In his address to CUPE Alberta convention delegates, AFL President Gil McGowan outlined seven reasons why the resignation of Alison Redford isn’t enough to save our pension plan, or to provide government that looks out for working people. Here is Gil’s list:
- The Conservative Government is still committed to attacking our pension plan. In his first news conference as interim Premier, Dave Hancock said he was committed to the plan for pension cuts laid out in February.
- The Conservative government is still lying to us. The Conservatives are lying to the public sector, the media and the public when it comes to pension issues. Doug Horner says pension cuts are necessary because of a $7.4 billion unfunded liability and because people are living longer. Horner also says his cuts are the result of consultation. These are all lies.
- Conservatives are still trying to pit public sector workers against private sector workers. Conservatives see the pension fight as a way to win supporters back from the Wildrose party by looking ‘tough’ on the public sector. They have resorted to insults and character assassination. Is it true? Are public sector workers overpaid? Just last week a study was released showing wages were indistinguishable between public and private workers.
- Conservatives are still planning to sacrifice young and mid-career workers. The pension cuts will fall disproportionately on young workers. If you spend most of your working life under the new system, your pension will be dramatically less (25-30%) than if you work most of your life under the current system. Ironically, Conservatives justify their cuts by claiming ‘inter-generational unfairness’ while they practice it.
- The Alberta government is lying to older workers and retirees. The Finance Minister always moves quickly to reassure long service workers and retirees that their pensions are guaranteed. But he can’t make that promise while introducing a cap on pension contributions. Pension experts are very concerned about this cap. The next time there is a recession or a market crash, a cap on contributions means pension plans have only one way to recover their losses: they have to cut benefits. Which means retirees are not safe. At all.
- The Conservative Government is still committed to treating public sector workers with disrespect. Dave Hancock was the chief spokesperson for the Conservatives in defending Bills 45 and 46. Hancock defended these bills as fair and necessary, even after the court issued a scathing injunction on Bill 46.
- No one in the PC caucus is a friend to working people. This is the same caucus that has presided over the giveaway of wealth to corporate Alberta while privatizing and reducing public services, defending P3s, and refusing to negotiate with employees. After 40 years in power, we can’t expect them to change their habits.
Contact: Lou Arab