A Secure Retirement For Albertans
It’s a common misconception that the point of establishing an Alberta Pension Plan (APP) is to let the Alberta government decide what the money would be invested in.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
An essential part of the APP plan is a guarantee that the fund must be operated without government interference - no matter what political party is in power.
In fact, this independence is so critical to the plan that the Alberta government has recently introduced a new law - the Alberta Pension Protection Act - to legally mandate that:
“No amount paid or transferred to, or assets received by, the Government of Alberta pursuant to paragraph 113(1)(b) of the Canada Pension Plan (Canada) shall be used for any purpose other than the establishment and operation of the provincial pension plan.”
Of course, this was always the plan.
The idea that politicians would interfere in an independent pension plan was always ridiculous.
Think about it this way...
Despite the federal government technically controlling the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) in a legal sense, nobody is accusing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of interfering with the Plan’s investment decisions.
Why is that?
Simple... the CPP, despite being owned by the federal government, is run by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), an arms-length body that oversees the CPP with legal guardrails in place to prevent government interference in asset management.
It’s certainly possible to have concerns about the investment strategy taken by the CPPIB or specific investment decisions they make.
But, the federal government is not making those decisions - the independent CPPIB is.
An Alberta Pension Plan would be exactly the same.
While the Alberta government would legally own the assets on behalf of all Albertans, an independent organization would actually control the funds and make the decisions.
The recent LifeWorks report outlines four different ways this could potentially be done:
- Establish a new independent Alberta Pension Plan Investment Board (APPIB) with a legal mandate similar to the CPPIB that protects it from government interference.
Contract the CPPIB to have them continue to manage the assets, but in a separate Alberta-owned fund;
Use an existing provincial pension service provider, such as the Alberta Pension Services Corporation; or
- Hire one or more private asset management companies to manage the assets.
Any one of these four options would ensure pension asset security by guaranteeing the APP would be managed out of reach from any future Alberta government of any political stripe.
So, why then, are radical union activists and the NDP claiming that they wouldn’t?
Why are they scaring seniors into thinking that voting to implement an APP would mean they wouldn’t have a pension at all - an obvious lie?
So far, all the Alberta government has done is release a detailed report and begin an extensive consultation process.
The consultation panel, headed up by former Alberta’s former President of the Treasury Board Jim Dinning, is currently doing its own work that includes research and public consultation to determine exactly what an APP might look like.
And yet, before even seeing the final details of the plan, the NDP and the unions are opposed.
This is our retirement future we’re talking about here.
We all know someone who has spent their entire life working a hard job just to build a life for themselves and their families.
But under the CPP system, every time they get a paycheck, the federal government takes a chunk of it and uses it to subsidize pension shortfalls in the rest of the country.
And they will never get back a single cent of that part of their contribution that was transferred.
Yet, apparently, we’re not even allowed to have a discussion about whether this is fair to Albertans?
The unions and the NDP would prefer to keep the subsidy in place and harm the retirements of every Alberta worker than stand up for Alberta and fight against this inequality.
They’d prefer to lie about what an Alberta Pension Plan would mean for Albertans than have an open debate about whether it’s a good idea or not.
Well, we disagree.
We think Albertans do deserve to have this debate.
We think an Alberta Pension Plan is worth pursuing.
And when we get to see the final details, we think most Albertans will agree that an Alberta Pension Plan is a good idea, and that the protections that have been put in place will ensure the fund remains politically independent.
We cannot allow a small noisy minority to bombard us with deliberate misinformation designed to scare and manipulate people into sacrificing a huge chunk of their retirement savings, all for a cheap political hit.
It isn’t fair to our young, working-class population who are putting in long, difficult hours on the job in order to secure their future.
And it isn’t fair to our seniors who have been scared into thinking that their pensions will disappear.
An Alberta Pension Plan is a key part of the Free Alberta Strategy plan we published two years ago.
Now that the Sovereignty Act is in place, opting out of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is the next crucial step towards a freer and more prosperous Alberta.
Over the next few months, we’ll be working hard to counter the misinformation coming from the other side, and to explain the importance and benefits of an Alberta Pension Plan to as many Albertans as possible.
If you’d like to help with that campaign, there are two key ways you can do so.
First, you can volunteer to help on the ground, persuading your fellow Albertans.
Second, if you don’t have time to volunteer, you can make a donation to help fund the work of our volunteers.
Click here to get involved today:
Thank you for reading, and thank you for believing in Alberta.
The Free Alberta Strategy Team