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POLL: Large majority of Albertans disapprove of Kenney’s pandemic performance

The poll drilled down into why so many Albertans disapprove.

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A huge majority of Albertans disapprove of the way Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and the UCP have handled the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an exclusive new poll by Mainstreet Research.

The poll, commissioned by the Western Standard, shows of the 1,010 Albertan canvassed, 66% said they disapproved of the government’s handling of the pandemic, with 45% strongly disapproving and 21% somewhat disapproving.

Of the 29% who approved of the government’s actions, 20% somewhat approved, while just 9% said they strongly approved. Five percent of the people asked said they didn’t know.

In Edmonton 77.4% of respondents said they disapproved, in Calgary 64%, and outside of the two big cities, 66%

Mainstreet Research poll

In Edmonton, 25.9% of respondents approved of Kenney and the UCP’s COVID-19 performance, while in Calgary 32.3% gave the thumbs up, and 27.2% of those outside the two big cities.

Meanwhile, 29.9% of UCP supporters said they disapproved of their government’s pandemic handling, with 66% in support. But among respondents who said they voted UCP in 2019, 56.8% said they disapproved of the government’s performance, and just 39.5% said that they approved.

For those who intend to vote NDP, a total of 86.6% disapproved of the handling of the pandemic, with 12% in support.

For Wildrose Independence Party supporters, 86.7% disapproved, while 10.5% were in support.

Of respondents who said they approved of the way the government has handled the pandemic, nearly half (49%) said it was because there was a balanced approach between public health orders and looking after the economy.

Another 27% said the UCP listened to public health experts, and another 13% said the government has supported small businesses and local economies.

Approval of UCP handling of COVID-19l-Western Standard and Mainstreet Research.

As for those who disapproved of the government’s action, Albertans were divided between those who thought the government did too much, and those who thought it did too little.

Of those who disapproved of how the government handled the pandemic, 36% of respondents said the UCP has focused too much on the economy and not enough on public health. By contrast, 34% said the government has shut down businesses, outlawed regular activities, and violated civil liberties, and another 14% said the government has not supported families and small businesses enough, while 16% said “something else.”

Approval and disapproval of the Kenney government’s handling of COVID-19 showed opposition on the left and the right united in their disapproval – for different reasons – and UCP voters divided.

A total of 61.4% of the respondents who voted UCP in the last election disapproved of the provincial government for shutting down businesses, outlawing regular activities, and violating civil liberties.

Yet another 12.1% of people who voted UCP are angry at the government focusing too much on the economy and not enough on public health.

A total of 79.5% of Wildrose supporters said they disapproved because the government has shut down businesses, outlawed regular activities, and violated civil liberties

Mainstreet Research President Quito Maggi said Kenney is caught between a rock and a hard place.

“He is getting it from both sides – those who say his COVID policies are too strong and those who say they aren’t strong enough,” Maggi said.

“It’s a case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t, but he hasn’t picked a lane yet.”

In terms of voter plans, Maggi said he sees support leaking from the UCP to the Wildrose.

“This is a big, big problem for Jason Kenney. But fast forward six, eight, 10 months and the conditions are not like they are now. Then it’s a case of, not so much forget, but forgive,” he said.

The poll was conducted between May 19-20, 2021 with a scientifically-weighted sample size of 1,010 adults living in Alberta. Respondents were interviewed on landlines and cell phones and the results have a margin of error of +/- 3% with a confidence level of 95%.

Alberta support and opposition to lockdowns, Jan and May 2021 Shareable with credit and hyperlink.

An earlier Mainstreet poll for the Western Standard showed Albertans’ positions on COVID-19, lockdowns and other restrictions are sharply divided along partisan lines.

Of the 1,010 Albertans surveyed, 52% said that they supported continued lockdowns and 45% said they should be ended immediately. At 45%, opposition to lockdowns is up from from 39% in early January.

While those in support of lockdowns had a slight edge, the intensity of those who were fiercely opposed was more than twice that of those who were strongly supportive. 

Most of those who said they were opposed (25%) agreed “The lockdown and all restrictions should be ended immediately,” and another 20% agreed with the statement: “The lockdown should end immediately with some restrictions to be kept in place temporarily.”

