Jim Prentice, whose been kicked around on this blog for most of his term as federal Environment Minister, has announced he is quitting politics for a job at one of Canada’s big banks. I fear we’re going to miss him.
Prentice stepped into the Environment Minister’s job in 2008, just in time to offer up a disappointing performance at the Poznan climate change conference a couple of months later. That was a shame, because after the more-obnoxious turns of predecessors John Baird and Rona Ambrose, we’d been optimistic that Prentice might be an improvement.
Now, practicing hindsight, it’s clear that he was. Sure, he continued as Stephen Harper’s mouthpiece, inevitably having to take responsibility for the actions of a governing party that thinks climate change is a good thing (it gets makes it easier to get to Arctic gas and oil). But at least Prentice had the decency to look like he was embarrassed by the role. And, as the Globe and Mail reports in its parting feature, the last few decisions that Prentice has made were both surprising and reassuring from an environmental perspective.
Prentice has often been identified as a potential successor to the perennial minority Prime Minister Stephen Harper - a man who will never win the trust of enough Canadians to lead his government into majority territory. Maybe this is Prentice’s “John Turner moment,” a detour to Bay Street where he can wait in greater comfort and less humiliation for the PM’s job to open up.
We hope. We always hope.