July 16th, 2024

NDP calls for full accounting of pension plan advertising campaign spending

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on September 28, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

The provincial NDP wants the UCP government to fully account for the amount it is spending on advertising to promote its campaign to support an Alberta Pension Plan.

NDP MLA for Lethbridge West Shannon Phillips said in a Zoom meeting with media at Casa on Wednesday afternoon that Albertans have made it clear they don’t want to leave the Canada Pension Plan.

The estimated price for the advertising campaign is $7.5 million but Phillips said the NDP wants a full accounting of that money.

Phillips said premier Danielle Smith has launched a full-fledged campaign to take Albertans retirement savings and use that money “as if it belongs to her.

“This campaign is the culmination of a 20-year long project she’s had to remove Alberta from the Canada Pension Plan,” said Phillips.

The NDP said Smith hid her plans during the election campaign because she knew she doesn’t have Albertans or the facts on her side or maybe even her own caucus.

“That is why she’s using a misleading report with questionable numbers to try to sell this idea. This report uses fantastical figures to sell a bogus idea that her Alberta pension plan would deliver magical benefits,” said Phillips.

The MLA said the UCP has also done “a phony survey” designed to manipulate public opinion rather than capture the views of residents. She said it doesn’t ask if Albertans support leaving the CPP, a question Phillips calls “foundational.”

Phillips added that the premier is using Albertans money to promote “this bad public policy.”

She called the campaign “Danielle Smith using your money to convince you to hand over control of your retirement savings to her.”

The Opposition wants the government to release the exact costs of the advertising campaign for the Alberta pension plan.

“How much of our money is being sunk into this project?”

She said that advertising money could be better invested in healthcare or supports for those meeting ends meet – or to address the homelessness issue which is visible at Galt Gardens across from the site of her Zoom meeting.

“We know Albertans do not support leaving the CPP,” added Phillips.

She called the CPP portable, secure, predictable and well managed and designed to be insulated against risk for the long term.

Phillips said that $7.5 million figure can necessarily be trusted “given the fact that they have been very, very happy to release a report that is riddled with fantastical figures and they do not have a good track of levelling with Albertans on this topic. So I want to see a full accounting of that.”

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