N.L. remembers Ralph Klein

Staff ~ The Telegram
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Current and former political leaders from this province offered their thoughts upon hearing the news Friday of former Alberta premier Ralph Klein’s death at the age of 70.

Klein spent 14 years as the oil-rich province’s premier from 1992 until his retirement from the position in 2006, leading the Progressive Conservatives in four provincial elections. He was also the mayor of Calgary for nine years in the 1980s and worked as a news reporter before entering politics.

Danny Williams, who was the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador during Klein’s final years in political office, called his former counterpart “one of the most legendary, prominent and iconic political leaders that this country ever produced.” Williams also considered Klein to be a friend.

“I became a true admirer and fan of Ralph around the premier’s table where you could always count on Ralph to be frank, blunt and intelligent,” said Williams in a statement released to media.

“He was thoughtful and insightful and when Ralph spoke, it was meaningful. You always knew where Ralph stood on any issue, and I had tremendous respect for this man who contributed so much to the public policy of our great country.”

Williams said Klein handled his work with “gusto, conviction and passion,” and put the needs of the public first, helping Alberta become a key component to Canada’s economy.

“Ralph was a proud Albertan and proud Canadian, and he left a strong, enduring legacy. He shall be missed greatly.”

Premier Kathy Dunderdale offered her condolences on Klein’s death in a news release issued Friday evening.

“Mr. Klein’s devotion to and love for Alberta are unmistakable, both in his work as premier and his longtime service to the people of his province,” said Dunderdale.

“On behalf of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, I extend heartfelt condolences to Mr. Klein’s family and friends and the people of Alberta.”

He had most recently lived in a personal care home in Calgary after reportedly developing dementia and seeking treatment for chronic lung problems.

A public memorial to remember Klein is scheduled to be held Friday in his hometown of Calgary.

 

telegram@thetelegram.com

—With files from The Canadian Press

Organizations: Progressive Conservatives, Canadian Press

Geographic location: Alberta, Calgary, Newfoundland and Labrador Canada

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  • Anne Hoskins
    April 01, 2013 - 19:03

    I wish I could turn Ralph Klein into a mouse and feed him to a cat! That comment made to the homeless was pure blasphemy! It is a wonder God didn't strike him with a bolt of lightening! People suffering from poverty are not always lazy. They could be trying to cope with hidden handicaps I spent years trying to get established in a career including doing volunteer work with the intent of obtaining experience and references. I eventually found out I had a learning disability preventing me from earning a living. I could only succeed in temporary, government funded make work projects. Now I am on a disability pension.

    • robert birce
      April 05, 2013 - 11:50

      Please look beyond the headline. The incident in Edmonton was not his finest hour, however each year, Klein held a fundraising roast and all the proceeds went to the Calgary Homeless Foundation. When you listen to the eastern bums and creeps comment, he said if you come we'll support for you a couple of weeks with social services but if you can't make it, please don't rob our banks or mug our seniors. Calgary at the time went through a spike in crime rates.

  • P F Murphy
    April 01, 2013 - 14:59

    I thought he said that we are ALL "scum" and "should stay at home in the east" so now you are here Redgrave, I suppose that applies to you and yours as well, eh? Welcome to the world of all-inclusive pronouncements. Not so admirable from this end of the telescope, is it?

  • Anne Hoskins
    April 01, 2013 - 13:58

    I wish I could turn Ralph Klein into a mouse and feed him to a cat! Telling homeless people to get a job is pure blasphemy! It is a wonder God didn't strike him down with lightening! People may suffer from poverty because of hidden handicaps instead of laziness. I tried unsuccessfully for years to get established in a career including volunteer work to get experience and references. In the end I found out I had a learning disability which interfered with my earning a living. Now I am on a disability pension.

  • BS
    April 01, 2013 - 10:12

    Klein certainly made the homeless feel welcome when he got drunk (as usual) and threw money at them telling them to "get a job." Or when he said "Let the damned Easterners freeze in the dark." Or perhaps his most welcoming: “Eastern bums and creeps get the hell out of town.”

    • Robert
      April 01, 2013 - 12:39

      The difference between a politician and a leader is that a leader speaks the truth. Hard working Canadians are quite tired of carrying people who are quite capable of carrying themselves.

    • Redgrave
      Redgrave
      April 01, 2013 - 13:18

      Howdy BS... I agree, wasn't that quote awesome! what Ralph said is another example of what a great man he was. Everyone who got out of bed and worked made an incredible high standard of living. As long as you weren't a bum, or a creep ....no problem pardner!!

  • SD Redgrave
    SD Redgrave
    April 01, 2013 - 06:35

    I was a young business man in Calgary during the eighties when Ralph Klein was mayor. He was the Earnest Hemingway of politicians back then. Just a regular guy looking out for his people who didn't seem to change in demeanor as he climbed the political ladder. He made everyone feel welcome and prosperous, sharing the wealth of Alberta among her people while creating a good feeling of being wanted as a citizen. He will be missed.