Alberta Government Surveys Public on Potential Provincial Pension Plan Departure

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The proposal for an independent Alberta provincial pension plan has stirred a diverse array of reactions. The provincial government has turned to its citizens, querying whether they’d favor a departure from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) – the countrywide scheme.

The provincial administration, via a new survey hosted on its website, is seeking public sentiments on key areas. This includes retirement pension benefits, disability pension benefits, and survivor pension benefits. Specifically, the government is interested in how savings amassed should be utilized, should Alberta decide to withdraw from the national plan.

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However, the government’s desire for citizen’s viewpoint is not without contention. The opposing NDP criticized the government’s efforts and publicly launched its own survey. Their point of contention being a singular question: “Should Alberta leave the CPP?”

The NDP finance critic, Shannon Phillips, accused Danielle Smith of allegedly using public funds to sway public opinion, with intentions to wager more on the pension issue. She argued that the government survey fails to directly ask Albertans whether they are in favor of leaving the CPP.

Finance Minister Nate Horner countered the NDP criticism, stating that their survey offers little context for an informed decision on an Alberta Pension Plan (APP). He expressed disappointment over the NDP survey, pledging that the ruling government values Albertans’ voices and will respect their choices, contrary to the NDP’s disregard.

Amid this ongoing debate, an independent third-party report revealed that Alberta’s entitlement of the CPP fund is a whopping $334 billion – more than half. However, several economists and political analysts suggest a dramatically lower figure of around 20 to 25 percent.

Marc Henry, the president of Think HQ Public Affairs voiced skepticism over the validity of both surveys. He criticized the lack of scientific rigor, rendering them ineffective as a general consensus of the Alberta population’s stance towards an APP.

The Alberta government plans to hold a referendum to decide on the implementation of the APP in 2025. Should the province opt to quit the CPP, a three-year notice period is mandatory. This would possibly occur post the May 2027 provincial elections. Regardless of the referendum outcome, the NDP remains steadfast with its opposition.

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