Dwight Ball

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Dwight Ball

DwightBall (brightened, cropped).jpg
Premier Dwight Ball in November 2016
13th Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
Assumed office
14 December 2015
MonarchElizabeth II
Lieutenant GovernorJudy Foote
Frank Fagan
Preceded byPaul Davis
Minister of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs
Assumed office
14 December 2015
Preceded byKeith Russell
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
Assumed office
17 November 2013
Interim: 3 January 2012 – 5 July 2013
Preceded byEddie Joyce (Interim)
Member of the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly
for Humber-Gros Morne
Humber Valley (2007, 2011-2015)
Assumed office
30 November 2015
Preceded bydistrict established
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) December 21, 1957 (age 60)[citation needed]
Deer Lake, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Political partyLiberal

Dwight Ball (born December 21, 1957[citation needed]) is a Canadian politician, the 13th and current Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador since December 14, 2015 and an MHA. He represents the electoral district of Humber Valley in the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly and has served as leader of the Liberal Party since November 2013.

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.

Early life and career[edit]

Ball was raised in Deer Lake, Newfoundland and Labrador, and graduated from Elwood Regional High School.[1] He attended Memorial University when he was 17 years old.[1] His younger brother is Deer Lake's mayor Dean Ball.[2]

Ball was the recipient of the Bowl of Hygeia for his work as a community pharmacist that began with his franchising of the Deer Lake Pharmacy.[1] Ball later bought a community pharmacy in Springdale.[1] Ball is also the owner of several senior care homes and is involved in real estate development and venture capital investments.[1] 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.[1] Dwight ball is also a former pharmacist, which could explain his prescriptive approach to policymaking. He won a byelection for a seat in winter of 2007, only to lose it in the fall of 2007 NL provincial general election. News outlets from thereon in cited him as a possible future NL liberal party leader and premier of NL (NTV news coverage in 2007). NTV= Newfoundland and Labrador television.


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.[3][4] 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.[5]


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.[6] 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.[7] In May 2012, the party announced the leadership convention would take place from 15–17 November 2013.[8] 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.[9][10] Ball served as leader for the party in the 2015 general election.[1]

Premiership (2015–)[edit]

Ball was sworn in as Premier in December 2015 after leading the Liberal Party to win 31 of 40 seats in the House of Assembly in the election in November.

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[11] however the move was supported by NunatuKavut president and former Labrador MP Todd Russell.[12]

In 2016, Ball announced a study on the costs of a fixed link between the island and Labrador.[13]

On June 11, 2018, Ball announced Vale Limited is moving forward with its underground mine at Voisey's Bay. Ball stated that the move will extend the mine's operating life by at least 15 years. Over the five-year construction, more than 16,000 person-years of employment will be created according to Ball.[14] First ore is expected no later than April 2021.


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.[15]

2016-17 budget[edit]

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

Anti-austerity protests have taken place across the province in areas like St. John's, Corner Brook and Happy Valley-Goose Bay.[16]

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.[17][18]

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.[19]

In 2017, Ball announced an inquiry into the Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric project.[20][21][22]


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.[23]

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,[24] a huge difference from a few months later 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%.[25]

An online petition calling for Ball's resignation went viral in June 2016[26] however Ball has stated that he will not resign and he also stated that the province would not go bankrupt.[27]

Support within the Liberal Party[edit]

Paul Lane, the MHA for Mount Pearl-Southlands was suspended from the liberal caucus in 2016 due to his opposition to the budget and an online petition called for Brian Warr to leave the caucus and sit as an independent MHA however Warr did not change parties.[28] Drew Brown, a liberal candidate in the 2007 and 2011 NL provincial general elections, wrote an article for Vice News calling for Ball's resignation[29] and he later criticized the government's oversight of the Lower Churchill Project and its impacts on Lake Melville.[30] Ball has also been criticized by former premier Roger Grimes.[31] 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.[32]

Electoral record[edit]

Humber - Gros Morne - Newfoundland and Labrador general election, 2015
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Dwight Ball 4,610 75.98%
Progressive Conservative Graydon Pelley 983 16.20%
New Democratic Mike Goosney 474 7.81%
Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador leadership election, 2013
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 - Newfoundland and Labrador general election, 2011
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 - Newfoundland and Labrador general election, 2007
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 - Newfoundland and Labrador general election, 2003
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Progressive Conservative Kathy Goudie 2,796 52.73%
Liberal Dwight Ball 2,507 47.28%



  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Dwight Ball takes the quiet approach to leadership
  3. ^ "Judicial recount set for Humber Valley ballots". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 22 February 2007. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  4. ^ "Liberal declared winner in Humber Valley recount". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2 March 2007. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  5. ^ Hutchings, Paul (12 October 2011). "Race with incumbent was too close to call: Ball". The Western Star. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  6. ^ "Dwight Ball named Liberal Party leader". The Telegram. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  7. ^ "Dwight Ball wants to lead Liberals into 2015 vote". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  8. ^ "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.
  9. ^ "Dwight Ball officially in Liberal leadership race". CBC. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  10. ^ "Dwight Ball wins Liberal leadership". CBC News. 17 November 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  11. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/cabinet-swearing-in-live-stream-1.3363654
  12. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/programs/labradormorning/todd-russell-sits-down-with-dwight-ball-1.3403501
  13. ^ "Government to Explore Tunnel Viability Between Island and Labrador". VOCM. May 7, 2016. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ Dwight Ball: N.L.'s unlikely premier and the problems he faces
  16. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/russell-protest-budget-demonstration-labrador-1.3548238
  17. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/ed-martin-severance-1.3597700
  18. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/ed-martin-severance-scandal-premier-incompetent-1.3614040
  19. ^ “Blame The PCs”: Government Reacts To Dire Muskrat Falls Report
  20. ^ [2]
  21. ^ [3]
  22. ^ [4]
  23. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/premier-dwight-ball-second-approval-rating-1.3451397
  24. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/liberals-slide-in-latest-opinion-poll-1.3553317
  25. ^ http://angusreid.org/premier-approval-may2016/
  26. ^ http://vocm.com/news/petition-calling-for-premier-to-resign-building-steam/
  27. ^ http://vocm.com/news/i-have-zero-intention-of-resigning-dwight-ball/
  28. ^ http://www.thenorwester.ca/news/local/2016/5/26/petition-asks-mha-to-join-paul-lane.html
  29. ^ https://www.vice.com/en_ca/read/balls-to-the-wall-newfoundland-premier-could-be-exiled-over-payout-scandal
  30. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxmdLC8XGeY
  31. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/grimes-criticizes-liberals-budget-1.3549461
  32. ^ [5]
  33. ^ 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–present