King Ralph’s graceless coronation

By Lawrence Bailey

Drunk on power and high on his horse, Ralph Klein blissfully strode to the podium. As he spoke, all class and dignity people may have accorded him vanished in a flurry of slurs and insults.

The now infamous "welcome to Ralph’s world" kicked off a 20-minute ramble that was at times incoherent and, between his giggles and far too pregnant pauses, cutting, cruel and painfully unprofessional. Upon hearing of his triumph and of the thunderous collapse of the Liberals, Klein’s arrogance and abhorrence for common courtesy took centre stage, granting all Albertans a glimpse of the man he truly is.

"Ours is a legacy so great that not even the Liberals, God forbid, could screw it up."

This grace he displayed in triumph is truly an inspiration to us all. His glib remarks in light of his near unanimous re-ascension to the grand ole throne in Edmonton form the script by which we will judge his legacy, doubling as the prism through which his true colours will be seen by all.

"I think it’s fair game to take shots at the Liberals whether it’s an election or not," Klein said in reply to a question about of his remarks from CBC Calgary’s Kathleen Petty.

Sadly, this attitude of boastful and brazen contempt for the defeated is not limited to the dim-witted high school dropout to whom we’ve entrusted our future. A head policy advisor to Klein and a member of the U of C Board of Governors, Rod Love showed us that arrogance and an appalling lack of couth are rampant in the upper echelons of our provincial government with his remarks about the Tory successes in Edmonton.

"We knew that eventually Edmonton would come around," Love smugly remarked. "It was only a matter of time."

By comparison, Liberal leader Nancy MacBeth (who I am not the least bit fond of) and New Democratic chief Raj Pannu were infinitely more respectable that evening. In particular MacBeth, who watched her party go up in flames and knew her political career was soon to follow, was graceful in defeat and acknowledged the complete rejection and utter annihilation of her party with dignity. The always-likeable Pannu was ecstatic with the minimal support shown for his party and delivered a stirring speech to his supporters that prompted one CBC analyst to state that "anyone tuning in to the coverage for (his speech) would have thought the NDP had upset the Conservatives."

This was not the case as the Conservatives won their largest mandate ever and garnered over 60 per cent of the popular vote. In victory, Klein attacked the Liberals for their negative approach while lauding his own party for the honest, grassroots, policy-based campaign they ran. He then spit on his opponents and kicked them while they were down. Ladies and gentlemen, our Premier is pure class.

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