Hundreds of Albertans turned out for a meeting in Edmonton last week to hear officials from the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board discuss the state of the national retirement plan, while acknowledging Alberta’s ongoing discussion about leaving it, according to reporting by the Edmonton Journal.

The meeting attracted a crowd of about 400 people, during which Michel Leduc, the CPPIB’s senior managing director, answered 27 questions, many of which pertained to the province’s ongoing push to leave the Canada Pension Plan and create its own provincial plan.

Read: Alberta deserves more than half CPP assets if it exits program: report

Last September, the Alberta government shared a commissioned report that outlined the potential creation of a separate pension plan. It found that Albertans could be entitled to more than $330 billion in funds from the CPP, if it were to leave the national plan behind. The Office of the Chief Actuary of Canada is currently preparing an estimate on the province’s potential withdrawal total sum.

“We respect Alberta’s right to determine whether it will remain a part of our national plan,” said Leduc, during the meeting.

While he didn’t directly address the merits of an Alberta pension plan, he noted the CPP’s superior size and ability to pool assets. “When it comes to pensions, there [is] strength in numbers,” he said, noting the plan was sustainable for at least the next 75 years.

Read: Just 22% of Albertans support CPP withdrawal, creation of provincial pension plan: survey

Some audience members questioned the level of government involvement in both the national plan and a theoretical Alberta pension plan, with Leduc responding that CPP assets were “strictly segregated” from politicians.

Still, some people also questioned the CPPIB’s staffing, expenditures and rate of return. Leduc cautioned against comparing the return of short-term investments with the longer-term goals of a pension plan, citing the CPP’s 10 per cent return on investment over the past decade.

A January poll from Leger showed the prospect of leaving behind the CPP is not popular with Albertans with only 22 per cent of respondents in favour of the creation of an Alberta pension plan. More than half (52 per cent) of respondents said they’re against the idea and 26 per cent were still undecided.

Officials at the CPPIB are required to hold these public meetings in every province at least once every two years. A similar meeting took place in Calgary last Tuesday.

Read: Ontario civil servants noting flaws in Alberta’s CPP portion calculations: report