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Politics Most Canadians disapprove of premiers actively campaigning for federal parties, poll suggests

Most Canadians disapprove of provincial leaders wading into the federal election, a new poll suggests.

Fifty-six per cent of respondents told Nanos Research they were uncomfortable or somewhat uncomfortable with their premiers actively campaigning for federal parties that the politicians personally support this fall. Forty per cent said they were comfortable or somewhat comfortable with the practice, and 4 per cent said they were unsure.

Nik Nanos, the chief data scientist of Nanos Research, said the highest level of discomfort was in Ontario. That province, which has the largest share of seats in the House of Commons, is led by Progressive Conservative Premier Doug Ford.

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“Research shows that Canadians are more likely to want to judge the federal parties and their leaders without mixing provincial politics,” Mr. Nanos said.

Nanos conducted the hybrid telephone-online survey from July 28 to July 30 and surveyed 1,000 Canadian adults. The results are considered to be accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The poll was commissioned by The Globe and Mail.

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came to power after the 2015 election, six of Canada’s 10 provincial legislatures were governed by Liberals. A seventh followed a few weeks later.

Since then, Progressive Conservative or other small-c conservative parties have won provincial elections in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Mr. Trudeau has publicly clashed with many of those new premiers, most prominently on the federal carbon pricing regime. That policy is intended to reduce the release of greenhouse gases that cause climate change by imposing a levy on emissions in provinces that do not come up with their own reduction plans.

Ontario and Saskatchewan took the federal government to court on the constitutionality of the levies, but lost. Saskatchewan is appealing the decision and New Brunswick is an intervenor in that case.

On Saturday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney accused Mr. Trudeau of fuelling Alberta separatism based on the Prime Minister’s dealings with the province. Mr. Kenney did not specify which policies he was talking about, but in recent weeks he has been critical of the carbon-pricing policy and how the federal government redistributes funds through the equalization formula.

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“Rather than focusing on Alberta separating from the Canadian federation, I’d like to focus on separating Justin Trudeau from the Prime Minister’s Office,” Mr. Kenney said in a video posted online.

The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment, but pointed to a response written by Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi on Twitter.

“The Premier is free to support his [Conservative] colleagues but conflating policy differences with national unity is disingenuous & sows the divisions he says he wants to reduce. We have approved pipelines & the equalization formula he decries was brought in by his government,” Mr. Sohi wrote.

Other premiers have occasionally been vocal in past elections. In 2015, then-premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne campaigned for the federal Liberals against then-prime minister Stephen Harper. And in 2008, Mr. Harper was also the target of an “Anything But Conservative" campaign led by then-premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, Danny Williams. In both votes, Mr. Harper’s Conservatives lost seats in the respective provinces.

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