The 52% of survey respondents who said they supported continued lockdowns were markedly less adamant. Of those respondents, 41% agreed: “The lockdown and all restrictions should continue until Public Health officials say it is safe,” while just 11% agreed with the statement: “The lockdown and all restrictions should continue until COVID−19 vaccination of the entire Alberta population.”

Alberta support and opposition to lockdowns by party voters, May 2021 Shareable with credit and hyperlink.

Among current NDP voters, 85.3% said lockdowns should continue, including 18.7% who were hard pro-lockdown. Just 11.8% of NDP voters support ending lockdowns.

Among current UCP voters, 55.3% said they were opposed to continued lockdowns, including 25.4% who were avidly anti-lockdown. This number is significantly higher among those who voted UCP in 2019, however, with a combined 62.6%, including 38.3% who are hard anti-lockdown supporters. 

Maggi pointed to Alberta Premier Kenney’s COVID-19 policies as a key driver of plummeting UCP support.

“It’s a near-impossible task for Jason Kenney in terms of how he handles the pandemic,” said Maggi. “When we look at why people don’t approve of how he’s handling [COVID-19], you have a mix of people on the left who say he’s not strict enough, and people on the right who say the lockdown must end. That’s what’s driving that vote.”

That poll saw the UCP trailing the NDP in second place, at 28% and 35% respectively, and the Wildrose Independence Party growing to 16% support. 

Wildrose voters were even more likely than UCP voters to oppose continued lockdowns, with a combined 88.3%, and 69% which were hard anti-lockdown. Just 11.7% of Wildrose voters said they support continued lockdowns. 

Alberta support and opposition to lockdowns by region, May 2021 Shareable with credit and hyperlink.

The poll’s data also found deep regional divisions across Alberta.

Support for continued lockdowns was highest in Edmonton, with a combined 63.8%, and 33.7% opposed. In Calgary, support for lockdowns was still in the majority at 58.7%, but a growing 37.5% in opposition. 

The “rest of Alberta” – which includes both rural areas and smaller urban areas – deviated sharply from the two big cities. There, 58.9% said the lockdown should end immediately, with 36.5% in the hard anti-lockdown camp. Pro-lockdown support in the “rest of Alberta” made up 37.7%.

The debate over COVID-19 lockdowns and other restrictions is driving a large shift in the Alberta political landscape. In the same survey, Albertans were asked which party they voted for in the last election, and which party they would vote for if an election were held today.

The NDP lead the pack with 35% among decided and leaning voters. The UCP is in second with 28%, and the WIP has pushed itself into a competitive third place at 16%. 

Another 7% of voters were undecided; with 5% for the Alberta Party, 3% for the Liberals, 2% for the Greens, and 3% for “other.” 

Maggi said Alberta’s political environment is quickly becoming a three-party system as the unpopularity of Kenney weighs heavily on UCP support.

“My advice federally to Conservatives is to not be within a mile of Jason Kenney right now. His performance on the pandemic – on both ends of the spectrum – is putting a taint on all Conservatives. This is causing an uptick in Maverick Party support, and Wildrose support.

“Being a three-way race [outside the two big cities], you’re talking three seats for Wildrose Independence, minimum. I’m sure some of the modellers are going to look at these numbers and release seat projections. The more important number is those in Calgary and Edmonton, because they come one-for-one from UCP support.”

The UCP, NDP and Wildrose are locked in a tight three-way race outside of the two big cities, at 31.7%, 23.0%, and 23.1% respectively.

“The most surprising number provincially is the Wildrose Independence support in both Edmonton and Calgary being in the double digits”, said Maggi. 

The NDP hold a slight edge in Calgary at 36.6%, followed closely by the UCP at 32.6%, and the Wildrose at 10%.

In Edmonton, the NDP have a commanding lead at 49.1%, far ahead of the UCP at 19.4%, and the Wildrose at 12.3%.

While the NDP leads province-wide, the numbers don’t necessarily point to an NDP majority government.

“The only path to a majority (NDP leader) Rachel Notley has is a sweep of Edmonton, a sweep of Calgary, and a handful of rural seats.” 

Asked what’s driving the shift in party support, Maggi pointed primarily to Kenney’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It’s the performance of the UCP on the pandemic. When very few strongly approve of Kenney’s handling of the pandemic, and a huge number strongly disapprove. There’s your answer right there.”

