In a major move of distraction er…. taking the pulse of Alberta voters, Premier Jason Kenney, brought a referendum forward during the province’s municipal elections on October 18.
As of this writing I don’t know the results, although chances are Albertans will be siding with him on both issues. Albertans agreeing with him will be a nice gift to Kenney, as his political survival remains very much in question due to his handling of the COVID pandemic. Let’s just hope he doesn’t let the almost sure backing he’s going to get on the referendum question go to his head.
The first question will be whether to lose the yearly spring forward and fall back and stay on Daylight Savings Time. Polls show nine in ten Albertans want that. Back to that in a second.
The other question is whether federal equalization payments are fair to Alberta. Gee, I wonder how Albertans will answer that given that the first words they hear on emerging from the womb are, “Hello baby, the federal government is being unfair to Albertans.”
Of course, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already pointed out that Kenney was part of Stephen Harper’s government, which negotiated the current equalization formula.
“The fact that he’s railing against it means he can probably explain better what it is he disagrees with his younger self on,” Trudeau said. Not going to lie to you, that’s a little funny.
In any event, Kenney needs a win in a big way. His approval ratings are at 22 per cent, by far the lowest in Canada. That does not seem like a survivable number.
Approval ratings for all Premiers are off a little bit. In fact the only Premier whose ratings have risen is Ontario’s Ford, who has improved one whole percentage point to 36 per cent approval. However, one per cent can also be a statistical error. Saskatchewan’s Moe is off a full 18 per cent to 43 per cent approval, and Higgs of New Brunswick has also fallen 17 per cent to 38 per cent.
Even the popular crowd, Horgan of B.C., Legault of Quebec, Houston of Nova Scotia and Furey of Newfoundland, who all have ratings well above 50 per cent have fallen somewhat. Horgan has dropped seven per cent since the last snapshot was taken.
I’m not sure his offloading the decision on vaccine mandates for school staff to school boards is going to be seen as great leadership. Kind of seems like a cop out to me.
In any event, back to the time change. In B.C. we approved no more time changes by referendum in 2019, not that that has resulted in no more time changes. Horgan says we have to wait until the United States makes the move, and here in the eastern part of the province, most mayors and MLAs are of the opinion that we also need to synch with Alberta.
And now we likely are, but until someone actually pulls the plug and says ‘that’s it’, no more time change, we will continue in this limbo of over 90 per cent of the population wanting something but still not getting it. Just another day in politics.
Meanwhile, Jason Kenney can have a day or two congratulating himself that 90 per cent of Albertans agree with him. Let’s hope it doesn’t give him too big a head.
And coming November 7 to a clock near you, the return to Standard Time.