Provincial leaders across the country have had one priority over the past three months: dealing with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus far, the reaction of their constituents has been positive – albeit to varying degrees.
Horgan and Ford
Seven-in-ten residents approve of British Columbia’s John Horgan (71%) and Ontario’s Doug Ford (69%). Ford, until now, has never held majority approval since his election – an uptick likely attributable to a change in character some have dubbed the “new Doug Ford.” From segments aimed to reduce stress during the pandemic, like “Cooking with Doug,” to auto-tuned songs of his speeches, Ontarians have seen a different side of their premier. Perhaps most importantly, previous ARI polling shows that most Ontarians are satisfied with his coronavirus response, with nine-in-ten saying he has done a “good job”.
Likewise, Horgan’s job performance managing the coronavirus outbreak on the west coast sees a recovery after a dip in approval due to the Wet’suwet’en protests against the Coastal Gaslink pipeline that shook his province earlier in the year.
The two provinces, however, appear to be following different trajectories with respect to COVID-19 cases. In Ontario, daily cases have been more volatile, rising in the middle of May, which Health Minister Christine Elliot attributed to residents not following proper protocols on Mother’s Day two weeks prior. Ford himself was criticized after seeing members of his family who were not from his household on that weekend. More recently, Toronto Mayor John Tory apologized for not social distancing alongside thousands of others at Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park. Cases have since dropped below 300 per day again, but the provincial government decided to delay an increase in the allowable group size in the province beyond the current five people.
In British Columbia, businesses have begun reopening, though public officials have asked residents to remain in their communities and keep travel close this summer. B.C. reported just 12 new cases from the May 23rd weekend. B.C.’s COVID-19 cases per 100,000 are just above 50, while Ontario’s is just over 190.
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