Ralph Klein made a special appearance during the Grand Opening of Ralph Klein Park and Environmental Education and Ethics Centre.
Credits: DARREN MAKOWICHUK/QMI AGENCY
The Order of Canada's selection committee should be hanging its head in shame today for waiting so long to bestow former Alberta premier Ralph Klein with this country's highest civilian honour.
This is not one of those "better late than never" situations because, if Ralph Klein were a Liberal, the Order of Canada rosette would have been on his lapel when his mind was still keen.
But King Ralph was a proud Conservative, and so he got snubbed.
If we are wrong, tell us how.
Suffering from advanced dementia and COPD, Klein will obviously not attend the private ceremony today at Calgary's City Hall when he finally receives the honour that lesser mortals have been receiving for years while his accomplishments went ignored.
We hope his wife, Colleen, who will attend the ceremony with family and close friends, will remind the presenter that Ralph -- everyone called him Ralph -- would have loved to have been there himself if he knew what a great man he once was, let alone who he is now.
It's something Ralph would do in his prime.
He would call them out.
He would slam their bias and political bigotry.
Here is a proud defender of a united Canada, now 69, who served as Calgary's populist mayor for three consecutive terms, and then led Alberta's Progressive Conservative Party to four straight majorities -- four! -- before stepping down in 2006.
Here, undeniably, is a true Canadian legend.
And yet those who choose the "deserving" wait until now to give him the Order of Canada. They wait until his overall health has him deteriorating more rapidly every day, wait until his dementia is so profound that he has not a single cognitive thought and then, as if expecting praise, they finally, reluctantly, set aside their obvious bias to put his name forward.
Must we wait, God forbid, for Don Cherry to suffer a debilitating stroke before he too is awarded the Order of Canada?
There is no greater public defender of our flag, or greater supporter of our brave armed forces, than Don Cherry.
Yet he, too, gets snubbed because he's a conservative, not a liberal.
It's the only reason possible.