He Was Fearless, Funny...And Sometimes, Frustrating. Mostly, He Was Our Ralph!
LETHBRIDGE: Former Premier Ralph Klein passed from his beloved province, "Ralph's world" on Friday morning (March 29th). His wife Colleen and their family were at his bedside. He was 70 years old.
Some have already noted that 70 was much too young. However, "King Ralph" had packed a lot of living into those years. The Alberta Government website has already dedicated a page to the life of Ralph Klein and an extensive list of his accomplishments. It's worth a read - just follow the link:
Ralph frustrated a lot of people and they were very vocal about his every faux pas. However, he was courageous enough to speak his mind, even if it got him into trouble. Everything from uninhibited remarks about 'eastern bums' to referring to greenhouse gasses as 'dinosaur farts'. Then there was the mad cow crisis in the cattle industry, when Ralph noted that farmers should just "shoot, shovel and shut-up".
Some of the remarks would make you cringe, while others would leave you in fits of laughter.
With Premier Ralph, you took the good, with the not-so-good. There was lots of 'good'. At one point, our province had no debt. He was one of the first politicians to note, "Our province doesn't have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem and we can't continue to spend more than we bring in".
The best thing about Ralph, is that he was our Premier and many residents of other provinces wished he was their Premier!
Lethbridge Mayor Rajko Dodic issued a statement on the passing of the former Premier:
"The passing of Ralph Klein is an occasion of great sadness not only for our community but for our entire province. Whether or not you agreed with Mr. Klein politically, his passion and love for Alberta were unquestionable. He left a lasting mark on the provincial and national political landscape. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Klein family. We wish them grace and strength in this most difficult time".
The City of Calgary will be hosting a public celebration for the life of Ralph Klein on Friday, April 5th, at the Jack Singer Concert Hall. Details will be posted on the following website, where there is also an online book of condolence.