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Alberta NDP lambastes UCP authorities's $7.5M provincial pension plan advert marketing campaign

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The Alberta authorities’s public push for a provincial pension plan will value $7.5 million, spending the Opposition NDP says is a misuse of taxpayer cash.

Shannon Phillips, NDP finance critic for pensions, mentioned at a information convention Wednesday there are extra vital challenges, together with a housing and homelessness disaster, that may very well be higher addressed with the money as an alternative.

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“We’re very involved that Albertans’ personal cash — tens of millions and tens of millions of {dollars} — is getting used to market what quantities to falsehoods, completely legendary numbers to assemble an alternate set of information and an alternate actuality in which there’s a pot of gold on the finish of an Alberta pension plan rainbow. None of it’s actual,” mentioned Phillips, who additionally expressed fear the value tag for billboards and digital, tv, and radio advertisements could develop.

Savannah Johannsen, press secretary to Finance Minister Nate Horner, mentioned in a Tuesday assertion to Postmedia the federal government’s marketing campaign is about to run till spring 2024. It’ll coincide with the Jim Dinning-led public engagement panel.

“To ensure that each Albertan to have the information and concentrate on the engagement classes, Alberta’s authorities has allotted $7.5 million in direction of a public consciousness marketing campaign,” Johannsen said.

Compared, the UCP put about $5 million in taxpayer cash in 2022-’23 in direction of making an attempt to recruit employees to Alberta from different provinces.

Whereas in authorities, the NDP put some $9 million in direction of a marketing campaign about its environmental initiative in 2016 forward of the rollout of the buyer carbon tax, drawing criticism from then-Wildrose chief Brian Jean, who known as it a waste of cash aimed toward convincing Albertans of one thing they didn’t need.

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The UCP’s pension marketing campaign contains a web-based survey, ending Dec. 10, that asks Albertans questions on how they want to construction a provincial pension plan and allocate potential financial savings.

It’s claims that Albertans can get extra advantages with decrease contributions are primarily based on numbers from a third-party report, launched final week. It estimates if the province have been to withdraw and begin its personal pension plan, it ought to get $334 billion of the Canada Pension Plan’s asset pool, or 53 per cent, by 2027. Economists and CPP Investments have questioned that calculation, and any asset switch can be depending on complicated negotiations and potential authorized battles.

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The UCP authorities has mentioned it gained’t transfer ahead until Albertans approve it by means of a referendum, and Premier Danielle Smith has mentioned it desires Albertans to see how they’d profit from a provincial plan.

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“We’re simply making an attempt to be very factual about this,” she mentioned final week.

On Monday, Phillips introduced the launch of an NDP survey in response to the federal government’s survey failing to ask whether or not Albertans approve of a provincial pension plan or not.

“It’s designed to offer Danielle Smith an excuse to impose on Alberta seniors and companies the agenda she’s been pushing for 20 years,” Phillips mentioned. In distinction, the NDP’s survey asks respondents whether or not Alberta ought to depart the Canada Pension Plan, and why or why not.

NDP Chief Rachel Notley has mentioned the claims made within the report from consultancy LifeWorks are primarily based on a “make-believe” estimate of how a lot cash Alberta may fairly get out of the CPP, and the federal government’s efforts seem constructed to control public opinion after Albertans have lengthy been unsupportive of making a provincial plan.

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