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Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith waves to the crowd in High River, Alberta, Monday, April, 23, 2012.JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Alberta's Wildrose leader says Premier Alison Redford does not have the mandate to take the province back into debt and needs to hold a referendum on it.

Danielle Smith says there was no mention in the spring budget or in the April election campaign to have the government go into debt to pay for roads, schools and hospitals.

Ms. Smith calls it a major repudiation of a party platform that saw Alberta's $23-billion net-debt wiped out under former Progressive Conservative premier Ralph Klein.

On the weekend, Ms. Redford and Finance Minister Doug Horner said the province will take on debt to pay for the projects while making sure the government stays in the black on day-to-day spending.

Mr. Horner says it's a fiscally sound approach and a necessary one, given population growth.

Derek Fildebrandt of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says if Ms. Redford had campaigned on this platform in the spring general election, she would have lost.