Premiers’ Performance: Smith divides Albertans, Ford ranks among lowest in leader approval

Premiers’ Performance: Smith divides Albertans, Ford ranks among lowest in leader approval

Saskatchewan’s Moe and Quebec’s Legault lead the way, close to three-in-five approve of each

December 7, 2022 – ‘Twas the weeks before Christmas and all through the land, Canada’s premiers were anxious to learn where they stand.

Provincial constituents assessed their leaders with care. Deciding, was sound judgement recently there?

Moe and Legault enjoyed moments of ease, knowing significant majorities of their electorates were pleased.

Carbon taxation, causing an Ottawa-Halifax flap, but Houston – for now – runs the victory lap.

Smith’s Sovereignty Act creates political clatter. At least half of Albertans aren’t sold on the matter.

Stefanson dreams of turning her fortunes around, her approval, stubbornly, closer to ground.

And while in B.C., they say “David Who?”, frosty Ontarians could turn Doug Ford blue.

For full size image click here

Joyeux Noël for Legault

François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec won re-election in October, garnering a second consecutive majority government. The premier gave the inaugural speech of the 43rd legislature on Nov. 30 and continued his focus on preserving the French language in the province, and specifically Montreal. Legault promised to push for a 100 per cent rate of French speaking among immigrants by 2026.

After enduring a dip in approval through the middle portion of the year, the two-term leader ends the year approved of by 57 per cent of Quebec residents.

Merry Christmas for Moe

Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe is no stranger to high approval ratings. The Saskatchewan Party leader remains among the most popular provincial leaders in the country with the approval of 56 per cent of residents. Moe’s government recently delivered approximately 450,000 $500 rebate checks to residents in the province as a part of its affordability program, though the opposition has criticized the government for a backlog that delayed the delivery of another 375,000. Moe also outlined his government’s plan to invest in nuclear energy this quarter with carbon tax funds that he believes are owed to the province by the federal government.

Happy holidays for Houston

Premier Tim Houston of Nova Scotia received notice from the Trudeau Liberal government that a carbon tax would be implemented in the province next year after Houston and his government decided not to develop its own full plan. The federal environment minister described the decision as “baffling”, while Houston noted that the province submitted their own version of a plan, saying “it wouldn’t have mattered if Einstein put a plan in for Nova Scotia, it was not going to be accepted”. Houston is approved of by 53 per cent of Nova Scotians for a second consecutive quarter.

Furey warm by the fire

Andrew Furey has expressed optimism recently about the future of Newfoundland and Labrador, despite ongoing health care and labour challenges. The Liberal leader and premier noted “big, bold and courageous steps” that his government has taken to increase the appeal of its mining and tech sectors among others. Slightly fewer than half of Newfoundland and Labrador residents (47%) offer praise to the premier this quarter, a positive turn, but a year over year loss in approval overall.

No epiphany yet for Eby

British Columbia Premier David Eby enters the approval ranks as a far less known quantity than his colleague due east (Danielle Smith). Three-in-ten B.C. residents (28%) say they do not know how they feel about their new premier, who officially took the job on Nov. 17. Eby was quick to announce new cost-of-living assistance and sweeping housing changes after he took office. In his first approval measurement, 46 per cent say they like what they’ve seen so far. Eby will seek to bottle some of the magic that allowed predecessor John Horgan to maintain high approval for most of his term.

Sleigh half-empty for Smith?

New Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has certainly garnered Canadians’ attention since taking over the reins of the United Conservative Party in October. Smith tabled the controversial Alberta Sovereignty Act to aplomb from her former leadership race rivals and confusion and criticism from others. Angus Reid Institute polling previously found majority opposition in Alberta to the Act, which Smith has said she hopes “to never use” but feels is an important message to send to Ottawa. Two-in-five (42%) approve of her, while a slight majority are not impressed with what they’ve seen (53%).

Freezin’ for Ford

Doug Ford continues to endure low approval in Ontario. One-in-three approve of him (34%) after recent months filled with controversy and headlines. Ford’s government recently invoked and subsequently revoked the rarely used notwithstanding clause to ban Ontario education union members from striking and impose a new contract upon them. The decision to reverse course was made after much criticism and nationwide union protests planned in response. Ford stated last week that he would not use the clause again after a court ruled that his government’s proposed law to limit public sector wage growth (Bill 124) was unconstitutional.

Hard holidays for Higgs

Decisions around bilingualism have New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs in hot water this quarter. His approval stands at an all time low of 28 per cent. Higgs was criticized by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his handling of a review of the Official Languages Act, and criticized by parents for the decision to abolish French-immersion in the province’s schools. New Brunswick is Canada’s only officially bilingual province.

Sad solstice for Stefanson

The political year comes to and end in the same place it started for Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson – at the bottom of the ARI approval ratings. Earlier this month Stefanson announced $200 million in spending to add 2,000 health care professionals to the province, which, like the rest of the country, has faced immense challenges in this area.

About ARI

The Angus Reid Institute (ARI) was founded in October 2014 by pollster and sociologist, Dr. Angus Reid. ARI is a national, not-for-profit, non-partisan public opinion research foundation established to advance education by commissioning, conducting and disseminating to the public accessible and impartial statistical data, research and policy analysis on economics, political science, philanthropy, public administration, domestic and international affairs and other socio-economic issues of importance to Canada and its world.

Note: Because its small population precludes drawing discrete samples over multiple waves, data on Prince Edward Island is not released.

Survey Methodology

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from Nov. 28 – Dec. 3, 2022 among a representative randomized sample of 5,030 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by ARI.

Summary tables to follow

To read the full report, including detailed tables and methodology, click here

Image – Alberta Newsroom/Flickr


Shachi Kurl, President: 604.908.1693 @shachikurl

Dave Korzinski, Research Director: 250.899.0821

Want to see all of our latest data first at NO cost? Subscribe below.