Prentice says change in PC fortunes no cause for celebration at annual convention

Alberta’s new premier says his Progressive Conservative party’s recent byelection wins are no reason for smugness as members head into its annual convention in Banff this weekend.

BANFF — Alberta’s new premier says his Progressive Conservative party’s recent byelection wins are no reason for smugness as members head into its annual convention in Banff this weekend.

It was just a year ago that former premier Alison Redford received a strong vote of confidence from party members.

Months later, the Progressive Conservatives were in disarray, Redford was gone and a series of financial and political scandals put the party on the ropes.

Party faithful turned to former federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice as her replacement.

After winning all four byelections, including his own in Calgary Foothills last month, Prentice will preside over his first convention as premier.

But he said there will be no unnecessary celebration.

“It’s a cause for humility and I knocked on a lot of doors in those byelections. I heard from people. I got the message loud and clear that they want to see a different kind of government,” said Prentice.

“I’m not focused on spiking footballs. I’m focused on making sure the citizens of Alberta get what they ask for, which is good government and a lot less politics.”

Prentice said the weekend will focus on teamwork heading into the next election, slated for the spring of 2016.

He will be lacing up the skates and picking up a stick for a hockey game involving the premier, government members and riding presidents.

A party official said resolutions from constituencies would not be made available to media prior to the convention beginning.

The Wildrose party will gather this weekend in Red Deer where much of the focus will be on what went wrong in the four byelections. The Opposition party failed to win any of the seats and finished third in two ridings.

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