B.C. Premier David Eby says that he will stand up for his province if an Alberta-only pension plan goes ahead.
"If [Alberta Premier Danielle Smith] presses on in this direction, B.C. will absolutely be at the table to make sure that [the plan] doesn't come at the expense of British Columbians," Eby told CBC's Power and Politics on Tuesday.
"In terms of what's on the minds of British Columbians right now, it's cost of living, housing, health care, public safety issues. That's the focus of our government. Alberta has other things that they're working on," said Eby.
"If they're serious about moving in that direction, we're obviously going to have to be involved in that conversation."
On Sept. 21, the Alberta government released a long-awaited report on the possibility of establishing an Alberta-only pension plan, claiming the province is entitled to a staggering $334-billion asset transfer from the Canada Pension Plan in 2027 — more than half of the fund's estimated total net assets.
Withdrawing from the CPP could potentially mean the rest of the country would end up paying more for their pension contributions.
Eby's comments came the same day the issue was raised in the House of Commons by Heather McPherson, the NDP MP for Edmonton Strathcona.
"This is a page that directly comes from the leader of the Conservative Party, when he said he would cut the CPP … Canadians don't want Conservatives risking their pensions," said McPherson, addressing the House.
"This isn't Smith's money, this isn't the Conservatives' money, this is Canadians' money."
Randy Boissonnault, the federal minister of employment, said his government would do "everything in their power" to block Alberta's attempt to withdraw from the CPP.
"Canadians, Albertans, value the Canada Pension Plan," said Boissonnault.
"People have paid into the Canada Pension Plan. They [want] it to be there in their retirement."
To withdraw from the CPP, Alberta would need to provide written notice that it planned to do so and draft legislation to establish an Alberta pension plan. It would need to accept contributions beginning in the third year following the year in which it gives notice, and then provide comparable benefits to the CPP.
With files from Joel Dryden