Premier Prentice, accused of insulting Albertans, sticks to tough-love message

Premier Jim Prentice is not budging from his tough-love message to the province, shrugging off accusations that he insulted Albertans by suggesting they were to blame for their latest economic challenges.

OTTAWA — Premier Jim Prentice is not budging from his tough-love message to the province, shrugging off accusations that he insulted Albertans by suggesting they were to blame for their latest economic challenges.

Prentice kicked up a social media storm after he told a talk radio host Thursday that Albertans should “look in the mirror” to understand why the province is in a fiscal mess.

The steep drop in oil prices has opened up what is expected to be a $7-billion gap in next year’s provincial budget.

Provincial opposition leaders have called on him to apologize, given that it was his own Progressive Conservative party that managed the province’s books for more than 40 years.

The premier received a much warmer welcome Friday at the Manning Networking Conference in Ottawa, a policy confab that brings together Conservatives from different spheres across Canada.

Prentice cracked a joke about stopping in to do a TV interview right before his conference speech.

“After it was over, (the makeup artist) said to me, ’If you want that off, there’s a mirror right over here.’ I said, ’No, no, I don’t. Stop talking about mirrors.”’

Later, Prentice said his talk-show comment had been taken out of context.

“What I said was that as Albertans, we’re in the circumstance that we’re in together, we got into it together, and the only solutions are going to be for us to get out of it together,” he said.

“That’s quite consistent with what I’ve been saying for quite some time. We have some pretty significant fiscal challenges as a province, we intend to maintain core services for our citizens, but it’s going to be up to all of us as Albertans to work together for a solution.”

Prentice told the conference that Alberta will remain an energy powerhouse, even as oil prices sag. But he said the next budget, to be released later this month, will be a 10-year fiscal plan for lessening the province’s dependence on oil.

“As I’ve said, it is unreasonable for citizens in Alberta to have to turn on the television set to watch an OPEC meeting to determine whether we can build schools, finish hospital construction or hire teachers,” he said.

“We have to forge our own way, taking advantage of the natural gifts that we have as a province and as a country.”

Just Posted

Man accused of manslaughter in fatal collision testifies he was cut off

A Delburne man accused of causing a fatal collision said he was… Continue reading

Class size targets hard to reach in Red Deer

Red Deer Public Schools recently updated its average class size

Lotteries look to younger customers to increase sales

Promoting online and interactive games

Red Deer man helps light up the holidays for others

Jim Elliott’s in his 15th year of mapping the city’s most magical, lit-up homes

WATCH: CP Holiday Train rolls into Lacombe

Kelly Prescott performed for hundreds of Central Albertans

Barry Cooper: Separation has become a real possibility, thanks to Ottawa’s abuses

In the past couple of weeks, a retired senior oil executive, Gwyn… Continue reading

Sex assault trial for former gymnastics coach resumes in Sarnia

SARNIA, Ont. — The trial of a former high-ranking gymnastics coach accused… Continue reading

Victims of former ski coach Charest say they were ‘sacrificed’ by Alpine Canada

MONTREAL — A lawsuit filed Wednesday against Alpine Canada by three victims… Continue reading

Emily Blunt on the ‘daunting’ task of playing Mary Poppins

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Emily Blunt loves a challenge, and in the… Continue reading

Tommy Chong says Canada’s weed legalization has kept ‘underground market alive’

TORONTO — Tommy Chong has a pass, man. While some Canadians who… Continue reading

Apple deepens Austin ties, expands operations east and west

AUSTIN, Texas — Apple will build a $1 billion campus in Austin,… Continue reading

Trump comments upend U.S. approach to Huawei, trade talks

WASHINGTON — The United States and China have taken pains this week… Continue reading

Most Read