Heritage fund discussed at public meeting

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The future of the nearly $18-billion Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund was discussed during a public meeting Oct. 27 at the Edmonton Federal Building.

Craig Coolahan, NDP MLA for Calgary-Klein and chair of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta’s Standing Committee, said a public meeting is held every year to garner feedback from Albertans about the fund.

The long-term savings fund was created in 1976 to set aside a portion of income gathered from Alberta’s non-renewable resource revenues for current and future generations of Albertans.

“Peter Lougheed started it knowing that there is non-renewable resources (and) that they won’t be around forever so we’ve got to put some money away for our future,” Coolahan said. “So the money comes from the royalties from that.”

The standing committee is comprised of nine members of the Legislative Assembly. The committee reviews operations of the fund and reports back to the Legislative Assembly on whether or not the fund’s mission is being fulfilled.

The public meeting was broadcasted live on the web. Coolahan said there was a good turnout and questions were asked by those in attendance as well as from people online via email, Twitter and Facebook.

“Every Albertan should have a keen awareness of the Heritage Savings Trust Fund,” Coolahan said. “The fund is an investment in our province’s future and therefore it is important that Albertans know how it is managed and how it is performing.”

The fund has contributed nearly $39.2 billion to support spending in areas such as health care, education, infrastructure and social programs over the last 40 years and will continue to support those areas.

The fund earned a net income of $1.238 billion for the year (ending March 31) and the net assets held in the fund totalled $17.7 billion.

The investment breakdown includes 46.8 per cent in equities, 18.7 per cent in fixed-income assets and 33.4 per cent in inflation-sensitive and alternative assets.

Albertans can fill out a survey about the meeting online by visiting

assembly.ab.ca and clicking on committee websites and then Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund.

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