Under AIMCo, law allows gov’t to stick in their grubby greedy selfish criminal power hungry fingers and steal it, aka “invest” it, in dying, polluting, aquifer frac’ing, caprock busting, rights-violating, public health harming oil & gas industry or UCP holiday homes in BC far from Alberta’s toxic air & water, etc.
The Losing Sector In The Junk Bond Rally by seekingalpha, Nov. 26, 2019
The high yield corporate bond market has produced its best returns since 2016 this year.
Despite this strong performance, the Energy sector, which makes up 11% of the HY bond universe, has produced negative returns.
The article discusses the rationing of capital in the Energy space and implications for the Energy sector broadly.
Election commissioner officially ousted with Bill 22 passage by Janet French with files from the Canadian Press, November 22, 2019, Calgary Herald
Alberta’s chief electoral officer is now in charge of investigations into election and financing improprieties after a controversial United Conservative Party government bill received royal assent.
The lieutenant-governor’s Friday assent of Bill 22 officially terminates the employment of Alberta election commissioner Lorne Gibson, who has levied more than $211,000 in fines against people involved with the United Conservative Party’s 2017 leadership race for financing violations. Gibson’s contract was to run until 2023.
All investigations that were underway under the former election commissioner are continuing on by the same staff, in the same office space, for now, Elections Alberta director of operations and communications Pamela Renwick said Friday. A transition plan is in the works, she said. [Aka, shred shred shred! Sleazily and cowardly fire the RCMP too, shred shred shred their files!]
There will be a review of all the work Gibson’s office did to “determine ongoing budgetary, workload and resource needs,” according to the independent office of the legislature.
Chief electoral officer Glen Resler will assume the former commissioner’s duties. He does not have a timeline for appointing a new election commissioner.
The development prompted Opposition NDP ethics and democracy critic Heather Sweet to write to Resler, imploring him to ensure all the commissioner’s investigation files are kept safe and complete. She asked Resler to provide a written report to the legislature before session’s end that outlines steps he’s taken to safeguard the records.
Renwick wouldn’t comment Friday on what steps Elections Alberta is taking to protect the documents. [Simple! Shred Shred Shred, then burn the shreds]
NDP Leader Rachel Notley said Friday she is concerned the investigations will be compromised by the transfer in leadership, even if Elections Alberta asserts the work will continue.
“There’s absolutely no guarantee embedded in the statements of the chief electoral officer that the investigations will continue,” Notley said. “But even if they do, the people who will be doing those investigations just saw their boss publicly fired and punished for holding Premier (Jason) Kenney to account, and his associates to account.”
Many of the financial violations Gibson identified were by people involved with an alleged “kamikaze” campaign in the 2017 UCP leadership race, in which money was improperly funnelled to candidate Jeff Callaway. Callaway, who is appealing the fines in court, frequently critiqued former Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean — the man believed to be Kenney’s main competitor for the leadership of the merged conservative parties.
Commissioner ‘redundant,’ premier says
Kenney addressed the bill in Calgary on Friday, after returning from a Texas trade mission. The premier said the conservatives have always argued it was redundant to have separate offices for the commissioner and chief electoral officer.
The government has said the consolidation will save $1 million over five years. [It’s just about keeping criminal Kenney out of jail]
The NDP created Gibson’s position in 2018 to enforce new election financing limits and a ban on corporate and union donations.
Kenney said the new commissioner will be even further removed from political influence under the chief electoral officer.
The NDP has critiqued the speed with which the 172-page omnibus bill moved through the legislature. The government imposed time limits at three stages of debate in the legislature.
The premier says it needed to be done quickly to provide certainty to three dozen agencies, boards and commissions that also undergo structural changes in the bill. [Nah, he’s too afraid of life in jail]
Electoral officer budget concerns
Resler, along with other independent officers of the legislature, is scheduled to appear next Friday before the standing committee on legislative offices to present his proposed budget for the coming year.
With Gibson reporting he’s received more than 800 complaints since last year, Notley worries money may limit election violation investigations in the future.
