Ontario seeks 'critical' meeting of finance ministers over Alberta's plan to leave CPP

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He cited his province’s prior support for Alberta on energy issues, but also noted the “pan-Canadian” strength of the CPP as well as ongoing cost of living challenges.

“The people of Ontario and Canada should not have to worry about the security of their retirement savings or the possibility of costly increases to contributions,” he said.

“That is why an immediate finance ministers’ meeting is critical in helping to facilitate timely discussions on the path forward.”

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Postmedia has sought comment from Finance Minister Nate Horner. Premier Danielle Smith is scheduled to have a media availability later this afternoon in Edmonton.

Ontario’s opposition now means that governments of the two most populous provinces whose members pay into the CPP have publicly spoken out questioning Alberta’s plan.

Last month, B.C. Premier David Eby told CBC that Alberta withdrawing could not come at the expense of residents of other provinces, who may face a combination of higher premiums and lower benefits if the APP is established.

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“If they’re serious about moving in that direction, we’re obviously going to have to be involved in that conversation,” he said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, federal Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) have all spoken out against Alberta’s plan.

Telephone town hall

The letter comes the morning after the province’s second telephone town hall regarding the potential pension plan where the Jim Dinning-lead engagement panel heard renewed calls hard, negotiated numbers before the issue goes to a referendum.

“Everyone here, including yourself, knows there’s no world — none — where Alberta gets half the Canada Pension Plan,” a caller, identified as Scott from Medicine Hat, told Dinning.

“It’s based on insanity.”

Scott, and a number of other callers, demanded hard, agreed-upon figures between Alberta and the feds before casting a ballot in a referendum on the plan.

Caller Patrick from Lethbridge said, “I also have a problem with the actual numbers that we’ve come up with.

“It seems to me that (it’s) a real large portion of the CPP that we were basing this on, and the math doesn’t add up in my mind.”

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The CPPIB has estimated Alberta is owed about 16 per cent of the fund, but the Alberta government wants it to show its work.

Smith’s United Conservative government says Albertans are paying disproportionately into CPP and would get a better deal going it alone.

Residents of all provinces contribute to the CPP at the same rate, regardless of where they live.

Government advertising linked to the Dinning panel and an online public opinion survey have been criticized for focusing solely on the $334-billion figure and all the benefits Albertans could accrue from it, including potential one-time payments for retirees, at the expense of the risks and drawbacks.

— with files from the Canadian Press

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