A new poll shows that a majority of Albertans believe former premier Rachel Notley would be handling the COVID-19 crisis better than current premier Jason Kenney. A separate poll shows support for Kenney’s United Conservative Party has dropped to 40 percent in the province.

This comes after the Alberta Premier, attacked Canada’s top doctor, Dr. Theresa Tam, for her response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In an interview on Monday, Kenney went on a tirade, questioning the competency of Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer and implying that she was acting as a mouthpiece for the Chinese government. Critics have called the attack a dog-whistle to xenophobic parts of Kenney’s base (Dr. Theresa Tam was born in British Hong Kong).

Kenney also reiterated his willingness to disregard Health Canada approval for untested drugs and vaccines, saying that his government “was not going to wait.” 

The Alberta premier noted that if the United States’ FDA approved a drug, he would green-light the use of that medication in Alberta. The Trump administration recently pushed the agency to give emergency approval to two malaria drugs for COVID-19 treatment, despite very little evidence supporting their efficacy. 

This is the latest instance of controversial behaviour from the Kenney government. In the past few weeks, the UCP government has laid off 26,000 education workers amidst the pandemic, ripped up the province’s master agreement with doctors, and spent $1.5 billion to bail out the Keystone XL pipeline despite record low oil prices.

In a separate instance, Kenney threw provincial public health officials under the bus by blaming his government’s education lay-offs on Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.

His Health Minister, Tyler Shandro, was also at the centre of a controversy when he visited the house of a local physician and intimidated him in front of his family. 

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