Renwick said Friday Elections Alberta doesn’t have immediate concerns about resources for investigations, as the organization is absorbing employees from the commissioner’s office.
Before Friday’s merger, Elections Alberta’s budget for 2019-20 was $33 million, $27.7 million of which was allotted for running the April provincial election, she said.
She didn’t know whether Resler would be asking the committee for more funding to dedicate to investigations.
Jess Sinclair, press secretary to house leader Jason Nixon, said Friday government has confidence in Resler’s ability to handle the investigations independently.
“We hope that Ms. Notley will stop impugning the independent chief electoral officer’s ability and willingness to enforce the law,” Sinclair said. [Another one too untrustworthy to believe a word spewed]
Welcome to the Kenney dictatorship. Luckily we have a strong Opposition in the legislature to spotlight his immorality. The UCP is fond of saying that they were given a mandate to do anything they want which is simply outrageous and a corruption of political leadership.
BEING KICKED OUT OF THE LEGISLATURE MEANS NEVER HAVING TO SAY YOU’RE SORRY by David Climenhaga, Nov 21, 2019, Albertapolitics
Apparently, being kicked out of the Alberta Legislature means never having to say you’re sorry!
Judging by the smile on her face yesterday morning as a crowd of more than 800 Registered Nurses furious at the prospect of having their pay cut substantially by Premier Jason Kenney’s hard-right government roared its approval, being exiled from the Legislature looks like a liberating experience for Rachel Notley. …
With Mr. Kenney’s government mired in a genuine scandal of its own making — firing Election Commissioner Lorne Gibson by legislative fiat while he was in the midst of an embarrassing investigation into what appears to have been widespread barefaced cheating by Mr. Kenney’s supporters during his 2017 UCP leadership campaign — Ms. Notley pounded the premier on a wide range of policy issues.
She ranged from Mr. Kenney’s firing of Mr. Gibson, to his government’s “$4.7-billion no jobs corporate handout,” to the assertion the life-long politician “is the last man on earth you want messing with your pension,” to the undeniable fact it will be nurses who must pick up the slack when the UCP’s health care cuts take hold.
“And your reward? If all goes according to plan, for doing your part for Alberta, you get a 5-per-cent wage cut! That’s what this premier is pushing for!”
“While he flies around on private planes, you work harder,” Ms. Notley said. “While his staff stay in luxury hotels in London with champagne bars and vitamin-C showers, you have to take a pay cut. And while he gives away $4.7 billion dollars to big corporations, you lose control of your pension!”
One of the comments:
I’m 46 years old, and even though I’ve been interested in politics pretty much all my life, I don’t have the context to go back to Manning to know if this current provincial leadership is the worst in history. Okay. I spent five minutes researching, and it’s pretty clear – Kenney has torn a hole through the fabric of Albertan political trust.
Is there such a thing as impeachment of a Premier?
The $16 Trillion Global Pension Crisis by Leo Kolivakis, November 15, 2019, Pension Pulse
Nurses rally against UCP’s pension changes by Lisa Johnson, November 20, 2019, Calgary Herald
NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley, along with labour leaders, told a crowd of about 800 nurses and supporters that they could not let Premier Jason Kenney get his hands on their pensions.
“This is your money for your retirement and you deserve a say in what happens to it. Behind those closed windows, they think they know better — they think they can take your pension and invest it wherever they want,” said Notley at the rally organized by the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) outside the legislature Wednesday.
Omnibus Bill 22’s proposed changes to public sector pension plans for municipal workers, firefighters, police, nurses, health-care professionals and others would lock in the Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) as the investment manager for the long term.
Sticking with AIMCo offers more predictability and flexibility for investments, and the UNA will continue to have the same representation on the pension board as they’ve had in the past, said Finance Minister Travis Toews in an interview Wednesday. [Pfffft, not one word Toews spews is believable]
“We’re not putting our hands on their pensions — their pensions will remain where they are now at AIMCo,” he said.
