Speaker Profiles

The Honourable Jim Prentice

The Honourable Jim Prentice

Minister of Environment

Government of Canada

Jim Prentice is Canada's Minister of the Environment and Member of Parliament for Calgary Centre-North.

Mr. Prentice is responsible for Canada's participation in the Clean Energy Dialogue established by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, for Canada's role in international Climate Change negotiations, and for Canada's involvement in the 2009 Major Economies Forum convened by President Obama.

Mr. Prentice has been Chair of the Operations Committee of Cabinet since the Conservative government took office in 2006, a post historically occupied by the Deputy Prime Minister, and in which he has served for longer than any other person since Don Mazankowski in the Mulroney government.

Mr. Prentice's first portfolio, from February 2006 to August 2007, was Indian Affairs and Northern Development. There he reformed the Land Claims process that had been deadlocked since 1960; launched the First Nations' Drinking Water strategy, introduced significant reinvestments in aboriginal education and housing, and reformulated the government's relationship with aboriginal peoples.

Prior to the Environment Ministry, Mr. Prentice was Minister of Industry from August 2007 to October 2008. There he managed several difficult issues such as blocking the sale of Canadian strategic technology company MDA to the United States. Mr. Prentice managed the Spectrum Auction of wireless rights which was expected to raise $1.5 billion for Canadians but which realized $5 billion. He also translated the Red Wilson Report on Competitiveness into legislative changes to the Competition Act and the Investment Canada Act.

Mr. Prentice was also the original chair of the Cabinet Committee on Environment and Energy Security.

The National Post says, "Calgarian Jim Prentice has become Cabinet's Mr. Fix-It. He takes troubled or controversial ministries and turns them around" (National Post, Opinion, Nov 1 2008). Chantal Hebert, columnist and member of CBC's At Issue panel, says that "Prentice has a well-deserved reputation as a bridge-builder and he has the influence to make things happen". (Toronto Star, Oct 31 2008).

Jim Prentice was elected to the House of Commons in 2004 and re-elected in 2006 and 2008. He graduated from the University of Alberta and Dalhousie Law School. As a practicing lawyer, Mr. Prentice specialized in property rights and also served as a commissioner of the Indian Specific Claims Commission for ten years. Mr. Prentice has lived in Calgary for over 20 years with his wife Karen and their three daughters.

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