Breakenridge: Authorities hides behind phone-in session on pension plan

Absent an excuse, the federal government is making an attempt to persuade us that 5 phone city halls passes for enough engagement on this massively essential subject

Article content material

At the very least they didn’t attempt to use COVID-19 as an excuse. That might have been off-the-charts cynical for this premier and her authorities.

Nevertheless, they don’t appear to have any excuse for why their “Participating with Albertans on a Potential Provincial Pension Plan” doesn’t contain any precise in-person conversations with these exact same Albertans. Absent an excuse, the federal government is as a substitute making an attempt to persuade us that 5 phone city halls (every lasting solely 90 minutes) passes for enough engagement on this massively essential subject.

Commercial 2

Article content material

Article content material

It’s a reasonably cynical strategy from a premier who made in-person city corridor conferences such a cornerstone of her management marketing campaign. It’s a reasonably cynical strategy from a authorities that held 10 in-person city corridor conferences (“giant” city halls, in line with the report) throughout Alberta (plus 15 further conferences hosted by varied MLAs) for the Honest Deal Panel. The problem of rural crime warranted seven separate in-person city corridor conferences with the justice minister.

Not each subject requires the federal government to host in-person consultations throughout the province. But when we’re not going to do it for a difficulty similar to leaving the Canada Pension Plan, it’s onerous to see why city halls ought to even exist as an possibility within the first place.

It’s not simply that the pension matter is of the utmost significance, but in addition that the federal government continues to take care of that it’s curious about listening to from Albertans. The proof is mounting, nevertheless, that its curiosity is much less about listening and extra about convincing.

The federal government’s multimillion-dollar advert marketing campaign, which is ostensibly about informing Albertans about this complete course of, goes out of its method to speak up the advantages of an Alberta pension plan. The federal government’s on-line survey doesn’t even ask the query about whether or not we must always depart the CPP. Moderately, it touts those self same purported advantages and asks how a possible Alberta plan must be administered.

Article content material

Commercial 3

Article content material

In fact, these rosy assumptions all stem from that government-commissioned report that concludes Alberta could be entitled to greater than half of the CPP’s present belongings. It’s clear that the federal government has little interest in gathering or presenting every other views or various potential eventualities about what Alberta’s exit from the CPP would possibly seem like.

These should not the actions of a authorities that’s genuinely looking for steering from Albertans. These appear far more just like the actions of a authorities seeking to win over the general public on this subject.

Associated Tales

The early proof suggests these efforts should not succeeding. A ballot launched earlier this month exhibits greater than half of Albertans nonetheless assume leaving the CPP is a nasty thought. Little doubt a lot of those that harbour considerations or outright opposition to leaving the CPP would make their voices heard at public city corridor conferences. Which may clarify the federal government’s aversion to such conferences.

Commercial 4

Article content material

It’s additionally unlucky to see revered former finance minister Jim Dinning lend his status and credibility to this train by agreeing to chair this engagement panel. The federal government’s information launch final week quoted Dinning as saying, “For one thing this massive, Albertans deserve the advantage of a rational, grownup dialog.”

We definitely do. It’s simply unlucky that we’re not getting that.

We’ve acquired a single report primarily based on questionable assumptions and a authorities now taking that report as gospel, and sure overselling the advantages — whereas additionally completely downplaying any potential dangers — of leaving the CPP. And that is all being offered as goal info to assist us make up our minds.

It’s definitely potential that Alberta might be higher off with its personal pension plan. It additionally is smart that the difficulty be determined in a referendum, as the federal government has dedicated to doing. However they should cease pretending that they haven’t taken a facet right here. It’s insulting to Albertans and does an enormous disservice to a really severe matter.

“Afternoons with Rob Breakenridge” airs weekdays from 12:30 to three p.m. on QR Calgary

[email protected]

X: @RobBreakenridge

Article content material


Postmedia is dedicated to sustaining a vigorous however civil discussion board for dialogue and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Feedback might take as much as an hour for moderation earlier than showing on the positioning. We ask you to maintain your feedback related and respectful. We now have enabled electronic mail notifications—you’ll now obtain an electronic mail for those who obtain a reply to your remark, there’s an replace to a remark thread you comply with or if a person you comply with feedback. Go to our Group Tips for extra info and particulars on easy methods to modify your electronic mail settings.

    Commercial 1