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Smith urged to work with elected Edmontonians after promising 'council' of defeated UCP candidates

Alberta's re-elected premier says she plans to form a "council" of UCP candidates who lost in Monday's election to advise her on Edmonton issues, something her opponent made fun of Wednesday.

Danielle Smith won 49 of 87 seats in the vote, but Kaycee Madu, her only incumbent in the capital city, was defeated by nearly 4,000 votes.

Speaking to 630 CHED on Tuesday, Smith said she plans to listen to the "fantastic candidates" who lost, because Edmonton "is vitally important to the overall success of Alberta."

"We have a lot of investment that we need to do and support to give to the city in dealing with their public disorder and mental health and addictions crisis, so I will have a good, strong team of advisors so nothing is missed in Edmonton," Smith said.

The NDP won all 20 seats in Edmonton and flipped some in Calgary to finish with 38, pending recounts.

Leader Rachel Notley's Wednesday Twitter post regarding Smith's "council" was met with a "Zingggg!" reply from Calgary-Bhullar-McCall MLA Irfan Sabir.

"For the record, the Alberta NDP has a 20-member 'Council of the Elected' ready and happy to advise on the priorities of Albertans living here in Edmonton," Notley wrote.

Neither Smith nor Notley held a press conference in the two days following the election.

On Wednesday, a pair of Edmonton city councillors also urged Smith to work with people who were elected by Edmontonians.

"We're ready and willing partners to do that, but we need to make sure that the premier wants to engage those voices as well," said Andrew Knack from Ward Nakota Isga.

"And she did talk about that in her victory speech about wanting to be premier for all Albertans, not just those that voted for her."

Knack suggested monthly meetings between government MLAs, NDP MLAs and city councillors.

"We as an Edmonton City Council would love to regularly be engaging with this provincial government to try to tackle some of the common issues that we've been raising," he said.

Ward O-day’min Councillor Anne Stevenson acknowledged that candidates who door knocked in the city likely have good insights on what matters to Edmontonians but she also encouraged Smith to reach beyond the UCP.

"I think what is clear coming out of this election is that there is division and if we continue to only listen to certain voices that will only increase division," Stevenson told CTV News Edmonton.

"I think the more we can hear from diverse perspectives, the more likely we are to bridge those gaps and be able to come together as a community."

The relationship between the premier's office and some on Edmonton city council has been tense at times.

Last December, Smith's government created a new 12-person task force to combat addictions, crime and homelessness in Edmonton, which Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said was "not approved by city council."

He has regularly criticized the province, accusing the government of not doing enough to address the root causes of crime in the city, although Sohi said he had a "very positive" meeting with the premier in March.

Last month, Sohi said he wanted to talk about "fair treatment" for Edmonton after Smith committed $330 million for a new NHL arena project in Calgary, something the premier said she was willing to do.

A statement from the premier's office Wednesday afternoon didn't mention Smith's "council" promise, but said elected representatives in Edmonton are "always welcome to provide feedback to the government.”

"The premier understands the importance of including views and issues of all Albertans – including residents in Edmonton. As always, she will continue to work with Edmonton City Council to continue to address local priorities," Rebecca Polak wrote.

Official results of the election are expected on June 8. Top Stories

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