ALBERTA

Joe Ceci Fires Back After Stephen Harper's Latest Criticism Of Alberta NDP

09/17/2015 12:11 EDT | Updated 09/17/2016 05:12 EDT
Amber Bracken/The Canadian Press

Alberta's finance minister is returning fire after the latest criticism of his government by Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.

"Yesterday, one of the candidates in the current federal election, Stephen Harper, made misleading and inaccurate comments about the government of Alberta," Joe Ceci said in a statement Wednesday, a day after Harper accused the province's NDP government of making the recession worse.

"We know why there is a recession," Harper said Tuesday while campaigning in British Columbia on his way to Alberta for a rally and Thursday's leaders' debate on the economy.

"It's not because the government ran a $2-billion surplus," Harper said. "There's a recession because oil prices have fallen by half, and the recession has been made worse because the NDP government came in and followed up by raising taxes on everybody."

Ceci took issue with that assertion.

"Alberta has a significant tax advantage over all other provinces, and our new tax rates are now comparable to those in all other Canadian provinces," the finance minister said in his statement.

"What has been unhelpful to the overall Canadian economy is the economic record of the current Conservative government," Ceci added. "The current government in Ottawa has the worst job creation record of any federal government since World War II. It ran straight deficits for almost a decade. It added $150 billion to the national debt."

It's not the first time Harper has engaged in a war of words with provincial leaders.

In recent months, the Conservative leader has also exchanged barbs with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

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