Ralph Klein Rich Vivone

king ralph aims a shot across stelmach’s bow.

My review of Rich Vivone‘s new book about former Premier Ralph Klein, Ralph Could Have Been A Superstar is in this week’s edition of SEE Magazine.

The release of Vivone’s book is perfectly timed. As provincial surpluses have turned to deficits and we are seeing some of the repercussions of negligent governance, the former Premier has once again poked his head into the political world. In what some may suspect is a coordinated assault on the current leadership of the PC Party, Klein wrote in an email to the media this week that:

“I would advise he [Stelmach] step down if he doesn’t reach 70%. [in the November PC leadership review]”

Any Premier would have a hard time facing the internal party dissent that would come from a less than 70% approval rating, but this advice would be odd if it weren’t coming from Klein. Traditionally, former Premier’s step behind the scenes. You rarely heard a peep from Don Getty and only more recently Peter Lougheed has began to offer a kind of statesmanly advice to Albertans on the future of their natural resources.

After being unceremoniously dumped in a leadership review after 25 years in politics as Mayor of Calgary, Cabinet Minister, and Premier, I would imagine that it has probably been a difficult transition for Ralph Klein to no longer be the focus of the spotlight.

He could have been a superstar…

Ralph Klein Rich Vivone

rich vivone putting klein era politics in print with a new book.

According to, former Insight Into Government* editor Rich Vivone is gearing up to release a new book of twelve essays, titled Ralph could have been a Superstar: Tales of the Klein Era.

An exert from Vivone’s website describes the book:

Rich argues that the Klein Government had everything – the political power, a popular leader, a fragmented opposition, and loads of money – to be real leaders in reforming Alberta’s political, economic, social and cultural institutions. They could have diversified the provincial economy to lessen its reliance on natural resources. They could have brought serious reforms to the money-draining health system. They could have been political and economic leaders in the country. Yet their failures far exceeded their successes.

Twelve essays in Ralph could have been a Superstar: Tales of the Klein Era deal with Ralph Klein’s rise to power, his government’s well-planned and well-executed manipulation of the mainstream media, the fear it instilled in people who dealt with government, its contradictions on issues involving children, its repeated failures to reform health care, the plight of the Liberal party, the story of Jim Dinning’s rise and failure, and an assessment of scandals and scandalous political behaviour throughout 34 years of Conservative Government. The final essay is an open letter to Premier Ed Stelmach, defining serious political challenges that face his government and the province.

I can’t wait for it to hit the shelves!

*Now InsightAlberta.