Finance Minister Nate Horner says Albertans have the right to consider an Alberta pension plan, just as citizens in any other province would if their province wanted to do the same.
Horner made the comments Friday as he addressed the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, where the minister also discussed the province's financial outlook for the coming year.
Details of a provincial pension were released in September in a report, which outlined possible benefits, risks and costs of separating from the Canada Pension Plan.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has also urged Albertans to stay in the CPP, though he blamed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for sparking conflict with "unfair wealth transfers."
On Friday, Horner said it's an important, if difficult, discussion for Albertans to have.
"This is Alberta's right to consider, just like it's any province's right to consider," he said.
He acknowledged "this is a controversial conversation that's happening in the province" but added strong migration to Alberta also "speaks to the strength of the province going forward and the potential to have its own pension plan."
In the last 12 months, 184,000 people have moved to Alberta.
"More people coming is a good thing, more people paying into a plan at a lower rate," he said.
Horner says his task is to have a conversation with all Albertans about the potential plan.
He says the public engagement sessions were originally set to end in May but notes that may change. It depends on what a provincially appointed panel says after the telephone town halls wrap up and what the federal government's chief actuary estimates Albertas' portion of the CPP could be, Horner explains.
Opposition finance critic Samir Kayande says the NDP is offering a survey to gather its own feedback on an Alberta pension plan. The Calgary-Elbow MLA said he's confused as to why the UCP government is proposing such a strategy.
"We have a sample size of well over 30,000 people who have responded to our survey, and 90 per cent of them are opposed to leaving," Kayande said. "Nobody has told me that they want the CPP to be taken away."