Rachel Notley won't stand for being dissed by Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.
The new Alberta Premier upbraided Mr. Harper on Thursday for comments he made on the federal campaign trail calling her provincial NDP government "a disaster."
Ms. Notley told reporters that such a swipe at her government is a swipe at the Albertans who elected it to a majority, ending four decades of Tory rule. She attributed the remarks to "a candidate in the current federal election."
With her response, Ms. Notley continues a long tradition of Alberta premiers squaring off against Ottawa over slights, real or perceived.
"For the record, I completely reject the Conservative campaign's comments about the decisions of the people of Alberta, that they made last spring," she said in Edmonton. "Whether their federal cousins like it or not, the people of Alberta decided they had enough of the Conservative government in this province, and they decided to elect a new government."
In a campaign stop in Montreal on Monday, Mr. Harper said the left-leaning Alberta New Democrats were incapable of producing a budget and they had been rejected by the population. He made the comments with the federal NDP under Leader Thomas Mulcair making major strides in opinion polls, leading in some. A recent Globe and Mail/Nanos Research poll found that 47 per cent of a sample of 1,000 Canadians said a Mulcair victory would have a "positive" or "somewhat positive" impact on the economy, well ahead of Mr. Harper's 31.7-per-cent positive result.
The Alberta NDP are going about fulfilling their campaign promises on the economy, including scrapping a health-care levy brought in by the provincial Tories just before the provincial vote, raising corporate taxes and shifting to a progressive income-tax system under which the wealthy pay "a little bit more," Ms. Notley said. Her government plans to table its first budget after the Oct. 19 federal election amid a severe downturn in the energy sector, the province's dominant industry.
"We don't have a sales tax in Alberta, so Alberta continues to have by far the lowest overall provincial taxes in Canada," she said, adding that the provinces and federal government need to stay on good terms so they can work together on important issues.
Ms. Notley says she likes and supports Mr. Mulcair, and is encouraged by a number of contested federal ridings in Alberta in the wake of her party's provincial victory. But she doesn't plan to actively campaign on his behalf.
Her intentions are in sharp contrast to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, no stranger to tensions with the federal Conservatives. Ms. Wynne has promised to do everything she can to defeat Mr. Harper and elect Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
"I have a pretty major day job, and in my view that day job should be focused on doing the work that the people of Alberta elected me to do, so that's what I'm going to focus on," Ms. Notley said. "I believe that in focusing on that, I have to do what I can to maintain a co-operative and collaborative relationship with my colleagues federally in order to be productive."
Also on Thursday, the Premier announced a by-election for the provincial riding of Calgary-Foothills on Sept. 3. It is the riding vacated by former Progressive Conservative Premier Jim Prentice after his party's drubbing in the May election.