May 29th, 2024

Alberta seniors will pay for UCP subterfuge of their pensons


By Lethbridge Herald on April 17, 2024.

DAVID B. CARPENTER

On December 7 of 2023, I fell on the city sidewalk, fractured my femur in a comminuted fashion, could not move and had three lovely neighbourhood ladies and my wife hoist me up and call an ambulance. 

I met an exceptionally attentive ER doc as well as really great nursing staff and the coolest orthopaedic surgeon in maybe the world. 

While I would not recommend the hospital for anyone overly concerned with personal modesty, I enjoyed a one-week all-expense-paid vacay at CRH, walkers, crutches, canes, new meds, a super physiotherapist lady at the university and, to this point, rehab for more than three months. I additionally was able to explore worlds of pain previously undiscovered.

As I was somewhat pre-occupied with the bones in my hip, I only recently found out that also on December 7 of 2023 the Government of Alberta submitted for Royal Assent the Alberta Pension Protection Act, the title for which sounded like a wonderful thing for Alberta seniors.

I’m not suggesting the two are related but my natural curiosity spurred me to try to ascertain if Premier Smith had changed course and attempted to do something ethical on the APP file. 

I can now advise that the pain of the hip fracture was far less than the financial pain that will be experienced by Alberta seniors who rely on the subterfuge masquerading as her UCP government protecting their pensions.

Usually I spend up to half a day almost every day studying economics essays (which could explain why we don’t get invited to dinner parties any more). But given the extra time on my hands during recovery I diverted my reading to the proclamations and pronouncements of my provincial government.

I went on the Alberta.ca webpage and found under the new and proposed legislation overview tab the assertion “The Alberta Pension Protection Act (formerly Bill 2) protects the pensions and benefits Albertans have earned and guarantees they are the decision-makers in pursuing a provincial pension plan.”

 Guarantees. Wow, that shows respect for the people whose pensions were at risk through the provincial confiscation plan.

Under the Key Changes tab is a further promise which states “The Alberta Pension Protection Act guarantees Albertans must vote in favour of an APP during a referendum before the government withdraws from the Canada Pension Plan to establish an APP.”

 Wow again.

 We must vote in favour of the APP before Premier Smith proceeds to access the funds from CPP. This shows again really incredible respect for Albertans. In my view, Conservatives have always tried to be respectful, honourable, honest and truthful and I am starting to think that maybe Premier Smith’s UCP really is a Conservative party.

Many Albertans (including myself occasionally) simply rely on the government news releases like the Overview and Key Changes I just referred to. If you cannot trust your premier, who can you trust? And the guarantees and promises therein are ironclad.

But with my hip injury it is inconvenient to get up from my desk so I decided to actually analyze the legislation to see if it supported the promises and guarantees in the news releases. 

It does not. The promises and guarantees of Premier Smith are not supported by her legislation. 

Following is a summary of the relevant sections of the Alberta Pension Protection Act (from now on I will call it “the Act”) as well as the inevitable conclusion.

Summary of the Act:Section 2(1) of the Alberta Pension Protection Act, under the heading of “Referendum required for provincial pension plan,”indicates that:

“The Lieutenant Governor in Council (Provincial Cabinet) may order the holding of a referendum with respect to the establishment and operation of a provincial pension plan for Albertans”.

While Premier Smith is not required to hold a referendum under this clause, she has the authority to do so.

Section 2(2) of the Act gives firm direction stating that:

“The Government of Alberta shall not, unless a referendum is first ordered under subsection (1) and held in accordance with this Act with respect to the establishment and operation of a provincial pension plan,

(a) Assume the obligations and liabilities described in paragraph 3(1)(b )of the Canada Pension Plan (Canada), or

(b) Accept any payment or transfer or receive any assets pursuant to paragraph 113(1)(b) of the Canada Pension Plan (Canada).”

