Toronto Sun: Alberta Misses Ralph Klein

The economy hurts and hurts bad.

Many among us feel part fear and part loathing, not liking where we are and often wondering where we’re headed.

Thoughts go back to more than a generation ago when the financial ditch was deeper, the oil price lower, the odds of getting to the light at the end of the tunnel longer.

For some with those thoughts come memories of the days of former premier Ralph Klein.

And what do we see? Oh, you can point out the mistakes along the way.

But no one can dispute his government balanced the province’s books, rid the province of debt, lowered taxes and got out of the business of pouring taxpayer dollars into white elephant schemes.

No one can challenge the resolve of his government in tackling the financial mess in the early days, while admitting mistakes and reversing course when Albertans made their voices heard.

No one can argue Ralph didn’t connect with people.

He could and he did and he sold his simple, direct plan, and when people did not like something he did you would hear them say: “At least he’s doing what he said he’d do.”

Then there was the Alberta Advantage, a slogan cooked up in a bar over a bottle or two of Chianti and not by a smarty-pants ad agency cashing a big, fat government cheque.

Warts and all, Alberta had an advantage.