Welcome to Ralph's World: 10 of Ralph Klein's most colourful quotes
Before turning to politics, Ralph Klein was a radio and television reporter in Calgary, where he no doubt learned that good sound bites make for a good story. Over his political career, first as mayor of Calgary and then as one of Alberta’s most popular premiers, Klein made many a journalist’s job that much easier. Here are ten top quotes from more than 20 years of Klein’s career.
Land of opportunity: At a dinner on Jan. 7, 1982, Calgary Mayor Klein decried the “bums” and “a lot of creeps” from Eastern Canada that were flooding the city in search of work. In a later television interview, he denied using those words, clarifying that “the word I used was ‘kick ass’ and ‘get them out of town.’”
What bugged him: "A fine city with too many socialists and mosquitoes. At least you can spray the mosquitoes.”- Klein, then a Conservative MLA from Calgary, says of Edmonton in 1990.
The sound of a winner: "Well, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Ralph's World." – following a landslide Conservative victory in the 2001 provincial election.
Turning point: On his way home from dinner late one night in December 2001, Klein asked his driver to take him to an Edmonton homeless shelter, where it was reported he yelled at people staying there to get jobs before throwing money on the floor and leaving. At first, Klein denied accusations he was drunk, but later told a news conference of the heavy toll alcohol was taking on his health and vowed to quit drinking.
Man of science: "Dinosaur farts? I don’t know." – Klein, in 2002, on what may have caused the Ice Age.
Agripolitics: “The animal that was diseased was taken immediately out of the human food chain. If they had that tracking system relative to tracking down terrorists, I think they'd be caught a long time ago." – Klein in May 2003, arguing against claims that Canada was mishandling the mad-cow disease crisis.
Agripolitics 2: "I guess any self-respecting rancher would have shot, shovelled and shut up, but he didn't do that. Instead he took it to an abattoir and it was discovered after testing in both Winnipeg and the U.K. that this older cow had mad cow disease." – Klein, at a meeting of U.S. governors and Canadian premiers in Montana in Sept. 2003, about the discovery of mad-cow disease in Alberta.
Book Learning: In March 2006, Klein was widely criticized for throwing a book at a page during a health care debate in the legislature. When an opposition MLA asked the page to give Klein the province’s health handbook during question period, he threw it back at the page saying, “I don’t need this crap.” He later apologized to the page, and for calling the handbook “crap.”
Sexual Politics: "I wasn't surprised that she crossed over to the Liberals. I don't think she ever did have a Conservative bone in her body. Well, maybe one.” – in 2006 at a charity roast, referring to former Conservative MP Belinda Stronach crossing the floor to the Liberals.
Power and glory: "You get a lot of free dinners, but after that you get sort of tired [of being Premier], especially when you quit drinking and then it's no fun at all. I don't know why they would want to do it other than the power and the glory I guess." – at his final Premier’s Stampede Breakfast, July 2006