“We believe we’re strengthening the governance around the pension boards which will long-term improve decision making, improve returns which benefit the owners of those pensions and Alberta taxpayers.” [Translation: Benefit Korrupt Kenney Klan politicos and law-violating bankrupting oil and gas companies]
Public sector nominees to the board would require approval through an order in council, to “ensure that we have the adequate competency at the pension board,” he said.
That puts public sector pension plans under the control of the minister of finance, said Heather Smith, president of the UNA, which represents 30,000 nurses.
“No other major plan in Canada is subject to political interference.”
Smith criticized Kenney and his government for attempting to undermine collective bargaining and roll back wages to the detriment of the health-care system.
“Professional nurses are the backbone of health care in Alberta and around the world. They put up money for their own pensions, and they work hard for their pay, and rolling back nurses’ pay won’t do anything to solve the shortage of nurses that’s already felt in Alberta,” said Smith.
A few tweets on the matter:
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is pulling the same OMNIBUS bill
‘SNEAK THIS IN’ CRAP PM Harper did
The same BILL 22 that fires the Elections Commissioner also transfers ATRF ALBERTA TEACHERS pension funds to AIMCo
WITHOUT THEM ALLOWED A VOTE or SAY
West Coast Lass @Liv_F Replying to @SpunkyAlternate
Will Albertan Teachers be angry enough to protest this? Or Albertans who believe in democracy? Or Albertans who want their vote to matter? Or any Albertans anywhere?
Will anything this government does ever make Albertans angry enough to take to the streets en masse?
Susan Quinn @QSusieQQQ
Rally planned for Nov. 30
y knot @yknot05 Replying to @SpunkyAlternate @Heading_West
AIMCo under 3% last year. CPP just under 9%. And as soon as that Omnibus bill is passed, and everything rolled over, all those workers pensions will make less – every passing year. Compounded. Will it be mostly invested in o&g?
Doug Fletcher @dougthecoach
There could very easily be a constitutional challenge by the Teachers that will likely succeed. The UCP has clearly over-reached here.
The RoR of AIMCo vs CPP is the reason why there won’t be a withdrawal from the CCP in AB.
y knot @yknot05
When you see separatists at work, you wonder if brains will recognize difference of 6% compounded, & what a difference that would make to pensions. I’ve been tapped on shlder to have faith in smarts of voters but I’ve seen how ppl spend their personal $ on frivolity so . . .
Doug Fletcher @dougthecoach
The biggest push back on the CPP thing will come from employers who will not want to see their contribution % increase to make up for the investment shortfall. This is a lead-filled trial balloon.
MtPleasant @HeideJaklin Replying to @SpunkyAlternate
No coincidence. Harper is coaching him. This is Harpers MO, Kenney just brings the lack of insight and self preservation.
Di @skerochka Replying to @SpunkyAlternate @JemmsCee2
I taught 32 years with no leaves to have my pension stolen #notmypremier
It’s unconscionable! I hope there are huge & effective protests.
Gail Mageean@gmageezer Replying to @SpunkyAlternate
I feel like his neighbour Frank every time this government does anything. Harper, the sneak that keeps on giving ( by which I mean taking)
Sean Ross@SeanRos26250158 Replying to @SpunkyAlternate @RayburnBev
I would think touching individual’s pension funds would be risky. Don’t be surprised to see a court challenge to this move which will cost the Alberta taxpayers.
Joni McLachlan@JoniMcLachlan Replying to @SpunkyAlternate @matthewdesteur
Yikes he going rob teachers too
Canakiwi@Canakiwi2 Replying to @SpunkyAlternate @matthewdesteur
I’m sure some of the teachers voted for this gov. They may regret that.
David D@answerallman Replying to @SpunkyAlternate @AylanX
My cousins spouse who is a semi retired teacher sent us an email something to do about Alberta setting up its own pension plan 😣😕😑😮
What is wrong with some people
Audrey Zettl@audrey_zettl Replying to @SpunkyAlternate @JoniMcLachlan
pretty crappy.Jason Kenny is a crook.He became ucp leader by treachery what did everybody expect
Pam Young@MarshWatching Replying to @SpunkyAlternate @Brucesask
Crooks plain and simple. Next time think before you vote.
