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Canadian Notable Persons Collection 1999-2000

Klein, Hon. Ralph - Premier of Alberta

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Date: Wednesday, 14 September 2016, at 9:52 p.m.

Klein, Hon. Ralph
Premier of Alberta

Ralph Klein was elected leader of the Progressive Conservative Party on December 5, 1992 in the first one member/one vote leadership race held in Alberta. He was sworn in as Alberta's 12th Premier on December 16 of that year.

Several months later, Albertans gave his party a resounding victory in the Provincial general election of June 15, 1993.

As Premier, Mr. Klein has revamped and opened up the Government's decision-making process, downsized Government, balanced the budget, begun the orderly paydown of debt, and spearheaded a drive to develop the climate for private sector job creation.

Ralph Philip Klein was born in Calgary November 1, 1942. Educated in Calgary, he interrupted his high school studies to enlist in the Canadian Air Force. Upon leaving the service, Mr. Klein completed his high school education, eventually becoming principal of the Calgary Business College.

From 1963 to 1969 Mr. Klein pursued a public relations career with the Alberta Division of the Red Cross and the United Way of Calgary and District.

For the next 11 years, he was the Senior Civic Affairs reporter with CFCN Television and Radio.

On October 15, 1980 Ralph Klein was elected Calgary's 32nd Mayor, one of only two mayors born in the city. Re-elected in 1983 and 1986 with among the largest pluralities in the city's history, Mr. Klein's major accomplishments included the 1988 Olympic Winter Games, Calgary's Light Rail Transit System and protection of the Bow River.

Ralph Klein was elected MLA for Calgary-Elbow March 20, 1989 and on April 14, 1989 was appointed Minister of Environment. In that portfolio, Mr. Klein oversaw the development of the Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, acknowledged as one of the most progressive environmental laws in Canada.

Since becoming Premier in 1992, Mr. Klein has also served as Minister of Federal and Intergovernmental Affairs (1993) and Minister of Economic Development and Tourism (1994).

Over the years, Mr. Klein has received a number of honours and awards. In 1986 he received the Order of St. John. In 1988 he was inducted into the Olympic Order, received the Alberta Achievement Award, and received the Lion's Club Medal of Distinction for Service to Humanity. In 1989 he was selected as Calgarian of the Decade by the Calgary Herald. In 1992, he received a Governor General's Award and in 1993 he became the second white person in history to be adopted into the Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation and was given the name Otskoipiiksi (Bluebird). In 1994 Premier Klein was named Man of the Year by the International Young Entrepreneurs Organization over Boris Yeltsin, also nominated that year; was awarded the Colin M. Brown Freedom Medal by the National Citizens' Coalition; and was named B'nai B'rith's Citizen of the Year. In 1995 he was named Calgary's Outstanding Citizen of the Century, and the first recipient of the Fraser Institute's International Fiscal Performance Award. In 1996, the Blood Tribe made Ralph Klein an honorary chief in the Kainai Chieftainship.

Mr. Klein lives in southwest Calgary with his wife, Colleen.

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