Premier Smith must first order a referendum and hold a vote before proceeding with her plan. Section 2(3) of the Act contains Premier Smith’s “weasel clause.” It states that “an order under subsection (1) shall specify:

(c) Whether the results of the referendum are to be binding.”

Conclusion:

Regardless of how Albertans cast their ballot, if Premier Smith specifies that the vote is not to be binding, she is authorized by the Act to proceed with her confiscation plan to withdraw your money from the Canada Pension Plan. You are not guaranteed to be the decision maker over your own pension and the statement that Albertans must vote in favour of the APP before Premier Smith proceeds to access the funds from the CPP is not true.

Premier Smith may object to my use of the word “confiscation”. She may point out that her government has promised that the entire asset amount transferred from the CPP to Alberta would only be used to set up and operate an APP. She may try to emphasize that her government has guaranteed that contribution rates under an APP would be the same or lower than the rates for the CPP and that an APP would provide the same or better benefits to Albertans.

My response to those comments is that her guarantees and promises that Albertans must vote in favour of an APP before she proceeds to access their savings from the CPP are, um, factually incorrect. And that raises a question which is as obvious as a hanging chad in a mechanical voting machine.

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Guy Lethbridge

Thanks Dave for the thoughtful analysis.

Oh, and .

“try to ascertain if Premier Smith had changed course and attempted to do something ethical”

Is my new favourite quote!

Southern Albertan

The Smith/Parker UCP/TBA absolutely, cannot, be trusted.
What they say, and what they do, or will do, have proven to be different things. Questions are: How much more damage will they do in the next three years? What will it take for Alberta folks to say, enough?!

buckwheat

Good enough for Quebec, good enough for us.

Southern Albertan

Quebec never had/joined, the CPP, so they have not opted out. Quebec folks pay more into their pension plan than the rest of us do/did for CPP. That’s why there’s the saying about strength in numbers, i.e. the more folks contributing, the better. I am one of many Albertans who wish to stay with the CPP. Besides, the other provinces would have a say about Alberta opting out, which would not be helpful for an APP, and Alberta would certainly not be getting the percentage share that the UCP/TBA would expect. Money always, talks.

buckwheat

Semantics. Bet you didn’t like Carpenter until he switched sides

Alberta’s health authority has a new top boss after Health Minister Sarah Hoffman named a former mayor of Lethbridge as the new official administrator.

SophieR

Don’t forget those dang eco-socialist nimby elitist Castle skiers pumping water to make snow that melts and runs back to the creek!

ReallyReally

Southern Alberta’s points are hardly “trivial” Buckwheat. Your trivialization of the majority of the citizens’ concern regarding this proposed pension thievery is typical of your smug and shallow assessments of any topic outside your tribal water cooler rhetoric. And once again you rely upon deflecting from the points discussed in another person’s post rather than conversing intelligently about those items. Your responses are essentially nonsensical gaslighting efforts.

HaroldP

A new political party (UCP) for Alberta, a new positive direction, finally recognition and attention from Ottawa! Go Danielle Go!

lumpy

..straight to Hell.

johnny57

You Idiot! Any chance of saying ANYTHING with a hint of intelligence?? Ok thats what I thought!

johnny57

Well she sure has a up-hill battle against her!
Been here all my life and one of the narritives that always seems to play-out is if you are running this province and you are for Alberta and Albertans and PC, then you must be immediately demonized in some way!
How dare you stick-up for Alberta Danielle! The nerve!!

SophieR

From what I’ve gleaned from family discussions is that in the past the Alberta feeling was like a young person strutting around a bit, carving out some space and getting noticed – but still a part of the (Canadian) family.

Now, you have a leader who has Alberta playing the poor victim (though actually one of the priviledged provinces) before jockeying for a bigger share of the family inheritance. And then starting a food fight at dinner.

So, ‘sticking up for Alberta’ differs if you are part of the family or if you act outside of it. I think we are better off together in the long run. This ersatz separation of Take Back Alberta and Smith’s government is childish.

Citi Zen

We’re still paying for the lack of foresight from him when he was mayor.



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