March 29, 2013 6:24 pm

Ralph Klein’s most memorable quotes

EDMONTON – Some of former Alberta premier Ralph Klein’s most colourful quotes — and the reactions they elicited:

“There’s an old saying in politics: anyone dumb enough to run for the job probably is too stupid to have it.” — Klein on being premier.

“It’s not physically bloody, but it’s bloody.” — Klein on politics.

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“This all came about through the discovery of a single, isolated case of mad cow disease in one Alberta cow on May 20th. The farmer — I think he was a Louisiana fish farmer who knew nothing about cattle ranching. I guess any self-respecting rancher would have shot, shovelled and shut up, but he didn’t do that.” — Klein recalls how the mad cow crisis started and rancher Marwyn Peaster’s role. The premier was speaking at the Western Governors Association meeting in Big Sky, Mont. September 2004.

“The premier meant that in an ironic or almost a sarcastic way.” — Klein spokesman Gordon Turtle.

“You would have to eat 10 billion meals of brains, spinal cords, ganglia, eyeballs and tonsils.” — Klein speaking in Montreal in January 2005 on the risk of humans contracting mad cow disease.

“I would offer $5 billion to have a Japanese person to come over here and eat nothing but Alberta beef for a year. And if he gets mad cow disease, I would be glad to give him $5 billion — make it $10 billion — Canadian.” — Klein speaking after Japan closed its borders to Canadian beef.

“I’m going to try and stay clean as long as I can, but if from time to time I have a glass of wine, don’t make a mountain out of a molehill … I’m telling you, it feels good to get up without a hangover.” — Klein pledging to limit his drinking after a late-night visit to a homeless shelter where he argued with and threw money at the residents. December 2011.

“It made me strive to succeed,” — Mark Shea the homeless man who blew the whistle on Klein and went on to turn his life around. August 2011.

“You are welcome to stay here for a couple of weeks at government expense, but if you can’t make it after that particular time then don’t go out and rob our banks and our convenience stores and mug our senior citizens and snatch purses. Get the hell out of town.” — Klein as mayor of Calgary addressing his “eastern creeps and bums” comments in a CBC interview. January 1982.

“I wasn’t surprised she crossed over. I don’t think she ever did have a Conservative bone in her body. Well, except for one.” — Klein referring to Conservative-turned-Liberal MP Belinda Stronach, who dated Conservative Peter MacKay. November 2006.

“We want to attract many more women to participate in politics. We only have about 20 per cent now. I talk to many women across the country and they say, ‘You know what? I don’t know that I really want to participate if it’s going to be so rough and nasty.’” — Stronach’s reaction.

“I’m making no apologies … I thought it was a funny line.” — Klein’s retort.

“I’m no doctor, but I think that Mr. McGuinty’s got a case of premature speculation.” — Klein commenting on Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s pledge to oppose any Alberta-style health reforms that could lead to two-tiered care. March 2006.

“I ought not to have thrown the Liberal health policy at our page Jennifer, and to Jennifer, I apologize most sincerely … And I also apologize for referring to the document as crap, Mr. Speaker.” — Klein says he’s sorry in the Alberta legislature after throwing a Liberal health policy booklet and narrowly missing a legislature page. March 2006.

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