09/22/2015 03:58 EDT | Updated 09/22/2015 04:00 EDT

Rachel Notley Refuses To 'Engage In Politics' With Harper

Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

Premier Rachel Notley says that comments by Stephen Harper slamming the Alberta NDP are simply "politics and not a lot more."

The Conservative leader, who is running for re-election, has blamed Notley's party for the current recession and said that its economic record is a risk Canada can't afford.

In an interview on the CBC's "The Current" on Monday, Notley said that Harper is playing politics and she will not bite.

"My focus is on working on behalf of Albertans to deal with the fact that we have a very serious economic slowdown in the province. It is not my intention at this point to engage in politics with one of the candidates for prime minister. I think that what we just heard is politics and not a lot more than that," the premier told host Anna Maria Tremonti.

"My hope is that whoever is elected as prime minister will understand that we had a very thorough discussion in the spring with Albertans about how to move forward through this economic downturn."

Albertans have chosen a new path in electing the provincial NDP, Notley added.

"Alberta has been changing a lot more than people understood, certainly more than the Conservative parties understood, and certainly more than people outside of Alberta understood. People have a new set of values."

Criticism of economic record

At last week's leaders debate, Harper attacked the NDP on their economic record.

"[The NDP] left Ontario in a massive deficit, they left British Columbia in a massive deficit, Manitoba is in a massive deficit, Alberta's deficit has gotten larger since they took office. The former Saskatchewan auditor general says they left Saskatchewan in a deficit because of tax hikes," Harper said.

In light of Harper's criticism, Notley was also asked to defend her government's plans for its first budget, due in October.

Notley said that Harper's assumptions about her party's role in Alberta's downturn are all wrong. She blamed the former Progressive Conservative government for both the economic and environment situation in the province.

Energy East would create jobs

Notley remains opposed to both the Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipelines, while Tremonti noted that Harper had called Keystone a "no brainer."

Notley said that she would rather support the Energy East pipeline as it would create Canadian, not American, jobs.

"Mr. Mulcair identified in the debate last week that the Canadian government's own documents suggested that would result in about 40,000 jobs moving down to the Gulf Coast, and I'm not really in the business of creating jobs in the Gulf Coast. I care about creating jobs for Albertans," Notley argued.

She added that "We need to ensure that we do it in a way that we maintain, and if possible build, the economic viability of more upgrading and refining here in Alberta."

Listen to the full CBC interview:

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