Over the past few months, some of my bosses have said they feel mistreated when it comes to their pension. I have heard from people who originally planned to retire in the next couple of years, but fear they will now have to work several years longer just to have the same pension when they do retire.
Pension calculations are just mathematics, but those mathematics dictate how hundreds of thousands of Albertans plan to retire, and cannot be taken lightly. The money in the plans belongs to those hard-working Albertans.
I agree that pension plans need to be sustainable, now and into the future. I also believe that when people contribute to their pension plans in good faith, they ought to be assured of having the appropriate pension when they retire, and not having the rules change on them without their input.
Based on what I have heard to this point, I’m not convinced we have done enough to consult with Albertans who have public sector pension plans. I believe the initial consultation was botched. I appreciate that the all-party Standing Committee on Alberta’s Economic Future is now holding a consultation process, but I don’t think we should proceed with Bill 9 and Bill 10 until I see the committee report and ensure a proper level of consultation has taken place.
Therefore, if I am elected leader of PC Alberta and Premier, I will shelve Bill 9 and Bill 10, until I ensure the proper level of consultation has taken place. If there are people we still need to talk to after the committee report has been presented, then we will talk to them. Our employees must have the proper chance to be involved in the important discussion about their pensions and their futures.
Consulting – not just informing – the people who will be affected by proposed pension plan changes is just common sense.