Klein: Preferable To Trudeau
Stephen Whitworth’s editorial re: the death of Ralph Klein was a churlish swipe at a man who served his city & his province for over 25 years. Whitworth is right in noting that Klein was an imperfect human being who had prejudices and failings, but name a politician who doesn’t. I remember a PM who, as a young man during WW2, rode around Montreal wearing a Prussian uniform to protest conscription. The same fellow also famously gave people in Salmon Arm the finger, called opposition members pieces of shit and told them to eff off. I’m willing to bet even the sainted Stanley Knowles had his own moments of venality.
Whitworth complains that Klein shouldn’t have paid off Alberta’s debt but he doesn’t tell us what inspiring projects he should have concentrated on. It seems to me that paying hundreds of millions of dollars in interest year after year hurts those who have the least easily as much as everyone else, if not more.
Finally, Whitworth laments that while Klein may have been a successful politician he wasn’t a visionary. Well, I’m not a big fan of the politics of vision. I lived through the 15 years
or so when we had a visionary Prime Minister and while the premise of many of his pet projects was admirable the actual execution of the same was often flawed and any number of them (multiculturalism, young offenders act, NEP just to name a few) went sideways over time because of unforeseen and unintended consequences. In fact, Trudeau’s crowning achievement, repatriating the constitution, would have wound up as a major headache if he had been able to do it his way. Fortunately, for Canadians, two pragmatic Prairie politicians named Lougheed and Blakeney insisted on a notwithstanding clause which forestalled an open assault on everyday life by our own version of the ACLU. The exclusion of Quebec was underhanded and may even have been motivated by Trudeau’s dislike for Rene Levesque.
At the end of the day I suspect, that given the choice, Albertans and many other Canadians would choose another Ralph Klein, warts and all, over another Trudeau.
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