United Conservative Party Leader and Premier Danielle Smith celebrates her win in a byelection in Medicine Hat, Alta., Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Deputy Prime Minister says there will be disagreements, but she can work with Smith

Canada’s deputy prime minister says she is looking forward to working with Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, even though the provincial politician has taken a combative tone toward the federal government.

Smith has sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as one of her first acts as a member of the legislative assembly following a byelection win Tuesday night in Brooks-Medicine Hat.

The two-page letter, which was posted on social media, calls on the federal government to to consider the financial difficulties faced by Canadian families — including the elimination of the federal carbon tax, or price on pollution.

Chrystia Freeland, who is in Calgary meeting with business and union leaders, says she’s certain Smith’s government and the federal government will disagree on a lot of issues.

But she says there are also issues they do agree on — including affordability for Albertans.

Freeland, who is also finance minister, says the federal price on pollution is revenue-neutral, which means it is returned to consumers through rebates.

Smith is reconvening the legislature on Nov. 29 and has promised an ambitious agenda that includes help for Albertans dealing with sharp hikes in gasoline and electricity costs.

She has earlier said she would bring in an Alberta sovereignty act as one of her first orders of business in the legislature.

Smith has also promised to reorganize Alberta Health Services by mid-January, increasing the number of surgical procedures while adding more front-line staff to hospitals.

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