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

Alberta RCMP caution citizens about signs of cybercrime

Police are reminding the public to be cautious while shopping online

Black Press Extreme Education and Career Fair coming to Red Deer College’s Cenovus Learning Commons

Central Albertans can connect with employers on Nov. 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

WATCH: Stettler residents gather to observe Remembrance Day

Hundreds gather at the Stettler Performing Arts Centre to pay tribute

A flower, a poem, a campaign

Nowadays, Remembrance Day includes all wars that have occurred since the Great War.

Sandra Schmirler Foundation gives a $10,000 grant to Stettler Health Services Foundation

Funding will go to physiological monitors required for the two Panda warmers for the Labour and Delivery suites

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

Imperial CEO says no to Aspen oilsands project until Alberta oil quotas gone

Imperial confirmed a plan to boost production from its Kearl oilsands mine

Three men charged after ‘targeted’ shooting, evacuation at Alberta mall

The accused, who range in age from 25 to 37, were arrested Sunday and remain in custody

VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Cherry denies he was singling out visible minorities with his comments

Disney Plus streaming service hits Canada with tech hurdles

Service costs $8.99 per month, or $89.99 per year, in Canada

Trudeau’s opponents: One gives him an earful, another seeks common ground

PM meets with Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe

Rona’s ‘truly Canadian’ ads are inaccurate, watchdog says

Ads Standards points out U.S.-based Lowe’s acquired Rona in 2016

Most Read