Dwight Ball

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Dwight Ball
DwightBall (brightened, cropped).jpg
Premier Dwight Ball in November 2016
13th Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
In office
14 December 2015 – 19 August 2020
MonarchElizabeth II
Lieutenant GovernorFrank Fagan
Judy Foote
Preceded byPaul Davis
Succeeded byAndrew Furey
Minister of Intergovernmental and Indigenous Affairs
In office
8 November 2018[1] – 19 August 2020[2]
Preceded byposition established
Succeeded byposition abolished
Minister Responsible for Labrador Affairs
In office
8 November 2018[1] – 19 August 2020[2]
Preceded byposition established
Succeeded byLisa Dempster
Minister of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs
In office
14 December 2015 – 8 November 2018[1]
Preceded byKeith Russell
Succeeded byposition abolished
Leader of the Opposition
In office
17 November 2013 – 14 December 2015
Preceded byEddie Joyce (Interim)
Succeeded byPaul Davis
In office
3 January 2012 – 18 July 2013
Preceded byYvonne Jones
Succeeded byEddie Joyce (Interim)
Leader of the Liberal Party
In office
17 November 2013 – 3 August 2020[3]
Preceded byEddie Joyce (Interim)
Succeeded byAndrew Furey
Member of the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly
for Humber-Gros Morne
Humber Valley (2007, 2011-2015)
In office
30 November 2015 – 7 September 2020
Preceded bydistrict established
Succeeded byAndrew Furey[4]
In office
11 October 2011 – 30 November 2015
Preceded byDarryl Kelly
Succeeded bydistrict abolished
In office
13 February 2007 – 9 October 2007
Preceded byKathy Goudie
Succeeded byDarryl Kelly
Personal details
Born (1957-12-21) 21 December 1957 (age 64)
Deer Lake, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Political partyLiberal

Dwight Ball (born December 21, 1957[5]) is a Canadian politician who was the 13th premier of Newfoundland and Labrador from December 14, 2015, to August 19, 2020, and an MHA. He represented the electoral district of Humber Valley in the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly, and was the leader of the Liberal Party from November 17, 2013 to August 3, 2020.

On January 3, 2012, Ball began his duties as Leader of the Official Opposition and interim leader of the Liberal Party. On July 5, 2013, Ball stepped down as interim leader of the Liberal Party to run for the position permanently in the 2013 leadership election, which he won. He was sworn in on December 14, 2015.

On November 30, 2015, Ball won a 31-seat majority government in the 2015 election. The Ball government was re-elected to a minority government in 2019.

On February 17, 2020, Ball announced his pending resignation and will stay on as Premier until after a successor has been chosen.

Early life and career[edit]

Dwight Ball was raised in Deer Lake, Newfoundland and Labrador, and graduated from Elwood Regional High School.[6] He attended Memorial University when he was 17 years old.[6] His younger brother is Deer Lake's mayor Dean Ball.[7]

Ball was the recipient of the Bowl of Hygeia Award for his work as a community pharmacist that began with his franchising of the Deer Lake Pharmacy.[6] Ball later bought a community pharmacy in Springdale.[6] Ball is also the owner of several senior care homes and is involved in real estate development and venture capital investments.[6] The towns of Deer Lake and Springdale have independently both named Ball as Employer of the Year for his contributions to supportive employment programs in the area.[6] He won a by-election for a seat in winter of 2007, only to lose it in the fall of 2007 provincial general election.


Ball was the Liberal candidate in the district of Humber Valley in the 2003 provincial election, but was defeated by Progressive Conservative candidate Kathy Goudie by less than 200 votes. When Goudie resigned from the legislature, Ball ran in a by-election to succeed her on February 13, 2007. At first, it was announced that Progressive Conservative candidate Darryl Kelly had won the by-election by a margin of twelve votes; however, Ball was later declared elected by a margin of 18 votes. A judicial recount was conducted weeks later and resulted in a reduction of Ball's lead to seven votes.[8][9] In a rematch in the general election on October 9, 2007, Kelly defeated Ball by 254 votes. Four years later Ball once again ran as the Liberal candidate in the 2011 election and this time narrowly defeated Kelly by 68 votes.[10]