Island of sanity in Alberta@startin39906695 Replying to @SpunkyAlternate @stevewoodYYC
If AIMco loses the pension funds in spite of their barely surpassing what just leaving it in the bank would do, are the pensions guaranteed by Ab gov’t?
If not.. #AbEd #yycbe I would March in the streets with you to help protect your pensions Kenney just stole.
dmolson@burlivespipe Replying to @SpunkyAlternate
I can’t wait to see what he’s saved for the the friday news dump #albertadisaster #abpoli
Tom Fromanger@TFromanger Replying to @SpunkyAlternate @captainpt
Talk about crooked ,looks like actions of a crime family
Fromthe604@Fromthe6041 Replying to @SpunkyAlternate @MarilynLouiseH1
Deferred prosecution agreement buried in there too???
Opinion: Albertans’ retirement funds don’t belong to Kenney gov’t by Gil McGowan, Guy Smith, Heather Smith, Mike Parker, Rory Gill and Jason Schilling, November 22, 2019, Edmonton Journal
For the past few days, Albertans have been justifiably preoccupied with the implications that Bill 22 has for democracy in our province.
Most people agree that no one, including the most powerful politicians, should be above the law. That’s why so many people are outraged and alarmed by the UCP’s decision to fire the legislature’s independent elections commissioner.
Even Donald Trump was not able to fire the special prosecutor who was investigating him. But that is effectively what Jason Kenney and the UCP are trying to do with Bill 22.
But, as bad as all of this is, Bill 22 is not just an attack on democracy in our province; it’s also an attack on the pension security of hundreds of thousands of Albertans.
Every day, millions of working Albertans make contributions to funds designed to provide them with some measure of security in their retirement years.
For example, all workers pay 5.1 per cent of their wages into the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). These contributions are matched by their employers. Most public-sector workers pay an additional 10 per cent of their salaries into their workplace pension plans.
It is these huge pools of personal savings that Premier Kenney and his government have targeted with Bill 22. In the case of the CPP, the UCP wants to redirect the billions of dollars that Albertans contribute to the plan every year into a new Alberta-only plan.
Experts agree that it would cost millions to withdraw from CPP and set up and run a separate plan. They also agree that an Alberta-only plan would be less portable and more vulnerable to economic downturns. And there is no guarantee that the UCP plan would actually provide similar benefits to pensioners.
In the case of the Alberta Teachers Retirement Fund (ATRF), the UCP wants to essentially expropriate the money that teachers have been managing for themselves and put those funds into the hands of AIMCo, the money manager owned by the provincial government.
Teachers have made it clear that this is not their preference. And in the case of Alberta’s biggest public-sector pension plans — the Local Authorities Pensions Plan and the Public Services Pension Plan — the UCP wants to assert government control over the pension boards and remove the option that the plans currently have of switching fund managers in the event they lose confidence in AIMCo.
In other words, the supposedly “free-market” UCP wants to create a government monopoly. [Tory gov’ts are never “free-market” they just spew the words to con voters; the con works, repeatedly.]
The thing that all of these changes have in common is power. The UCP wants to control the billions of dollars that millions of individual Albertans have been saving diligently for their own retirements.
In response to this blatant grab for money and control, we, the representatives of more than 300,000 working Albertans, have a three-part message for the premier and his government.
First, this isn’t your money. It belongs to the Albertans who saved it month after month. How can a party that styles itself as a champion of individual rights and property rights think it’s appropriate for government to essentially seize control of other people’s savings?
Second, you don’t have permission. You never mentioned sweeping changes to Alberta’s retirement system in the recent election so, you do not have a mandate for any of this.
Third, you don’t have the confidence of the people who this money really belongs to.
