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EXCLUSIVE: New poll shows UCP collapse as NDP & Wildrose surge

The Mainstreet poll puts UCP support lower than Jim Prentice’s PCs in 2015.

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A new poll commissioned exclusively by the Western Standard shows Jason Kenney’s UCP would face decimation if an election was held today with the NDP’s Rachel Notley returned as premier, and a strong possibility of the new Wildrose Independence Party breaking into the legislature.

The Mainstreet Research poll was conducted January 6-7 and shows 41 per cent of Albertans would vote NDP, and only 26 per cent would cast a ballot for the UCP. The Wildrose Independence Party would take 9 per cent of the vote.

The Alberta Party was supported by 3 per cent, the Liberals and Greens 2 per cent each, and another 2 per cent for other parties. Another 16 per cent were undecided.

Alberta voter intention poll with undecideds. Western Standard New Media Corp. all rights reserved.

“This is horrific news for the governing UCP and for Premier Jason Kenney,” said Mainstreet President and CEO Quito Maggi. “It’s absolutely terrible.”

At 26 per cent, the UCP are polling lower than the 28 per cent received by the Progressive Conservatives under Jim Prentice in 2015.

Maggi noted it was a whopping 28 point drop in popularity for the UCP, leaving them 17 per cent behind Notley’s NDP.

He said the NDP have an unprecedented 50 point lead in Edmonton and 15 per cent lead in the former Tory fortress of Calgary. The UCP has also dropped 30 points in rural Alberta.

And the NDP currently leads in support among men, something Maggi said was unheard of before.

“Right now we are looking at a sweep similar to the 2015 election which brought the NDP to power,” Maggi said, predicting Notley’s party would likely regain seats in Lethbridge on their way to a majority government.

The drop in rural support opens the door for the Wildrose Independence Party, currently polling at nine per cent. Maggi said the WIP could start to win seats right now with its concentrated support in rural areas.

He said WIP would likely see its support continue to climb if it gets a high profile leader.

While Wildrose polled a distant third in Calgary and Edmonton, its strength was clearly in rural Alberta at 13 per cent support.

The new party was constituted from a merger of the Freedom Conservative party and Wexit Alberta last year, opting to reclaim the Wildrose mantle, which Maggi says is still a “very, very strong brand” in the province, and has already endured its near extinction after mass floor crossings in December 2014.

Based on how respondents voted in the 2019 election, the party appears to have consolidated support from the former FCP and smaller right-leaning parties and pulled significant support from both the UCP and Alberta Party.

“There is a residual dislike for Notley in the province, and when you have an unpopular leader versus an unpopular leader, people will look to a third party,” Maggi said.

Despite its attempts, the Alberta Party appears to have dropped back into the range of the largely moribund Liberal Party at 3 per cent and 2 per cent respectively.

According to Maggi, the Alberta Party is in trouble because they don’t have a leader in place, nor a professional team behind them. Maggi added the centrist vote is largely parked between the NDP and UCP.

“For another centrist party to enter the space, and take away oxygen, is almost impossible,” he said.

But Maggi said it’s way too early to count the UCP out with the next election not scheduled to occur until 2023.

“There is a way out. A week is an eternity in politics – two years is forever,” he said, adding the NDP was hardly on the map before the 2015 election while the Tories were widely expected to sweep.

Removing the undecided vote, the NDP would get 48 per cent, the UCP 31 per cent, Wildrose gets 10 per cent, Alberta Party four per cent, Liberals three per cent, Green two percent and others two per cent.

The poll of 1,003 adults has a margin of error of +/- 3.09 per cent and a 95 per cent confidence level.

This poll is Part One of a series of Mainstreet polls commissioned by the Western Standard. The full details and methodology of the poll can be found here.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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Walk for Freedom plans Saturday Calgary march as counter-protesters also gear up

“We do not censor people unless they’re hateful, violent or aggressive – those types of people will never get on the stage,” said Carrigan.

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A Walk for Freedom in Calgary is set for Saturday as organizers of a counter-protest are urging their supporters to come to the rally wearing a disguise.

And local organizers of the walk say they are tired as being described as white supremacists.

“We respect what Premier Jason Kenney did because he didn’t go overboard, but we still say it’s too far and way too much,” said Brad Carrigan, an organizer with Walk For Freedom, referring to the premier’s statement after a rally in Edmonton last weekend.

Politicians and media are afraid that we’re supporting an anti-lockdown narrative they don’t like. They called us racist to discredit the rally and diminish our work to promote different stances on Alberta’s COVID-19 response,” he said.

“We’ve done about 20 of these rallies with large crowds, and each protest has been peaceful. We’ve always put on every poster that we are peaceful, nonviolent, and respect the police.”

“That’s our mantra – that’s the real story.”

Before Saturday’s protest in Edmonton, organizers thanked local police for being present to keep the peace between anti-lockdown protestors and anti-racism counter-protesters.

Except for one incident during the rally, Edmonton police said the protest and counter-protest were peaceful displays of free speech.

Carrigan made it clear as long as people didn’t push hateful nonsense on the stage and want to talk about the draconian measures, vaccines, etc., they were welcome to speak.