At a press conference on December 15, 2011, the Liberal Party announced that Ball would serve as interim leader of the party and as the Leader of the Official Opposition, effective January 3, 2012.[11] He succeeds Kevin Aylward, who failed to win a seat in the general election, as leader of the Liberal Party and Yvonne Jones as the Official Opposition Leader. Ball announced on the same day that he planned to run for the permanent leadership of the party at the next leadership convention, and that he would step down as interim leader 90 days before the convention to even the playing field for other candidates.[12] In May 2012, the party announced the leadership convention would take place from November 15–17, 2013.[13] On July 5, 2013, Ball stepped down as interim leader of the Liberal Party to run for the position permanently in the leadership election that November, which he won with 59% of the vote on the 3rd ballot.[14][15] Ball served as leader for the party in the 2015 general election.[6]

Premiership (2015–2020)[edit]

Ball was sworn in as Premier on December 14, 2015, after leading the Liberal Party to win 31 of 40 seats in the House of Assembly in the election in November.[16][17][18]

Despite consistent Progressive Conservative leads in polling through the debate, including a 9-point lead in the final poll, released a day before the election,[19] The Liberal Party led by Dwight Ball won re-election in the 2019 provincial election, but nonetheless fell one seat short of retaining their majority after an unexpected loss to the New Democrats in Labrador West by 5 votes.[20][21][22][23][24][25][26]

On February 17, 2020, Premier Ball announced his resignation as Premier and Leader of the Liberal Party. On August 3, 2020, Andrew Furey was chosen to succeed Ball after winning the provincial Liberal leadership race.

Minister of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs[edit]

Ball took over the post of Minister of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs from PC Keith Russell after the election in 2015. This decision was somewhat controversial as none of the Aboriginal MHAs from Labrador were appointed to Ball's cabinet and Ball was neither from Labrador or an Aboriginal,[16] however, the move was supported by NunatuKavut president and former Labrador MP Todd Russell.[27]


In December 2015, it was announced that public inquiries into the deaths of Don Dunphy (a man from Mitchells Brook who was shot dead by a police officer after posting content on Twitter that was deemed a "security threat".) and Burton Winters (a teenager from Makkovik who got lost by himself outside of his community and died of hypothermia while a search helicopter did not arrive until 52 hours later.) would take place.[28] The Dunphy inquiry took place during Ball's term; however the Winters inquiry did not.

In 2017, Premier Ball called a public inquiry into the Muskrat Falls project[29] which took place between 2018 and 2020.[30] In the inquiry report Commissioner Richard LeBlanc concluded the government failed its duty to residents by predetermining that the megaproject would proceed no matter what. In his report, LeBlanc concluded that the business case, which assumed the Muskrat Falls project was the lowest-cost power option, was “questionable.” LeBlanc stated that the project’s economics were not sufficiently tested and that Nalcor failed to consider all potentially viable power options. LeBlanc stated that Nalcor concealed information that could have undermined the business case for the project from the public and government.[31]

2016-17 budget[edit]

The provincial government unveiled its budget in April 2016 which implemented austerity measures. Ball and Minister of Finance Cathy Bennett do not expect the province to see another surplus until 2022.

Anti-austerity protests took place across the province in areas like St. John's, Corner Brook, Grand Falls-Windsor and Happy Valley-Goose Bay.[32][33][34]

Natural resources[edit]

Ed Martin scandal[edit]

In early 2016, Nalcor Energy CEO Ed Martin left the company. Ball and Martin each claim that Martin left under conflicting circumstances.[35][36]

Lower Churchill Project[edit]

The cost of the Lower Churchill Project has doubled since it started development nearly a decade before Ball took office. The province's financial situation was different when the project started development, the price of oil was high (Newfoundland and Labrador is an oil-producing province), however, the price of oil and the value of the Canadian dollar has gone down since. Ball has blamed the governments of Danny Williams and Kathy Dunderdale for the number of problems that the project has caused.[37]

