July 17th, 2024

Government’s online pension survey prompts concerns

By Lethbridge Herald on November 1, 2023.


I recently took the Alberta government’s online pension survey. Below are some of the concerns I have with the survey: 

My first and most serious concern relates to the survey’s overall tone. Many of the questions contain the phrase “Assuming an APP is established,” and then proceed to solicit views on how such a plan should be structured. This is shamelessly misleading and was obviously meant to inflate the level of support for the plan. 

The survey should have asked a simple question: Are you in favour of an APP or not? For a more nuanced response that basic question could have been framed as a Likert-type statement. I’m not sure which is worse, that the survey is so unmistakably and transparently biased, or that Smith and company are so unsophisticated they weren’t able to better mask their intentions.

Secondly, the preamble describes how the information collected will be used and specifies the statutory provisions under which personal information is collected. 

This is as one would expect. But the preamble fails to fully inform potential participants of our rights as participants. For instance, while participants can withdraw from the survey at any time simply by closing the browser, we should be told if the information given to that point will have been captured, and if so, participants must be given right to deny use of that information if that is their wish.

Third, the survey’s first page contains four questions collecting basic demographic and locational information. These are standard questions and while I had no issue answering them, I discovered I was not able to proceed to the next page unless I did. 

To require any given question on a survey to be answered is a clear a violation of a widely understood best management practice in survey research. 

Simply put, survey participants should not be required to answer any question they do not wish to answer. Moreover, it is unacceptable that in order to share one’s views on this important political question with the government, one is required to give up personal information. 

Finally, I completed the survey on my iPad but after that was able to log into the survey on my iPhone and then on my computer. I could have completed the survey numerous times, but thought my time was better spent composing this letter. Self-selected samples are problematic enough, but the lack of controls on the number of times this survey can be completed will render its results worthless.

The Smith government is clearly being manipulative and untrustworthy in this matter. Can we afford to trust them with our CPP?

Tom Johnston


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So the NDP wants your name, address etc. No thanks. The issue is at the moment the dippers and you are being duped. This APP may very well be a red herring, however as you are all on the curb yelling liar, things will be done by the government that will actually be good for the province and you won’t notice. Focus your attention on Trudeau dividing the country and Singh propping him up. That isn’t democracy. Having a vote on a referendum on any issue is. Miss that class??


Miss my previous post? A non-binding referendum is not democracy. It is an expanded opinion poll. And it’s not even that if the question is unclear.

No, bucky, the APP circus is just another UCP boondoggle. One more in what looks to be a long four years of them.


If it is as you suggest, a red herring, it’s turning out to be a very expensive one. And as for adhering to democratic principles, please explain why then candidate Smith and her party didn’t make the proposed AAP, and other recommendations laid out in the Firewall Letter, campaign issues?

Ben Matlock

Rather than throwing out vacuous accusations and engaging in name calling and whataboutism, why don’t you try to make a coherent argument?

I’m sure those who you claim have been duped, apparently for no other reason than they express concerns that you don’t appear to share, would like to know how you arrived at that conclusion.

Fedup Conservative

He likely isn’t smart enough to do that. He has the Reformers leading him around by the nose and doing his thinking for him and as my senior friends say he a senior and should be a lot smarter, but isn’t.


Oh, ” boo-who ” Tom, poor thing you….subjected to such a tyrical/tragic survey…. who forced you to this obviously perverse and intrusive survey? One that you apparently were compelled to endure on your three electronic devices (phone/tablet/computer). Tom, when in future, you are faced with “in your mind” problematic surveys, just say “No”.

Last edited 8 months ago by HaroldP
Ben Matlock

I guess addressing the substance to the letter writer’s criticisms in an adult way, as opposed to engaging in child-like mockery, is in the too-hard basket?


This is why Harold was such a FAIL at local politics.

Mrs. Kidd (she/her)

HaroldP, my wife and I discussed this, and we agreed that when we read posts like this, we both recall a quote from the Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher, Marcus Aurelius: “It takes strength to be kind, it is not a weakness.” He regarded the capacity to display kindness as a sign of manliness (the Romans weren’t into gender-neutral language). So in the spirit of Aurelius, there is no problem with taking issue with a person’s point of view, but you don’t need to demean yourself with this sort of post. We know you can do better.

John P Nightingale

Poorly written and poorly presented – I mean the survey and the usual stuff from HP.

Southern Albertan

I did both, the UCP and NDP surveys re: the proposed APP. For the UCP one, I typed in my opposition to APP in the comment sections below the questions. The NDP one was very straightforward, either for, or against. For me, against.