Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and members of his cabinet have been congratulating Alberta Premier Danielle Smith on her election win, saying they have “every interest to collaborate,” after she called out the federal government’s energy policies in her victory speech.
Smith and her United Conservative Party won a majority Monday night after a tight race against Rachel Notley’s NDP.
Trudeau extended his congratulations Tuesday on his way into Question Period, saying he looks forward to speaking with Smith.
“We will continue to work on growing the economy, on fighting climate change, and on supporting Albertans into the future,” he said.
Smith in her victory speech took aim at Trudeau and his government’s energy policies, calling them “harmful.”
“Hopefully the prime minister and his caucus are watching tonight,” she said. “Let me be clear this is not a road we can afford to go down.”
She added, “If he persists, he will be hurting Canadians from coast to coast, and he will strain the patience and goodwill of Albertans in an unprecedented fashion.”
Smith called on the federal government to “show it is willing to partner in good faith” to find ways to reduce emissions.
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc chalked up Smith’s criticisms of the federal government in her speech to being election night talk and suggested that her tone may change as she makes the transition from campaign rhetoric to governing.
“These are normal parts of election campaigns,” he said. “She was elected premier of an important province in our federation. I come from Atlantic Canada, and the economy of Alberta is important to the economy of the whole country.”
Smith meanwhile told CTV’s Power Play host Vassy Kapelos, in an interview airing Tuesday, she’d “love to reset” Alberta’s relationship with the federal government, to work toward more “achievable” emissions targets.
“I’d love to be able to work together on things that that we can agree on, because I don’t think the country benefits by seeing Alberta shut its economy down,” she said. “And I think that the country benefits when we do well.”
LeBlanc said he’s looking forward to meeting with Smith in Alberta in the coming weeks.
“I think she’s going to see a lot of good faith on our part,” he said.
“We have every interest to collaborate with the government of Alberta on shared priorities, on things we have in common,” he also said. “I said to her very directly that we won’t agree on everything, but let’s start by focusing on the things we agree on, and let’s see if we can work through the areas of disagreement.”
Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said Tuesday he’s “confident” the federal Liberals and Smith’s government in Alberta will be able to “work (their) differences out.”
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland also commented on the election results, saying, “The people of Alberta have spoken, and we recognize that.”
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre meanwhile congratulated Smith “on bringing home a resounding victory” in a tweet Tuesday morning.
“Last night Albertans rejected the woke NDP-Liberal coalition and instead voted to fight the carbon tax, stand up for our energy sector and unleash the full potential of Alberta’s economy,” he wrote.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also weighed in on Smith’s victory Tuesday, saying he was “disappointed” with the results, calling them “bad for Alberta,” and “bad for Canada.”
But, he added, he’s heartened that his Alberta counterparts have “changed the landscape of politics” in the province, taking it from a one-party province a decade ago to Notley and the NDP being a real contender in this race.