Klein tells Stelmach to spend

Alberta debt buster says he'd throw lots of cash at the economy

No one’s still quite sure how the Alberta government will react to the recession, but former premier Ralph Klein knows what he’d do: SPEND. That might come as a surprise, what with Klein’s reputation as a no-nonsense slayer of debt–the guy who brought in Alberta’s no-deficit law. But it’s easy to forget that Klein was mayor of Calgary during that city’s darkest days, in the 1980s, when low oil prices, high interest rates and the National Energy Program conspired to whack Alberta badly. Klein spent then, wildly, notes Calgary Herald columnist Don Braid today. “The city built up $1.6 billion in debt and Klein took a lot of heat for that; but to this day he’s sure he did the right thing.” Has he told current Premier Ed Stelmach he should spend? “He doesn’t seek my advice on much,” Klein tells Braid. “Neither do I ask.”

Calgary Herald