Former Premier of Alberta Ralph Klein Dies at Age 70
[caption id="attachment_64272" align="aligncenter" width="189"] Former Premier of Alberta Ralph Klein Dies at Age 70[/caption]Former Premier of Alberta Ralph Klein Dies at Age 70
Ralph Klein, former conservative premier of Alberta, has passed away at age 70. He had been suffering from declining health and dementia since 2011.
He served as the Premier of Alberta for 14 years from 1992 to 2006.
Klein’s wife, Colleen, thanked the public for their support.
“The nature of his illness made it very difficult to express his thoughts these past years which I know was a real challenge for him, but Ralph very much knew and appreciated the well wishes and warm messages he received,” she said.
Klein had no prior political success prior to being elected premier; he was actually a popular TV commentator and radio host. During his tenure in political office, he became known as "King" Ralph because of his ability to win elections. When he took office, Alberta was experiencing deficits. He quickly made good on his promise to shrink the size of government by cutting spending.
His bold reforms became known as the "Klein Revolution". Alberta's money debt problems were substantial, and it wasn't until his final two years in office that the province was finally operating with a surplus.
It is reported that his office was able to pay off $23 billion of public debt prior administrations had accumulated. Part of his legacy was to build up Alberta's oil and natural gas industries. His legacy is far reaching. For example, Americans are familiar with the Keystone Pipeline, and the controversy President Obama faces in approving it or rejecting it.
The Keystone Pipeline comes from Alberta.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper called Klein a “unique and significant leader.”
“While Ralph’s beliefs about the role of government and fiscal responsibility were once considered radical, it is perhaps his greatest legacy that these ideas are now widely embraced across the political spectrum,” Harper said in a statement.
He is survived by his wife Colleen, three children and two step-children.
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Ralph Klein, former Alberta premier, dies at 70