Letter: Bingo! and the Canada Pension Plan

I have been thinking about the comment that has been circulating in the media from a participant at the UCP Fair Deal Panel.

“I wouldn’t trust Jason Kenny with the proceeds from a Bingo!”, referencing the discussion on Alberta taking control of Albertan’s CPP funds and the administration in the future.

Having watched the Federal Government underfund the program, use the payments as part of general revenue, etc., since I became aware of the program in 1965, listening to my parents optimism of the benefit, and then living with the reality of it in their retirement, I question how anyone can trust the current program. (Let’s also remember, closest to the federal government, it is clear that Quebec does not.)

Our current prime minister, oft quoting he is proud to be a Quebecor, has his and his family’s pensions protected there. (perhaps the impact of the SNC stock devaluation was more personal than those of us in CPP.)

And let’s not forget the national tour of finance minister Bill Morneau touting their “new and improved” program allowing Canadians to wait until they are 75 to apply, so they can get 100% of their averaged income as payments. Somehow, what was left out was the fact that if you work part time as a senior, you will reduce your average income for that calculation. Left out was the discussion that CPP is taxable, so if current trends of tax increases continue, even less will be actually available to the recipient. (One is hesitant to assume there was any investigation by the finance minister and his team on the actuaries that indicate the percentage of people that will die between 65 and 75. You only need to read the regulations of CPP death benefits to surviving spouse to understand this windfall for the government.)

I don’t know enough about all the details, but as I am currently collecting CPP, you can bet I am investigating and asking questions.

But one thing is certain. I don’t need to trust Jason Kenny, or any individual in government. With the current antagonistic process of opposition not working together for Albertans, but opposing on principle, I know an errant receipt for a stick of gum that accidently finds it’s way into expenses will be pounced upon with glee and receive full media attention.

(I will concede that both parties fulfill this equally effectively in the opposition seats.)

What I do trust is the Albertan’s who work in and around the government to utilize their flourishing media access to bring to light shortfalls and successes. I only hope they do both equally.

Alan Otway