Panel says Alberta should consider ditching CPP, RCMP; Kenney considers options

Panel says Alberta should consider ditching CPP, RCMP; Kenney considers options

Panel says Alberta should consider ditching CPP, RCMP; Kenney considers options

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he will call a referendum on pushing Ottawa for a better deal on equalization payments as well as explore the province cutting ties with the RCMP and leaving the Canada Pension Plan.

Kenney made the comments as he released recommendations from his Fair Deal panel, which he created last year to gauge the mood of Albertans and determine better ways the province could assert itself in Confederation.

“Albertans are happy to have had the opportunity to contribute mightily to the rest of the federation,” Kenney said Wednesday.

“But what Albertans cannot and will not accept is governments across the country benefiting from that wealth and our resources while seeking to block and impair our development of that wealth.”

He said a referendum will be held next year to gain a mandate to force federal officials to discuss reform.

The panel said Alberta has contributed a net $240 billion to the federation since 2007.

A referendum would not change the equalization formula, something that requires action by the federal government and other provinces, but the panel said it would compel federal officials to at least negotiate.

The panel held consultations in late 2019 and early 2020, wrapping up just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit with full force, shutting down jobs and leading to illnesses and deaths. The health crisis forced the provinces and the federal government to work in lockstep to reduce the infection rate while keeping the economy from catastrophically cratering.

The panel held 25 town hall meetings, met with others, and conducted a survey completed by 40,000 people to go with a phone poll of 1,000 more.

Based on the findings, the panel urged Kenney to also create an Alberta Pension Plan, similar to Quebec’s model, saying that Alberta’s young population would mean lower contribution costs and returns on par or better than the federal plan.

Kenney said his government will study that idea, along with a recommendation to create an Alberta police force.

The panel suggested the RCMP is becoming too bureaucratically inflexible and smaller communities aren’t getting enough front-line officers.

Deputy Commissioner Curtis Zablocki, commanding officer of the Alberta RCMP, responded to the panel’s report by saying Mounties will continue to work closely with citizens, community groups and leaders, and the provincial government to hear concerns and address issues.

“The safety and security of citizens has always been the number one priority of the Alberta RCMP, and it will continue to be as long as we have the privilege of being Alberta’s provincial police service,” Zablocki said in a release.

“We will continue to modernize policing services and processes in the province, and we know the needs and concerns of Albertans play a large role in shaping how those services and processes will evolve.”

The report does not provide evidence to demonstrate that a majority of Albertans want a separate pension plan or want to abandon the RCMP. In fact, it states that in the telephone poll of 1,000 Albertans, two-thirds don’t want a provincial police force and almost six in 10 want to stay with the Canada Pension Plan.

Asked to point to evidence in the report showing majority support for these two recommendations, panel chair Oryssia Lennie said, “We heard this (Alberta police initiative) largely from rural Albertans.”

Lennie added that overall “we not only looked at the responses to the surveys, but we also listened to people at town halls and we heard and read their electronic and written submissions and we spoke to experts.

“Our conclusions and our recommendations ultimately reflect that.”

Kenney added his government has also done independent polling “which has found pretty significant support for the possibility of an Alberta provincial pension plan.”

NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley said the town halls they monitored showed overwhelming rejection of Alberta taking control of its own pension plan.

“Albertans were clear: the last thing they wanted was this premier interfering with their retirement,” Notley told the house during question period.

“One man said he didn’t trust this premier with his bingo winnings let alone his pension.”

Also Wednesday, Kenney followed through on plans and said Alberta will hire its own chief firearms officer.

Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer said this will ensure federal gun laws are carried out with a sensitivity to Albertans’ concerns.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 17, 2020

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported an additional 456 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Five new COVID-19 deaths in Central zone, two in Red Deer

Province reports 456 new cases of COVID-19

A 36-year-old Eckville pedophile  was sentenced to 18 years in prison and given a 10-year-long-term supervision order for abusing nearly a dozen children over a decade.
Black Press file photo
Updated: Central Alberta pedophile sentenced to 18 years in prison and declared long-term offender

Eckville man abused nearly a dozen children as young as two over nearly a decade

Short-term rental accommodation is becoming more closely monitored by local governments. File photo
Town of Sylvan Lake looking for input on short-term rentals

Currently, the Town does not regulate short-term rentals.

Businesses are getting creative to keep cash flowing. (File photo)
Central Albertan lobbying government to help those affected by CERB repayments

Catherine Hay says she received a letter in November saying she had to completely repay the benefit

World Juniors’ referee Mike Langin makes a called during the Canada vs. Slovakia at the 2021 World Junior Championship at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Dec. 27, 2020. (Photo by Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada)
Former Sylvan Lake man lives his dream at World Junior Championships

Mike Langin was one the 25 Canadian officials who worked during the tournament

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

In this March 28, 2017, file photo, a dump truck hauls coal at Contura Energy’s Eagle Butte Mine near Gillette, Wyo. Public opposition to the Alberta government’s plans to expand coal mining in the Rocky Mountains appears to be growing. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mead Gruver, File
Alberta cancels coal leases, pauses future sales, as opposition increases

New Democrat environment critic Marlin Schmidt welcomed the suspension

File photo
Wetaskiwin Crime Reduction Unit recovers valuable stolen property

Property valued at over $50,000 recovered by Wetaskiwin Crime Reduction Unit.

In this March 28, 2017, file photo, a dump truck hauls coal at Contura Energy’s Eagle Butte Mine near Gillette, Wyo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mead Gruver, File)
First Nations seek to intervene in court challenge of coal policy removal

Bearspaw, Ermineskin and Whitefish First Nations are among those looking to intervene

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau vows to keep up the fight to sway U.S. on merits of Keystone XL pipeline

Canada’s pitch to the Biden team has framed Keystone XL as a more environmentally friendly project than original

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
No Pfizer vaccines arriving in Canada next week; feds still expect 4M doses by end of March

More cases of U.K. variant, South African variant found in Canada

Health-care workers wait in line at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians who have had COVID-19 should still get the vaccine, experts say

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were found to have a 95 per cent efficacy

An empty Peel and Sainte-Catherine street is shown in Montreal, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Poll finds strong support for COVID-19 curfews despite doubts about effectiveness

The poll suggests 59 per cent remain somewhat or very afraid of contracting COVID-19

Lacombe is looking at its options for reclaiming sewage lagoons that are no longer needed. Vesta Energy Ltd. has signed a deal to use three lagoons to store water for fracking.
Map from City of Lacombe
Energy company to use former Lacombe sewage lagoons to store water for fracking

Vesta Energy Ltd. will pay Lacombe more than $100,000 a year in 20-year deal

Most Read