Wynne shrugs off dismal approval rating
Dogged by questions about her political future, Premier Kathleen Wynne found herself on the defensive about her rock-bottom approval ratings Friday.
Set to address media on a meeting with auto industry leaders, Wynne slammed the brakes on her message track to address a new Angus Reid poll that put approval rating at 12%, down from a high of 41% in Sept. 2014.
And that finding comes three weeks after the premier announced a 17% hydro rate reduction to help bolster her flagging popularity.
The gambit may not have helped according to the poll, but Wynne says she is determined to stay on and fight in the 2018 election next June.
“People haven’t seen the impact on their bills yet,” Wynne said. “But with all of that, I have a job to do. I made a commitment to the people of Ontario in 2014. I’m doing that job and I’m going to continue to do that job.”
Wynne was also questioned about comments from former Liberal finance minister Greg Sorbara on TVO earlier this week, suggesting the premier may want to consider stepping down because she is “extremely unlikely” to win the next election. Sorbara, who managed two majority government-winning campaigns for former premier Dalton McGuinty, said Wynne’s approval ratings will be difficult to turn.
Wynne dismissed Sorbara’s comments as “punditry.”
“Punditry is a wonderful thing,” she said. “Retired politicians engaging in punditry is an even more wonderful thing. I will leave Greg and whoever else to their opinions. There’s no secret there have always been people in the Liberal Party who weren’t keen on me. That’s a reality.”
Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid jumped to Wynne’s defence during the press conference, saying she still has the confidence of her caucus. Energy rates have become a “lightning rod” for general discontent in the province and that has impacted Wynne’s approvals, he said.
“(Wynne) is focusing on the things that matter to Ontarians,” he said. “That’s why our caucus members are so firmly behind this Premier and why we’re confident that she will not only lead us into the next election, she will help us once again win that next election.”