Alberta Premier Ralph Klein has inserted himself in the Iraq War debate by writing a letter of support to U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci.

And this had Deputy Prime Minister John Manley figuratively scratching his head.

"It's peculiar that a premier is pre-occupied with foreign affairs issues," he said during a CBC Television interview.

The prime minister speaks for Canada, and the foreign minister speaks for the government on foreign policy issues, he said.

"For a premier to get himself involved in this is surprising to say the least."

"We recognize and appreciate the leadership role the U.S. has taken in the war on terrorism," Klein said at his annual Premier's Dinner in Calgary Friday night.

Only about half the crowd applauded his statement.

Klein, who wants to have a motion endorsing his views passed by the Alberta legislature, said he understands that foreign policy is a federal matter.

But he also said he has a right to his opinion.

The Prime Minister's Office issued a tart statement that this wouldn't be the first time Klein's values didn't reflect the majority view of Canadian opinion.