PRESS RELEASE: UCP refusal to make pension referendum binding is an ominous red flag, says AFL president

McGowan promises that UCP will have a fight on their hands if they ignore the will of Albertans

EDMONTON – With a mandate to speak in the interests of workers, and representing 170,000 Albertans, the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) President, Gil McGowan, says he won’t let Premier Danielle Smith and her government get away with their plan to ignore the majority of workers and retirees who want to stay in the Canada Pension Plan.

“The UCP’s refusal to make their promised pension referendum binding is an ominous red flag,” says McGowan. “In all of the government’s advertising they’ve been saying ‘Your Pension. Your Choice.’ But apparently, they’re not really committed to honouring that choice. I want to make it very clear that the UCP will have a very big fight on their hands if they ignore the will of Albertans on this issue.”

This UCP caucus showed a serious disregard for the tens of thousands of voices opposing their agenda to erode our pension plan by voting against an Opposition amendment that would require them to stick to their promise that Albertans will decide in a referendum if they want to stay in the CPP or not. The amendment would have required the referendum results to be binding.

“There is no guarantee now, even if the UCP’s scheme to leave the CPP gets put to a referendum, that this government would follow the decision made by Albertans.” said McGowan. “They know Albertans don’t want them going down this road, but they continue to forge ahead anyway and now they’ve legislated a way to sidestep the will of the public. This is not the kind of democratic responsible governance people expect and deserve.”

The AFL has joined public outcry against this government’s unwillingness to listen to Albertans. An open letter calling for the Alberta government’s biased pension panel to resign and an online petition to stay in the CPP are receiving more signatures every day.

“We have an obligation as the leading voice for workers and retirees to fight this government’s illegitimate plan to risk our retirement security. We’ll defend workers’ interests with everything we’ve got, that’s what we do.” said McGowan.


Tony Clark
Director of Research, AFL