It’s been five months since the last sitting of the Alberta legislature --  but the combative tone returned today in the first question period of the fall session.

Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith peppered Premier Alison Redford with questions about health-care wait times, how the province handled contracts after the floods and government debt.

“In Medicine Hat earlier this month, the premier said this about debt: ‘It’s not debt, it’s hope,’” Smith said to laughter from her caucus.

“If debt is hope, when we can we, once again, expect to be ‘hope-free’?”

“There are incredibly important issues that we need to talk about in this House, Mr. Speaker, and it’s a shame that the Opposition won’t take them seriously,” Redford replied.

“I stand by what I said.”

Redford said that taking on debt was unavoidable, as the province was facing an infrastructure deficit, meaning schools and hospitals had to be built.

Flood prevention legislation on the way 

Both Redford and Smith spoke about the southern Alberta floods, which devastated parts of the province in June. 

"If anything matched the fury of the waters, it was the courage and the compassion of Albertans themselves," Redford told the legislature.

"The people of this province responded in incredible fashion by opening their homes, their hearts and their wallets to each other." 

"There's no doubt that serious questions remain about how the flood response was handled and what we can do better in the future," Smith said. "But now is not the time for that. Now is the time for recognition and a time for mourning."

The government has introduced a bill containing measures to prevent the next flood from causing so much devastation.