In 2016, researchers from Harvard University found that methylmercury levels in fish would rise as a result of the project.[38][39] After protests led by Indigenous groups in Central Labrador in 2016, an Agreement was reached by Labrador’s three Indigenous groups (Nunatsiavut Government, Innu Nation and the NunatuKavut Community Council) and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador outlining the establishment of an independent committee to make recommendations on mitigating potential impacts of methylmercury on human health from the Lower Churchill Project at Muskrat Falls, Labrador.[40] In 2018, the committee recommended — among other things — wetland capping to stem the release of methylmercury.[41][42][43]

During the Muskrat Falls inquiry in 2019, it was revealed the provincial government wouldn’t be completing wetland capping at the Muskrat Falls reservoir as previously planned.[44][45] The $30 million designated for the capping was split up and offered to all three Indigenous governments with the Innu Nation and NunatuKavut accepting.[46][47][48] Nalcor had applied for a permit in July 2018 to carry out the approximately 13 hectares of wetland capping — essentially pouring sand and stone over a small area of wetland near the reservoir — but the permit was never approved by the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment.[49] Ball later said wetland capping would have only decreased methylmercury levels by two per cent.[50][51]


During the 2015 election campaign Ball's Liberals usually saw public approval ratings well over 50%. His party earned 57.2% of the votes in the election. In February 2016, a poll showed that 60% of respondents approved of Ball's work as premier.[52]

The 2016-17 budget had a huge impact on Ball's public approval. A poll from MQO Research in April 2016 showed a near tie in support for all 3 parties,[53] a huge difference from a few months earlier when Ball's liberals had far more support than the other 2 parties. Combined with the scandal involving Ed Martin, Ball's public support has dropped at a fast rate since the election. A poll in May 2016 showed that Ball was the least popular head of government in the country with a 17% approval rating. The second lowest score was Ontario's Kathleen Wynne with 24%.[54]

An online petition calling for Ball's resignation went viral in June 2016,[55] but Ball has stated that he will not resign and he also stated that the province would not go bankrupt.[56]

On June 16, 2018, delegates at the Liberal Party Annual General Meeting vote to endorse the leadership of Ball with 79% voting against the party holding a leadership convention.[57]


On February 17, 2020, Ball announced his pending resignation as leader of the Liberal Party and Premier amidst accusations of cronyism. The decision came after CBC News linked Ball to awarding the sole-source contract for the Crown corporation Nalcor Energy to Gordon McIntosh, former Deputy of Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady and the designer of Newfoundland and Labrador's off-shore energy plan.[58][59]

The Liberal Party initially planned to elect a new leader in May 2020; however, the election was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the 2020 Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador leadership election, surgeon Andrew Furey was chosen as Ball's successor. Furey was sworn-in on August 19, 2020.[60] On September 7, 2020 Ball resigned as MHA for Humber-Gros Morne.[61]

Electoral record[edit]

2019 Newfoundland and Labrador general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Dwight Ball 4,247 69.9
Progressive Conservative Greg Osmond 1,825 30.1
Total valid votes
Humber - Gros Morne - 2015 Newfoundland and Labrador general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Dwight Ball 4,610 75.98%
Progressive Conservative Graydon Pelley 983 16.20%
New Democratic Mike Goosney 474 7.81%
2013 Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador leadership election
Ballot 1 Ballot 2 Ballot 3
Candidate Votes % Points % Votes % Points % Votes % Points %
Dwight Ball 10,944 45.94% 2,130.05 44.38% 11,306 48.45% 2,257.15 47.02% 12,598 60.64% 2,832.29 59.01%
Paul Antle 6,340 26.61% 1,321.15 27.52% 6,600 28.28% 1,397.86 29.12% 8,178 39.36% 1,967.71 40.99%
Cathy Bennett 5,252 22.05% 1,089.05 22.69% 5,431 23.27% 1,144.99 23.85%
Danny Dumaresque 670 2.81% 131.69 2.74%
Jim Bennett 617 2.59% 128.05 2.67%
Total 23,823 100.00 4,800.00 100.00 23,337 100.00 4,800.00 100.00 20,776 100.00 4,800.00 100.00
Humber Valley - 2011 Newfoundland and Labrador general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Dwight Ball 2,609 48.14% +1.05
Progressive Conservative Darryl Kelly 2,541 46.88% - 4.54
New Democratic Sheldon Hynes 270 4.98%
Humber Valley - 2007 Newfoundland and Labrador general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Darryl Kelly 3,023 51.42% +2.88
Liberal Dwight Ball 2,769 47.09% -1.61
New Democratic Kris Hynes 87 1.47%
Humber Valley - By-election, 13 February 2007
Resignation of Kathy Goudie
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Dwight Ball 2,153 48.70% +1.42
Progressive Conservative Darryl Kelly 2,146 48.54%
New Democratic Shelley Senior 122 2.76%
Humber Valley - 2003 Newfoundland and Labrador general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Kathy Goudie 2,796 52.73%
Liberal Dwight Ball 2,507 47.28%



