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Political Traction: Canada Remembers Ralph Klein

04/02/2013 02:35 EDT | Updated 06/02/2013 05:12 EDT
Jaime Watt joins CBC News Networks' Power & Politics host Evan Solomon each week to look at how issues making waves in Ottawa resonate with Canadians.

Monitoring the House of Commons' question period, mainstream media and the conversation on social media, Watt and his team at Navigator Ltd. determine which issues gained the most attention in official Ottawa, and then measure how much traction those issues managed to find with Canadians outside the nation's capital.

This week: The death of former Alberta Premier Ralph Klein gained traction beyond his home province and the nation's capital because he knew how to connect with people, Watt told Power & Politics guest host Hannah Thibedeau.

Klein led Alberta for 14 years under four consecutive majority governments. Before becoming premier, Klein got his start in politics as Calgary's mayor. The city is holding a memorial for Klein on Friday.

Last year, Calgary also held a public memorial for former premier Peter Lougheed. But unlike Lougheed, Klein's traction extended coast to coast, Watt said, and Klein's passing received twice the amount of attention compared to Lougheed.

"I think that can be explained not by their legacy, but by their ability to connect," Watt said. "Ralph was able to connect with the average Joe Canadian."

The federal budget and tensions in the Conservative backbench rounded off this week's Political Traction topics.

With the House of Commons not sitting for the next two weeks, Watt expects the Liberal leadership race will dominate the political spotlight.

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