Alberta Politics

4 reasons why Kenney’s approval ratings are low and Albertans aren’t rallying around the flag during the pandemic.

Alberta is used to being a political outlier. And in the first six months of 2020, when governments and opposition parties in most provinces put aside their political differences to face the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown, Alberta remained an outlier as neither the United Conservative Party government nor the New Democratic Party opposition put aside their differences to rally around the flag. Here are a few reasons why:

Jason Kenney (source: Flickr)
Jason Kenney (source: Flickr)

1. Jason Kenney is unpopular. This is not new and has been a problem that has dogged him and his party since he jumped into provincial politics in 2017. Pulling off a coup by taking over the Progressive Conservative Party and merging it with the Wildrose Party to form the UCP may have solidified his popularity among conservative partisans, but most polls have shown his approval and performance ratings dragging far below the high-water mark of UCP support in the 2019 election.

2. The United Conservative Party government is using the pandemic and economic crisis as cloud cover to continue to implement a divisive political agenda. The UCP campaigned on the slogan of “jobs, economy and pipelines,” but during the pandemic the government has barely skipped a beat in continuing its fight with rural and small town doctors, cutting funding that led to 25,000 education workers losing their jobs and thousands of layoffs at Alberta’s technical colleges and universities, and pushing the privatization and closure of Alberta’s provincial parks. And plans to layoff nurses and health care workers? That has only been delayed.

And while claiming that the government is broke, the UCP invested $1.5 billion and pledged an additional $6 billion towards the construction of a pipeline that entirely depends on Donald Trump being re-elected as President of the United States in November.

Donald Trump (source: Facebook)
Donald Trump (source: Facebook)

Probably one of the most distinguishing features of the UCP government is the inability of its ministers to admit it is wrong or has made a mistake, ever. Instead, the UCP responds by aggressively blaming its opponents, whether it be the Alberta Medical Association, the New Democratic Party, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Alberta Federation of Labour President Gil McGowan, secret foreign-funded anti-Alberta campaigns, or nefarious urban green-left radicals with growing influence over New York City-based credit rating agencies.

Barely a day goes by where the UCP does not release a meme or video on social media attacking its opponents. Long gone are the days when the old PC Party government would focus on governing and pretend the opposition parties didn’t exist.

3. The New Democratic Party official opposition is very aggressive. While the tiny 2-4 MLA NDP caucus of the past would frequently run circles around the other opposition parties, the current 24-MLA NDP caucus is striking a different tone and operating in a similar aggressive manner to how the Wildrose Party did during its time in opposition benches from 2012-2017.

Rachel Notley (source: Facebook)

It is perhaps not a surprise that the UCP is now trying to paint the NDP with the same “Team Angry” moniker that the PC Party slapped onto the Wildrose Party a decade ago. But the political landscape in Alberta is drastically different as both parties now exist in a competitive environment where Albertans have a taste for electoral change.

With former premier Rachel Notley at its helm and a front bench of former cabinet ministers in its caucus, the NDP are the first official opposition in decades that can legitimately call itself a government-in-waiting. But in a big way, the NDP needs to start acting like a government-in-waiting and talking confidently about what new ideas it will implement and bad UCP ideas it will repeal if or when it forms government again in 2023.

4. Nothing is actually getting done for Albertans who now face record unemployment levels and a very uncertain economic future.

21 replies on “4 reasons why Kenney’s approval ratings are low and Albertans aren’t rallying around the flag during the pandemic.”

The UCP would be more popular if it followed a more aggressive agenda of deep, sustained 20-30% cuts in government spending and gave Albertans what we have always wanted: a fully privatized health care system and right to work legislation. Only then can we be free!

You forget that those 20 to 30 % cuts to government spending would probably be the support staff jobs. There have already been a couple of these layoffs already. I work in city government and have been temporarily layed off until possibly July sometime but I fear there will be a round of layoffs shortly after we have come back and taken care of an existing work backlog. These cuts will be to the bone. Not only that but in my organisation when full time employees with full benefits retire their jobs are often replaced with 2 half time or a an almost full time position with no benefits. The UCP are going to create a new bunch of poorly paid employees that are forced to work 2 or 3 McJobs and have no health care. How does this help an already damaged post-pandemic economy? Without healthcare these will be the people showing up at ERs to deal with health problems that they had no doctors to go to for help. Watch the cost of health care skyrocket when an infected toe ends up being an advanced case of blood poisoning.

What government services that you use are you prepared to see cut? How about less road maintenance?

Are you for real? Albertans want a Privatized Health Care System?.
I have worked in the Medical Field for many years and can tell you right now the majority of Albertans including all Health Care Workers do not want Privaization.
Obviously you have never lived or worked in the USA. We have!! This is an example of the cost.
Are you willing to pay anywhere from
$500.00 plus 25% deductible for bare bones coverage? OR up to
$2400.00 plus 20% deductible on everything for each persons coverage.
That is why the majority of Americans do not have health insurance. They end up going to clinics set up for the less fortunate. Where doctors in the USA donate their time or in some states they are given a very small amount to help with the utilities etc on the building. The fees are $20.00 a visit. The doctors try and give samples of medications because the cost of drugs can be 75 to 300% more than what we pay. To get a flu shot in the fall was $90.00 each.
For me. 3 weeks in hospital in Ohio. We had an excellent medical plan through our employer that was $550,00/ mo our cost which was nothing compared to the cost billed to the employer. We were billed for 20% of the bill. It was a massive amount.
Another time in a different state We were billed 4 days in the hospital on medical ward with an infection. I V medication, one CT scan and one specialist. $105,000. Still want Privatization? Go for it if you are a Millionaire, otherwise may I suggest what we have is 100% better.