Working Albertans did not ask the UCP to interfere in the administration of their pensions, nor do they have confidence that they will run those plans in a fair or responsible way.
In fact, we’re worried that what you’re attempting to do is use other people’s money to create a huge slush fund to finance an agenda that has not yet been articulated to the public and which most people would not feel comfortable using their life savings to support.
For these reasons, on behalf all working Albertans, we demand that you keep your hands off our retirement savings.
You can do that by rescinding Bill 22 and abandoning your reckless and irresponsible plan to withdraw from CPP.
If you don’t do these things, we will make sure all of our members know who, exactly, seized their pension savings and put their retirement security at risk. We will make sure that Bill 22 becomes an albatross that hangs around your necks, from now until the next election.
Gil McGowan, president, Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL)
Guy Smith, president, Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE)
Heather Smith, president, United Nurses of Alberta (UNA)
Mike Parker, president, Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA)
Rory Gill, president, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE Alberta Divisions)
Jason Schilling, president, Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA)
An excellent comment:
My employer and I have contributed to my pension plan for 17 years so far. What gives the Kenney government the right to arbitrarily take that from me? Redneck rhetoric referring to my “gold plated pension” just proves how little people know about pensions. Even if I get my pension, I will still have to work to make ends meet so please don’t tell me that I’m getting something amazing. Contribute to an RRSP for your retirement and see how you feel if the government arbitrarily took control of it.
|Subject:||Put Him In Front Of A Judge!!|
|Date:||Sun, 17 Nov 2019 18:33:49 -0700|
There is no question that Kenney is in trouble with the RCMP—who have investigated his major roll in the Kamikaze Gang’s crimes pulled to solely benefit Kenney’s climb past Brian Jean– to capture the UCP leadership-– with the help of Election Crimes pulled by a Gang who’s goal was to help Kenney defeat Brian Jean with criminal activities if necessary??
Why Alberta is considering severing ties with the RCMP [BECAUSE THEY ARE INVESTIGATING KENNEY FOR ELECTION CRIMES?] Premier Jason Kenney announced Saturday the possibility of implementing a provincial police force by Joel Dryden, CBC News, Nov 12, 2019
One of the major bullet points emerging from Premier Jason Kenney’s speech in Red Deer on Saturday was a proposal to establish a provincial police force.
If the measure were to find support, Alberta would join Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador as the only provinces to operate a provincial police force outside of the RCMP.
“We will invite the panel to explore the feasibility of establishing an Alberta provincial police force by ending the Alberta Police Service Agreement with the Government of Canada,” Kenney said during his speech.
Like much of what was announced Saturday, establishing a provincial police force is part of a bigger strategy to give Alberta greater autonomy from Ottawa.
“As Canada, at various times in history, has moved in the direction of having [provinces] who are looking for a bigger stake in their own governance, taking control of policing is important for those governments,” said Michael Kempa, a criminology professor at the University of Ottawa. “It’s a key component of the administration of justice, and something they would prefer not to leave to the federal government.”
But beyond a larger strategy of seeking to move powers from federal to provincial jurisdiction, how would police services be impacted in the province were this move to occur?
Outside of municipal police services in Alberta like those in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta contracts its provincial police services from the RCMP.
As a federal police force operating across all of Canada, the responsibilities assigned to the RCMP are numerous — and that’s a challenge for any police service, Kempa said.
“There’s been a raging debate around the RCMP for more than two decades as to whether or not they can continue to focus on federal policing issues alongside contracted provincial and sometimes municipal policing issues as well,” Kempa said. “One agency may not be able to do all of those different policing functions particularly well.”
Part of the appeal for a province seeking to distance itself from Ottawa is the centralization of police administration, according to Robert Gordon, a criminology professor at Simon Fraser University.
“It results in significant improvements because you’re working with a single system. Theoretically, it doesn’t involve Ottawa … there is far, far greater levels of control and accountability where everything is being dealt with out of Edmonton, or if you wanted, Calgary,” Gordon said. “Whereas at the moment, policing, priorities and standards are all driven by Ottawa.
