We’re all between a rock and a hard place


Being a politician is an often thankless task, and you have to have a certain personality to want to be in politics.

You are inviting people to offer opinions on you at all times, you will be blamed if things are going badly, and even if things are going well, you will be told they could be going better if you did a better job.

We Canadians are an opinionated lot, and we do blame our leaders if things are not going as we would like, and right now, Canadians are blaming their leaders for the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our friends over at the Angus Reid polling organization have picked up some interesting facts this month, as they look a the falling popularity of a couple of premiers.

“As provinces adjust to rising daily case counts and the logistical challenges of mass inoculation, new data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds Canadians increasingly disappointed in their provincial leaders. At least half in Saskatchewan (50%), Manitoba (59%), Ontario (65%), and Alberta (75%) now say that their premier is doing a poor job handling the pandemic.”

Here’s an interesting finding. In Ontario, people are annoyed with Premier Doug Ford because they feel he waited too long to implement the tough new restrictions which have basically got the province in a lock down.

But in Alberta, nearly half of Janson Kenney’s constituents, 45 per cent, say the restrictions already go too far. A further 42 per cent don’t think they go far enough, so rock, hard place, meet Jason Kenney.

But to further Ford’s problems, last Thursday he had to apologize for some of the more draconian measures he ordered in place, particularly those concerning extra police powers to curb travel. So while his voters are angry he didn’t act soon enough, they are also angry that his actions went too far when they happened. So, rock, hard place, meet Doug Ford.

Even in British Columbia, where Premier John Horgan has been riding a wave of high approval ratings, 55 per cent say restrictions have been too lax. However, Horgan still gets an overall passing grade of 55 per cent in terms of his handling of the pandemic.

Back to that rock and hard place in Alberta, Kenney has the support of just 23 per cent of Albertans when it comes to handling the pandemic. That’s the lowest in the country. And down over 60 points from last April when Kenny’s approval rating was 86 per cent. Also getting tepid support is Ontario’s Ford at 32 per cent, Manitoba’s Brian Pallister is down to 37 per cent support.

Meanwhile the number of Canadians concerned about becoming sick with COVID is rising. 81 per cent worry about a friend or family member. And only 43 per cent of Canadians say that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has done good job handling the pandemic.

However, Canadians still continue to give their Provincial Health Officers high marks, higher than the premier is every almost every province. But those numbers are coming down too, and really all these numbers just indicate that Canadians are pandemic-weary.

We are tired of doing what we’re supposed to do — most of us — and seemingly getting nowhere. Our original optimism as vaccines started to roll out has faded, as it is taking so long to get the needle in enough arms to make a difference.

Getting straight answers on why the vaccine rollout is so slow seems impossible, though governments — provincial and federal —are pointing fingers at each other. Pro tip, that’s not helpful.

Tightening restrictions for in province travel while jets fly into major airports full every day is another annoyance for which I have yet to hear a good explanation, although the federal government did halt flights in from India and Pakistan at the end of last week.

It’s just that there are so many inconsistencies with every order, so many loopholes. So many times where we say, how does that make sense?

I don’t know about you, but I think I’m going to go sit with my friends Jason and Doug between the rock and the hard place.

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