Edmonton

Joe Ceci vs. Stephen Harper: the war of words continues

Finance Minister Joe Ceci is firing the latest volley in the war of words between Conservative leader Stephen Harper and the Alberta NDP government
Finance Minister Joe Ceci spoke to reporters at the Alberta legislature on Wednesday to address comments made by Stephen Harper. He responded to Harper again on Friday. (CBC )

Finance Minister Joe Ceci is firing the latest volley in the war of words between Conservative leader Stephen Harper and the Alberta NDP government.

At several points during the Globe and Mail leaders' debate on Thursday, Harper blamed Alberta's faltering economy and job losses on the provincial government's decision to deal with the deficit by raising personal and corporate income tax rates.

"I know tradespeople who are now getting higher individual tax bills," he said. "We see people getting layoffs because their employers are paying higher taxes. Higher taxes are not the way you're going to move the energy sector or the Canadian economy forward."

In Cold Lake Friday for budget consultations, Ceci sent a statement to the media through the premier's press secretary refuting Harper's comments.

"Once again, I feel compelled to respond to misleading and inaccurate statements the Prime Minister has made about our government," he said.

"The fact remains that Stephen Harper has been in power for nearly a decade and his policies, including tax cuts to the largest corporations, are not working.  He staked the economic health of our country on the energy sector and we are paying the price for the lack of leadership on his part to grow and diversify our economy here now."

Ceci has spoken out about Harper's criticisms about the Alberta NDP on two earlier occasions during the federal election campaign. Ceci held a news conference on Wednesday to address statements Harper made during a campaign stop in British Columbia.

Alberta's NDP government raised corporate taxes by two percentage points on July 1, bringing the rate from 10 to 12 per cent. Alberta will move to a progressive personal tax rate starting Oct. 1.

The top tax bracket for people making more than $300,000 a year will jump from 10 to 15 per cent.

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