June 26, 2012
PCs keep gold-plated pensions on the table
EDMONTON, AB (June 26, 2012): PC MLAs left the door open to returning to gold-plated MLA pensions at today’s meeting of the Legislature’s Members’ Services Committee. While rejecting a full defined-benefit MLA pension plan, PC committee members banded together to support a “targeted-benefit” pension plan.
Like defined-benefit pensions, targeted-benefit plans could place an unfair burden on Alberta taxpayers and could still result in politicians receiving excessive and unreasonable payouts. “Obviously, the PCs still want to explore these kinds of gold-plated pensions as an option. The Wildrose does not. We want a plan that’s in line with real world standards,” Smith said. “I hoped we could find some common ground on this, but clearly the PCs aren’t ready to close the door on their lavish entitlements.” Justice John Major recommended the implementation of gold-plated, defined-benefit pension plan in his report released in May. Wildrose has consistently opposed such a plan, instead supporting a defined-contribution pension plan for MLAs. According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, unfunded pension liabilities in Alberta have reached $11 billion – including $42 million still remaining on the MLA pension plan Premier Ralph Klein got rid of. “Premier Klein was right to have killed these pensions almost 20 years ago,” Smith said. “Reinstating anything like them would be a slap in the face to Alberta taxpayers and hard-working Alberta families.” The Members’ Services Committee voted to strike a subcommittee to further investigate the pension issue. Smith volunteered to sit on the subcommittee and vowed to keep fighting on behalf of taxpayers for fair and reasonable MLA compensation.