Discounts and discussions as area seniors meet with MLA over coffee

Above: Morinville-St. Albert MLA Dale Nally, Minister of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction, talks to local seniors over coffee at the Rendez-Vous Centre on Tuesday, Apr. 2. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

by Stephen Dafoe

Morinville resident Gerald Skowronski talks to Morinville-St. Albert MLA Dale Nally, Minister of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction, at a coffee gathering at the Rendez-Vous Centre on Tuesday, Apr. 2. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

Seniors can now expect a 25 per cent discount on personal registry services. That was some of the news delivered by Morinville-St. Albert MLA Dale Nally, Minister of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction, to seniors at the Rendez-Vous Centre in Morinville on Tuesday, Apr. 2.

The Registry Office discounts, announced by the province on Mar. 28, apply to personal registration services and vital statistics for those 65 and older. The discount applies to seniors purchasing personal registry services online through MyAlberta eServices or in person at registries throughout the province.

“If you need any personal registry services and vital statistics—when you go to register your car, driver’s licence, a marriage certificate, birth certificate, any of that information is 25 per cent off,” Nally explained, noting the announced registry services savings are part of a three-phase price cut for seniors. 

A second 25 percent discount will apply to seniors’ driver exams and is expected to come into effect as early as this summer. A discount on camping reservations for seniors will come next year. The province says more than 725,000 Alberta seniors can expect to benefit from the service fee reduction.

The seniors’ discount does not apply to corporate and business services, personal property services, commercial vehicle registrations, or optional products, including personalized and specialty licence plates.

Discontent with some government direction

However, for the roughly dozen-and-a-half seniors who met with Nally, other issues were at the top of their minds, including CPP, hospitals, and health care, and not delivering on a promised income tax cut, the latter of which Nally said would come in year two or three.

Minister Nally fielded many questions and comments, some of which were delivered to the MLA in harsh tones, from those who expressed their upset with what they see as a government that is not listening.

On the topic of an Alberta Pension Plan, Nally explained that the discussion stemmed back to the 2019 Fair Deal Panel and that, ultimately, Albertans would have the final say by way of a referendum. 

“We never committed to doing it,” the MLA said. “We said that we would look at it and it would be Albertans who decide.”

Nally explained the matter is currently in the hands of actuaries. The number presented by the provincial government’s hired actuary was roughly 300 billion, while others suggest the number is closer to 60 billion. 

“The only way that number could be 60 billion is if we don’t get any credit for the compound interest for the last 40 or 50 years,” Nally said. “I can’t imagine that there is an actuary in this country that would say that is a fair distribution not to pay interest.”

Nally said government feedback indicates that most Albertans want more information on a provincial pension plan before determining whether they favour or oppose it.

“Quite frankly, if the number is $60 billion, there is not support for an Alberta pension plan. But if that number begins with a three, as in 300 and something, then that changes things,” Nally said. “We’ve heard that message loud and clear, and we have said we are going to wait until we get the number from the Chief Actuary of Canada. The Prime Minister has asked the Chief Actuary to deliver a number to us on what that would look like, and that number is due in the fall.”

Nally went on to say that the number will determine future steps, including further consultation with Albertans if the number is worth considering.

The Morinville-St. Albert MLA also indicated he would continue to advocate for the replacement of the X-ray machine in Morinville.

Minister Nally told seniors he would take their concerns back to cabinet. Nally also spoke to the Morinville & District Chamber of Commerce at their monthly luncheon on Wednesday, Apr. 3.

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