“We do not censor people unless they’re hateful, violent or aggressive – those types of people will never get on the stage,” he confirmed.

With ANTIFA attempting to instigate an altercation with anti-lockdown protestors in Edmonton, Carrigan said Calgary police would keep counter-protesters to the other side of the street to maintain the piece.

“Wherever ANTIFA goes, they burn down private and public property and assault police officers and protestors who don’t subscribe to their ideology,” said Carrigan.

“Their organization burns down businesses and rioted in Portland and Seattle, yet they call us hate-mongers.”

ANTIFA and Black Lives Matter affiliates are expected to be present at the Calgary rally on Saturday at the Olympic Plaza in protest of “white supremacy” and a litany of phobias.

According to a counter-protest poster, they intend to “come in peace, leave in peace” and have asked its members to turn their social media accounts private.

A social media post making the rounds urges counter-protesters not to come alone, carry water and make sure their phones are charged.

“Plan an escape route with your crew,” the advisory reads.

“Wear a mask to protect your identity.”

The protest is expected to begin at 12:30 p.m., with previous rallies garnering crowds in excess of 400 to 2,500 people.

Dhaliwal is a reporter based in Edmonton for the Western Standard

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Alberta doctors reach deal with province

Details of the pact – a year in the making – were not released

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The UCP and Alberta doctors have finally reached a deal that will fund provincial physicians.

Details of the pact – a year in the making – were not released.

The Alberta Medical Association will now take the tentative deal to its 11,000 members for ratification.

Shandro said doctors have made “truly extraordinary efforts” to help get Albertans through the COVID-19 pandemic, noting they had made “great personal sacrifices.”

He said the negotiations aimed at getting three solutions for Albertans; patient care, equity for doctors and fiscal stability.

He said the deal is “accountable to taxpayers.

“Our fiscal goals can be reached,” said Shandro, adding the deal would provide “stability.

“Negotiations on a provincial agreement for physicians have continued despite the pandemic, with both the government and AMA recommitting to work together. Both parties came to the table understanding the importance of collaboration, while respecting our differences, so we could achieve an agreement during these challenging times,” said Shandro.

AMA President Dr. Paul Boucher said the new deal “puts us in position to get through COVID-19.”

Dr. Paul Boucher

He said the negotiations for the deal had “reestablished” relationships with the province.

The AMA will now hold a virtual conference with 148 representatives of the medical profession across the province.

That is expected to take three weeks.

“For many years, AMA agreements have been powerful tools toward improving quality care that brings high value to the system and to patients,” said Boucher.

“They are not just about funding for physicians. They have addressed needs such as new models for delivering care, building the Medical Home in Alberta, strategies to improve quality of care for patients and more. This tentative agreement package has potential to continue that legacy.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Ontario COVID lockdown not curbing caseloads, but punishing businesses, say MPPs

Almost 80 per cent of all COVID-related deaths are in group-living settings.

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Ontario COVID-19 cases have remained steady even though the province has been in lockdown since Christmas.

Opponents of the shutdownsay it has done nothing but hampered freedom and cost taxpayer dollars.

“Most of the province has been in lockdown since Thanksgiving, but cases, cases, cases – the only thing that seems to matter, continue to climb,” said Independent Ontario MPP Roman Baber in a passionate member statement.

Baber noted Ontario’s COVID-19 case count has risen, despite province-wide lockdowns under the mandate of Bill 195, which gave the province emergency powers for the next year to tackle COVID-19.

Alongside Baber, New Blue Party MPP Belinda Karahalios – also booted from the Ontario PCs for objecting to Bill 195 – called out its “draconian lockdown measures” because it disproportionately impacted small and medium-sized businesses who “suffer considerably.”

Karahalios has openly criticized the lack of scientific data on COVID-19 transmission by businesses, including, but not limited to, fitness centres, restaurants, and retail stores.

On Christmas Day, the day before the stay-at-home order, there were 167,000 total COVID-19 cases, increasing to 295,000 cases two months later.

Baber said: “In the two months since the stay-at-home order, we have almost as many COVID-19 cases as we did in the entire nine months prior. With all these cases, you would think that the dire predictions of the COVID-19 models would wreak havoc on all of us – no, it has not.”

With ICU occupancy flatlining, Baber criticized the hyperbolic modelling of projects that exceed the reality on the ground by “three to five times.”

Despite the lockdown, seniors – the most vulnerable demographic – continue to perish in care homes.

Baber said the government’s inability to institute infection protocol and control and fix staffing shortages or vet agency staff.

“Almost 80 per cent of all [COVID-related] deaths are in group-living settings. That’s a tragedy we must admit, and a medical reality the government is trying to spin,” Baber said.

“It’s not about how many cases of COVID-19 but who gets COVID-19. Locking all of us down doesn’t do anything. The government keeps blaming community spread on what is happening in group homes to distract from its own failure.

“All it takes is one worker – one agency worker – to go from one home to another to bring COVID-19. The problem is not healthy people – it is the government that cannot fix long-term care, that blames us and locks us down instead.”

Dhaliwal is a Western Standard reporter based in Edmonton

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