“And of course, that is the last thing that an independent Alberta will want to have.”
RCMP representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
Any move to establish a provincial police force is likely to cost more, especially in its initial stages. “It would cost more money, no doubt about that,” Gordon said. “And I’m not talking about startup money. You’re talking millions to transition over because you have to repaint the cars, change the uniforms, all that sort of stuff.” Ongoing costs would also likely be higher than contracting policing out to the RCMP, Gordon said.
“They will be higher partly because provincial and municipal police services and non-RCMP are paid more highly,” he said. “[Here in British Columbia], if we were to switch over it wouldn’t be a hugely complicated thing to do, and we’ve got the resources and the infrastructure in place, but I don’t know about Alberta.”
Despite those initial costs, Kempa said the presence of a local force could provide a return on investment.
“Even if you end up spending a little more, the hope would be that if you have it under provincial jurisdiction and directly accountable to local provincial police accountability bodies, you’re going to get a policing service tailored to the preferences, needs and standards of your territory,” he said.
Alberta has had its own police force before — the Alberta Provincial Police operated in the province from 1917 until 1932. It was replaced by the RCMP in 1932 as a cost-savings measure during the Great Depression, according to the Archives Society of Alberta.
As part of Kenney’s speech on Saturday, he reiterated a campaign pledge to create an Alberta Parole Board and take over responsibility for inmates from the Parole Board of Canada.
In such a scenario, existing correctional facilities would likely be restaffed, Gordon said.
“What you would find is that most of the existing federal staff would be staying in those facilities, and you could come to some kind of cost-sharing arrangement with the feds to ensure that there’s adequate coverage,” Gordon said. “I don’t see that as being a huge issue at all, in comparison with the policing side.”
Other measures the new Fair Deal Panel will study include:
Establishing a provincial revenue agency by ending Alberta's Federal-Provincial Tax Collection Agreement. Withdrawing from the Canada Pension Plan and establishing a provincial plan. Opting out of federal cost-sharing programs. Seeking an exchange of tax points for federal cash transfer. Establishing a formal provincial constitution. Appointing a Chief Firearms Office for the province.
The panel is set to hold a series of consultations between Nov. 16 and Jan. 30, before completing a report to government by March 31.
Toews: Union attack on Alberta’s pension plans is ‘absolute nonsense’ [TRUSTING ANYTHING ANY UCP SAYS, NOTABLY TOEWS OR KENNEY, IS MUCH MORE “ABSOLUTE NONSENSE.” Why is Edmonton Journal publishing crap and lies by this creepy scanky UCP member and make it appear as though Toews is a journalist in the headline and not naming it “Opinion,” which is what it is? Getting paid lot of money from Kenney’s War Room for it?], November 22, 2019, Calgary Herald
THE COMMENTS TO THE ARTICLE ARE MORE ACCURATE AND INTELLIGENT THAN TOEWS’ SPEW. HEAVENS HELP THE PENSIONERS THE UCP ARE SETTING UP TO STEAL FROM TO GIVE TO BIG OIL BILLIONAIRES LEADING COMPANIES WALKING FROM CLEAN UP.
Travis’ reassurances are that current policy keeps the government at arms length from the funds. This could change quickly and without notice at any time. You’re asking people who have made agreements with the government only to see them broken unilaterally. The UCPs double dealing and back stabbing is a reputation honestly earned both within the party and to others outside the party. Who would want to invest in a place where the government, abetted by the majority, would behave so amorally?
So no, the fears expressed by the union leadership and the membership are not nonsense. They are a reasonable conclusion of people who have no confidence in the principles of this government.
They oppose this for the obvious reasons. They feel their pension is at risk due to Conservatives history of mismanaging every fund they touch. I too, as a citizen, worry what the Conservatives is really up too on this. Saying one thing and doing another is kind of their MO.
Couple all this with the fact that this article ‘Plays the Fool’ on this subject, brings my concerns to the highest level. They have a terrible history with funds and they plan on placing it with a underperforming fund (No kickbacks lol)…just wow…so many problems with all of this.
