By Letter to the Editor on December 23, 2019.
I am writing on behalf of the thousands of Alberta teachers and other public employees who find themselves at the mercy of our notoriously unscrupulous provincial premier. What Mr. Kenney has recently done by ramrodding Bill 22 through the legislature threatens the very livelihood of every pensioner living on a fixed budget.
Mr. Kenney seems to be working on the main premise of his predecessor Ralph Klein: that for some unimaginable reason Albertans will benefit by allowing more pigs access to the trough. We have all learned over the years that privatizing provincial services has ended up being detrimental to the middle class while allowing the wealthy private sectors of the economy to have additional opportunities to plunder the marketplace.
Despite proof that trade unions and professional associations do a more efficient job of managing their own pension funds, Mr. Kenney and his UCP cronies have found it expedient to establish the politically associated AIMCo fund to “oversee” the pensions. The threat to our pensions is implicit in that somehow his “progressive conservative” government once again intends to take from the poor to give to the rich. The advantages of such a questionable program do not seem evident to the primary parties involved: i.e. the pensioners themselves.
In effect, Mr. Kenney has “legislated” an agency to invest our pensions as they see fit. Unfortunately for us, this agency has had a rather dismal return on their investments in the past, when you consider that they managed to turn a more than nine per cent interest in 2017 into a slightly less than three per cent in 2018. This performance does not exactly inspire confidence.
If Albertans are expressing concern over the heavy-handed methods that Mr. Kenney has been using to govern so soon into his elected term, they have every right to do so. Many of us still remember the painful five per cent rollback in salary that we took when King Ralph decided to eliminate the deficit back in 1995. Mr. Kenney is obviously cut from the same cloth!