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PC Alberta leadership candidates, from left, Thomas Lukaszuk, Jim Prentice, Ric McIver take part in the Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership forum in Edmonton, Alberta on Thursday Aug. 21, 2014.JASON FRANSON/The Canadian Press

Alberta Tory leadership hopeful Jim Prentice says he will introduce term limits on provincial politicians if he becomes premier.

Prentice says the restrictions would be three terms for members of the legislature and two terms for premier.

He says the changes would be grandfathered in and would be the first of their kind in Canada.

Prentice says he would also scrap automatic severance payments in government.

He says together these changes would make politicians more accountable and help give Albertans the good government they deserve.

Prentice says the first bill a government under his leadership would introduce would protect the property rights of citizens, an issue that the Wildrose opposition has made political hay with against the Progressive Conservatives, especially in rural areas.

The other candidates in the leadership race include former cabinet ministers Ric McIver and Thomas Lukaszuk.

Card-carrying members of the PC party vote for a new leader Sept. 6.

At a candidates' debate Thursday night in Edmonton, Prentice told the audience of about 100 that his proposal for term limits is part of an overall package to bring accountability to the provincial government.

He said the package would include the end of sweetheart political contracts for staffers and single-source contracts.

"It's about the end of entitlements. It should involve turnover in our political system. These will form part of the accountability act."

Lukaszuk called term limits an American-style idea that won't work in Alberta. Accountability and ethics in government have to stem from conviction, not from rules, he said.

"Either you have integrity or you don't. If you don't know it intuitively, you surely will find a loophole. Term limits are not the answer.

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