Alberta's Opposition leader says Premier Danielle Smith’s government needs to end its fixation with pulling the province out of the Canada Pension Plan.

NDP Leader Rachel Notley says her party would not pursue an Alberta Pension Plan, which the United Conservative government has been studying for almost three years without resolution.

Notley says the idea does not make economic sense and is opposed by a majority of Albertans, adding the government needs to release its long-promised report into the pros and cons of Alberta going it alone on pensions.

“We are very concerned that this UCP government is sitting on a self-interested report that they are hiding from Albertans because they don’t want this to be an election issue, but they still plan to go ahead with it should they get elected,” Notley told reporters Thursday.

“If this UCP government is continuing to toy with this risky gamble to undermine the security of Albertans’ pensions, then they have an obligation to come clean on that.”

Alberta voters head to the polls May 29.

Smith's office said work continues on a third-party analysis of an Alberta pension plan.

“While the initial analysis looks favourable, the Office of the Chief Actuary of Canada recently tabled updated asset figures for the CPP, and the third-party expert authoring the report requires additional time to update its findings,” spokeswoman Becca Polak said in a statement.

“When the expert informs us the final report is ready, it will be released publicly thereafter.”

'Risky gamble:' #NDP urges #Alberta government to end fixation with pulling out of #CPP. #ABPoli #UCP

Polak stressed the report would only be the first step and Albertans would have the final say.

“The government of Alberta will not replace the CPP with an Alberta Pension Plan unless Albertans first vote to do so in a provincewide referendum," she said. "It's Albertans' pension — it must be Albertans’ choice.”

The report stems from a May 2020 Fair Deal panel report urging Alberta explore the idea as a way to help assert itself more within Confederation.

The panel reported that given Alberta's young population, a separate pension plan could be a multibillion-dollar net benefit. The panel recommended the idea be explored even though 42 per cent of the respondents in its survey thought it was a good idea.

In response, then-premier Jason Kenney ordered a review into the feasibility of such a plan. In March 2021, Kenney said work on the report was almost done and his government was just weeks away from announcing next steps.

Smith, taking over from Kenney in October, asked Toews to continue with the pension report. In December she said she hoped a referendum might be possible with the May election, but has since said that likely won’t happen.

She has said Albertans are over-contributers to CPP and need to explore an alternative that could leave more money in the hands of Alberta seniors.

The Alberta pension plan is among a suite of measures being explored by Smith’s government as a way to carve out more independence for Alberta within Confederation.

The province is also researching its own provincial police force to replace the RCMP and tax revenue collecting agency.

In December, the Alberta Chambers of Commerce conducted a survey that suggested a majority of business owners believe leaving CPP for an Alberta plan would disadvantage them over the next three to five years.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 2, 2023

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"Alberta's Opposition leader says Premier Danielle Smith’s government needs to end its fixation with pulling the province out of the Canada Pension Plan."

Amen to that.

If Smith is correct that Alberta "overconributes" to the CPP (and, for that matter, it's cousin, Equalization), then the only way to fix that is to lower Alberta's median income levels. Albertans are some of the highest average income earners in the nation. They are not persecuted, but do cross the standard lines imposed on everyone into higher tax brackets more often. Incongruently, despite its braggadocio, Alberta has a rather large share of low income gig workers, poverty-laden seniors and homeless.

The CPP is not perfect, but it comes from a very large contributor pool. It could use an overhaul to increase benefits and provide coverage for housewives/husbands who are unpaid but benefit society, and to redirect its investment management away from fossil fuels.

Lastly, if Danielle Smith continues to tip toe around the sovereignty rabbit hole with referenda on things like an APP, then she's asking to be challenged one day to hold a referendum on actual separation. Tip toeing, pussyfooting, griping, bitching, complaining ... all that is very old now. Put up or shut up.

There are those who believe appeasement is the wisest and most diplomatic course of action for diluted separatism packaged in 50 years of rhetoric. That's not just illogical, it's bullshit. If push comes to shove, a big majority of Albertans will never in a million years be willing to trade their treasured Canadian citizenship for something much, much smaller. The pension plan debacle is one small indication of that scenario.

So wait, Smith is talking about Alberta paying too much into the CPP because they have a YOUNG POPULATION?!
Does she think they're all going to STAY YOUNG FOREVER? Eventually Alberta will STOP having a young population, and will instead have an old population. And you know, the existing young people will RETIRE and need their pensions. At which point, if Smith has her way, they'll be stuck with a smaller pool that will struggle to pay out.

Once again, Conservatives are morons, even on their own terms. Unless the REAL point of the whole exercise is stealth privatization. It always amazes me that the media manages to continue keeping a straight face as they pretend that a party which combines total incompetence at governing with an ideology of looting the public purse is the party of "prudent fiscal management".