Sunday, April 14, 2024

Doug Ford continues to be among Canada’s unpopular premiers

Toronto (Mar 13) – A new poll on premier’s performance by the Angus Reid Institute shows that Ontario’s Doug Ford, Quebec Francois Legault and New Brunswick’s Blaine Higgs are among the least popular. In fact Ford has been stuck at the same low rating for around a year and a half.

Ford announced his intention to “Get It Done” last month, introducing new legislation to streamline infrastructure projects by shortening environmental assessments and speeding up approval processes. Cooperation with the federal Conservatives may be less than a given, however, if that party does indeed form the next government in Ottawa.

Tensions between the two conservative camps flared after newly elected federal MP Jamil Jivani criticized Ford’s government in a victory speech. Ford suggested Jivani, a former advisor to his own party, should “focus on the carbon tax”.

Ford and his Progressive Conservatives will hope that getting it done will help to boost his stagnant personal approval rate, which hasn’t exceeded its current 34 per cent mark since September 2022.

After a precipitious 16-point decline in quarter-over-quarter approval to end last year, Quebec Premier François Leagult sees his personal assessment stabilize at 32 per cent. Quebec’s highest court recently upheld (most of) one of Legault’s signature legislative pieces – Bill 21 – which the leader cheered as a “great victory for the nation of Quebec”:

For three of Canada’s provincial leaders, campaign season is not far off. Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe and British Columbia’s David Eby head into their expected October competitions in a relatively strong place when it comes to public opinion, garnering approval from approximately half of constituents respectively. For Premier Blaine Higgs in New Brunswick, the battle appears to have a steeper grade. Higgs is currently the least popular provincial leader in the country.

BCNDP leader David Eby is approved of by approximately half of residents (48%) ahead of an expected October election. This proportion has remained unchanged for well over a year now.

Premier Scott Moe of Saskatchewan remains among the most approved of leaders in the country, one of just two leaders who break the majority mark this quarter (53%). Moe and his Saskatchewan Party have been going head-to-head with the federal government on the federal carbon tax. Moe’s government was called “immoral” by Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault for deciding not to collect the tax and distribute rebates to residents. Moe responded by stating the government would replace rebates with “less tax”.

In New Brunswick, Blaine Higgs is heading into election as the least popular premier in the country. The Progressive Conservative leader is approved of by 31 per cent of residents, and has spent considerable time in recent months defending his controversial – but supported – position on parental rights and LGBTQ2+ policies in schools.

Canada’s most popular premier continues to reside in Manitoba, where Manitoba NDP leader Wab Kinew enjoys a seven-point increase in approval to 63 per cent.

Alberta’s Danielle Smith is arguably the most talked about premier in the country. Smith has garnered headlines with her decision to join New Brunswick and Saskatchewan in changing school policies surrounding name and gender identification and continues to trade barbs with federal officials over the federal government’s climate and energy policy. Smith recently threatened to invoke the “Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act” to overcome disagreements over emission abatement for natural gas projects. Her approval rating of 47 per cent is identical to those registered in September and December of last year.

On the east coast, Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston endures a four-point drop in approval. Houston will be hoping to earn some good will with what he and his finance minister have called the largest tax break in the province’s history, as a part of the 2024 budget. Some critics have stated that this claim is “misleading”:

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey has had a stable approval rating of between 47 and 49 per cent over the past year. Furey has faced criticism from the opposition and the N.L. nurses’ union after his government reportedly spent more than $35 million on travel nurses in 2023, which he claims was needed to keep the provincial health system operating.

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from Feb. 28 – March 6, 2024 among a representative randomized sample of 4,550 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For regional margin of error estimates see the end of this report. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by ARI.


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