Alberta Premier Danielle Smith says it’s time for the federal government to secure another mandate. 

With a federal election looming, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is using Alberta as a punching bag to attempt to win votes in Eastern Canada, Smith told Toronto Sun columnist Brian Lilley on the Full Comment podcast. 

“It’s the same old story that happens over and over again,” she said. “Then, let’s just do it. Let’s just have an election so that this can be resolved one way or another. 

The premier said Alberta’s relationship with the feds will move into a “different path” if the Trudeau Liberals lose, but perhaps there will be a “mature professional relationship again” if they win. 

“But fighting this kind of campaign battle when we’re trying to get things done, and trying to behave in a collaborative and cooperative way, it’s not helpful.” 

A federal election could be devastating for the Trudeau Liberals. 

In early February, an Abacus Data poll found that the Conservatives lead by 19 points over the Liberals. Nearly seven in 10 Canadians believe Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should resign in 2024, before the next scheduled federal election in 2025, according to a December survey by Ipsos. 

Smith has long said that “cooperative federalism” has broken down, especially on environment issues with federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault at the helm. Most recently, Guilbeault said Ottawa won’t be giving municipalities funding for roads because it encourages use of cars when cities should be fighting climate change — a comment he backtracked on following backlash. 

“I’m just not seeing that the federal government is coming to the table in good faith that way,” Smith said.

The premier’s comments came after Trudeau’s recent trip to Edmonton, in which he didn’t give the premier so much as a “courtesy call” that he would be coming. Smith said Trudeau has recently had joint press conferences with premiers B.C., Ontario, and Manitoba. 

“So you can see that he is treating Alberta differently and there’s no reason for it.” 

The premier also accused Trudeau of trying to get people “angry and worked up” over her recent gender policies.

Last month, Smith announced that top and bottom gender reassignment surgeries will be banned for children aged 17 and under in Alberta. She also said that puberty blockers and hormone therapies for gender reassignment or affirmation will be strictly prohibited for minors aged 15 and under, with exceptions granted to those already undergoing treatment.

Smith said she believes her policy has been met with widespread support because it’s so reasonable. She said she’s met with many transgender people over the years and understands there’s a gap in medical care for those who have transitioned and long-term support for those for the lifetime impact of those who underwent hormone treatment. 

“I think it’s very important for us to not be closed-minded, and to be aware that there are changing political practices and we have to be prepared to respond to that,” she told Lilley. “So, I don’t accept what the prime minister is saying.” 


  • Rachel Emmanuel

    Rachel is a seasoned political reporter who’s covered government institutions from a variety of levels. A Carleton University journalism graduate, she was a multimedia reporter for three local Niagara newspapers. Her work has been published in the Toronto Star. Rachel was the inaugural recipient of the Political Matters internship, placing her at The Globe and Mail’s parliamentary bureau. She spent three years covering the federal government for iPolitics. Rachel is the Alberta correspondent for True North based in Edmonton.