October 29th, 2020

UCP poised to loot Albertans’ pension plans?


By Letter to the Editor on December 5, 2019.

It’s worrying when AIMCo appears as a front-page story on The Herald (Nov. 15: “Split with CPP not about efficiency: ex-CEO”), and the story’s title says it all. AIMCo manages most of the investments of most public-sector pension plans in the province, but when the Kenney government began clamouring for having AIMCo take charge of Alberta’s share of CPP assets, and then forced the responsibly managed teachers’ pension plan to have their assets managed by AIMCo, the writing on the wall became manifestly apparent, and has populated several social media feeds recently.

The cause for concern is easy to see: in recent years, investment funds around the world have begun divesting themselves from fossil-fuel holdings, with the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (the Norway “sovereign fund” modelled after the Lougheed Heritage Fund from decades ago) earlier this year dumping investments in firms exploring for oil and gas (The Guardian, May 8). More recently came word that Sweden’s central bank was dumping Alberta government bonds from its holdings (JWN Energy, Nov. 18).

I can only imagine the fevered thinking that must be coming out of the UCP braintrust over these developments, and it’s easy to see what might be coming from the Kenney government. The current legislation overseeing AIMCo allows the Kenney cabinet to reach into AIMCo and interfere with its investment decision-making (and the makeup of its board of directors) and the recently introduced Bill 22 allows the cabinet to limit the proportion of pension investments outside the scope of cabinet meddling.

In short, Kenney’s UCP government seems to be setting the stage for looting pension plans to invest in instruments of its choice (can you say “oil and gas”?), and perhaps even force pension plans to buy Alberta government bonds when such investments might be contrary to sound pension planning. And if Kenney’s UCP government also grabs Albertans’ CPP share of pension monies, it won’t be just public-sector plans that are looted, it’ll be everybody’s pensions being grabbed.

The worst part of all of this, of course, is that pension monies, whether public sector or CPP, aren’t Alberta government monies. They’re the monies we’ve been socking away for decades to provide for ourselves in our senior years.

Odd, isn’t it, that MLA Neudorf in his SACPA address (Lethbridge Herald, Nov. 15, p. A3), didn’t seem to mention this to the assembled audience in defending the UCP-engineered austerity crisis?

Don’t loot our pensions. We’ll notice. And remember.

David Kaminski

Lethbridge

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GHG

Your pension paranoia is unfounded.

phlushie

@ GHG. The why have a clause in Bill22 that allows the Government to extract 10% of the Pension Fund? Things are not done without the realityto implement them, in other words, these causes were instituted for a government “NEED” not want. It was not that long ago that the Government hadtostop depositing Pension funds into General Revnue because of UNFUNDED liability and Bill22 is a complete reversalof this so when the smoke clears so will our pensions, unless TAXES ar raised to cover the LIABILTY.

phlushie

Unfortunatley, the role of our MLA”s has changed drastically. In a democracy our MLA”s would go to the lLegislature and speak to what our needs are. Now our MLA”S come home from the Legislature and tells us what we are going to get but never tells us the true facts or costs of what has been done TO us. This is not Democracy!!!!

meisplayfull2

Just an average citizen but my guess is that it would years and years of negotiation to figure out the details of Alberta splitting from the CPP. Past present and future liabilities each may contains hundreds of details that would need to be worked out. I also disappointed in this writer, a university professor who is basically paid through public funds, that he would be pissed that a pension fund would buy Alberta bonds, this speaks greatly that he understands that this province is in a huge financial mess and yes it is a very bad place to live with no future hope. SACPA is about one hour so ya, not all subjects important to all people can be addressed in that limited time frame , nothing really odd about that. CPP investments are world wide but still contain many oil and gas, actually Canadian Natural Resources is the second largest equity investment based on value of holding
http://www.cppib.com/documents/2033/Canadian-Public-Equity-Holdings-Mar2019-EN.htm

John Clark

AIMCO was in charge of the heritage Trust fund when Prentice was in and he continued the Klein initiative of freezing the Heritage at 5% profits taking all above into General Revenues. The final result was some 760 billion dollars siphoned off most of which ended up in the US Gulf.

Your pension funds are at risk again. AIMCo is not arm’s length away from the Conservative Government.

Fedup Conservative

John Clark is right. But I’m sure these seniors who are dumb enough to allow it to happen don’t care what it will do to their fellow seniors, as long as it doesn’t effect them.As we know the dumping of investments in Alberta all started when Kenney destroyed the Carbon Tax. The world knows we have got to do something about our pollution , as our oil executives know we must. They were the ones who wanted the Carbon Tax put in place in the first place.