April 24, 2014 8:39 pm

Provincial minister Bhullar backs Jim Prentice for Alberta Tory leadership run

Former Conservative federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

CALGARY – He hasn’t even said whether he will take a run at the job, but Jim Prentice has already got at least one member of the provincial cabinet endorsing him as a potential leader of Alberta’s governing Progressive Conservative.

Human Services Minister Manmeet Bhullar said Thursday he thinks Alberta would benefit greatly if Prentice were its next premier.

“I think the potential of somebody like Mr. Prentice is incredible for the people of Alberta and we’ll see what decision he makes,” Buhllar said.

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“I’ll say I think the people of Alberta would greatly benefit from a strong leader like Mr. Prentice.”

Prentice, who is a former federal cabinet minister, has been widely talked about as a potential candidate, but has yet to say whether he is considering a run at the job.

Asked if he has talked to Prentice about taking a shot, Bhullar would only say the former federal minister would have to speak for himself.

The provincial Tories have been looking for a new leader since Alison Redford resigned as premier last month amid expense scandals and a caucus revolt.

Only one candidate, former municipal affairs minister Ken Hughes, has officially entered the race.

Other possible candidates include cabinet ministers Diana McQueen, Doug Horner, Ric McIver, Thomas Lukaszuk and Jonathan Denis.

Horner said Thursday he’ll make a decision in the next 10 days, adding it will be based on what’s best for him and his family.

When asked if he would run should Prentice run, Horner said, “That’s a decision I haven’t made yet.”

Jobs Minister Thomas Lukaszuk said whatever happens with Prentice will not affect his decision.

“We need a good healthy race. It’s good to have different perspectives,” said Lukaszuk.

“I personally don’t know Mr. Prentice, but I’m hearing good things about him.”

Lukaszuk said he won’t make a decision until after the spring session of the legislature, which is expected to end by the middle of May.

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