Alberta Premier Danielle Smith fired back at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after he chided her for considering a referendum on a Canadian Pension Plan withdrawal in place of a provincial one.
Trudeau told Smith on Wednesday morning, “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 do everything possible to ensure CPP remains intact. We will not stand by as anyone seeks to weaken pensions and reduce the retirement income of Canadians.”
Hours later, Smith wrote an open letter to Trudeau: “It is disingenuous and inappropriate for you to stoke fear in the hearts and minds of Canadian retirees on this issue,” her letter read.
The Premier said the effects on Canadians, should Albertans vote to withdrawal from the CPP, would be nowhere near what Trudeau suggested. Smith alluded to a report by Lifeworks, which estimated that, if Alberta were to withdrawal from the CPP, the maximum annual increase to employee contribution rates for non-Albertan Canadians would be $175.
Smith then went on the offensive by comparing that figure to what Trudeau’s carbon tax costs Canadians.
“The average net cost to consumers (after carbon tax rebates) of your federal consumer carbon tax is now up to $710 per household in 2023, and will be increasing dramatically each time the carbon tax is increased as you plan to do.”
The UCP leader further invited Trudeau to show his government’s analysis of a potential Alberta withdrawal from the CPP.
Trudeau brings up climate change
Earlier on Wednesday, in condemning Smith’s decision to allow Albertans to vote on a potential withdrawal from the CPP, the Prime Minister unironically told her that climate change, among other concerns, posed too great of a risk for such a move.
Last month, when announcing the potential referendum, Smith referred to a government-commissioned report by the independent consultant group, LifeWorks, which stated that Alberta could save a staggering $334 billion by establishing an Alberta Pension Plan.
Smith further said that any move towards an Alberta Pension Plan would guarantee the same or lower contributions compared to the CPP and the same or improved benefits for seniors.