Alberta premier Jason Kenney, right and Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, provide details about Bill 13, the Alberta Senate Election Act., in Edmonton Alta, on Wednesday June 26, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Kenney says Alberta will study already ‘compelling case’ to leave CPP

Premier says panel will look at issue as a way to assess ‘fairness’ for Alberta within nation

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says there’s a “compelling case” to be made for his province to exit the half-century-old Canada Pension Plan — an idea sure to face increasing scrutiny over the coming months.

With growing frustrations in his province about its place in the federation, Kenney has revealed that a deeper analysis is on the way to consider Alberta’s potential withdrawal from the national pension plan.

The move, if it goes forward, would pull Albertans’ multibillion-dollar share from the $400-billion pool of assets that are handled by the investment manager, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

The proposed departure, Kenney said, will be examined by a panel his government intends to create as a way to assess “fairness” for Alberta within the federation.

Talk of the CPP withdrawal follows a federal election result late last month that many say exemplified Prairie frustration toward the Liberal government in Ottawa. The federal Liberals were reduced to a minority mandate after failing to capture a single seat in Alberta or Saskatchewan.

There’s also been momentum behind separatist sentiments in the two resource-dependent provinces, where their economies have struggled through a commodity downturn.

Much of the anger has been directed at Ottawa and other parts of Canada — which are accused of preventing the landlocked Prairie provinces from getting their natural resources to the coast for export.

Now, Kenney is ready to take a long look at ditching the CPP — which has been in place everywhere in Canada, except Quebec, since the mid-1960s. Quebec has been managing its own sister pension plan.

“I can certainly tell you that will be one of the issues studied by the panel that I will be appointing to consult with Albertans on fighting for a fair deal in Canada,” the Alberta premier said in a recent video clip, which was posted last week on Facebook.

“I believe that a compelling case can be made for such a shift.”

In his message, Kenney said he understands about $40 billion worth of Albertans’ premiums are managed by the CPPIB.

He said the funds, if pulled from the CPPIB, would be transferred to the Alberta Investment Management Corporation, also known as AIMCo. The institutional investor, which includes the province’s public-sector pension plans, already manages about $100 billion in assets for Alberta taxpayers, he said.

READ MORE: ‘Wexit’ applies to become a federal political party

With Alberta home to Canada’s youngest population, he added it’s the biggest net contributor to the CPP.

“Let me underscore, our government has not made any decision in this respect — but it is certainly one of the ideas that people will be presenting to our panel on fairness within the federation,” Kenney said.

The premier argued the extra funds would enable AIMCo to diversify further and potentially improve the returns over time. Kenney also noted that Quebec has responsibly managed its own pension plan outside of CPP for decades.

Kevin Milligan, a University of British Columbia economist, said Alberta’s proposed exit from the CPP should be taken seriously given it’s coming from the premier.

Any push by Alberta to abandon the CPP is a much more credible suggestion than the debate about equalization, given the pension plan is a joint federal-provincial project with exit provisions, while equalization is a federal program, Milligan said.

“I do wonder what the goal of this is,” he said of Alberta’s possible withdrawal from the CPP. “Alberta could certainly do this — it is in their rights to do so. But in doing so they would have to set up their own administration, set up their own benefits structures… and these things are not cost-free.”

Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Fort Ostell Museum, Ponoka FCSS make their requests to council

Museum deals with drug dealers and operates tight budget

Waste collection made simplier in the new year

Ponoka residents will see change in garbage recycling pickup

REFLECTIONS: Ponoka was booming after the war years

By Mike Rainone for the News At the end of the long… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Ponoka Festival of Trees opening night gala and auction

Generous donors and bidders will help reach $100,000 goal

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

In British Columbia temperatures will be slightly above normal and precipitation will be just below normal

Canadian universities encourage exchange students in Hong Kong to head home

UBC said 11 of its 32 students completing programs in Hong Kong have already left

15 charged following protests at two Alberta kennels that provide sled dog tours

RCMP say they were called to the Mad Dogs and Englishmen kennels east of Canmore

Protesters say Alberta bill would make it harder to access some medical services

The bill would mean a health-care provider could not be sanctioned for refusing to provide a service due to morals

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

Rebels ride 3-goal first period to 4-3 win over Brandon

Goaltender Byron Fancy with key saves in third period to save game

Supreme Court of Canada dismisses murder appeals in 2013 Calgary swarming death

Assmar Shlah and Franz Cabrera were convicted in 2016 of second-degree murder

Most Read