The prime minister has lost one of his most able members of cabinet, Environment Minister Jim Prentice, who announced yesterday that he’s leaving politics for a senior position with CIBC. As Industry Minister, Prentice earned the respect of political friends and foes alike. But the poor fellow has recently been saddled with the environmental portfolio in a government that doesn’t see environmental matters as priorities.
Jim Prentice performed so excellently over a series of responsibilities that a growing number of members within the Conservative Party were touting him as a future leader to replace Stephen Harper. This, of course, was before the prime minister effectively, if not literally, forced Prentice to hide his light under a bushel.
Prentice was, of course, chair of the operations committee, a position of real power in caucus as it decided on the government’s priorities of the day. PM Stephen Harper recently described Prentice as the chief operating officer of the government. That’s all very well and good for government insiders who know the arcane inside-Ottawa set-up.
To those outside Ottawa, however, Prentice had been shuffled aside and out of the public spotlight. And that was a real pity for our federal cabinet has few enough stars as it is.
Jim Prentice will be missed, and Canada will be worse for his leaving.