Braid: Kenney’s popularity plunges and confusion reigns over last-minute school distancing order

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She had hoped to “clarify” things, just the opposite of what she accomplished. The order itself is so detailed and complex as to be nearly incomprehensible. It reads more like a court application than guidance to schools, teachers and parents.

Equally confusing were Hinshaw’s attempts to explain both the order and why she signed it only two days before school started, without public explanation.

Parents, kids and teachers, meanwhile, just want to know what life is supposed to be like in the classroom. This episode gives them very few clues.

And it came as Hinshaw announced the disturbing total of 426 new Alberta COVID-19 cases over the weekend, including 184 on Saturday, as well as a disturbing Calgary outbreak related to a church.

Pictured is a classroom in Henry Wise Wood High School that could accommodate a cohort of up to 38 students on Friday, August 28, 2020. Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia
Pictured is a classroom in Henry Wise Wood High School that could accommodate a cohort of up to 38 students on Friday, August 28, 2020. Photo by Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia /Postmedia

Without mentioning the distancing order, Kenney and Education Minister Adriana LaGrange issued a cheery welcome back to school: “We all know that this school year can and will be a great one,” they said in chorus.

Kenney’s popularity, or what remains of it, now depends on the school launch being both educationally successful and virtually free of COVID-19 outbreaks.

Today, Kenney is probably less popular than NDP Leader Rachel Notley, who’s in the mid-40s in Alberta polling by Marc Henry’s ThinkHQ.

The premier’s rating is now 21 per cent lower than it was after the election on April 16, 2019. He has dropped five points since the Reid poll in February.

Nationally, his companion in the basement is the hapless Andrew Furey of Newfoundland and Labrador, who has 34 per cent approval. He became premier only two weeks ago after winning the Liberal leadership.

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