On­tario pre­mier an un­pop­u­lar fig­ure, new sur­vey says

The Peterborough Examiner - - CANADA & WORLD - JIM BRONSKILL

OT­TAWA — As pro­vin­cial and ter­ri­to­rial lead­ers pre­pare to gather, new sur­vey results sug­gest two west­ern pre­miers push­ing Ot­tawa to help kick-start their economies face some un­easi­ness among vot­ers back home.

In a web sur­vey con­ducted in Novem­ber for The Cana­dian Press, polling firm Leger found 42 per cent of Al­berta re­spon­dents had a some­what pos­i­tive opin­ion of Ja­son Ken­ney, while 50 per cent had a some­what neg­a­tive opin­ion. In Saskatchew­an, 48 per cent of those who took part had a some­what pos­i­tive view of Scott Moe, with 36 per cent hold­ing a some­what neg­a­tive opin­ion.

On­tario’s Doug Ford, mean­while, was highly un­pop­u­lar at home and across the coun­try. The sur­vey was con­ducted Nov. 15 to 25 among 3,040 Cana­di­ans el­i­gi­ble to vote who were ran­domly re­cruited from an on­line panel.

Pre­miers gather in Toronto on Mon­day to try to come up with a co­he­sive plan to ad­vance their in­ter­ests in a na­tional con­text. The meet­ing comes just weeks af­ter Justin Trudeau’s fed­eral Lib­er­als re­turned to power, but with a mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment and no Grit MPs from Al­berta or Saskatchew­an. Ken­ney and Moe have been press­ing Ot­tawa to do more to re­vi­tal­ize the flag­ging oil-and-gas in­dus­try that is so vi­tal to their re­gion.

The in­di­ca­tion that a siz­able num­ber of vot­ers in Al­berta and Saskatchew­an hold less-thanfavour­able im­pres­sions of their pro­vin­cial lead­ers does sig­nal a need to “put the pres­sure on Ot­tawa even more to sat­isfy their own elec­torate,” said Leger ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent Chris­tian Bourque.

In On­tario, 69 per cent of sur­vey par­tic­i­pants had a some­what neg­a­tive opin­ion of Ford, while 26 per cent had a some­what pos­i­tive view. Na­tion­ally, 65 per cent had a neg­a­tive opin­ion.

The num­bers might ex­plain the fact Ford stayed largely out of sight dur­ing the fed­eral cam­paign as well as his re­cent ef­forts to make peace with Trudeau, Bourque said. Ford is slated to face the elec­torate in twoand-a-half years.

“There is still enough road ahead, but I think the re­cov­ery prob­a­bly will be slow and dif­fi­cult for him,” Bourque said.

By con­trast, 65 per cent of re­spon­dents in Que­bec had a some­what pos­i­tive opin­ion of pro­vin­cial leader François Le­gault.

The sur­vey also looked at views on the po­lit­i­cal fate of An­drew Scheer, who faces calls from sev­eral quar­ters to step down as fed­eral Con­ser­va­tive leader af­ter fail­ing to un­seat Trudeau’s Lib­er­als.

Among those who iden­ti­fied as Con­ser­va­tive vot­ers, 48 per cent said he should re­main at the helm, while 40 per cent said he should re­sign.

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