Just 48% of those who voted UCP in 2019 say they intend to do so again. The NDP has held 86.9% of its 2019 support, and picked up 12.3% of those who voted UCP, and 31.3% of those who voted Alberta Party. 

The Wildrose has consolidated much of the support from the smaller rightist/sovereigntist parties in 2019, and picked up 23.7% of those who voted UCP, and 23.1% of those who voted Alberta Party. The Alberta Party has retained just 35.2% of those who voted for them in 2019. 

Maggi was not optimistic when asked if Kenney can reclaim most of the wayward Wildrose voters.

“It’s hard to say right now. I’d have to see what things look like in a year. But when you look at how many want Kenney to step down as premier, including those who voted UCP, it didn’t all go to the Wildrose, but some has gone to the NDP.

“Once a vote intention changes like that, it tends to be sticky. It’s hard to win it back. When a party is losing moderates to the NDP, and conservatives to the Wildrose, it’s hard to imagine coming out of that nosedive. It’s a pretty daunting task.”

Maggi says the news could get worse for Kenney once Wildrose elected a permanent leader and develops a personal brand, “but it depends on who that leader is.” 

The Wildrose Independence Party is currently holding a leadership race with the only declared candidate so far Paul Hinman, the founding leader of the original Wildrose Alliance Party. As the only candidate in the race, he will face an up-or-down vote by party members on August 28.

Growing tension in the UCP bubbled to the surface when 17 UCP MLAs signed an open letter condemning Kenney for putting Alberta back under a third lockdown. Kenney’s dismissal of the letter led to a series of leaks from the UCP caucus, with several MLAs telling the Western Standard the premier threatened them with an early election if they did not have confidence in his leadership.

Soon after a rogue rodeo in Bowden, Alta. to protest the third lockdown, UCP MLAs told the Western Standard Kenney said in reference to the attendees, ““If they are our base, I want a new base.”

Kenney denied the story as “fake news” and said the comments were only referring to people making death threats against him, but UCP MLAs told the Western Standard Kenney was “lying.”

Last week Kenney moved to expel two rebel MLAs from the UCP Caucus after Todd Loewen published a letter calling for the premier’s resignation. 

The move comes as the caucus and party has been wracked by internal infighting over issues of Kenney’s “Fair Deal Panel,” and most significantly the government’s reaction to COVID-19.

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

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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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Claudette Leece

    May 26, 2021 at 9:31 am

    Take nothing that the NDP say seriously, angries, most hateful group of people Ihave ever seen. The unions are NOTLEYS campaign managers and if you think this is not payback from the AHS to Kenney for him trying to do the right thing and reduced that bloated, dismal organization your wrong. The unions have been threatening walk outside and job action since day one of this pandemic, and imagine what that would of looked like to the oblivious, who are not.union , if the nurses and dr had walked out. Not defending Kenney, he made plenty of mistakes and the day he flipped and I knew the union got to him, he crossed the floor and joined Notley, just most Albertans weren’t aware of what was going on in the background. Keep throwing taxpayers dollars at a group that can’t handle 200 folks in ICU, that should scare you. Guess separation is the only solution because the other parties aren’t worth the paper their name is written on

  2. Barbara

    May 25, 2021 at 10:37 pm

    ASK THE STANDARD WHY THEY WON’T COVER CHRIS SKY

  3. Barbara

    May 25, 2021 at 10:34 pm

    Governor DeSantis just took on Big tech and Kenny can only offer hollow promises..
    https://www.technocracy.news/boom-desantis-signs-bill-to-stop-big-tech-censorship-of-floridians/

    Hope everyone comes to the CHRIS SKY PROTEST TOMORROW IN EDMONTON AND I HOPE THE STANDARD COVERS IT.

  4. Mars Hill

    May 25, 2021 at 9:51 pm

    Kenney is a cabal minion, their job is to destroy the economy and get us fighting with each other to implement the plan….he’s just doing his job best as he can. MSM, politicians and bureaucrats are for the most part corrupt. Get involved, informed and vote, it’s our country we have to fight for it.

  5. K

    May 25, 2021 at 8:41 pm

    85% of basement-dwelling, brain-dead, thumb-sucking communists want to continue to destroy our way of life as hard-working, independent people. Are you going to stand for that, Alberta? The enemies are in the gates. Vote WIPA and make this province insufferable for them to live in.

