Mixed reaction on Provincial request for input on Heritage Fund
Rocky View residents give their input on savings account
Area residents have mixed feelings about a request for feedback from the Province about the future of the $16-billion Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund.
On Oct. 3, a public meeting will be held in Edmonton at 7 p.m. at the Oasis Centre, which will be broadcasted live on the web. Residents are being asked to watch the broadcast, participate in the online chat and answer a questionnaire at www.assembly.ab.ca
Gloria Wilkinson, a former Rocky View deputy reeve and 30-plus-year resident of Springbank, has already completed a survey about the fund and said everyone should take part.
“It is collectively our and future generation’s resource, we better have an opinion,” she said. “It’s right back to the basics of democracy, if you choose not to participate, you should not whine or snivel. If you are so uninvolved… don’t just step in and have an offside opinion with no knowledge.”
Wilkinson said asking for Albertans’ feedback is an open, transparent way to govern.
“I think you need to ask, because who knows if one of those opinions give you an idea that you haven’t thought of?” she said.
Airdrie resident Ernie Knopke has an entirely different view of the request for feedback.
“The (Conservatives) have a great habit of saying ‘we want your input’ and then doing whatever they want,” he said. “I don’t think they will listen, so I don’t think it will make a difference (being involved).”
Knopke said he is in favour of saving the money in the fund for a rainy day.
“I would like to see them grow it for when the province really needs it,” he said. “Then we have something. The province is booming and we are running a deficit. What are we going to do when the economy turns down? We just keep tapping into the fund.”
According to the Province, the Heritage Fund’s mission is to provide prudent stewardship of the savings from Alberta’s nonrenewable resources by providing the greatest financial returns on those savings for current and future generations of Albertans. It was created more than 30 years ago.
“It is important that Albertans take the time to be part of conversations affecting Alberta’s financial future,” said Dave Quest, MLA for Strathcona-Sherwood Park and chair of the Standing Committee on the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund. “At the upcoming public meeting we’ll be seeking direction from participants as to what the next generation of the Heritage Fund should look like.”
The fund earned a net income of $798 million for the year ended March 31, 2012. The net assets held in the fund totalled $16.1 billion at fair value. The investment breakdown includes 52.9 per cent in equities, 22.3 per cent in fixed-income assets and 24.8 per cent in inflation-sensitive and alternative assets.
Residents will be asked questions such as: “What should the fund be used for in the future?” and “How should we contribute to the fund?”