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Alberta premier talks book-balancing, says Feds should 'stay in their lane'



Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is adamant about keeping Alberta on track with its long-term goals, but she's not shy about pointing fingers at what she sees as roadblocks along the way. In her recent conversation with BNN Bloomberg’s Amanda Lang, she didn't mince words when it came to her frustrations with the federal government, particularly regarding environmental policies.


Smith commended some collaborative efforts with Ottawa but took issue with what she sees as overreach, particularly in environmental matters. She singled out Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault's policies, such as proposed emissions caps and plans for a net-zero electrical grid, as examples of federal intrusion into Alberta's affairs. According to Smith, such measures hinder national unity and the country's development.


While she finds common ground with other cabinet members, such as François-Philippe Champagne, Smith remains staunchly opposed to what she views as policies aiming to phase out fossil fuels. She maintains that the federal government lacks the constitutional authority for such drastic measures.


Smith acknowledges the importance of reducing emissions but argues for a more realistic timeline. While aiming for net-zero emissions by 2050, she stresses the need for a gradual approach, citing the complexity of the transition and the importance of maintaining energy reliability and affordability.


On the economic front, Smith has ambitious plans for Alberta's financial stability. One of her key objectives is achieving a provincial net debt of zero while balancing budgets. However, she faces challenges, including lower-than-expected revenues from the oil and gas sector, prompting delays in promised income tax cuts.


Despite these setbacks, Smith remains committed to responsible fiscal management, challenging her ministers to find budget savings to deliver on promised tax cuts without resorting to deficit spending. She emphasizes the need for a measured approach, recognizing the limitations of immediate action.


Reviving Alberta's Heritage Savings Trust Fund is another priority for Smith. Established in 1976 to invest a portion of resource revenues for future generations, the fund has seen its growth stunted by successive governments withdrawing funds for immediate needs. Smith's commitment to preserving investment income within the fund aims to restore its original vision and ensure sustainable growth for the province.


Looking ahead, Smith sees potential for Alberta's economy to diversify and thrive. By attracting diversified business investment and supporting supply chains, she believes the province can continue to grow revenues and foster economic resilience.


In summary, Premier Smith is resolute in her vision for Alberta's future, advocating for responsible governance, economic growth, and environmental stewardship. While facing challenges from both federal policies and economic realities, she remains steadfast in her commitment to advancing the interests of Albertans.


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