Now that the name Dwight
Ball is no longer prefaced with the tentative title, “interim”, he has
all the political and moral authority needed to clear a path to the Premier’s

It is
reasonable to state that the Liberal Party has given the people of the Province
a real political alternative; one badly needed in the land of Premier Kathy Dunderdale. 

The new Liberal Leader deserves
the congratulations of the whole Province. 

Leadership contests refresh, renew and reinvigorate.  Liberal democracy is advanced each time such
contests occur.  Political parties, the
foundation of our system, are given legitimacy by virtue of their ability to
effect peaceful change.  Not just the Leader,
it seems every participant in the exercise, is given new energy.

The Liberal Party, having
eschewed the more traditional leadership convention, a style known for its post-ballot
brokering and surprise, demands
that we acquire new benchmarks for grading victory.  Having achieved nearly 60% of the vote, on the
third ballot, Mr. Ball’s authority seems firm. 

possibly, he may have also dismissed notions that the Liberal Party’s nascent rise
in the Opinion Polls relates more to
the disintegration of the Premier’s popularity than to the public confidence he engenders.

Though Ball will
want to concentrate all his thoughts on the next election, there is no better
place to begin than in the House of Assembly.

A ‘loyal’ opposition
is intended to mean one that is ‘steadfast’. 
Ball’s small group will be expected to punch above their weight, giving vigorous
challenge to the Government’s program, its unwarranted secrecy and reckless
behaviour.  His own performance will be linked
to his future prospects.  In the current
political environment he must know that expectations of him are high.

Ball may be
fortunate he is will not be distracted by
malcontents in the Party.

Whether a consequence of the new voting system or a measure of the maturity of this
crop of candidates, the Contest appears to have eschewed the strife that characterised
a Liberal Leadership vote of the recent past. While such discord makes good
television it disturbs the sensible.  

I am
inclined to give much credit to Dwight Ball for that outcome.  A year ago he could have justifiably alienated
Dean MacDonald, who used his position in the Party to advance support for Muskrat
Falls, even as he fumbled the Liberal Party’s policy fest. 

Equally, Ball
could have labelled third place finisher, Cathy Bennett, as a shill for the Muskrat
business fraternity.  But, he possesses a
patient, even calm demeanor.  It is a
quality that has afforded him deft handling of those on the wrong side of the ‘sword
of Muskrat’.   
In contrast to Ms. Bennett, Paul Antle’s stature, as an intelligent and skilful politician,  has been enhanced following this Contest.  Mr. Ball would be well advised to stay in touch with him as he searches for new and credible candidates with whom to fight the next election.   
One major outcome of his victory is that Ball will no longer feel constrained to have the Liberal Party take stronger
policy positions, including on Muskrat.   That issue, alone, contains explosive power.  After more than two years of discussion it is
still largely misunderstood.  As its costs
get tallied, I expect Muskrat to destroy the Tory Party for a generation. Unlike Dean MacDonald and Cathy Bennett, I suspect Mr. Ball is not oblivious to
this reality.

Dwight Ball
emerges from the Liberal Leadership contest stronger, but his challenge is to put
a reinvigorated political and moral authority to good use.  Though he is often referred to as ‘gentlemen’,
that appellation will have limited currency as the Government’s PR types and
others begin to eviscerate his policies and his character.  

He seems
neither a dogmatist nor a crusader. He enjoys a reputation for integrity. 

His friends
ascribe to him values that suggest he is a person of compassion and generosity,
that he is a decent fellow, respectful of democratic values.  His victory speech commitment to repeal Bill 29 reflects
these values and his common sense.

Dwight Ball
will not get to enjoy such effusive praise often.

Like all members of the public, this Blogger will keep a close
eye on how well he performs.  If he does well,
it will be duly noted; if poorly, he shall receive the opprobrium the misstep deserves. 

What is certain is that we want him to succeed. The Province badly needs new leadership.

In that cause, we surely wish him good luck.          
Des Sullivan
Des Sullivan
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada Uncle Gnarley is hosted by Des Sullivan, of St. John's. He is a businessman engaged over three decades in real estate management and development companies and in retail. He is currently a Director of Dorset Investments Limited and Donovan Holdings Limited. During his early career he served as Executive Assistant to Premier's Frank D. Moores (1975-1979) and Brian Peckford (1979-1985). He also served as a Part-Time Board Member on the Canada-Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB). Uncle Gnarley appears on the masthead representing serious and unambiguous positions on NL politics and public policy. Uncle Gnarley is a fiscal conservative possessing distinctly liberal values and a non-partisan persusasion. Those values and opinions underlie this writer's views on NL's politics, economy and society. Uncle Gnarley publishes Monday mornings and more often when events warrant.


Bill left public life shortly after the signing of the Atlantic Accord and became a member of the Court of Appeal until his retirement in 2003. During his time on the court he was involved in a number of successful appeals which overturned wrongful convictions, for which he was recognized by Innocence Canada. Bill had a special place in his heart for the underdog.

Churchill Falls Explainer (Coles Notes version)

If CFLCo is required to maximize its profit, then CFLCo should sell its electricity to the highest bidder(s) on the most advantageous terms available.


This is the most important set of negotiations we have engaged in since the Atlantic Accord and Hibernia. Despite being a small jurisdiction we proved to be smart and nimble enough to negotiate good deals on both. They have stood the test of time and have resulted in billions of dollars in royalties and created an industry which represents over a quarter of our economy. Will we prove to be smart and nimble enough to do the same with the Upper Churchill?


  1. People will provide various assessments of the leadership race. They will argue if Ball has the ability to lead the province. But what they can not dispute was that there was 24 k people who participated, and Ball got an over whelming majority. He has a mandate to lead the liberals. Now he must work to build the party.

  2. Ball was the Premiers first choice to lead the Libs. Why is that do you think? From what I know of him he is indecisive and easily led. I have serious doubts he will lead the Libs into the next election, or at least he won't be leading them to victory.

    I honestly hope I'm wrong. However there is a great deal that will claw its way into the light before we go to the polls again. And if it does, Ball and his ilk are toast.