Consider Premier Jason Kenney’s threat to withdraw from the Canada Pension Plan.
AIMCO, the provincial body that administers the Heritage Fund and public pensions, earned a 2.3 per cent return in 2018, whereas the CPP had a return of 11.6 per cent.
Norway’s Heritage Fund has over $1 trillion; the Alberta Heritage Fund has less than $13 billion.
Alberta sends tax money collected in the province to Ottawa, which then redistributes the money to the provinces as equalization payments, according to a set formula, which by definition, has to be fair to all; otherwise, it would be difficult to understand its existence.
Some provinces naturally contribute more, and others receive more. Unknown to many Albertans, this present equalization formula was the creation of the Harper government and Kenney was a key minister at this time.
Our revenue problem could be reduced with political will. Albertans have the lowest personal taxes in Canada. We are the only province without a sales tax. The UCP has pledged to reduce corporate taxes to eight per cent over four years.
The UCP squashed the carbon tax and reduced our oil royalties.
Clearly, we have a revenue problem, not a spending problem. Creating panels to study our finances and our options in lieu of CPP is only wasteful expenditure when the solution is staring us in the face, and at less cost to the taxpayer.
The following question was posed in the Red Deer Advocate to its subscribers: “Should Alberta leave the Canadian Pension Plan and start its own system?”
Of the respondents, 73.29 per cent voted in favour. The question remains: How many people voted?
It is very easy to manipulate undiscerning citizens. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived by misleading information, articulate emotion, half-truths and our own bias.
Instead, only essential facts and verifiable information should be our guide. Ignore double-speak. Those who control the information will attain the expected results. This is the danger.
Government is mandated to govern in its citizens’ best interests. It is necessary to question and speak out. It’s foolish to believe just because somebody says so.
Larry Melnychuk, Red Deer