and make the tough choices that need to be made.
And I will provide the kind of principled leadership our province deserves.
And yes, eventually there will be a general election and we will ask Albertans to judge our new Progressive Conservative government.
Not on our words. Not on our promises. But by the actions we have taken, the progress we have made and the integrity we have displayed.
I will always put Alberta’s interests first.
Albertans have told me they want a lot less politics and a lot more leadership.
They are going to get that.
With my actions and my choices, I will work to restore your faith in government.
I will give it my all, and I will work every day to make you proud.
As Albertans, we share the good fortune to live in a province of almost limitless potential.
And we all know that we are building something special here.
We can dream more than we have dreamt.
We can do more than we have done.
We can be more than we have been.
And it all depends on leadership.
As a people, we are proud of our history.
We honour the mavericks and the courageous thousands who settled the great and lonely prairie – men and women of strong character and opinion.
Some of you carry on their names. All of us carry on their legacy. And whether you were born here or whether you came from somewhere else in the world, you have embraced the challenge of building our province.
But that job is not done. It is our privilege – and it is our responsibility – to define what comes next.
We will build partnerships with our fellow Canadians, with British Columbia and with all provinces and territories across this great nation.
Je serai un partenaire constructif avec les autres provinces canadiennes. Nous devons – et nous allons – travailler ensemble pour faire avancer notre province et continuer à bâtir le Canada.
Ours is a province that has experienced remarkable change and growth – how will it affect us?
Ours is a place that hums with possibility and potential – what will we make of it?As I have said throughout this campaign, this is a pivotal time in Alberta’s history. The choices that we will make over the next five years will define what Alberta looks like for the next 50.
An Alberta that is fiscally responsible, that lives proudly within its means – but an Alberta that is more than that.
A leader within Canada, forward looking and creative.
An aggressive and successful player in global markets, comfortable in the world and subservient to no one.
An Alberta at the forefront of both energy development and environmental awareness.
A place of both tradition and innovation.
Home to a people who know the satisfaction of hard work and whose government embraces individual responsibility, community success, and promotes our people’s ingenuity.
Together we can fulfill the promise of an Alberta guided by time-tested Progressive Conservative principles.
We can affirm the value of our famously independent spirit – while at the same time taking care of our own.
We can define Alberta as a place where we respect the common sense – and rely on the common decency – of the men and women who live here…
… and where we are motivated by the responsibility to make sure our children get the highest quality education that will give them the opportunity to succeed in a competitive world.
I was raised in the coal mining towns of this province. I worked under the bins breaking rocks at those coal mines 16 hours a day.
Back then I dreamed big dreams and… I still dream big dreams.
Now we are going to dream them together and we are going to fulfill the promise of an Alberta that rewards ingenuity, promotes innovation, and, at times, gets just a little bit restless.
Ours is a new time. We face new challenges. We see before us new opportunities.
You can feel it across our province: Together we are building something special here. Everyone knows it. Now, let’s get this Party back to work.