Friday, June 19, 2009


God help us all. He’s back. Yesterday, Ralph Klein returned to the political rostrum in Calgary where he spoke to an audience of about 150 moles, spies, geeks, James Bond and Dick Cheney wannabes, and other right-wing maniacs and pursuers of government largesse. His subject ? Get this – “his government’s experiences related to security and public safety in the weeks and months following the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.” For more on the advance hype to his speech read this bullshit:

The sponsoring organization was the Trilateral Conference, a group of delegates representing the lunatic fringe of the most conservative elements of society, top heavy with security corporations trying to get pork barrel government contracts.

In the course of his scintillating presentation of the dramatic heroics of his government in the face of code red terrorism, the ex-Premier of Alberta took the opportunity to hurl a couple of typically witless Kleinisms at federal Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff. In answer to a question from the audience about Iggy, the cerebral Klein said, “Ignatieff, I think he’s playing a game. He says all the right things, especially when he’s in Alberta and in British Columbia, he says whatever the population desires. So what I think he should do to keep his mouth shut.” He then accused Iggy of saying different things about the oilsands to Westerners, than he did to Easterners - without offering a scintilla of evidence, of course.

Ah, yes, vintage Klein to be sure - cutting, rapier-like, clever discourse – akin to some of his previous gems like “bums and creeps” from Eastern Canada. Or his view that “dinosaur farts” caused global warming. Or his prescription for dealing with mad cow disease in Alberta, when he said, “I guess any self-respecting rancher would have shot, shoveled and shut up . . . ” Needless to say, the 150 others in attendance whose organizations paid good money for them to hear this drivel, har-de-hared at his every breath and gave him much applause. An increasingly typical Calgary audience, I'm afraid. Read:

Klein however was content neither with merely talking about his bold and decisive actions in the wake of 9/11 nor trashing Iggy. The ex-Premier - who blew up hospitals and allowed his cronys to buy the land thereby vacated at cut-rate prices, who laid off teachers and nurses, and who allowed Alberta’s infrastructure to go into the tank, all in the name of an “Alberta Advantage” that Albertans have yet to see – also had some economic advice for his successor.

He criticized the steep Stelmach deficit and suggested he (Klein) would cut government services in order to deal with it if he was in Eddie’s position. How much would Klein cut? Klein had these trenchant and thoughtful comments: "You know, I'm not in politics any longer so I don't know what I would cut.” "Ten per cent or 5% ... across the board. Everything."

He bragged about his own record as Premier of cutting government employment by a third, rolling back government salaries, and getting “rid of our pension plans,” - no doubt forgetting the $700,000 severance allowance he pocketed after the Tories gave him the boot. Naturally, he took credit for his phony legislation – now repealed – making it illegal for Alberta to incur deficits.
For an enhanced and electrifying record of his piffle, read:

Fortunately, his successor Premier Stelmach - no prize or mental giant himself - shows no signs of listening to the failed ex-Premier's economic advice.
Klein’s appearance was a scary and nightmarish back to the future moment to be sure. Hopefully for Albertans, his reemergence onto the public stage is merely an anomaly and not a sign of things to come.

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