“Alberta simply don’t believe that there should be a public response to what they consider to be a private issue. It’s not a view that the government of Nova Scotia shares.
Halifax (10 January 2011) – Nova Scotia’s government is accusing Alberta of standing in the way of expanding the Canada Pension Plan because it is locked in by ideology.
Graham Steele, Nova Scotia’s finance minister, was responding to comments made Wednesday by Canada’s new junior finance minister, Ted Menzies, who said any move to enhance CPP in order to help people save for retirement is a long way off.
Menzies, a Member of Parliament from Alberta appointed last week as minister of state for finance, said it is not the right time to reform CPP because increased premiums could hurt the economic recovery.
According to the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, Steele told the said the Harper government is needlessly holding up the proposed expansion by insisting it must secure unanimous approval from the provinces. Amending CPP requires approval from only two-thirds of the provinces representing two-thirds of the population.
“Ottawa’s stand has given Alberta an effective veto”, he said. “Alberta’s opposition to seems to be based on ideology," Steele said after a provincial cabinet meeting last Friday.
"They simply don’t believe that there should be a public response to what they consider to be a private issue. It’s not a view that the government of Nova Scotia shares."
Alberta favours the proposal put forward by federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to create a private Pooled Registered Pension Plan (PRPP) at a meeting of Canada’s finance ministers last month in Kananaskis, Alberta.
The private-sector PRPP would supposedly allow small firms, employees and even the self-employed to pool resources on new, low-cost pensions. However the plan will be voluntary and employers will not be required to contribute. It would be administered by banks and insurance companies.
The Kananaskis meeting saw six provinces — B.C., P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Ontario — issue a joint statement in favour of expanding CPP.
The provinces said the federal government should phase in a modest expansion to the public pension plan and make changes to provide more Canadians with low-cost pensions. At the time, Alberta appeared to be the lone holdout in supporting CPP expansion. Quebec expressed some technical concerns about expansion of its separate QPP.
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