I see that Premier Danielle Smith in her letter has invited the PM and the CPP board to come forward with their calculation and analysis on Alberta’s share of the CPP if we leave the plan. I welcome this development. The more information the better.
The Fair Deal Panel had calculated Alberta could receive a share of the CPP roughly in the $40- billion to $70-billion range in 2020, and that number has now ballooned to $334 billion in 2023. I have questions.
Listening to the phone-in town hall this week, the LifeWorks calculation of 53 per cent of the CPP was put forward as gospel and my fear is that Albertans are being snookered. The town hall also revealed government spent $1.5 million for the LifeWorks report, $1.5 million for the listening tour and plan to spend $1 million per month of our taxes on advertising to sell us on this. The same idea they weren’t willing to campaign on.
All Albertans deserve a crystal-clear submission ahead of a referendum question. Anything less should be viewed with suspicion. Let’s see the administrative costs of setting up an Alberta pension plan as well as the real discussion on the risks and exposures of going alone. Who will manage these funds and what will the mandate be — maximizing pension returns or the Quebec model of money for economic development in the province? Answer those questions before you ask the public if they have any interest in a referendum.
If the Alberta government is not forthcoming with more details, then we are not engaging in a fulsome discussion.
Isabelle Bonneau, Calgary
How good is the CPP?
Everyone seems to agree that the CPP is one of the best government pension funds. “If it ain’t broken then don’t fix it.”
The 2022 Mercer CFA Institute Global Pension Index gives the CPP a “B” rating. So perhaps we should at least look at the Alberta pension plan information before we form an opinion.
Bill Peddlesden, Chestermere
Money could be better spent
I have lived in Alberta for 47 years and have worked all the time I have lived here, and paid my taxes regularly.
I find the $7.5 million being spent on advertising the Alberta pension plan to be an abominable waste of money. We should put that money into mental-health services, which are seriously underfunded in Alberta. There are long waiting lists for emergency rooms, joint replacement surgery among many other things.
This money should be used to decrease waiting lists in any one of these needed areas, not advertising a program that the majority of senior Albertans don’t want.
Philis Heffner, Calgary
Pensions belong solely to individuals
There is a profound difference between money we pay to the federal government as taxes and money we pay as contributions to the Canada Pension Plan.
Our taxes can be used for any purpose the government deems appropriate. Our Canada pension money, however, must be paid to us, unless we consent individually — not by a majority in a referendum — that it be paid to the Alberta government.
Although we live in a democracy, my neighbour can’t say that my money, intended and paid as CPP contributions, should go to the Alberta government. Only I can say that.
For the Alberta government to convert a contributor’s pension contributions to its own use, without the individual’s consent, is theft.
Therefore, the result of a referendum must be 100 per cent in favour, or the prospect of establishing an Alberta pension plan fails.
Mark Gottlieb, Calgary