Skip to comments.Alberta's Ralph Klein dead at 70
Posted on 03/29/2013 10:41:27 PM PDT by A Formerly Proud Canadian
Ralph Klein, the hugely popular though often controversial man known as "King Ralph," or just plain Ralph, led Alberta's long-ruling Progressive Conservative Party from 1992 to 2006 and presided over four consecutive majority governments. The former premier, who died Friday surrounded by family and friends in a Calgary-area long-term care facility, was 70.
(Excerpt) Read more at ca.news.yahoo.com ...
Photo Source: Calgary Herald
When Mr. Klein became Premier in 1992, Alberta had the highest per capita deficit of any Province in Canada. He took part of the multi-billion dollar 'Heritage Fund' and paid some of the debt. To the horror of liberals, socialists and especially unionists, he slashed spending, cutting thousands of public sector jobs, privatising AGT (Alberta Government Telephones), now know as Telus, Inc. and cut what was the most accommodating welfare system in the country, offering one way bus tickets to BC for welfare recipients!
While Calgary suffered with the loss of two downtown hospitals which I think was unwise (Calgary General Hospital and the Holy Cross Hospital), spending had to be cut quickly, and he did it! I liken the economic situation to a truck losing its brakes approaching a steep incline, having to use the run away ramp. The driver (Ralph) does not like the damage that will be caused, but it will be much less than if the truck continued on its course down the incline, eventually crashing! Not only was the deficit turned around, Alberta became debt-free in the Spring of 2004, remaining so until 2011. Ralph gave us the 'Alberta Advantage', the only Province with no sales tax and the lowest Provincial Personal Income Tax in Canada (10%). The result? In 1990, metro Calgary's population was 750K and 21 years, it is 1.2 million while Alberta went from 2.5 million to 3.5 million. Obviously, part of the elimination of the debt was due to high energy prices, but it is rather telling that when the debt was 'paid in full' (2004), oil was $30/bbl. In 2011, at $85/bbl, Alberta went back into debt, and remains so.
Unfortunately in Alberta, the current crop of PCs really are Liberals, the Liberals are NDP and the NDP are the Waffle! Our current Premier lives up to her name, REDford! We need a modern-day Ralph Klein, William Aberhart or Ernest Manning in Alberta and in Ottawa! My fellow FREEpers south of the Line, you need to find such a grass-roots, down to earth man who leads, rather than follows, someone more like Mr, Klein than Mr. Boehner; a man of the people!
Ralph, you are, and will continue to be missed!
RIP Ralph, from a fan, Didsbury AB.
Based on your account, he sounds like a great man and we could use more like him both south and north of the line. RIP, Mr. Klein, and thank you for your service.
To all- please ping me to Canadian topics.
A very nice tribute to King Ralph.
Just one quibble, BC has the lowest provincial income tax rate at 5%. We do have a 7% sales tax though...
Sorry to hear of Alberta’s loss; and that of the Klein family.
Hoping for the best in Canada; and yes, here; ‘south of the line’.
Prior to becoming Premier of Alberta, he was Mayor of Calgary in the 1980s. Ralph was not a 'nuanced' politician (a word that I hate); he spoke his mind. The oil boom brought a huge influx of unskilled labourers into Calgary from Eastern Canada. The crime rate also skyrocked, causing Ralph to blame this on "Eastern bums and creeps". In response to Turd-owe's National (socialist) Energy Program (NEP), which required Alberta to sell oil to Eastern Canada at well below market prices, he said, Let the eastern bastards freeze in the dark. The NEP crashed the Alberta economy, raising unemployment to just shy of 25% and dropping housing prices by 40-50% in less than one year.
As an MLA for a riding in Calgary(similar to a State senator in the US), Ralph laid a doozy on Edmonton, the Alberta Capital, a city with a much greater union presence than Calgary, saying it was "a fine city with too many socialists and mosquitoes. At least you can spray the mosquitoes." In 2003, after the mad cow crisis destroyed the Canadian beef industry, Ralph said in reference to the Northern Alberta farmer whose cow was found diseased, "I guess any self-respecting rancher would have shot, shovelled and shut up, but he didn't do that."
In December 2001, Ralph, in his cups, left a party with his driver and he entered a homeless shelter after mid-night. He got into a verbal sparring match with one guest then proceded to tell them all to 'get jobs'. He then flung some money on the floor before being directed to his car by his driver/minder. The result of all the bad press over this was that he cut back on his drinking in public.
In 2006, at a 'roast' for Belinda Stronach, daughter of multi-billionaire Frank Stronach (Magna International, North America's largest automobile parts manufacturer), Ralph said, "Belinda roasted me as a Conservative, but of course now she's a Liberal.. and I wasn't surprised that she crossed over; I don't think she ever did have a Conservative bone in her body.. well, except for one." (She had dated Peter MacKay, a Conservative MP and at a previous roast of Mr. Klein, had made comments about his weight, clothing and flatulence.)
Like all of us, Ralph had his pecadilloes, but he WAS Alberta in the '90s and early 2000's. He'll be missed!
Thank you. I did not know the man well, only having volunteered for his second Provincial run. Kind of ironic, since I was an Ontario boy who ‘saw the light’ in 1991 and came west.
Alberta’s personal tax rate is and has been for a while, a flat 10%, with a 2012 personal exemption of $17,593. I believe that BC has a progressive rate that rises to a maximum of 14.7%. (Just reviewing my taxes, after attending church this AM!)
If you could get rid of Premier Clark, (and we get rid of Redford), both Provinces could do better.
Actually, it would be Jim Dinning you’d want. He sold Ralph Klein on the Revolution.
LOL! Sounds like a man after my own heart.
He did a lot of good for Alberta. I live here now, and the current Premier is messing things up royally, but Klein despite liking his alcohol was a real man and a real leader, an extremely rarity in politicians.
God bless his family and may he give them peace in their time of grief.
RIP Ralph from a great fan in Ontario. You were a man after my own heart.
(Loved the line about Belinda Stronach).
Ralph Klein was an icon in Alberta when I was doing a lot of business up there. One of my business partners had a claim to fame: He ran a saloon in Calgary that became one of Klein’s favorite watering holes because this guy would always make sure one of his employees drove Klein home at the end of the night, and another employee would drive his car home. LOL.
This was probably the funniest thing that Ive heard a politician have the nerve to say with full knowledge that the cameras were rolling
His Down to earth common sense and way to connect with the non-elites reminds me of Sarah Palin.
You are missed, Ralph.
Cheers from Calgary,
My most treasured memory of Ralph occurred at the close of the Provincial P.C. Convention when Ralph soundly defeated former encumbent Premier Peter Loughheed’s hand picked heir apparent Nancy Betkowski for the leadership of the party. The resident CBC feminazi infobabes were outraged when the final results were tabulated and Klein came out of nowhere to extinguish her early lead. After a distraught Betkowski fled the convention floor in tears the CBC gals demanded to know what Ralph was going to do about Nancy’s disappointed exit and was he going to have a meeting with her. His response was ...well no..right now I am going to go to Chinatown for some Chinese food...
IIRC, didn’t Ms. Betkowski run to the Liberals and become one of their less than memorable leaders?
Unfortunately, the PCs are now Libs and the Libs are now socialist and the Dippers are now the Waffle!
Hers was the first attempt to hollow out the P.S.’s. Redford completed the cycle.
I’m surprised I hadn’t heard of him earlier. Were he running on a ticket in my part of the U.S., I’d vote for him in a heartbeat.
Thanks Jonty, I will look up Jim Dinning. As I’m sure you’re aware, we very rarely get news regarding our friends in Canada.