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CALGARY – Two out of three Albertans want their provincial government to work with other provinces to increase Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits, and 77 per cent of Albertans believe CPP benefit increases should be the first priority for improving retirement security for all Canadians, according to a new poll released today.

Environics Research Group completed the survey in early January for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in the wake of Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty abrupt announcement late last year of the Conservative government’s intentions to delay CPP enhancements.  It surveyed 1,012 Albertans between Jan. 23 - Jan. 31, 2011, with an error margin of +/- 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Opposition from the Alberta government has been a persistent impediment to CPP reform negotiations, and was a pivotal factor in the Harper government’s recent decision to delay further work on CPP enhancements.

It is clear that Albertans feel the same as the majority of Canadians; they want improvements to CPP benefits,” says Paul Moist, national president of CUPE. “The Progressive Conservative government needs to listen to Albertans and work with the other provinces to improve retirement security for all Canadians.”

The opinion survey shows only 32 per cent of Albertans agree with their provincial government’s opposition to increased CPP benefits. Meanwhile, 56 per cent believe both federal and provincial governments are moving too slow in making changes to Canada’s pension system – a significantly higher number than the Canadian average of 48 per cent reported in a companion CUPE/Environics poll released this week.

Positions put forward by key Progressive Conservatives, like former Finance Minister Ted Morton, are clearly out of step with the views of Albertans,” says Moist. “The government needs to realize what most Canadians already have—that a gradual increase of CPP premiums paid by workers and employers to increase benefits is the best option for improving retirement security.”

Fifty-nine per cent of Albertans with an opinion are also against the Harper Conservatives decision to delay CPP benefit increases in favour of a proposed private pooled pension plan, and 80 per cent of say retirement security should be part of the debate in the next federal election.

The Conservative’s pooled pension scheme does not address the needs of Albertans without work place plans nor those who cannot afford to contribute to Retirement Savings Plans,” says Moist. “If the retirement security concerns of Albertans are not heard now, they will be during the next federal election campaign.”

  • For the complete poll with questions and result, and for the results of CUPE’s companion national pension poll go to www.cupe.ca.

For more information, please contact:

Greg Taylor
CUPE Media Relations
(613) 818-0067