For two and a half decades, Ralph Klein has been unbeatable in Alberta. He won a huge upset to become Mayor of Calgary in 1980 and has won seven consecutive elections since then. A new Ipsos-Reid poll suggests that Klein has the support of 63% of Albertans, a figure that would win his Conservatives another massive majority.
A native of Calgary, Klein is most famous for his 'everyman' personality -- an ability to connect with the common man. It is this ability which has led to the citizens of Alberta overlooking the ills of his leadership -- both personal and policy wise -- and embrace a politician whom they 'like'. Klein has embraced this ability and actively attempted to capitalize on it. His slogan when first running for Premier in 1993 was "He listens, he cares" and it 1997 he continued the theme with "Promises made, promises kept". In 2001, his confidence was on full display during his acceptance speech when he proclaimed "Welcome to Ralph's world".
However, the fact remains that 63% of Albertans will soon elect a leader with no viable opposition. A leader who is growing increasingly anti-federalist and moves ever tantalizingly closer to two tiered health care. While the citizens of Alberta may love King Ralph, the rest of Canada ought to be scared of him.