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Premiers' approval ratings see a boost during the pandemic

Last Updated May 28, 2020 at 7:24 pm MDT

Summary

Jason Kenney saw the smallest bump in his approval rating – just one per cent.

Ontario’s Doug Ford led the way in the Angus Reid poll with a 38 per cent increase of his approval rating.

CALGARY (CityNews) – Premiers across Canada have seen a big popularity boost during the COVID-19 pandemic, but that has not been the case for Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.

Kenney saw the smallest bump in his approval rating – just one per cent – according to a new Angus Reid poll.

“He’s never been as likeable as some of the other leaders have been,” said Lori Williams, political scientist at Mount Royal University. “His party has been more popular than he has historically.

“The Alberta economy is in the worst shape of any economy in the country. We’re looking at pretty difficult times ahead. He’s gambled on the Keystone XL pipeline. At the same (time), he isn’t really focusing on the environmental policies of the industry for the government.”

Some of Kenney’s recent comments in the legislature show his focus is on getting the economy opened, promising to end the state of public-health emergency in Alberta.

“That will be on June 15,” said Kenney. “The government does not intend to renew the state of public-health emergency.

“The average age of death from COVID in Alberta is 83. And I’ll remind the House the average life expectancy in Alberta is 82.”

Williams says that messaging was a faux pas on Kenney’s part.

“If you’ve lived to 83, you’ve lived longer than the average, so don’t mind if you die, I guess is the message there?” said Williams. “Those things don’t help.”

Ontario’s Doug Ford led the way in the Angus Reid poll with a 38 per cent increase of his approval rating.

“The fact that he’s out there basically fighting for the people of Ontario and being seen to do that, I think that makes a huge difference,” said Williams.

In New Brunswick, Blaine Higgs’ approval rating rose 32 per cent while Nova Scotia’s Stephen McNeil saw a 35 per cent increase.

B.C.’s John Horgan is up 25 per cent. In Quebec, Francois Legault is up 19 per cent.

“He has been trying to reassure Quebecers on a daily basis,” said Williams of Legault.

At the bottom of the list – juts beside Kenney – is Manitoba’s Brian Pallister, who is up four per cent.