Opinion: Seniors' teams steadfast in opposition to Alberta pension plan

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By Doug Martin, Paul Taylor and Linda Osborne

Many seniors typically look again to what life was like ‘earlier than’ – equivalent to ‘earlier than the Web’ or ‘earlier than smartphones.’ Whereas few Canadians bear in mind what being retired was like earlier than the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), getting older was extra nerve-racking earlier than there was a public pension plan to depend on. 

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Earlier than the CPP, and different social safety reforms like Previous Age Safety, poverty amongst seniors was prevalent, operating as excessive as 30 per cent. A lifetime of exhausting work would typically be rewarded with a determined fear about easy methods to make ends meet. Issues have been, fairly merely, a lot harder for retired Canadians. 

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The CPP offers a foundational retirement earnings for many working Canadians. It’s certainly one of our nation’s most vital and most invaluable public coverage achievements. It speaks to our shared values, offers important assist to our seniors and is envied around the globe. Not solely has the CPP served us effectively, however repeated critiques have discovered it’s sustainable for generations to return.

Alberta members of the Canadian Affiliation of Retired Individuals (CARP) and Seniors United Now (SUN) stand firmly in opposition to any proposal to weaken the CPP. And make no mistake: Premier Danielle Smith’s suggestion that Alberta ought to contemplate abandoning the CPP and gamble our pensions on a ‘go-it-alone’ scheme will weaken the retirement system for all Canadians. Everybody on this province ought to oppose it loudly. 

Our organizations have three principal objections to the Premier’s plan to interrupt up the CPP. 

First, it’s a harmful danger. The premier argues that Alberta is ‘owed’ greater than 50 per cent of the CPP’s worth – an unlimited quantity that she needs to make use of to fund a pension plan of her personal. However how would that plan work? Will the remainder of the nation agree with Premier Smith’s math, or will she kick off years of squabbling and uncertainty? How can we be certain such a plan would stay effectively managed, that our premiums would keep secure, and that our pensions could be assured and transportable? There are not any exhausting solutions to those questions. Simply political guarantees. And in the case of our pensions, political guarantees merely aren’t adequate. 

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Second, it’s impractical. One of many chief advantages of the CPP is portability. Somebody rising up in Alberta would possibly transfer to British Columbia or Ontario or Newfoundland and Labrador and work for years earlier than coming again. Albertans might determine to retire in one other province. Their pension, as an Albertan, is protected. Even whenever you’ve moved round, your premiums and pensions observe you. Will that stay the case for Premier Smith’s Alberta-only scheme? Or will it cease on the border? There are not any sincere solutions. Solely doubts. 

Third, it’s an invite to political interference. Within the Nineties, with CARP main the decision on behalf of Canadian seniors, all governments, together with Alberta, agreed to have the CPP run at arms-length by an expert funding supervisor. Not solely has that meant explosive progress within the fund’s worth. It means the fund supporting our pensions is free from political meddling. We don’t wish to roll again the clock and have elected representatives deciding to wager all our pensions on a inventory of their selecting or some challenge of their choosing. Pensions are for the individuals who paid into them, not for politicians to make use of as they see match. 

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The underside line could be very easy. For greater than half a century, we’ve nurtured a pension system that works, that’s studied and copied by different international locations around the globe. It’s dependable. It’s sustainable for generations. The CPP isn’t damaged, and we shouldn’t take the chance of pulling it aside. 

What Premier Smith is proposing is a dangerous, untested scheme that may paint an enormous query mark over the way forward for pensions in Alberta. Pensioners who’ve paid into the CPP their whole working lives don’t need their contributions gambled away for political functions. It is unnecessary to maneuver away from a system that works.

Our organizations imagine nearly all of Alberta’s seniors (together with the hundreds of Alberta CARP and SUN members) don’t wish to return to the best way issues have been earlier than. Not if which means earlier than there was a CPP and a stage of primary retirement earnings that was there for all of Alberta’s seniors.  

Canadian Affiliation of Retired Individuals (CARP) and Seniors United Now (SUN).

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