Posted on Mar 8, 2021
UCP SHUTDOWN BILL TO PROTECT ALBERTANS’ PENSIONS
EDMONTON - The UCP have used their majority on the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members' Public Bills to stop a private members’ bill that would have protected Albertans’ pensions from even being debated in the legislature.
Bill 208: Alberta Investment Management Corporation Amendment Act was introduced by Alberta NDP Finance Critic Shannon Phillips in response to changes the UCP made in Fall 2019 that forced all public sector pension plans, the Workers' Compensation Board and Alberta Health Services to use AIMCo to manage their long-term investments. The bill was also designed to address governance concerns at AIMCo, which came to the forefront with the $2 billion loss on a volatility based investment strategy. Bill 208 would also have required a referendum on Premier Jason Kenney’s plans to withdraw from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).
“Albertans work hard their entire lives and put their money away for a secure retirement. They have a right to have a say over how their pensions are invested,” said Phillips. “But the UCP government has taken complete control over these pensions without even consulting with Albertans.”
In a vote of six to four, all UCP members on the committee voted against the bill proceeding to the legislature for debate.
Bill 208 had proposed to:
- require a referendum before pulling out of the CPP;
- remove the ability of the Finance Minister to issue investment directives to AIMCo; and
- give each public pension plan board a seat on the AIMCo board.
The NDP previously introduced Bill 203 last summer that would have stopped the UCP government from withdrawing from the CPP. However, that bill was also blocked by the UCP from proceeding to the legislature despite significant concerns from Albertans about the future of their pensions.
In a briefing note obtained by the Alberta NDP through an access to information request, the Treasury Board and Finance officials noted “there was strong negative reaction” to the changes brought in by the UCP government on pension through Bill 22, which forced the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund to use AIMCo as their exclusive investment manager.
During Monday’s debate at the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members' Public Bills on Bill 208, UCP members repeatedly described these concerns from Albertans as a “campaign of misinformation.”
“Today’s decision is yet another example of the UCP ignoring the legitimate concerns of Albertans, and moving ahead with their ideological agenda,” added Phillips. “Jason Kenney needs to come down from his sky palace and start listening to the concerns of Albertans about the security of their retirement.”