Approval for Alberta government pandemic response lowest in Canada
CALGARY -- The Kenney government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has left a lot of dissatisfaction among Albertans, sliding to just 37 per cent according to a Leger 360 survey.
Another Leger survey conducted at the end of March had the provincial response enjoying a 68 per cent approval rating.
The substantial drop places Alberta’s government at the bottom of the heap in Canada, well below the 65 per cent approval rating enjoyed by Ontario’s Doug Ford and light years removed from the 78 per cent approval rating Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is basking in.
What is less clear are the reasons for the low satisfaction. While there is considerable anxiety over rapidly climbing new infections, it appears the state of the provincial economy also plays a role in respondents' dissatisfaction.
Flattening the curve
There have been public calls from some municipal officials, such as CEMA chief Tom Sampson, for a complete lockdown to flatten the curve of the latest wave of the pandemic.
"The language has really changed in the last two weeks from 'personal responsibility and we're going to avoid lockdowns' to 'if this doesn't work, lockdowns are needed," said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. "My argument would be, if that is your thinking, move quickly."
But paradoxically, many in the business community are growing frustrated at costly measures that threaten livelihoods, instead urging the provincial government to ease up on employers and turn their focus to protecting the most vulnerable.
Ellen Parker’s public relations company has roughly 1,000 clients in Calgary. She says they’ve done everything asked of them.
"$60,000 one of our clients spent implementing barriers between tables because they care," Parker said. "They are showing up for their government."
Now she says, government needs to show up for business by turning its focus to those most vulnerable to the novel coronavirus and letting employers get back to work.
Fadi Bootano owns The Urban Shave in Kensington. A year ago it could take an hour or more to get a chair in his busy shop. Now most sit empty. He says his fear is both physical and financial.
“If somebody coughs, you never know if this guy is sick or not,” he says. “I’m very worried. I think about my family, my parents my friends.”
While new infections have continued to range between 700 and 1,000 per day over the past week, the active case count has stayed at roughly 10,000 for several days.