New data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds higher approval numbers for most of the country’s premiers, including Ontario’s Doug Ford, who – less than three months before an expected provincial election – rises 13 points. Nova Scotia’s Tim Houston also springs well forward, up 16 points.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe (+6), Alberta’s Jason Kenney (+4) and Manitoba’s Heather Stefanson (+4) also see slight boosts, while in British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and New Brunswick, the approval of Premiers John Horgan (+1), Andrew Fury (-1) and Blaine Higgs (+2) remains stable. Quebec’s François Legault experiences a slight decline in approval (-3).
In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford reverses a two-year long trend of declining approval, bouncing back to 43 per cent, the highest rate he’s seen since 2020. Still, more than half of Ontarians disapprove of Ford (55%), including more than one-third (36%) who strongly disapprove of the job he’s doing as premier. More Ontarians believe Ford has handled the pandemic poorly overall over the last two years than done well.
Ford’s handling of last month’s Ottawa occupation was also widely criticized for “passing the buck” to the federal government. More Ontarians believed he worsened the situation than helped it reach a solution.
Tim Houston’s climb to the top spot in approval cames as Nova Scotia was getting set to remove all COVID-19 restrictions after being a bright spot in handling of the virus over the last two years. As well, he recently voiced frustrations over the Mass Casualty Inquiry – a commission exploring the events of April 18-19, 2020 when 22 people were shot by a gunman who was then killed by RCMP – echoed by loved ones of victims who lost their lives that day. Three-quarters (73%) of Nova Scotians approve of the job Houston’s done as premier, one-in-five (21%) disagree.
At the other end of the spectrum sits Stefanson, who despite an improvement over the last months, remains the country’s least approved-of premier. One-quarter (25%) in Manitoba approve of her; two-thirds (64%) beg to differ. As that province, too, removes COVID-19 restrictions, Stefanson continues to face criticism over the government’s handling of the pandemic, including a deadly third wave which overwhelmed intensive care units when she was health minister. Notably, Manitobans were least likely to give their premier a passing grade in handling the pandemic over the last two years.