With Ralph Kleins passing, many have tried to find a constant theme in his political life. The late premier was, to be sure, a populist. What else explains his reputation as a big spender when mayor of Calgary and then his switch to a prudent premier?
The explanation is not complicated: once the bills come due, even a populist politician will change course when the public sours on policy gimmicks, when they demand a government focus on the basics. That includes not bankrupting public finances or assuming taxpayers can be increasingly gouged to pay for political vote buying.