EDMONTON—A social media dispute has erupted after a video began circulating of Premier Jason Kenney receiving a mixed reaction from the Grey Cup crowd in Calgary.
Kenney, wearing an ‘I Love Canadian Oil and Gas’ sweater, appears to have been met with some dissent from the crowd at McMahon Stadium on Sunday. The announcer’s introduction of the premier and some members of his caucus were followed by a mix of cheers and boos prior to the game between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
But social media watchers couldn’t agree on whether Kenney was, in fact, booed by the majority of the Grey Cup crowd, and if this may signal that the premier’s popularity is waning both in Alberta and outside of the province.
Some criticized the premier for politicizing Canada’s biggest football night by donning a pro-oil and gas sweater on the Grey Cup’s national stage. One user on Twitter wrote, “It’s a unifying event not a time for politicking. Embarrassing.”
Others, however, maintain the premier was doing his role in representing Alberta and its interests to the rest of Canada. “Albertans are proud that the premier openly supports oil and gas development,” another user wrote.
And most couldn’t agree whether Kenney’s fashion choices were well-received by the crowd or not. Paul Theriault, a Calgary doctor, wrote on Twitter that Kenney was booed by the crowd during the game’s coin toss. Kenney’s staff, however, maintain the ‘I Love Oil and Gas’ sweater was a popular choice.
“I know the left loves a fake narrative to spin but I was at #GreyCup2019 and [Jason Kenney] was overwhelmingly cheered by the crowd,” wrote Brian Bateson, issues manager for Kenney, on Twitter. “People loved the I [Love] Oil & Gas gear.”
The Grey Cup isn’t the first major sports event this year that featured a less-than-favourable reaction from the crowd to a premier. After the Toronto Raptors’ championship win earlier this year, Ontario Premier Doug Ford was met with significant boos from the crowd at the team’s championship celebration in June.
Critics have said those boos are a direct reflection of Ontario’s dissatisfaction with Ford as premier. Indeed, a Mainstreet poll released just prior to the Raptors’ celebration showed that Ford’s favourability ratings sat below Kathleen Wynne’s at the end of her tenure. The poll also indicated the Ontario PCs were less popular than both the provincial Liberals and the provincial NDP.
Get more of today’s top stories in your inbox
Get up to speed on everything happening in Edmonton with our Morning Headlines email newsletter.