INNISFAIL – Natalie Klein has thrown in the towel.
The 43-year-old local barbershop owner has decided to withdraw her town councillor nomination for the Oct. 18 general municipal election.
The declining state of her current physical health demands it.
“It’s been a terrible year for me, opening a new business and going through what I went through is challenging to say the least but everybody knows I am a fighter,” said Klein, who co-owns the Bladez 2 Fadez Barbershop on 53rd Street close to Innisfail town hall. “I hate to quit anything, so I rather just withdraw because I know I can’t commit to that with all my pending health issues now.
“I think in the next four years when the election comes back my intention will be to run again.”
Klein is the second declared Innisfail councillor candidate in August to withdraw a nomination from the upcoming election. Earlier in August, local realtor Lindsey Forget announced she was withdrawing.
There is no doubt 2021 has been a tumultuous and challenging year for Klein who moved to town from Red Deer in 2020. Klein was embroiled in controversy in January when she openly defied provincial COVID restrictions for small businesses by opening her barber shop.
She was served with two COVID-related violation tickets on Jan. 13; one for removing a notice posted for public information and another for contravening an order of the chief medical officer of health. Her court trial date, which has been repeatedly changed, is now set for Sept. 13 in Red Deer provincial court.
And then the state of her health collapsed in early summer.
Klein said she had a “mini-stroke” on July 3. She said blood clots developed following her first COVID-19 vaccination shot, and 24 hours later she was taken to the Innisfail Medical Centre. She was then transported to Calgary’s Foothills Medical Centre where she spent two days and was monitored by the stroke team. Right now, she is under doctor’s orders not to take any type of shot, including a second COVID vaccination, as she is experiencing heart issues.
“Since the stroke, four days after, I almost went into cardiac arrest at my house, and then again two weeks after that at the barbershop my employee had to call an ambulance,” she said, adding she has hired a hairdresser and receptionist to look after the business.
“Because of this medical stuff that has been happening I haven’t been able to be at work for a better part of a month,” she said.
Klein added she is now under the care and supervision of a cardiologist to deal with her heart issues.
“I have to focus on my health right now and improving that. I have an eight-year-old son that I have to parent and guide through this school year and a business that I still have to recover,” she said. “It breaks my heart to withdraw. I spent weeks soul-searching on what the best decision was for me currently with an election coming up so quickly. It has been really hard back and forth in my mind.
“You haven’t heard the last of me.”