In front of a full house, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Premier Christy Clark, Preston Manning and more came together to celebrate Jay Hill’s contribution to politics and this region.  October 2010, Hill announced his retirement after 17 years as the Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River.

During the roast, Prime Minister Harper spoke about when Hill and him were both first elected and worked on the ninth floor of the Confederation Building in Ottawa.  Almost all the elevators didn’t go to the ninth floor and the Prime Minister said, “I think the Liberals stuck us up there to make sure we wouldn’t make trouble.  But it didn’t work.  In the long run we caused the Liberals a lot of trouble and I haven’t finished”.

Former Reform leader Preston Manning was on hand to roast Jay Hill.  Manning spoke about Hill’s first attempt at speaking French in Parliament, “Jay knew no french at all and so some of the Bloc MP’s offered to teach him a few choice phrases which he could yell out in question period.  And sure enough one day in question period Jay did yell out one of these phrases.   While the Quebec members howled in laughter, I noticed the Speaker went white and quickly scribbled me a note that said shut him up”.

B.C. Premier Clark was also in attendance Saturday night.  The Premier said there have been a few changes you might have noticed in Jay, “he did arrive in Ottawa with a tooth pick in his mouth that he rarely took out and he would tell anyone that would ask that he was supporting the lumber industry in British Columbia”.

Hill remained humble as he responded to some of the comments made earlier in the evening.  Hill said he often told the Premier and Preston Manning that all he wanted to do was work as hard in a week as a farmer would work in one day.

Hill first ran in the federal election as a Reform Party candidate. He has been the MP for the Prince George – Peace River riding since 1993 and was most recently the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons from 2008 until a minor cabinet shuffle in early August 2010.  Hill is now living in Calgary after spending his entire life in Fort St. John.

The Prime Minister and Premier spent part of the day Saturday in Dawson Creek at the official opening of the Energy House and Health Science Building at Northern Lights College.