  1. ^ a b c "Premier Ball Announces Changes to Cabinet". 8 November 2018.
  2. ^ a b https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/andrew-furey-premier-1.5691667[bare URL]
  3. ^ Interim: 3 January 2012 – 5 July 2013
  4. ^ https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/dwight-ball-resigns-furey-running-deer-lake-1.5714946[bare URL]
  5. ^ Dunn, Christopher (12 March 2020). "Dwight Ball". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Gushue, Lisa (23 November 2015). "Take us to your leaders: What you may not know about Davis, Ball and McCurdy". CBC News. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  7. ^ "Dwight Ball takes the quiet approach to leadership". Archived from the original on 16 August 2016. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  8. ^ "Judicial recount set for Humber Valley ballots". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 22 February 2007. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  9. ^ "Liberal declared winner in Humber Valley recount". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2 March 2007. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  10. ^ Hutchings, Paul (12 October 2011). "Race with incumbent was too close to call: Ball". The Western Star. Archived from the original on 8 August 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  11. ^ "Dwight Ball named Liberal Party leader". The Telegram. 14 December 2011. Archived from the original on 12 September 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  12. ^ "Dwight Ball wants to lead Liberals into 2015 vote". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  13. ^ "Liberal Party Announces Date of Leadership Convention". Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador. Archived from the original on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  14. ^ "Dwight Ball officially in Liberal leadership race". CBC. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  15. ^ "Dwight Ball wins Liberal leadership". CBC News. 17 November 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  16. ^ a b "Dwight Ball, new Liberal cabinet sworn in at Government House". CBC News. 14 December 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  17. ^ "4 Tory cabinet ministers fall to defeat in Liberal rout". CBC News. 1 December 2015. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  18. ^ "Outsiders like Crosbie, Wakeham only hope for PC Party rebuild, says political scientist". CBC News. 4 December 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  19. ^ Grenier, Éric (18 May 2019). "What didn't happen in the N.L. election – and why that matters". The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  20. ^ Cooke, Ryan (16 May 2019). "Liberals to hold minority government in N.L., PCs not conceding defeat". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  21. ^ "Cabinet ministers Letto and Hawkins among 9 defeated Liberals". CBC News Newfoundland and Labrador, May 17, 2019.
  22. ^ "NDP clinging to 5-vote victory in Lab West after official addition of vote tally". CBC News. 19 May 2019. Archived from the original on 20 May 2019.
  23. ^ MacEachern, Daniel (16 May 2019). "Exuberant NDP celebrates 'new era' as it holds St. John's seats, and wins back Labrador West". CBC News. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  24. ^ Roberts, Kelly-Anne (17 May 2019). "'We have the balance of power,' Alison Coffin says as NDP wins three seats". NTV.
  25. ^ "NDP newcomer won by 5 votes in Labrador, causing minority Liberal N.L. government | Globalnews.ca". globalnews.ca. 19 May 2019. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  26. ^ "Five NDP votes in Labrador to determine status of N.L. Liberal government | The Star". The Toronto Star. 19 May 2019. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  27. ^ "Todd Russell sits down with Dwight Ball | CBC.ca".
  28. ^ Dwight Ball: N.L.'s unlikely premier and the problems he faces
  29. ^ Vaughan, Andrew (29 September 2017). "Newfoundland Premier announces inquiry into Muskrat Falls project". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  30. ^ "Premier Ball Announces Muskrat Falls Public Inquiry". Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. 20 November 2017. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  31. ^ McKenzie-Sutter, Holly (10 March 2020). "Final report from Muskrat Falls inquiry released to the public". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  32. ^ "Keith Russell gets an earful at Labrador budget rally | CBC News".
