Ralph vs. Rachel: A tale of two Alberta premiers

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Albertans elected two starkly unique premiers in the past 25 years. The first was Ralph Klein, a high-school dropout who, as premier, cut government spending, and taxes, and saw his popularity soar. Klein was a hard-drinking, reforming politician far more comfortable with blue-collar Albertans than bluebloods. He never lost an election and was known simply as “Ralph.”

Another premier, Rachel Notley, defied expectations and in 2015 broke up the 44-year Conservative government dynasty. Notley, presiding over Alberta’s first NDP government, soon wrenched the province in a radically new direction: with higher taxes, green- friendly policy, and activist government. The new premier entered office just as oil prices plunged, as did her chance at a balanced budget.

In this keynote speech, based on his new book, Ralph vs. Rachel - A tale of two Alberta premiers, Mark Milke dives into the history of both premiers and their governments. He describes how each leader entered office in similar fiscal crises and what that meant for unemployment lines, careers, and Albertans.

In a contrarian speech, Milke argues that Premier Notley was delivered a bad hand from the start and that Premier Klein saved health care and education, protected the Heritage Fund, and rescued Canada’s unemployed from coast to coast—and that few of Klein’s successes were due to luck.

Your audience will benefit from a close-up, entertaining and insightful look at two starkly different premiers, approaches and outcomes. Audience members will gain unique insight into two of the most diverse Alberta premiers in recent decades.