APP, A Feeling Survey?

Dear Editor,

Alberta’s Finance Minister was interviewed on the CTV national news program “Question Period” Oct 29, and I paraphrase, the interviewer asked him about the Alberta Pension Plan (APP) survey on what would it take or how it is being measured to be considered for a referendum, and was this action due to current issues between Alberta/Ottawa? He stated if they get a feeling they could move to a referendum and didn’t really answer the Alberta, Ottawa question. Is that what democracy is now to our governing leaders, a feeling of something that puts people’s life retirement savings at risk with an unproven system like the APP? Ask your MLA, how many people does it take to get a feeling? If you choose to sit on the sidelines and not question your representatives on their methods then hope the “feeling” of governance meets your expectations. The interview is now on YouTube if interested in further details or clarifications.

Here are some facts, not assumptions or feelings like our government appears to state they understand.

The max. insurable earnings for QPP and CPP are the same at $64,900, along with the basic exemption of $3500.

The reported cost listed to maintain those 2023 contributions; Employee QPP 6.16%, CPP 5.7%, Employer is to match the same in both cases. Self-employed QPP 12.3 %, CPP 11.4%. Alberta states it contributes more due to a reported young workforce and higher wages. Question; how much of that high income is oil sector related, and how long will that last compared to CPP current 75-year guarantee? What those numbers show is Quebecers pay more for their personal pension plan than the rest of Canada. The Alberta government is promoting it could be less. Is that an acceptable risk in guessing, for your pension security?

Going with facts not feelings, the number of contribution inputs also determines the rate of growth. Here are the top four provinces populations. Ontario 15.6, Quebec 8.8, BC 5.5 and Alberta 4.6, million. Canada is at 39.4 million, take away Quebec’s population brings it to 30.6 million. When Quebecers have to pay more with having twice the population of Alberta, not only makes you wonder who’s doing the math but how our government can state the cost will be less based on this actual reality.

It’s been reported that if Alberta opts out of CPP there’s no going back, are you willing to risk that lifetime of saving for political reasons? It would be one thing if the CPP plan was problematic, but it’s known worldwide as the best and most well-managed fund that the envious world is impressed by. So what’s there to fix? As of September 30, 2022, it’s reported that more than 725,000 Albertans were over the age of 65. That number is expected to double within the next two decades. What do you think the price of oil will be in that time frame given the world movement towards decarbonization, so your kids have a future to go to? Where is the Alberta money coming from in the next two decades with any assurance?

Ask yourself, do you want to be part of a Smith UCP legacy that disrupted the CPP for all Canadians? To be used in a way that potentially affects your retirement security for what appears to be nothing more than personal politics? Is that what Albertan’s historic legacy should be remembered for?

The federal conservative leader, Poilievre has stated Canadians should stay with the CPP, so why say that? Could it be he’s concerned about the fallout it may generate across Canada? With all that needs addressing in Alberta, housing, cost of living, health care, education etc, our UCP government feels that it is important to address a Canadian retirement system that has no issues to be concerned about fixing by anyone else. Our premier has recently stated on the news that she feels the Federal government’s decision on the carbon tax for only home heating oil is not bringing Canadians together, but has no issues with introducing the APP that separates Alberta from Canada which has a potential impact to all Canadians. What does that say to you about the APP intent? How will this potential change do to attract business and professionals? Do you believe individual Albertans should have the option to stay with the CPP by opting out of supporting an APP if adopted? Ask your MLA. If you care about your retirement security future then talk, write, call, meet with your representative as they are saying they want to hear from you, so test them out on that and you’ll get your answer on who they are representing. Your money, your future, your country.

Dennis Bigras

Wheatland County