Canada Mandryk: Pandemic may be taking Moe's popularity to a crossroads
COVID-19: Mandatory indoor masking for Saskatchewan public indoor spaces Sept. 17
Premier Scott Moe and Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, are expected to provide an update on the COVID-19 situation on Thursday. Ahead of the COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, he announced via Facebook that new measures are coming to the province to combat the fourth wave.
As COVID-19 problems are crashing down around him, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe keeps confounding his critics by remaining popular in the province.
This bucks the trend of other conservative leaders’ popularity cratering and has made it that much more puzzling.
Remember that now infamous (and much-parodied) December 2018 cover of MacLean’s magazine labeled The Resistance — the blue-suited pack of conservative leaders that included Moe, then-federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, then-Manitoba premier Brian Pallister, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Ontario Premier Doug Ford?
Mandryk: Moe's COVID-19 response has come embarrassingly late
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney on Wednesday declared a public health emergency, apologized to his electorate and announced the reinstatement of the toughest COVID-19 restrictions since the winter to deal with a deadly fourth wave swamping that province’s hospital system. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe’s communication office Wednesday boldly endorsed the Wascana Busker Festival that — presuming they don’t decide to put up teepees, thus forcing the Saskatchewan Party government to take them to court — will be held at the legislature grounds. Let the utter ludicrousness of all this sink in a for a moment.
Well, two of the fab five opposing Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax are gone and even the future of Scheer’s successor, Erin O’Toole, is now pocked with question marks after Monday’s federal election results. Some doubt Ford will survive the next Ontario election. And Kenney may not make it to the next Alberta election, if the upcoming United Conservative Party leadership review doesn’t go his way.
That Kenney is on the ropes and Moe isn’t is baffling when you consider both premiers followed the same ill-advised reopening strategy prior to getting hammered by the fourth wave. Now, both are facing a near collapse of their respective province’s emergency and surgical services within their health systems.
Mandryk: Prairie COVID-19 surge may be bad news for O'Toole elsewhere
Conservative Party of Canada Leader Erin O’Toole balked when asked what he thinks about the way Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. After Thursday’s debacle, one can only imagine O’Toole’s reaction to the same question about Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe. In a nutshell, this explains why Kenney and Moe have kept a low profile in this 2021 election. Neither are assets for the federal Conservative campaign … although there are a few nuanced differences in the situation for each prairie premier.
Yet while Kenney appears to be fighting for his political life, Moe is still seemingly enjoying the unconditional love of hisand — more significantly — the support of Saskatchewan’s people.
The momentum following Moe’s election win a year ago has remained with him up until now. Angus Reid’s quarterly polling on premiers’ popularity from June shows Moe near the top and a similar poll by Maru Public Opinion from this month shows Moe with a 63-per-cent approval rating — best in then nation.
However, one has to wonder whether seismic tremors of the past month surrounding COVID-19’s fourth wave may finally begin to shake Moe off that perch.
A recent study shows nearly half of
A Sept. 3-20 poll conducted by the Canadian Hub for Applied Research at the University of Saskatchewan shows about half of 402 Saskatchewan respondents are dissatisfied with Moe’s handling of the pandemic. It was hardly the overwhelming indictment that some might have expected. And given that dissatisfaction might come from anti-maskers/vaxxers too, it falls short of damning.
Mandryk: All politicians need to listen to voters' resounding 'get to work' message
We liked things the way they were. We have serious issues you need to deal with. You need to stop clowning around, get back to work and don’t bother us again until the work we sent you to do gets done. Woe betide the politician that missed these critical voter messages emerging from Monday’s federal election results. Subject to change with counting of mail-in ballots, those results were as follows: Liberals, 158 seats (32.2 per cent of the popular vote); the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC), 119 seats (34 per cent); Bloc Quebecois, 34 seats (7.8 per cent); NDP, 25 seats (17.7 per cent), Green Party, two seats (2.
But 6.1 per cent saying they are “very satisfied” and 26.2 per cent answering “somewhat satisfied”, isn’t an overwhelming endorsement, either.
To this point, we’ve yet to see signs of this COVID-19 anger and hostility in Saskatchewan coalescing around a political alternative. The NDP and Ryan Meili remain unpopular.
But given the toll COVID-19 has taken on Pallister, Ford and especially Kenney, the political question is: Can Moe can retain is own popularity?
His problem right now is that the worst of fourth wave in Saskatchewan is yet to come.
Since July 31 (halfway through the open summer Kenney and Moe promised us),(of 63,875 total) and 80 more deaths (658 total). Active cases have vaulted to 4,715 (from 479 on July 31) and hospitalizations to 273 (from 46).
As we watchand see ICU beds filling, we are hearing more horror stories that have a tendency to resonate for a long time.
And while polls don’t show it yet, fewer are buying into Moe’s recent strange statements implying Justinor the Saskatchewan premier’s assertion that doctors need to step up.
Right now, those who voted for Moe are starting to grumble. Few conservatives are publicly defending him and some are privately wondering where Moe is getting his strategic advice.
For now, Moe has avoided the hammering his colleagues have taken. The question is: Will that continue to be the case?
Mandryk is the political columnist for the Regina Leader-Post and Saskatoon StarPhoenix.
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Mandryk: Choosing combining over COVID a wrong move for Moe .
Premier Scott Moe posted on his Facebook page a photo of the view from “his office” this past weekend — a lovely Saskatchewan fall farm scene of a harvested field from the cab of a Case combine. In any other year, most in this province would have thought little of our farmer-premier slipping away from his regular $173,885-a-year office job (that’s low, compared with other Canadian premiers) for a little weekend combining. Even as September In any other year, most in this province would have thought little of our farmer-premier slipping away from his regular $173,885-a-year office job (that’s low, compared with other Canadian premiers) for a little weekend combining.