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Alberta Premier Rachel Notley (File)

Dean Bennett/The Canadian Press

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said Tuesday Conservative Leader Stephen Harper's suggestion the new Alberta NDP government is to blame for the province's recession is "make believe."

Ms. Notley said in an interview that the province's fiscal problems have more to do with global forces and the policies of the previous Progressive Conservative government.

"Alberta is facing some economic challenges because the price of oil has dropped 60 per cent in the last several months and because the previous administration, most of whom were colleagues and friends of Mr. Harper, didn't diversify the economy and/or wean us off a total reliance on oil revenue -- which is unmatched by any other jurisdiction in the country," Ms. Notley said.

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"So yes, we have challenges, but to suggest they are our fault is make believe."

The Alberta Premier was responding to comments Mr. Harper made at a campaign stop in Vancouver on Tuesday, when he suggested Alberta's economy had gotten worse since the NDP's landslide victory in May.

"We know why there's a recession. It's not because the [federal] government ran a $2-billion surplus. There's a recession because oil prices have fallen by half," Mr. Harper said.

"And the recession has been made worse because the NDP government came in and followed up by raising taxes on everybody."

The Alberta NDP have increased corporate taxes and rates for high income earners in response to lower government revenues from a sharp decline in the price of oil in the past year. Ms. Notley's government is currently considering carbon-pricing proposals, would could include joining the cap-and-trade system with Ontario and Quebec, or instituting a B.C.-style carbon tax.

With Files From The Canadian Press

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