Former federal finance minister Bill Morneau is standing up for the Canadian Pension Plan, calling it a uniquely successful investment organization that won’t be easily recreated by the Alberta provincial government if it’s successful in its attempt to leave the federal plan.
Speaking at the Portfolio Management Association of Canada’s national conference last week, he said Canadians don’t realize how ideally the CPP is regarded by other countries. “There are so few institutions that we can point to in the country that have been sustainably successful and the CPP is one of them. It’s proven itself over a long period of time.”
In terms of challenges related to Alberta’s potential exit of the CPP, Morneau cited replicating its performance, the transition costs and the need to negotiate global arrangements.
After releasing a third-party report estimating Alberta could be entitled to $334 billion — or about 53 per cent — in September, Premier Danielle Smith’s government said it could hold a provincial referendum as early as 2025 on its decision to quit the CPP. The province would have to provide a three years’ written notice to the federal government on its intention to leave.
The dispute around Alberta and the CPP is creating a problem instead of dealing with the real concern the Western province has with the federal government, which is the country’s energy policy, said Morneau. “That requires a more open mind for the federal government and coming to the table to talk about policy that’s more likely to be sustainable given the different constituents that we have.”