  6. K

    May 25, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    I will never vote for non-independence again. The left/right paradigm is dead to me.

  7. Wesley

    May 25, 2021 at 8:34 pm

    And why did Alberta or Canada as a whole not implement Ret. Gen. David Redman’s excellent plan that would have saved thousands of lives, saved businesses from lockdowns, kept churches open and kept the County from this unrepayable debt?? Shame on Canada? On the other hand did not PM Trudeau say we will use this Covid opportunity to accomplish the Great Reset?

  8. d.r.cmolloy@gmail.com

    May 25, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    Its surprising how the AHS in concert with the union managed to make the rules we have in place.Areview shows all that all listen That no alternate tested vaccines were never tried to any ones knowledge. the hydroxycholroquine and the invermmectin were dismissed to everyones knowledge. Two other lesser know vaccines were available but never tried. THE boosting of the immune system with vitamins lost in the struggle. The media never did their job as they were in the Trudeau pay roll. Boy what a con job,the question will there be justice?

  9. Tony

    May 25, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    Making the best choices for Albertans and doing what was right would have meant taking a personal risk politically. Kenney’s future aspirations and ambitions prevented him from choosing optimal policies for Alberta. He could have been Canada’s Ron DeSantis, instead he was Canada’s Gavin Newsome.

  10. Left Coast

    May 25, 2021 at 6:11 pm

    Mr. Kenny did an pathetic job . . . and so did the 9 other Premiers in Canada.
    Why do you suppose that is?
    Did they all get advice from Dr. Tam . . . the WHO connected incompetent or the Federal Health Minister who a few years ago was a Graphic Artist? Or maybe they all talked to our Crime Minister Justin Trudope, the boy who never had a real job before PM.
    We had incompetence leading incompetence, obviously NOT a Leader in the Group.
    No one had the intelligence to contact jurisdictions that actually had success dealing with the Wuhan Flu . . . who had ZERO lockdowns, or figured out after 1 failed lockdown that Lockdowns will NEVER WORK.
    But not our Dumb Canooks . . . they just stood in a circle and repeated the same insanity they saw on the CBC or Global . . . and what makes it even more Frightening, these Fools still think they were RIGHT ! ! !

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News

Penticton joins list of cities cancelling Canada Day celebtations

The mayor reached out to Chief Greg Gabriel of the Penticton Indian Band, to ask how council could support the local First Nations community following the Kamloops discovery.

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The city of Penticton has become the second municipality in BC to cancel Canada Day festivites.

Celebrating Canada Day has been called into question across the country after the discovery of the gravesites of 215 undocumented children at a Kamloops residential school.

“When we heard what happened in Kamloops and they found the 215 unmarked graves of those children, we thought it was appropriate to hold back and wait to see what the federal government was going to announce,” Mayor John Vassilaki told CBC.

The mayor reached out to Chief Greg Gabriel of the Penticton Indian Band, to ask how council could support the local First Nations community following the Kamloops discovery.

“The Chief also made a note that if we were to cool down the celebrations this year, it would be greatly appreciated by the Penticton Indian Band,” said Vassilaki. 

“And we wanted to show respect and reconciliation with what happened in Kamloops.”

St. Albert this weekend became the first city in Alberta to cancel celebrations.

“In respect of our community members who have experienced and continue to experience the effects of intergenerational trauma due to the residential school system, the City of St. Albert will not be hosting its annual Canada Day fireworks display this year,” it said in a tweet.

The city of Victoria was the first out of the block when they cancelled their Canada Day programing last week.

“As First Nations mourn and in light of the challenging moment we are in as a Canadian nation following the discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former Kamloops Residential School, Council has decided to take the time to explore new possibilities, instead of the previously planned virtual Canada Day broadcast,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps in a media statement.

City council, who voted unanimously to change its plans for July 1, noted everyone will celebrate Canada Day in their own way.

“The City of Victoria aims to take leadership and provide an opportunity for thoughtful reflection and examination of what it means to be Canadian in light of recent events and what we already know from our past,” says the City of Victoria in a release.

Helps also made headlines in 2018 when she had a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald – one of the central figures involved in bringing residential schools into Canada – removed from the front of Victoria City Hall.

