A great question. I can offer a partial answer.

Governments are motivated by a host of factors, including their party's ideological principles, public opinion, and their sense of what the community will accept.

The latter is what many call "political culture." (Thread)
Political culture is the unspoken norms that guide politics in a particular community. These values define the boundaries of acceptability - of what's okay to say, think, or do.
In the case of pandemic response, political culture is embodied in our collective sense of "what Albertans will accept," whether it be mandatory masking, vaccination, or lockdowns.
Political culture is not the same as public opinion. Just as climate isn't the same as weather. And just as a quilt is more than a collection of individual patches.
Public opinion polls show that, as individuals, Albertans will accept far more restrictions than the government is imposing. So why isn't the government acting?
Part of it has to do with the UCP's neo-liberal approach. (See my thread from earlier today.)

But part of it has to do with broader conceptions about how mandates and lockdowns align with the *community values* Albertans have come to accept over many generations.
Political culture is embodied in symbols, myths, stereotypes, and the stories we tell ourselves. It creates a sense of what it means to "be Albertan".
For this reason, when we study political culture, we move beyond surveys. Using focus groups, our @cgroundpolitics team asks participants to "draw me an Albertan". Most, as you can imagine, drew cowboys, farmers, and rig workers.
Indeed, regardless of their own personal backgrounds and beliefs, most people agreed that the "quintessential Albertan" was a middle-aged white guy working in agriculture or oil and gas. That tells us a bit about who Albertans picture when they think of "the Average Albertan" .
Governments and leaders think this way, too, whether purposefully or subconsciously. Like citizens, they are guided by a sense of what "Joe the Farmer" or "Al the Oilworker" will accept. Would Al or Joe accept a PST? No? Then it's not worth sticking my neck out to propose it.
Which brings us back to pandemic policy. In his remarks to Albertans, @jkenney has hinted at what he thinks Albertans will accept. He's used the phrase 'I never thought an Alberta premier would contemplate a lockdown,' hinting at the bounds of acceptability in this province.
I wonder daily: if we were allowed back into the field to ask our focus groups "what would Joe think about a mask mandate, or a full lockdown?" Ironically, coronavirus prevents us from meeting with them to ask.
Based on what we've heard in our research, though, I think Joe would be conflicted. On one hand, Joe is decidedly libertarian. He wants decisions to be made by families, not governments. On the other, Joe has proven quite empathetic when misfortune touches someone he knows.
Joe was surprisingly progressive on topics of substance abuse, for instance, as it's an affliction that's reached into his communities. As the case numbers climb, Joe is more likely to know a victim of COVID-19. And that could change his view about state intervention.
So to answer the initial question, until elected government officials sense that Joe's mind has changed, we're not likely to see them change theirs.

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More from @DrJaredWesley

22 Nov
(And to state the obvious: looking at Alberta through the eyes of Joe is wrought with issues intersectionality. It helps us understand why, for instance, the government fails to see the #shecession as a problem, let alone one worth solving.)
Or why they feel emboldened to hire curriculum advisors that seek to whitewash Alberta history, to create a War Room, to take on doctors & fill ICUs during a pandemic... Put simply: the UCP doesn't think Joe Albertan cares about those issues more than jobs and the economy. #ableg
The thing is: our research shows that Joe is not the median Albertan voter. Joe is who we think the average Albertan is. But he is not an aggregation of Albertan attitudes. He's a myth.
Read 8 tweets
22 Nov
Many people are criticising Conservative governments in Canada for mishandling the pandemic.

Most cite these parties' ideological commitment to *conservatism* as their major failing.

This isn't entirely accurate or fair. (Thread)
Canada is home to several variants of conservatism. The two most pertinent to this conversation are old right toryism and new right neo-liberalism.
Toryism is a collectivist form of conservatism - one that views society as more than a sum of individuals. The term "social fabric" was coined by a tory (E. Burke) to capture this sentiment.
Read 10 tweets
21 Nov
Public servants are a humble lot, serving the community without asking for credit.

But the time will come when we'll need to tell their stories of sacrifice & selflessness during this pandemic.

My DMs are open. Tell me stories so I can share anonymously. #ableg #COVID19AB
"Was moved back into office in July so that GOA can lead by example on showing it’s safe with proper PPE, etc. We have Skype meetings now with people from other cubicles on the same floor but still have to go in when everyone on my floor can work from home. Pointless!"
"Have been working 6 days per week, 3 weeks out of each month for 8 months. No overtime pay. Forced to come into the office, even though I could work from home. Been denied vacation 3 times. And being told my boss wants my pay cut by 4%."
Read 11 tweets
27 Oct
Not quite. Here's a thread on the central position of "prosperity doctrine" in Alberta conservatism. #ableg
While those with a stronger sense of faith tend to be conservative, not all Alberta conservatives are Christians a smaller number yet could be considered highly religious.
Yet, it is a strain of Protestant Evangelism that has left an indelible mark on Alberta conservatism.
Read 17 tweets
18 Oct
Policy 11 is the clearest definition of two-tier healthcare I have seen in a Cdn major party platform (and I've reviewed over 1000). It's the only one I know to use the term "Private Tier" explicitly.

This is not the same as a "mixed" or "hybrid" systems. (Thread) #ableg
All universal healthcare systems allow some private provision of services, including Canada. This means Canadians with employer-provided insurance and deeper pockets get better care. This is unequal, but not the "tiered" system promoted in Policy 11.
Most mainstream parties frame this hybrid system as a necessary evil, emphasizing the importance of preserving the public component.

Policy 11 promotes the virtues of the private component, and calls for a new/expanded "Private Tier".

This is not the status quo.
Read 15 tweets

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