Calgary Herald

Poll suggests satisfacti­on of Prairie premiers low

- LEE BERTHIAUME

A new poll suggests the premiers of Canada's three Prairie provinces are lagging counterpar­ts from the rest of the country when it comes to how residents feel they are managing the COVID-19 pandemic.

The poll from Leger and the Associatio­n for Canadian Studies found 30 per cent of respondent­s in Alberta were satisfied with the job Premier Jason Kenney was doing when it comes to COVID-19 — the lowest level of satisfacti­on for Canada's 10 provincial leaders.

Kenney has faced criticism in recent weeks for resisting calls to impose lockdowns even as Alberta contended with a surge of new infections, which at one point saw it have more active cases than Ontario.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, whose province has also been battered by new infections during the second wave of COVID-19, fared slightly better than Kenney with 31 per cent of provincial respondent­s approving of his management of the pandemic.

Pallister's government faced heavy criticism after testing capacity and contact tracing initially failed to keep up with demand as case numbers spiked.

For much of the fall, Manitoba led all provinces in new infections per capita.

The only other premier with less than 50 per cent satisfacti­on was Saskatchew­an's Scott Moe at 39 per cent. Moe's government has also been criticized for not responding sooner to a steady increase in infections in the province.

Meanwhile, just over half of respondent­s from Ontario approved of the job that Premier Doug Ford was doing.

In neighbouri­ng Quebec, 55 per cent of respondent­s felt the same about that province's Premier Francois Legault.

In British Columbia, Premier John Horgan's handling of the pandemic garnered a thumbs-up from 59 per cent of respondent­s.

Premiers in the Atlantic provinces, which have seen relatively few COVID-19 cases since March, fared the best, with Nova Scotia Premier Stephen Mcneil coming out on top with 78 per cent of local respondent­s approving of his management of the pandemic.

The online poll of 3,801 Canadians was conducted Dec. 4 to Dec. 20, but cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered truly random.

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