Making Medicare:  The History of Health Care in Canada, 1914-2007 Back to Timeline Back to Timeline
Key Players: 1989–2007 Key Players: 1978-1988 Key Players: 1989–2007

Ralph Klein

Born in Calgary in 1942, Ralph Philip Klein is a broadcaster and politician. He attended Calgary Business College before becoming a civic affairs reporter for CFCN Radio and Television from 1969 to 1980. Klein was made Mayor of Calgary in 1980 and was re-elected in 1983 and 1986. He became a Conservative member of the Alberta legislature in 1989 and entered Premier Don Getty’s Cabinet as Minister of the Environment. In December 1992, Klein won the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party and became Premier of Alberta. His party won the June 1993 provincial election. In office, Klein privatized and downsized as many government functions as he could to eliminate Alberta’s budget deficit and provincial debt. Klein’s financial strategy proved successful and his government began running budget surpluses, which helped him win re-election in 1997, 2001 and 2004. However, his reduction of government services and spending hurt Alberta’s educational and health care systems, leading to strikes and protests. Klein’s popularity with his party diminished in the aftermath of a 2002 budget crisis triggered by tax cuts, decreases in revenue and introduction of new taxes, especially a health care premium. His sustained opposition to federal efforts to maintain national health standards aroused great public concern in Alberta and the rest of Canada. Klein resigned in September 2006.

Back to Timeline 1914 - 2007
    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010