EDMONTON – Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) President Gil McGowan made the following statements in response to the release of the UCP Government’s report on the proposed Alberta Pension Plan (APP):
“With 13% of the Canadian population, there’s no way we’re owed more than half of the CPP’s assets. Obviously, this is motivated by politics, which is really the greatest risk to Alberta workers and their retirement security.
“The UCP’s whole argument hinges on the share of CPP assets that Alberta would receive if we took our ball and left the sandbox. Premier Smith is trying to suggest that it’s a given that we’d get $334 billion. But that is far from guaranteed. In fact, it’s a fantasy number.
“After 3 years of working on this report, the premier could not say with confidence that it gives a correct picture of the costs and benefits. Every reference to benefits for Albertans started with the words ‘maybe, possibly, potentially or could’. The other provinces will fight this tooth and nail.
“As a result, the promise of $1,425 of annual savings for workers and employers is an empty one. It’s a fantasy number built on another fantasy. It’s insulting that the premier expects Alberta workers to fall for these obvious distortions.
“This report is based on the notion that an Alberta Pension Plan would be funded by almost half of the current CPP assets. With no way to predict inter-provincial negotiation outcomes, this asset number is almost certainly a fantasy. The $334 billion would not materialize, but the risks would be real to Albertans.
“It is unrealistic for a province with 16% of the total contributions into the CPP to claim more than half the CPP fund. 80% of the asset transfer claim consists of investment income, not contributions.
“This is not about what’s best for Albertans; it’s about the UCP’s political goals. They want to use our retirement nest eggs to blackmail the rest of the country into backing off on climate action and to prop up companies that can no longer get money in the usual ways from investors and banks.
“It feels like an elaborate scam aimed at using other peoples’ money to gamble on the future of oil and gas and blackmail the rest of the country. This is not what our retirement savings are for.
“Albertans deserve more than a sunny disposition and conjecture from the premier as she tries to sell us on this UCP pet project. Workers demand better from a government that’s choosing politics over our pension security.
“This is an irresponsible way to govern and, frankly, the panel is a joke. It feels more like a campaign than a consultation.”
Director of Communications, AFL