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.
—With files from The Canadian Press