Alberta Government’s panel on pensions is a sales pitch, not a consultation: McGowan

EDMONTON –  In a letter sent to Jim Dinning and Premier Danielle Smith today, the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) called on the three members of the government’s pension “Engagement Panel” to resign. AFL President Gil McGowan said the panel has failed to conduct meaningful consultations with Albertans and instead was intent on spreading the UCP’s message.

“Albertans are telling us that they’re not able to participate in the online town halls,” said McGowan. “It’s hard not to come to the conclusion that this panel is set up to do a sales job instead of asking people for their views. The panel has failed in its core function and needs to resign immediately.”

“Jim Dinning used to have some credibility when it came to protecting the Canada Pension Plan,” said McGowan. “Some Albertans might recall his efforts to enhance the pension so that working people would know it would be there in their retirement. But he’s squandered that credibility by agreeing to be Danielle Smith’s salesman, rather than an impartial referee.”

A large number of participants have not been able to make their views known in the digital town halls, says McGowan. Many have told the AFL that they are not given an opportunity to give comments, especially when they are contrary to the UCP’s messaging.

As of Tuesday, the provincial government was still unable to commit to in-person consultation. McGowan said the panel’s failure cast doubt on the viability of the whole pension scheme.

“If the UCP won’t organize an effective consultation process, Albertans have to wonder how they can be expected to run a pension plan?” concluded McGowan.


John Ashton
Director of Communications, AFL


Below are examples of the correspondence that the AFL has been receiving from those attempting to participate in the digital town hall meetings:

“I attended online the farce of a town hall as did my husband and we both submitted questions both at the beginning and periodically throughout. The folks in control obviously cherry picked the ones that seem to be most supportive.” – Dr. Linda Cook of Sherwood Park

“Jim Dinning was supposed to be impartial and observe/note carefully what the majority of Albertans want. He has not shown impartiality and argues in favour of Danielle’s plan.” – Lorraine Moppet of Calgary