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Poilievre latest to tell Alberta to 'stay in the CPP' as opposition mounts


Federal Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre is encouraging Albertans to stay in the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP), as the debate about the province’s proposal to exit the retirement savings program continues.

“The division today on the CPP is entirely the result of Justin Trudeau attacking the Alberta economy,” Poilievre said in an emailed statement Friday.

“I encourage Albertans to stay in the CPP. As prime minister, I will protect and secure the CPP for Albertans and all Canadians, by treating every province fairly and freeing Alberta to develop its resources to secure our future.”

The Government of Alberta released a report last month outlining how much money the province could be entitled to if it left the plan and what an “Alberta Pension Plan” might look like.


Both the Alberta United Conservative Party and New Democratic Party are conducting surveys polling Albertans on their thoughts on the possibility of leaving the CPP.

The NDP says its online town halls have shown residents are decidedly against the idea.

"Albertans do not want to give Danielle Smith the right to gamble with their retirement," Opposition Finance Critic Shannon Phillips said. "When you talk to normal people, you hear a lot of anxiety and worry."

But that hasn't stopped a massive UCP-led advertising campaign promoting the possibility of the APP.

When asked if the spending was appropriate on Friday, Alberta's agriculture minister said it wasn't up to him.

"Our government is committed to making sure that the decision will be Alberta's decision," RJ Sigurdson said. "I encourage more Albertans to read the report and make themselves more knowledgeable on what it looks like and what the potential is."

A statement from Smith's office echoed that sentiment.

"This is an opportunity Albertans are discussing that has potential to improve the lives of our seniors and workers without risk to the pensions of fellow Canadians," it said.


Earlier this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in on the issue in a letter to Premier Danielle Smith, stating that the federal government will fight any move that could threaten the stability of the CPP.

"Withdrawing Albertans from the Canada Pension Plan would expose millions of Canadians to greater volatility and would deny them the certainty and stability that has benefited generations,” Trudeau said in the letter.

"I have instructed my cabinet and officials to take all necessary steps to ensure Albertans — and Canadians — are fully aware of the risks of your plan, and to do everything possible to ensure CPP remains intact.”

Smith responded in an open letter on Wednesday, calling the Prime Minister’s comments “disingenuous” and “inappropriate.”

“While there would indeed be some effect on the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) should Albertans decide via referendum to withdraw from the CPP and establish our own pension plan, the effects would not be remotely as severe as you imply,” Smith said in the letter.

The premier said any attempt to stop the province from exiting the CPP would be seen as an “attack on the constitutional and legal rights of Alberta,” and would be met with “legal and political consequences.”

Rachel Notley, the leader of Alberta’s Opposition, claimed that the premier believes leaving the CPP is an "attack on Justin Trudeau," in an emailed statement Friday.

“It’s not. It’s an attack on all Canadians — on your brothers, your sisters, your friends in other parts of the country,” Notley said.

“Even Pierre Poilievre thinks so and that’s why he’s urged Albertans to reject Danielle Smith’s plan and stay in CPP.”


A political analyst and popular Alberta podcaster recently sent a freedom of information request to see provincial feedback on the topic.

Corey Hogan found "correspondents express strong opposition to the idea of a possible Alberta Pension Plan to replace the Canadian Pension Plan."

In fact, Hogan shows that of 2,850 letters on the plan, only 20 were supportive.

"It's clear that (the government's) approach to this is not really engaging with Albertans to learn what individual preferences are," economist Trevor Tombe told CTV News, "but really spending $7.5 million on a pretty hard marketing campaign to convince us that a pension plan would be beneficial. And that entire campaign is anchored on a single report that takes a pretty optimistic view."

"Albertans do not have the information they need to make an informed decision."

With files from The Canadian Press Top Stories

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