Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Hey Ralph Smell The Coffee

In Alberta it is very bad to be spoken of in the same breathe as Jean Chretien. Very bad indeed. Just ask Paul Martin......And it is reoccuring more frequently......Ralph and Jean, two who took too long to say goodbye........

Like Jean Chretien, Ralph Klein can't see that times have changed

Major tactical errors have touched our previously Teflon premier

Sheila Pratt, The Edmonton Journal

Published: Sunday, March 26, 2006

So how did Ralph Klein, for years the leader who could do no wrong, get himself into such a mess this week?

Mr. Populist Premier, just "Ralph" to most Albertans, the mastermind of massive Conservative majorities for a decade, suddenly finds his grip is slipping. One cabinet minister, Lyle Oberg, openly says it's time Klein is gone and another, Ed Stelmach steps down. With party rank and file torn in their loyalties, the top brass worry Klein may take the party down with him.

It seemed to happen so fast, but signs have been there for awhile.

Who could forget that great moment after the 2001 election when an ecstatic, yes, gloating Klein grinned into the cameras "Welcome to Ralph's world!" He'd crushed the opposition to nine seats and took back much of Edmonton. He had the world in his hands.

That was the zenith. The cult of Klein soon began to fray at the edges and it was evident after the 2004 election,which laid the groundwork for today's mess

A new fear factor: Speaking up to Ralph

Globe and Mail, Canada
By Deborah Yedlin.

CALGARY — Lyle Oberg has been a hot topic in Calgary's business community since he broke ranks with Alberta Premier Ralph Klein and dared to voice what many in this province have been thinking for at least the past 12 months.

One oil patch industry insider went as far as saying "people were very happy" that someone finally had the gumption to challenge Mr. Klein, even if it has cost Mr. Oberg a run at the top job in provincial politics.

Many business leaders in both Edmonton and Calgary have been equally reticent to confront him. They too have been nattering for months that it's time for the Premier to go but because the oil patch depends on the government for favourable rulings on everything from royalty rates to approvals for new projects, the silence has been deafening.

Now, Mr. Oberg has spoken up and will likely pay the ultimate political price. With luck, his comments will resonate with delegates when they walk into the voting booth this weekend and anonymously cast their ballots during Mr. Klein's leadership review.

Mr. Klein has said he's willing to accept a 70-per-cent approval rating. He'd do better to think of two Jeans: Mr. Béliveau -- who retired after helping the Montreal Canadiens to win 10 Stanley Cups -- or Mr. Chrétien, who will go down in Canadian history books as a leader who held on to power at a huge cost to the country and his party.

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