An estimated 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children attended residential schools between the 1860s and 1996, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Kamloops Industrial School (later known as the Kamloops Indian Residential School) was opened under Roman Catholic administration in 1890 before growing into the largest school in the Indian Affairs residential school system.

While several Catholic bishops across Canada have apologized and requested the release of documents in response to the discovery in Kamloops, the Vatican has yet to issue an apology or release documents.

As for the Canadian government, 15 tons of paper documents related to the residential school system between 1936 and 1944, including 200,000 Indian Affairs files, were destroyed by Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King’s government, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Final Report.

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

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News

St. Albert cancels Canada Day fireworks

Celebrating Canada Day has been called into question across the country after the discovery of the gravesites of 215 undocumented children at a Kamloops residential school.

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The city of St. Albert has become the first municipality in Alberta to cancel some Canada Day celebrations.

“In respect of our community members who have experienced and continue to experience the effects of intergenerational trauma due to the residential school system, the City of St. Albert will not be hosting its annual Canada Day fireworks display this year,” it said in a tweet.

Celebrating Canada Day has been called into question across the country after the discovery of the gravesites of 215 undocumented children at a Kamloops residential school.

The city of Victoria was the first out of the block when they cancelled their Canada Day programing last week.

“As First Nations mourn and in light of the challenging moment we are in as a Canadian nation following the discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former Kamloops Residential School, Council has decided to take the time to explore new possibilities, instead of the previously planned virtual Canada Day broadcast,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps in a media statement.

City council, who voted unanimously to change its plans for July 1, noted everyone will celebrate Canada Day in their own way.

“The City of Victoria aims to take leadership and provide an opportunity for thoughtful reflection and examination of what it means to be Canadian in light of recent events and what we already know from our past,” says the City of Victoria in a release.

Helps also made headlines in 2018 when she had a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald – one of the central figures involved in bringing residential schools into Canada – removed from the front of Victoria City Hall.

An estimated 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children attended residential schools between the 1860s and 1996, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Kamloops Industrial School (later known as the Kamloops Indian Residential School) was opened under Roman Catholic administration in 1890 before growing into the largest school in the Indian Affairs residential school system.

While several Catholic bishops across Canada have apologized and requested the release of documents in response to the discovery in Kamloops, the Vatican has yet to issue an apology or release documents.

As for the Canadian government, 15 tons of paper documents related to the residential school system between 1936 and 1944, including 200,000 Indian Affairs files, were destroyed by Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King’s government, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Final Report.

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

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News

BREAKING: Alberta to drop all COVID restrictions on Canada Day

Premier Jason Kenney announced Friday the province has reached the targets to launch Stage 3 which was a vaccination rate of 70.2% in the province.

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It’s all systems go for Alberta to launch into Stage 3 of its COVID-19 recovery plan.

Premier Jason Kenney announced Friday the province has reached the targets to launch Stage 3, which included a vaccination rate of 70.2% in the province.

He said Alberta will drop all COVID-19 regulations on July 1 and “our lives will get back to normal.”

That means:

  • All restrictions lifted, including ban on indoor social gatherings
  • Isolation requirements for confirmed cases of COVID-19 and some protective measures in continuing care settings remain

“This is a great day for Alberta! Thanks to the diligence of Albertans and the decision of 2.7 million folks to get vaccinated, we are now just two weeks away from getting our lives back to normal,” said Kenney at a Friday press conference.

“This is an important milestone and a great achievement, but we will not stop here. We will keep administering first and second doses as quickly as possible so we’re not just open for summer, but open for good.”

Kenney said the general indoor provincial mask mandate will be lifted, but masking may still be required in limited and specific settings.

And the mayors of Calgary and Edmonton have said they may continue with their municipal mask bylaws.

“With more than 70% of eligible Albertans now vaccinated with a first dose and more receiving second doses every day, the end of this pandemic is near,” said Health Minister Tyler Shandro.

“Thank you to the Albertans who have rolled up their sleeves to get protected. For those who are still thinking about getting a shot, you have only one week to get your shot before we draw for $1 million and other great prizes.”

Anyone in Alberta aged 18 and over can still enter the first Open for Summer Lottery draw for a chance to win $1 million. Registration closes at 11:59 p.m. on June 24 and proof of vaccination will be required to claim the prize. The winner will be announced on July 1.

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

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