POLITICS

Quotes from some dignitaries at former Alberta premier Ralph Klein's memorial

04/05/2013 05:30 EDT | Updated 06/05/2013 05:12 EDT
CALGARY -

Many politicians, past and present, attended a memorial for former Alberta premier Ralph Klein in Calgary on Friday. Here's what some of them had to say:

"He was a good premier, and when we were in tough corners, he was sensible and he was responsible and he was agreeable, too. That's why I came to pay my respects. He was a good premier for his province and a very good Canadian. I had fun working with him and he was fun to be with." — former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien

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"I got to know Mr. Klein several years ago when we were both ministers of the environment together and became friends. He was candid and spontaneous and very much Alberta. If there's anyone who represented Alberta well and the people of Alberta, Mr. Klein did." — former Quebec Liberal premier and one-time federal Conservative leader Jean Charest

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"It never pays to be too cocky. It never pays to be arrogant. It pays to speak honestly and directly to the people and, man, I wish I had a quarter of his capacity to do so." — former Saskatchewan NDP premier Roy Romanow on Klein's advice after a golf game

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"Klein was almost the king of the politically incorrect statement and he was able to say some politically incorrect things — some controversial — but it didn't impact his ability to get re-elected, maintain the popularity and support of the people." — Alberta Wildrose Opposition Leader Danielle Smith

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"He was truly a man of the people, a man people were more comfortable calling 'Ralph' than 'premier.' I found that interesting. I found it difficult to call him Ralph. He was 'boss' or 'premier.'" — Shirley McClellan, Klein cabinet minister and his one-time deputy premier

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"He was unpredictable. He was irreverent. He was irascible and he was inimitable. One of a kind, kind of guy ... Nobody gave a better quote than Ralph Klein." — former Ontario Liberal premier Dalton McGinty

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"Premier Klein was a very strong leader who made decisions that he believed were in the best interest for the long term of the province. And I think they proved to be that. He made decisions for a time in Alberta that were fundamental to the future of what Alberta looked like." — Alberta Progressive Conservative Premier Alison Redford

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"He taught us that we as Calgarians — as Albertans — are great and can be great, that this city is a great city in the world and this city is a great city for the world." — Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi

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"Ralph's attention span in boring meetings wasn't long. 'Cover for me, Mike,' he'd say as he slipped out of the meeting for a smoke. 'You know what I want to say,'" — Former Ontario Conservative premier Mike Harris

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"Spontaneity is something that elected people worry about because it can get you in trouble. It did from time to time with Ralph. All of us have our faults, but Ralph never tried to hide his, unlike the rest of us. He could say things that mere mortals maybe couldn't say." — Klein's finance minister Stockwell Day, current federal Conservative cabinet minister