Tuesday, April 04, 2006

End of an era

Alberta Premier Ralph Klein issued the following statement on April 4, 2006.
"I've spent a lot of time these past few days reflecting on my future and what
would be best for the government and the province.
"Since the weekend, I've
received many expressions of support and encouragement from members of caucus.
Those kind words meant a lot to me, as has caucus' continued support through
this time. I've also received hundreds of kind messages from Albertans, and
these have touched me more than I can say.
"I can't tell you what this job
has meant to me, except to say that it has always been about the people of this
province. They are the reason I first entered politics and they're the reason
I've stayed. Having the opportunity to connect with Albertans as premier has
been a gift I will always treasure. And hearing people I've only just met - and
often people I've never met - call me "Ralph" tells me that Albertans feel that
connection too.
"Serving Albertans will remain a priority for me during the
time I have left as party leader and premier. So will working toward the
personal goals I've identified over the last few months. However, my term will
be shorter than I originally planned, given the results of the weekend's
"Last Friday, I received a show of support from party members - for
that, I'm truly grateful. However, that support was not what I had anticipated,
nor is it strong enough for me to stay on as long as I had intended. And I now
find myself in a position where even though Albertans gave our government a
majority mandate only 16 months ago, and a large percentage of Albertans
continue to support me as premier, the political realities will make it
increasingly difficult to do my job. They will only take away from what
government is trying to achieve.
"I have therefore decided that I will submit
a letter to the PC Party sometime in the month of September of this year. In
that letter, I will urge the party to convene a leadership race. The timing and
duration of that race is a matter for the party to decide. As soon as a
successor is chosen, I will resign my position as party leader and premier. I
will work with the party's new leader to facilitate a smooth transition for
"In the time between now and then, I will focus my efforts on
continuing to build this province and leaving it in the best possible shape for
our children and grandchildren. Make no mistake: for over ten years, I've had a
vision for Alberta - a vision that would create a more prosperous province, a
better quality of life, and a confidence in the future. Carrying out that vision
is where my focus is going to be throughout the rest of my term."

Monday, April 03, 2006

What Happened?

How does a Premier who received 97% on the same question 4 years ago, receive 55% this past weekend when PC Party delegates were asked: "Do you wish a Provincial Leadership election to be called?" 45.6% of the Party delegates answered yes.

Thoughts and comments from some of those who were there:

"I think the membership basically voted not to have a two-year leadership
campaign" -Lyle Oberg, MLA for Strathmore Brookes.

"I think there were a lot of individuals sending an individual message to
the premier, not realizing there are many others around them doing the same
thing, this was not orchestrated. I think a lot of people thought they were just
sending a gentle message, not realizing there were a lot of people sending the
very same message." - Thomas Lukaszuk, MLA for Edmonton-Castle Downs.

"What happened here is people still love Ralph Klein, they just said you
can't hang on for two years." - Calgary Ward 6 Alderman Craig Burrows.

"It's hurting me to find out 45 percent of delegates voted against
him...People want to change for the sake of change." -Moe Amery, MLA for

"He didn't listen to the right people. He didn't take the right approach to
fourth-term governing as a lame-duck premier. He didn't know that being elected
in late 2004 actually meant leaving in mid-2006. He figured that keeping his
word, and governing for three years before retiring with dignity was the right
thing to do. He was wrong." - Don Martin, Calgary Herlad columnist.

Everyone seems to have an opinion on this, as is their entitlement. Emotions vary from shock, to anger, to sadness, to confusion.

Feel free to add your own thoughts....