Question Period: Canada Pension Plan Fund

By: The Hon. Clément Gignac

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Hon. Clément Gignac: Senator Gold, I’d like to talk to you about the current confrontation between the federal government and the Government of Alberta regarding the province’s possible withdrawal from the Canada Pension Plan.

In response to Alberta’s bill to create its own pension plan, like Quebec has, Prime Minister Trudeau has publicly stated that he has asked his cabinet and officials to take every necessary measure to ensure that Albertans and Canadians are fully aware of the risks involved in this bill and, above all, to make every possible effort to keep the Canada Pension Plan intact.

Yesterday, in a letter to the Premier of Alberta, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance acknowledged, naturally, Alberta’s right to withdraw from the Canada Pension Plan, but challenged the figures put forward by Alberta concerning its fair share of the current assets managed by its CPP investment funds.

Senator Gold, would it not be appropriate for the federal government and the Province of Alberta to agree on or identify a third party to determine the correct figures?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question. The Canada Pension Plan enables all Canadians to have a dignified retirement with a stable and secure pension, and Canadians rightly expect that their retirement savings will be available to them when they need them.

I was assured that the government will always defend the pensions of Canadians and the security of their retirement. As you mentioned, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance is looking forward to meeting with her provincial and territorial counterparts to discuss this issue.

Senator Gignac: Thank you, Senator Gold. Given that the Minister of Finance will be meeting with her provincial and territorial counterparts tomorrow, wouldn’t it be a good opportunity to discuss the possibility of a dual mandate approach to these Canada Pension Plan investment funds, as is the case in Quebec with the Caisse de dépôt et placement? That is one of the recommendations in the most recent report of the Committee on Banking, Commerce and the Economy. Could we look into the possibility of a dual mandate to simulate economic development, as is the case in Quebec?

Senator Gold: Thank you for the question. I have every confidence in the minister and her team, as well as in her counterparts, and I’m sure they’ll be discussing this pertinent subject.

Given your experience, senator, I will endeavour to convey your suggestion to the minister, but perhaps not by tomorrow, since time is short. Still, thank you for the suggestion.

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