Jim Prentice Century Downs Calgary

Jim Prentice Century Downs Calgary April 25 2015


Shirley McClellan: I give you Jim Prentice

Jim Prentice: Thank you. Thank you. It’s great to be here. Somebody may have heard this before but it’s always fun to be with my colleague. You know in terms of politics in Alberta, there only have ever been two people who can go anywhere in the province who would be known by their first name. One was Ralph and the other is Shirley… And I’ve been privileged to have her at my side since, actually since I stepped forward I’ve a private life to run initially in the leadership race since I’ve become the premier she has been at my side is a friend and adviser and someone who Karen and I both love dearly and value, so let’s hear it from Shirley firstly. Lots of friends here, Mr. Gibbon is here, there’s all kinds of folks I see, Dave Chalack [Calgary Stampede President] is here, I’ve been round but I haven’t had the chance to say hello to everybody but Karen and I really wanted to come and be here for the running of the first race.

I guess I’m going to get to present the blanket in about half an hour when race is over but, but we just wanted to say congratulations to Century Downs and Century Casinos. You know this a very significant investment in our province. I just want to say thank you and congratulations to Erwin and to Peter [Century Casinos co CEOs] and to their team. They’re here. And you know, we are facing the couple of challenging years in the province but we are optimists, we’ve been through ups and downs before, this province will be just fine don’t worry about Alberta. We’ll get through this, but what will get us through it will be leadership and that old Alberta determination and confidence entrepreneurial spirit.

What we’re seeing here today with this new race track and this facility are all those values and attributes and that’s what made this province a strong that’s what made Alberta the economic engine of the country and the envy of everybody in the world really. And so I just want to say congratulations to Century Downs and looking forward to the first race, and Karen and I wanted to be here to share this beginning with you. On behalf of all Albertans, thank you for your confidence in what we’re doing here and thank you for being part of making this the most incredible province around. So thank you very much and God bless, thank you. I see Max, Max is here too.

Max Gibb: Listen, I can always steal the lime-light even from the premier. I won’t tell you how many years we’ve gone back or what we’ve done during that period of time though one thing I can tell you that he lacks a little cowboy swagger. Just a little bit but I’m going to help him out with that. We appreciate you being here today and I want you to know that we, we minted and specialized 15 REAL cowboy buckles and they’re numbered and they’re special, and out of the 15 I thought, what number would you give the Premier?

Voice: A 10.

Max Gibb: A 10! You’ve got it! … Century Downs Alberta 2015, a 10 ladies and gentlemen.

Jim Prentice: But now, now Max has got me going so I’m going to tell a story. I got as much cowboy swagger as any guy from the coal mines can have. But I’m going to share a story because I see George Brookman [Calgary Stampede Board, CEO West Canadian] is here too, so you know first time I was elected it’s a big dream to ride a horse in a Calgary Stampede, we all want to do that. And so while George was the President of the Calgary Stampede and I said, “George I want to ride a horse”. He said, well we don’t let politicians want to ride horses in the Stampede.

I said, “George”, this was may be, I won’t describe it as a white lie may be an exaggeration. I said, “George I can ride”. And so George relented and David Chalick and others and so they put me on a horse in my very first Calgary Stampede parade, and I do ride a bit. But I was having a little bit of a struggle with this horse it was the Stampede parade where we had all the queens and princesses come from right back into the 1940s and so they were little short of stock, so I ended up with a non, a horse that was not a Calgary Stampede horse. I got on, I got on this horse, I got on this horse and the first thing it did was it did the flank of Lee Richardson’s horse which bucked Lee off, and then we’re at the beginning point of the parade we we’re about to start and I was having quite a fight with this horse, I looked at the horse and he had one pink eye and one blue eye. He was a paint and I thought this is not going to go well. And so I’m arguing with this horse and Zaccardelli, he used to be the chief commissioner of the RCMP saw me, he came over and he tried to get this horse quieted down and you know finally he sort of threw hands up and he said, “Jim”, he said, “this horse, you know should not be in the Calgary Stampede”. And then the whistle went, and off we went for the longest two hours of my life, which I will never forget. So the next year they put me in a convertible.

Thank you folks.