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Klein's tantrum in legislature bizarre: Says he's frustrated with health care, but the public consultation he's planning is a joke (Edmonton Journal)

PUBLICATION: DATE: EDITION: SECTION: PAGE: COLUMN: BYLINE: SOURCE: WORD COUNT:

Edmonton Journal 2006.03.02 Final Opinion A14 Graham Thomson Graham Thomson The Edmonton Journal 523

There was no camera recording the moment −− and for that Premier Ralph Klein should be forever grateful. The only video we have is the look of shock and then outrage on the faces of the Liberal opposition members watching the moment unfold over on the government's side of the assembly. What so astonished them was what Klein did during question period when the Liberals sent over a 78−page copy of their health−care policy booklet via one of the legislature's teenage pages. When the page handed Klein the booklet, he looked at it, realized what it was and then angrily whipped it at the page, saying, "I don't need this crap." Imagine the picture −− the premier of Alberta throwing a temper tantrum in the face of a 17−year−old girl. Now imagine that picture on the front page of newspapers across the country. Klein's approval rating would have dropped so fast you'd be able to hear it whistle on its way down. Question period is televised −− but there is no picture of Klein's outburst because the legislature−controlled camera was focused on Liberal Leader Kevin Taft asking Klein a question. What you see are Liberals Rick Miller and Harry Chase, one row behind Taft, react with astonishment, point at Klein and then look towards Speaker Ken Kowalski for help. After question period was over, Klein rose in the assembly and apologized to the page, Jennifer Huygen. "I ought not to have thrown the Liberal health policy at our page," said Klein. "To Jennifer, I apologize most sincerely. I also apologize for referring to the document as crap." Then he apologized again at his daily news conference with reporters.

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