You conveniently omit from your left-wing diatribe that the United States doesn’t have a wait list problem like we do here, with people literally dying on wait lists. Not to mention much more reasonable tax rates. Why? Because 45%+ of state budgets aren’t gobbled up by a monopolistic health care system run by big union bosses who seek ever increasing payments from taxpayers. Our system is broken and I’ll take the American system any day over ours.

Go back to North Korea where you belong!

Your thoughts and remarks are so unCanadian. Healthcare is a big part of who we are as Canadians. You really need to move to US and live under their privatised health care system. Our universal healthcare is about helping those people who really needs it. Guess you come from a privileged background and think you don’t need any of those. You are just selfish and you are better suited to live else where. Please move as you are not worthy of being Canadian.

Only a ucp troll con would make a statement like this. Your criticism of the public healthcare system in this country that I am sure you have benefited from since you were born . You would begrudge another generation of those benefits?
You are the type to suggest that the public healthcare system is a Socialist benefit and should be privatized so Albertans can be under more financial burdens ? What are governments for but to look after the citizens of the country, Alberta in this case.
Governments have lost their way and the Corporate Welfare Socialism that is being supported by the likes of you must end.

Ed Stelmach predicted this – the UCP/Wildrose pretending to be a moderate party.

“There is a profound danger that the next election campaign will focus on personality and U.S.-style negative attack politics that … [would be] directed at me personally.”

“The danger is that it could allow for an extreme right party to disguise itself as a moderate party by focusing on personality — on me personally. This type of U.S.-style wedge politics is coming into Canada, and it comes at our peril.”

Kenney thinks himself a grande leader but he has none of the charisma of Klein or confidence of Lougheed. He’s a life-long political hack with no life or job experience outside of politics. He’s unrelatable.

I don’t think Albertans want a private for profit healthcare system, as was mentioned in a previous comment. In reality most Albertans want the best public services, some just don’t seem to think they need to pay for it. We already have the lowest taxes in Canada. Government needs to work on bringing back the tech sector and diversifying our energy.

I agree with all your points here.

First, I think Kenney is unpopular for a number of reasons including he is unrelatable – the family values champion who strangely has no spouse and children. That raises questions – perhaps it is he is just married to his job, but most people do not relate well to career politicians and are a bit suspicious of them.

Second, the UCP government does seem to use every opportunity to provoke and perhaps create more enemies than necessary with an overly rigid partisan and ideological agenda that is divisive.

Third, the NDP is an opposition with something all previous oppositions in Alberta have lacked – experience in governing. Yes, they may seem angry now, but I suspect no one doubts they also truly and genuinely have a different vision for Alberta than the UCP.

Lastly, the economy is doing terrible, worse than when the NDP was in power. As one US political figure said, ‘its all about the economy stupid” and another said, “ask yourself if you are better off than four years ago”. The implied jobs, jobs, jobs promise that led many to give the UCP the benefit of the doubt in the last election has not been met so far and it seems doubtful now if it will be before the next election.

It has been getting to be a bumpy ride for the UCP lately and I think it could get even bumpier over the next few years. Kenney may come to regret his clever career move from Federal to Provincial politics.

Excellent point about the NDP, there at the end. People sour quickly on constant “You guys suck” attacks. Far better to say “Those guys did 1) 2) 3). How’s that working for you, friends? Our way is better! We will 1) 2) 3).”

Not too early for Notley et al to start the next campaign….

It would be interesting to see Kenney’s approval numbers broken down regionally. I expect he’s even more unpopular in Edmonton now than on Election Day last year, when the NDP almost swept the capital city. I also expect his popularity to have sunk in Calgary, although probably nowhere near as much.

But what about rural Alberta, where the UCP was an unstoppable force in the election? Could it be that the UCP thinks it can pursue its war on their medical care with impunity, because nothing can shake their rural support base? Could it be that they’re right?

BTW look at the latest unemployment statistics for Alberta: The region with the lowest unemployment a year ago now has the highest, higher even than perpetually-angry Calgary. How much of this is related to COVID, and how much to the downturn in the oilpatch, is not revealed by those numbers, but they are not good.

Why did his ratings not improve? We have had 141 more deaths than NB, 134 more than MB, 131 more than SK. In Long Term Care, the “work at single site only” took more than a month to be implemented. Cargil was Canada’s largest single outbreak.

He called Covid “an influenza” and claimed “we’re learning, epidemiologically, is that that population has a very high level of immune resistance, of immunity and resilience against an influenza of this nature,”

He insists on copying Donald Trump.

Even Albertans no longer buy that.

#1. Jason Kenney is hollow to the core. We never see him outside of politics. We assume he never sleeps, and if he did, his pajamas would be a suit, tie and shirt. Is he a one-dimensional cardboard cutout or a human? Hard to say. Maybe we should prop him up in front of a dog and see what happens.

Stelmach and Redford were the last true PCers, but the “long knives” in the party got to both of them. What a sad (dangerous) situation we are in now!

The NDP are not strong. What have they done to prevent much of this? They were too wishy-washy during their term, upsetting a vast scale of Albertans, ultimately discrediting themselves as a viable option.
Yes, we’ve had a taste for electoral reform for a while now, something the NDP promised early in their 2015 campaign, but forgot about once gaining support (not unlike their stance on environmental issues). We need grassroots politics, where everyday Albertans can contribute input, and feel they are represented. I vote the Green Party of Alberta.

Cuts are only for employees or a common man. What about army of ministers. NDP was running with less 5 ministers. MLAs are still more paid than BC and Ontario. Creating new job for a friend with salary of $290,000 who further gave contract worth $900000 to a firm where his son is working.

Once again this blog reveals its true extreme leftist self. The fact is nothing should be done for unemployed Albertans. This is a function of the free market entirely. The reality is we need deeper cuts in our government to immediately balance the budget.

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