The name Ralph Klein or “King Ralph” rings through in Calgary and Alberta.
Before he was Premier of Alberta, He was Mayor of Calgary. Before he was Mayor of Calgary, He was a reporter for CFCN News.
There is no question of his impact on Alberta. Please note, I said impact, I didn’t say positive or negative. One might remember, that the race between him and Lawrence Decore of the then Liberals was close. And the Conservatives were criticized for their fiscal policies. Klein balanced the budget, and paid down the debt which made Alberta the envy to some.
However, it was not at a price. If you lived in Calgary, you will remember the General Hospital being torn down and the Holy Cross Hospital closing. You might also remember the issues with wait times as well issues with education.
Klein’s appeal to some was that he was one of the boys. That also was not without controversy.Klein admitted with his own personal demons with alcohol. He also had several controversies which including calling Belinda Stronach on November 9, 2006 saying this.
“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.” Klein was referring to her relationship with Peter Mckay.
He will also be remembered for “Ralphbucks” in 2005. That may be the microcosm of Klein. For some, it was a great idea to put money in everyones pockets. But people looked at the issues on Alberta, and felt that the money could have been used to help out the province.
He was loved by some, hated by others. That will never change. He is currently suffering from COPD and dementia.
Perhaps the question isn’t if King Ralph deserves the Order of Canada. That will always be controversial and there will be many more controversies on who gets the award.
The question I wonder is if Ralph had to do it again, would he? That will say more about his legacy then any Order can.