The answer of course depends on who’s asking and who’s answering
The worst time to win an election as a provincial leader was in the Fall of 2019. Four months into the job, the world was hit with COVID-19 which quickly got headlined as a pandemic; the world panicked. No one had any real experience with how to manage such an occurrence including the medical community who posed as having all the answers. Projections were often wrong, and for much of the public the procedures bordered on ‘overkill.’ Computer models have a way of adding to that. Everyone who became ill or worse were labelled as COVID victims and the only people taking the ‘rap’ for any outcomes were 10 Premiers. If you feel the need to dish out blame, look for a Premier. Because of flaws in Canada’s Constitution, it turns out the Prime Minister has more power than reasonably acceptable. He gave the orders – some were completely draconian – and the provincial leaders took the ‘brunt.’ Medical teams experienced infighting within their own ‘towers’ and the Premiers were tasked to try keep the peace and take the blame. Premier Kenney was no exception!
Democracies rest on the ability of the general public to hold elected officials accountable. But what happens when a large segment of voters know little about how policy evolves, their limitations and who has authority over what? Most of all they want someone to blame. Who knew who to blame for lockdowns, for masking rules, for interrupted education, for lost businesses and general all-around hardships? Stopping COVID at all costs is not a policy but it did cost much hardship. Without any real power, the Premier’s ratings fell into the ‘gutter.’ Medical advisors became kings, and the Prime Minister hid.
Premier Kenney has done what he can to mend feelings among the electorate and his internal party power struggles without taking his eye off his recovery plan. He doesn’t call voters names or fault them for their opinions, he is simply working towards getting life back to normal in Alberta. Behind the COVID scenes he has enticed new industries into Alberta, brought in investor dollars from some of the largest corporations, reduced unworkable policies brought in by the previous government, expanded education choices and job opportunities, and laid the groundwork for expanding hospital beds and staffing in our cumbersome healthcare system which was the ‘phantom’ behind the lockdowns. Like everyone, he is weary of worrying about ‘a shortage of beds’ which drove the mandates, and we are learning to live with COVID. He is working on convincing Ottawa to lift their mandates on travel and ending costly and restrictive testing. He wants borders opened so people can work and travel in peace and connect with families elsewhere, so Albertans in their twilight years can finally live their last years as planned while hugging family. So children can laugh,hug each other and be kids again, and new graduates can find work. His biggest desire is to end the bitterness by getting back to the ‘old normal.’ Enough division by the dividers.