  33. ^ "Thousands swarm Confederation Building for anti-budget protest | CBC News".
  34. ^ "NAPE budget fight hitting the road | CBC News".
  35. ^ "Ed Martin fired after quitting Nalcor, triggering $1.4M severance, says Dwight Ball | CBC News".
  36. ^ "PCs hammer premier on 'incompetence' during Ed Martin scandal | CBC News".
  37. ^ “Blame The PCs”: Government Reacts To Dire Muskrat Falls Report
  38. ^ Flowers, Bill (13 December 2016). "Inadequate consultation on the Muskrat Falls project". Policy Options. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  39. ^ Careen, Evan (20 November 2016). "Methylmercury levels downstream from Muskrat Falls concern researcher". Saltwire Network. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  40. ^ "Timeline - Independent Expert Advisory Committee". Independent Expert Advisory Committee. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  41. ^ "Nunatsiavut president pleads with premier to pump the brakes on Muskrat Falls flooding". CBC News. 22 July 2019. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  42. ^ Fitzpatrick, Ashley (8 April 2019). "Advisory committee recommendations about Muskrat Falls deserve action: chair". The Telegram. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  43. ^ Maher, David (7 June 2019). "United Nations calls for methyl mercury mitigation at Muskrat Falls". The Telegram. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  44. ^ Maher, David (4 July 2019). "Newfoundland and Labrador government 'unintentionally' missed Muskrat Falls wetland capping deadline". The Telegram. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  45. ^ Fitzpatrick, Ashley (20 June 2019). "No time left for reservoir work prior to flooding, deputy minister tells Muskrat Falls Inquiry". The Telegram. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  46. ^ "Methylmercury deal struck with 2 of 3 Labrador Indigenous groups". CBC News. 23 July 2019. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  47. ^ White, Bailery (24 July 2019). "Nalcor's $10M deal with NunatuKavut hammered out in a page and a half". CBC News. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  48. ^ "Government skipped methylmercury deadline then offered 'hush money,' says Nunatsiavut president". CBC News. 11 August 2019. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  49. ^ "Liberal minister dismisses call for investigation into Muskrat Falls wetland capping failure". CBC News. 23 August 2019. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  50. ^ ""Last supper" held tonight by Muskrat Falls protestors". The Telegram. 6 August 2019. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  51. ^ Roberts, Terry (27 June 2019). "Too late to mitigate: Inquiry hears how wetland capping no longer a Muskrat option". CBC News. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  52. ^ "Dwight Ball 2nd most approved of premier in Canada | CBC News".
  53. ^ "Dwight Ball, Liberals take knock in new post-budget opinion poll | CBC News".
  54. ^ "Premiers' Performance: Ball drops, Wall bounces post-election - Angus Reid Institute". 25 May 2016.
  55. ^ "VOCM - Petition Calling for Premier to Resign Building Steam". Archived from the original on 21 September 2016.
  56. ^ "VOCM - "I Have No Intentions of Resigning": Dwight Ball". Archived from the original on 18 June 2016.
  57. ^ "Ball guarantees 2019 victory, maintains support at Liberal AGM | CBC News".
  58. ^ "'How deep does this go?' Opposition leaders question latest sole-source Liberal hire". CBC News. 4 February 2020. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  59. ^ "Dwight Ball stepping down as Newfoundland and Labrador premier". CBC News. 17 February 2020. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  60. ^ "Andrew Furey takes office as 14th premier of N.L., names cabinet". CBC News. 19 August 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  61. ^ "Ball resigns as MHA, Furey will run in his place". CBC News. 7 September 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  62. ^ Newfoundland & Labrador Votes 2003. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 22 May 2003.

External links[edit]

Newfoundland and Labrador provincial government of Dwight Ball
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Paul Davis Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
14 December 2015 – 19 August 2020
Andrew Furey