Ralph Klein was elected leader of the Progressive Conservative Party on December 5, 1992 and was sworn in as Alberta's 12th Premier on December 16 of that year. Several months later, in June 1993, Albertans gave his party a resounding victory in the provincial general election. In March 1997, Albertans returned Mr. Klein and his government to office for a second term with an increased majority .
That majority became even larger in March 2001, when the Progressive Conservative Party, led by Premier Klein, won 74 of the 83 seats in the Legislature. This is the second-largest majority government in the almost 100-year history of Alberta.
As Premier, and now into his third term, Mr. Klein has listened to Albertans by revamping and opening up the government's decision-making process, balancing the budget, and paying down the debt. He continues to listen to Albertans by developing a climate for creating the strongest economy, the lowest taxes, and the highest quality of life in Canada.
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. He was re-elected in 1983 and 1986. Mr. Klein's major accomplishments include 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.
Over the years, Mr. Klein has received a number of honours and awards including the Order of St. John in 1986. In 1988, he received the Alberta Achievement Award, the Lion’s Club Medal of Distinction for Service to Humanity, and was inducted into the Olympic Order. 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. In 1998, Premier Klein was distinguished with an Honourary Bachelor of Applied Technology Degree from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT). In June 2000, the Premier became an honourary degree recipient at Olds College, receiving the Agriculture Technology and Entrepreneurship Applied Degree.
Mr. Klein lives in southwest Calgary with his wife, Colleen.