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Kenney's approval slips while other premiers see rise in latest poll

Last Updated Nov 19, 2020 at 1:18 pm MDT

CALGARY (CityNews) – As the COVID-19 health emergency drags on some premiers, like those in Atlantic Canada, are getting top marks for how they’ve handled the crisis while others aren’t finding much favour with the public.

At the beginning of the outbreak, people were mostly looking for reassurance. Now, according to a poll from Leger, what matters is action.

“People have learned a lot about the virus and many are thinking hey, the assurances I got don’t seem to be working out and it doesn’t seem to matter,” said Nelson Wiseman, Political Scientist with the University of Toronto.

This could be why Quebec Premier Francois Legault scores so well, almost 80 per cent approval, despite having some of the highest case and death totals since the beginning of the outbreak.

“People saw Legault as much more authentic in the messages he was giving,” said Wiseman.

Political Scientist Lori Williams with Mount Royal University agrees.

“He’s saying it is a problem, he’s looking at it very carefully and of course at this point in time, he’s taking direct action.”

At the other end, Alberta’s Jason Kenney scored a paltry 37 per cent in the Leger poll.

“Jason Kenney seems to be minimizing, as compared with other provinces, minimizing both the problem and what government needs to do in response to it,” said Williams.

RELATED: Nearly half of Albertans dissatisfied with Kenney’s COVID-19 response: poll

“I don’t understand why they just persistently refuse to change tact, to be willing to listen to some of the offers of compromise from some in the medical community. It’s looking very much like arrogance and entitlement.”

In fact, the Kenney government’s handling of the pandemic is less popular in Alberta than the Justin Trudeau led Federal government’s.

“Albertans have more confidence in the federal government than the provincial government. That’s unprecedented,” said Williams.

Wiseman believes there’s a deeper, longstanding issue at play.

“They’ve (Alberta) had it out for the Liberals for 70 years.”

For those premiers looking to regain the public’s trust, Wiseman added there are more challenges ahead.

“The real challenge is coming up in 2021 and the logistical challenges of getting the vaccine out there for people. Look how challenging it is in many parts of the country to get a damn flu shot.”