October 28, 2016 6:00 am
Updated: October 28, 2016 7:07 pm

Jim Prentice remembered at state memorial: ‘he gave Canada and Alberta his very best’

WATCH ABOVE: Jim Prentice’s daughter Cassia thanks Canadians for their outpouring of support as she and her family try to cope with the loss

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A state memorial for Jim Prentice, the former Alberta premier who was killed in a plane crash in B.C. earlier this month, was underway at Calgary’s Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium Friday morning. There were 700 invited guests and 800 members of the public in attendance.

WATCH: Hundreds attended the state memorial for former Alberta premier Jim Prentice, two weeks after he was killed in a tragic plane crash. Gary Bobrovitz reports.

Prentice’s daughter Cassia thanked Canadians for their outpouring of support as she and her family try to cope with the loss.

“As you have stood from coast to coast in observance of moments of silence, you have shared the weight of the emptiness that bears down upon our hearts,” she said.

“My father was so much to so many and he was absolutely everything to our family.”

Watch below: Jason Hatcher, Master of Ceremonies, opens the state memorial for Jim Prentice 

Cassia spoke of her father-in-law, Dr. Ken Gellatly, who also died in the plane crash.

“His boundless energy and joy for life found its perfect match in my father. Our family will forever treasure the memories of their laughter in what we could not have known would be their final days.”

READ MORE: Jim Prentice’s friends Dr. Ken Gellatly, Sheldon Reid, also killed in BC plane crash

Cassia described her father’s love for his family and his impact on Albertans and Canadians.

“We know that we do not grieve alone. Broken and shattered, we must all today stand tall on the foundations that he laid: integrity, kindness, hard work and community. But most importantly, the love of family.”

Fatal Plane Crash Memorial 20161028

The public memorial opened with an aboriginal honour song performed by members of the Black Otter Singers.

Watch below: Members of the Siksika Nation perform an Aboriginal Honour Song at the state memorial for Jim Prentice.

Alberta Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell was one of the first to speak, remembering Prentice as “a great Albertan and a great Canadian.”

“He always had that ability to see the very best in people around him,” Mitchell said.

“He had the rare ability to talk to anyone… He was a trusted and a valued friend; a source of kindness and thoughtfulness.”

Watch below: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speaks at the state memorial for former Alberta premier and federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley spoke next, highlighting Prentice’s accomplishments in office including restoring respect between government and indigenous peoples and creating the first version of the child benefit plan.

“I’m grateful for the friendly, thoughtful advice he shared with me,” Notley said, remembering him as a “talented, dedicated leader and brilliant public servant.”

Watch below: PC Chuck Strahl delivers a prayer at the state memorial for Jim Prentice

Former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper also presented a tribute, looking back on Prentice’s personal and political life—as well as the strength he brought as a player on the Conservative Party hockey team.

“That kind of bench strength really came to the fore when we became the government of Canada,” Harper said, highlighting Prentice’s role in finalizing and implementing the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

“We gave the hardest assignments to the people best able to handle them and Jim is one of those people.”

Watch below: Former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper speaks about Jim Prentice at the state memorial for the former Alberta premier 

Harper quoted Stockwell Day’s assessment of Prentice, that “when Jim won, he didn’t gloat. When he lost, he didn’t pout.” The former prime minister also told a story about sending Prentice to the U.S. upon President Barack Obama’s request for someone to look at energy and environment issues.

“I said, ‘I think you guys will like him. He’s probably the most capable guy that I’ve got,’” Harper said. “To which Barack said: ‘That’s great Stephen, I promise not to tell your other guys you said that.’”

“He always gave Canada and Alberta his very best. That is how he deserves to be remembered.”

Watch below as country music singer George Canyon performs Amazing Grace.

Prentice, 60, and Gellatly were on board on a Cessna Citation that went down on Oct. 13 shortly after taking off from Kelowna. The crash also took the lives of friend Sheldon Reid and pilot Jim Kruk.

Prentice was Alberta’s 16th premier but held the position for less than eight months. He served until May 24, 2015.

Watch below: Canadian businessman and philanthropist Richard Haskayne speaks about his neighbour, Jim Prentice

He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Karen, three daughters and two grandchildren.

OBITUARY: Jim Prentice, 60, dies in Kelowna plane crash

Following the memorial, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he gets to meet a lot of people in politics, but was impressed by how Prentice was driven by a “deep love for community.”

“A man devoted to his family, an incredibly loyal friend but also a man who sacrificed everything for community,” Nenshi said. “I think that’s something we can all honour today.”

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall expressed his sympathies to Prentice’s family and the people of Alberta.

WATCH: Family, friends of Jim Prentice pay final respects to former Alberta premier

“Alberta’s like our twin in Confederation,” Wall said. “What’s good for Alberta is good for Saskatchewan and what causes sadness and difficulty for Alberta causes us that same sadness.

“It’s a loss to Western Canada and it’s a loss to our country.”

WATCH: Memorial service in Calgary honours the late Jim Prentice

The province’s interim Progressive Conservative leader Ric McIver was emotional when he spoke to reporters.

“Jim Prentice accomplished a great deal in his shortened life and we all owe a debt to him in one way or another,” he said. “The greatest thing that I saw during the time I knew Jim was his unquenchable thirst to bring people together for a common good.”

Watch below: The Honourable Jay Hill speaks about colleague and friend Jim Prentice at the state memorial for the former Alberta premier and federal minister Jim Prentice.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be directed to the Children’s Cottage Society. Donations can be made online at 2115.thankyou4caring.org or by cheques mailed to 204, 2120 Kensington Road NW Calgary T2N 3R7.

People are also invited to pay tribute by signing condolence books.

In Edmonton:

Alberta legislature Rotunda
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday
Available until end of day Friday

In Calgary:

McDougall Centre
455 6 Street SW
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday
Available until end of day Friday

A book of condolences for former Alberta premier Jim Prentice is on display at the MacDougal Centre in Calgary in an October 17, 2016, file photo.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

An online tribute page will also be available until Nov. 1.

Shaw TV will rebroadcast the Prentice memorial on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Watch below: Jim Prentice’s family, friends and loved ones gathered in Calgary on Friday to remember the life of the politician. Here are some sights and sounds from the final farewell to Alberta’s 16th premier.

memorial for Kruk was held in Airdrie on Oct. 21. A funeral for Gellatly was held on Monday.

BELOW: View the program for the State Memorial for former Alberta premier Jim Prentice 

Former Alberta Premier Prentice Memorial Service Program by etucks7 on Scribd

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