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Alberta Premier Danielle Smith wants Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to find a new environment minister


More pressing for Alberta Premier Danielle Smith than the timing of the next federal election is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finding a new federal environment minister.

A recent survey by Nanos Research states 46 per cent of respondents want the next election to happen as soon as possible, or in 2024.

Smith was asked about the survey — and whether she believes Albertans want to head to the polls sooner than the currently scheduled October 2025 — in an interview on CTV’s Your Morning on Friday.

In response, Smith didn’t specify about her hopes for the next election, but said her province is looking for “an immediate change in the Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault.”

“So they can start there and then we'll see when we go to an election,” she said.

Smith said she has “a couple of good relationships with some federal ministers” who she believes are “real champions of our province,” listing Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne as examples of members of Trudeau’s cabinet who have worked with her on recent projects.

“So I would say that there are some ministers that we can work with, but we can't work with Steven Guilbeault,” Smith added.

The premier also repeated that she believes Guilbeault is “acting completely outside … of the Constitution,” “acting illegally,” and that he “has defiance and disrespect for the provinces,” accusations she’s levelled before in reference to the federal government’s recently announced oil and gas sector emissions cap.

Guilbeault, meanwhile, told CTV’s Question Period host Vassy Kapelos last month the federal government has “a shot” at meeting its targets if it stays on its current path.

“We feel that we're on very solid, legal and constitutional grounds,” Guilbeault said about the oil and gas sector emissions cap. “Alberta and Saskatchewan challenge just about everything we've done when it comes to fighting climate change in the courts. We can anticipate that this will be no exception.”

Guilbeault also told the Senate in November that he has no plans to resign even if there are future carve-outs to the federal government’s carbon pricing plan, after he told The Canadian Press there would be no more exemptions to the scheme as long as he’s environment minister.

In response to a question during the Your Morning interview about her stance on working with the federal government on protecting the environment and clean energy more broadly, Smith said Alberta has its own plans and that Ottawa’s targets are unfeasible.

Alberta and the federal government have repeatedly butted heads over the Liberal's deadline to achieve a net-zero power grid by 2035, which Smith says will “not only stymie our growth, but it's unachievable.”

“So we're just asking for a reasonable approach. We think we can get to carbon neutrality by 2050,” she said. “We think we're being responsible and ensuring reliability, affordability, as well as achieving our targets.”

Smith also discussed her proposal to pull Alberta from the Canada Pension Plan — an idea that has been staunchly opposed by the federal government and other premiers — and on her proposed reforms to Alberta Health Services, to split the province’s health-care delivery into four different agencies.

You can watch Smith's full interview detailing her 2024 priorities on CTV’s Your Morning in the video player at the top of this article.

With files from’s Senior Digital Parliamentary Reporter Rachel Aiello


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