Alberta premier ranks last for Covid response

By Catherine Griwkowsky April 12, 2021

Three-quarters of Albertans now say Premier Jason Kenney is doing a bad job stickhandling the Covid pandemic.

That’s according to a new Angus Reid Institute survey, where 75 per cent of respondents said they disapprove of Kenney’s pandemic response.

The number of people who approve of Kenney’s work has nosedived by 47 per cent since last November. Then, 70 per cent gave his Covid handling a thumbs up. Now it is just 23 per cent.

While all premiers have seen public approval of their pandemic approaches plummet, Kenney is ranked the lowest in the country — nine points below Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who is also being raked through the coals amid the third wave.

Meanwhile, Albertans are polarized on public health restrictions. Forty-five per cent of respondents said they have gone too far — the highest number in the country — while 42 per cent said they don’t go far enough. Only 12 per cent felt the restrictions struck the right balance.

The poll was conducted between April 5 and April 8. The premier announced the province was reverting back to Step 1 on the 6th.

That’s a more polarized take than a ThinkHQ poll conducted in November that found 51 per cent felt restrictions didn’t go far enough, 29 per cent felt restrictions were about right and 13 per cent felt they went too far.

More than a quarter of the UCP caucus has also come out publicly against the latest round of business closures; 17 United Conservative MLAs either signed last week’s controversial public letter or issued separate statements of frustration. An 18th member, UCP backbencher Dan Williams, created a video condemning the enforcement of public health orders against GraceLife Church.

On Sunday, a raucous convoy travelled to GraceLife to protest its shuttering. Fences the RCMP had erected around the building were pulled down by protestors (although others helped the Mounties put them back up).

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier said he intends to visit the church site today.

The irony of the GraceLife Church case is that Alberta has never suspended indoor services, Kenney said Saturday, noting that about 10,000 places of worship have been able to adhere to the capacity limits.

Approval for chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s pandemic efforts was 46 per cent, tied with Ontario’s Dr. David Williams for the lowest in the country amongst public health officers.