Being part of political history comes at a price: $1,400 at auction, to be exact.
That's how much was raised yesterday on eBay Inc. for an Alberta Liberal Party health policy booklet that Progressive Conservative Premier Ralph Klein tossed at a 17-year-old legislative page.
"It was on a whim," said successful bidder Mike Pereira of Montreal. "The item was a part of Canadian history, not the same calibre as the Trudeau 'fuddle-duddle' episode, but interesting none the less."
Logging the winning bid came as a surprise to Mr. Pereira, who thought he was outbid on Sunday, but the higher offer was later retracted.
"It's the most unusual thing I've had to sell over the years, and certainly was entertaining," said John McEwen, who is a volunteer with the Alberta Liberals when he's not selling items on the Internet auction site. "I do believe that it is an important piece of Canadiana, certainly of Alberta history," he said, referring to the item as the "straw that broke the camel's back" of the career of the country's longest-serving premier.
In March, Mr. Klein, 63, hurled the booklet at the page during Question Period and yelled, "I don't need this crap."
He later re-enacted the episode for reporters and apologized for the outburst, which he blamed on frustration over the health-care debate.
But before the month was out, his party overwhelmingly turned its back on the Premier, giving his leadership just 55 per cent support.
The weak endorsement forced Mr. Klein to prepare to step down long before his planned retirement in October of 2007. He said he will issue his resignation letter to the party in September.
The auction, which started with an opening bid of $10, attracted more than a dozen interested buyers and 63 bids.
The item was listed under the heading: "Ralph Klein, Premier of Alberta, throws book hits page! Tantrum in the legislature causes embarrassment." Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft autographed the book with the caption, "Policy on the fly."
A spokesman from Mr. Klein's office declined comment on the sale.
Mr. Pereira is pleased the money is going to be donated to the Edmonton Youth Emergency Shelter Society and doesn't regret his impulse buy.