“Albertans make a disproportionate contribution to the CPP. In 2017, we put in $2.9 billion more in contributions than we received in benefits.”
Ok, explore whether an A.P.P. makes sense, but cut the nonsense about how we contribute more than we get. All that means is that a lot of us max out our CPP contributions and not many Albertans are old enough to draw the CPP. Yikes, how stupid do you think we are. [THEY KNOW ALBERTANS ARE STUPIDER THAN STUPID, LOOK AT HOW ALBERTANS VOTE – FEDERALLY AND PROVINCIALLY!]
Earlier this week, a number of Alberta’s union bosses attempted to portray the provincial government’s recent pension plan proposals as “an attack on the pension security of hundreds of thousands of Albertans.”
This is absolute nonsense and I want to set the record straight.
As part of Budget 2019, the government of Alberta has made the Alberta Investment Management Corp. (AIMCo) the investment manager of all public sector pensions, including the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund. The fact is, AIMCo was already managing every public sector pension fund except the ATRF. We are keeping the investments within AIMCo for the long term. It is curious that union leaders whose investments are currently managed by AIMCo would be concerned.
AIMCo has earned its reputation as a world-class investment manager, with $108 billion under management. It is, among other things, the investment manager of Alberta’s Heritage Trust Fund. And it regularly achieves spectacular investment performance — over the past 10 years, AIMCo has provided an annual return of 9.9 per cent on Albertans’ investments. That might be reason enough to move Alberta’s public sector pension plan investments to AIMCo. But the case is, in fact, better than that.
The broader use of AIMCo reflects our commitment to make government more efficient and ensure the best use of taxpayer dollars. In the case of the ATRF, it is estimated that this measure will result in an annual savings of $41 million for the teachers’ pension plan, or almost $500 for every teacher that contributes to the fund. These savings, which were previously wasted on administration costs, will now be directed towards the health of the plan. For a teacher who retires 35 years from now, the compound value of the investment management savings upon retirement is estimated to be $78,471. These savings are doubled when one considers the fact that taxpayers, as the employer, make half the contributions to the plan.
“But wait,” say the union bosses, “the UCP wants to control the billions … that individual Albertans have been saving for their own retirements.” Let me be clear. AIMCo operates independently and at arm’s-length from the government. Control remains firmly in the hands of each pension board. Boards will continue to retain ownership of the plan’s assets. Most importantly, there will be no changes to pension benefits. The only thing that is changing is the investment manager of the funds.
This is a win-win for public sector pension members and taxpayers alike.
But the scaremongering doesn’t end there. Union bosses also oppose looking into the possibility of leaving the Canada Pension Plan in favour of a made-in-Alberta solution.
In case you missed it, the premier recently appointed the Fair Deal Panel to consult Albertans on how best to protect our economic interests within Confederation.
One of the issues that the panel will examine is whether we would be better off with an Alberta Pension Plan as opposed to the current Canada Pension Plan.
Why would we look at making this change? According to a recent study by the Fraser Institute, Albertans make a disproportionate contribution to the CPP. In 2017, we put in $2.9 billion more in contributions than we received in benefits. Over the last decade (2008-2017), Albertans made a cumulative net contribution of $27.9 billion to the CPP.
It’s estimated that under an APP, Albertans’ pension payroll tax could fall to 5.85 per cent of earnings from the current 9.9 per cent — all the while maintaining the same level of benefits. That would leave more money for taxpayers and stimulate economic growth in the province.
And yet, the unions oppose even studying it. Why?
Why do they oppose innovation? Why do they oppose efficiency? Why do they oppose saving taxpayers’ hard-earned money?
Our government is committed to ensuring that Albertans get the most out of their pensions. That means finding savings where we can, lowering contribution rates if possible and maintaining or increasing benefits. We were elected to be fiscally responsible — and that is exactly what we are doing.
Travis Toews is Alberta’s minister of finance and president of the Treasury Board.