Saskatchewan Party Government Will Plead 'Poverty' To Lower Expectations On Their Election Promises
As a result, in spite of a massive surplus this year, they need to convince their voting base in rural Saskatchewan that they cannot afford to do all that they promised. They will achieve this by pumping up a note in the Provincial Auditors recent reports concerning ‘unfunded pension liabilities’. For those whose eyes glaze over at the mere mention of an auditors report, hang on, I will make this easy.
Saskatchewan has a civil service. All civil servants pay into a pension plan. In 1979, the government created a ‘New’ pension plan where employee contributions and matching contributions from the government employer, were set aside to accrue interest and provide a fund from which to pay out pensions to retired civil servants.
Employees prior to 1979 simply had their pension contributions placed in the province's general revenue fund (Consolidated Fund) and pension entitlements were paid out from the same fund. This pool of aging civil servants in the old plan had the option of going to the new plan in 1979. Many did and many did not. The policy of the Blakeney, Devine, Romanow and Calvert governments was that eventually all old plan employees will have retired off and the remaining civil service will all be in the new plan.
During their years in opposition, the Saskatchewan Party insisted on taking the valuation of the ‘old plan’ liabilities and wanted that amount to be treated as ‘debt’. They insisted that the government should put money into a fund now to pay out all future pension liabilities of the ‘old plan’ obligation. This is nonsense but it's what Premier Brad Wall will try to spin into a financial ‘crisis’ to lower expectations that rural Saskatchewan has to have billions spent in sparsely populated areas of the province.
We will see what the Saskatchewan Party government has up its sleeve later today. Buckdog will update this post at that time.