Stelmach responds to Klein opinion on level of support

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach is speaking out after Ralph Klein said he should resign if he gets less than 70 per cent support at the Tory leadership review next month.

PINCHER CREEK — Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach is speaking out after Ralph Klein said he should resign if he gets less than 70 per cent support at the Tory leadership review next month.

Stelmach, who is attending a three-day cabinet retreat in Pincher Creek, said he’s concentrating on the provincial budget and running the province.

“The party will have their say come November, but as I said I’m not going to be distracted, we’re sticking to our plan,” he said.

Klein made the statement Tuesday in a brief email exchange with The Canadian Press.

“I would advise he step down if he does not reach 70 per cent,” wrote Klein, who declined further comment when asked later for a follow-up interview.

Klein resigned as premier in 2006 after he received only 55 per cent support in the leadership review that is required by Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives party after every general election.

Stelmach could not be reached Tuesday, but on Wednesday praised Klein.

“Ralph’s a tremendous friend and if it wasn’t for Ralph I wouldn’t have served in four different ministerial capacities or been able to build the strength to be premier of Alberta.”

Stelmach also rejected rumours the Tories could lose members of the legislature to the Wildrose Alliance Party, which won the Calgary-Glenmore byelection earlier this month.

The Tory candidate, a popular city council veteran, finished third behind the Liberal. The Tories had held the seat for 40 years.

The Progressive Conservative leadership review is scheduled for Nov. 7 in Red Deer.

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