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Smith says she expects Poilievre to work with provinces to give cities housing cash


Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said Friday she has no problem with Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre’s proposal to give municipalities a building bonus to incentivize housing construction — so long as he goes through her provincial government.

Smith gave a speech to conservatives at an annual networking conference in Ottawa, days after tabling a bill that seeks to block Alberta cities from negotiating deals directly with the federal government.

She said it was prompted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government announcing funding deals with individual cities like Calgary and Edmonton under its Housing Accelerator Fund.

Speaking to reporters after her speech at the Canada Strong and Free Network gathering on Friday, she suggested the same rule will apply if Conservatives form the next government

“The policy that we have applies to no matter who is in the prime minister’s chair,” Smith said.

“We expect that they’re going to respect provincial jurisdiction and work with us.”

Smith routinely accuses Trudeau of disrespecting provincial jurisdiction, especially when it comes to advancing policies to fight climate change.

But she said the new housing deals were the final straw.

Poilievre has proposed his own suite of measures to speed up housing construction, including offering bonuses to municipalities that build more housing — and threatening to withhold money from those that don’t.

“I would say that as long as he’s working through the provincial government, we’re not going to have any problem with that,” Smith said Friday.

She added that she believes it is “totally inefficient” for a federal government to strike specific deals with different municipalities.

“That is the very definition of red tape,” the premier said.

Poilievre’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.