By Letter to the Editor on July 15, 2020.
The UCP government and our premier are intent on Alberta withdrawing from the Canada Pension Plan. This follows the release of the Fair Deal Panel report which echoes exactly what Jason Kenney wanted to hear prior to him creating the panel.
The same Fair Deal Panel report cited a telephone poll of 1,000 Albertans and 58 per cent of respondents wanted to stay with the CPP. It is clear to me that ideology is trumping common sense and public opinion.
CPP is a Canadian success story and has provided Albertans with a safe and secure pension plan for over 50 years. It is actuarially sound and will continue to provide much needed retirement funds to Albertans for decades to come. So it if ain’t broke, why are we “fixing it”?
One need only look at the recent experience of AIMCo – a made-in-Alberta pension plan that manages pension monies for Alberta civil servants, police officers and judges (and soon teachers). This pension fund recently “vapourized” $2.2 billion, employing an investment strategy that led to huge losses. For me, it is better to be diversified across the wealth of a country than that of a single province.
As Alberta’s budget deficit climbs to an estimated $20 billion this year, Alberta is not well placed to absorb the additional cost of administering a made-in-Alberta pension plan. While this proposed ideological move may play well to the “More Alberta, Less Ottawa” constituency, it fundamentally represents a threat to the financial security of Alberta retirees now and in the future.
One might argue what’s the harm in putting the question of withdrawing from CPP to all Albertans by way of a referendum? The answer of course is that politics, not economics, is driving the recommendation in the first place. Anti-Ottawa sentiments whipped up by the UCP in the course of a referendum may serve Jason Kenney’s short-term political goals but it jeopardizes Albertans’ long-term interests.
As somebody who has contributed to the CPP since my first pay cheque decades ago, I am not willing to risk my future pension so that Jason Kenney can check off a box on his ideological to-do list.
Scott Charlton Paul