Back in June of 2014 I predicted that the province would swallow up Ballard whole.
It did, like a whale.
And now it’s poised to spit him out.
Unlike 4 years ago, Ballard isn’t shopping around cheesy selfies with Premiere Wynne, this go around the distancing may not be as drastic as some OLP candidates, but it is noticeable. Here is a shot of the poorly cobbled together flier his campaign put together:
The photos aren’t print resolution or color corrected, the text is heavy and the whole hot mess is hard to get through, something a Communications professional would have caught and corrected.
In his bio much is made about journalism, but what Ballard leaves out is his career aspirations when leaving high school. It appears Ballard shares more in common with Seinfeld character George Costanza than his taste in wardrobe:
Yup, before sweating out all those hard-hitting news pieces for the Error Banner back in the 80s, or the dubious appointment to the town of Aurora’s advisory committees and incomplete term on Aurora council Ballard wanted to be a Marine Biologist.
Instead, he leaped at the next best thing, the opportunity to play one for a brief stint as Ontario’s Minister of the Environment after Glen Murray jumped clear of the sinking ship.
Before taking on that portfolio, Ballard’s government pledged to wipe out chronic homelessness over 10 years. A task so simple that Ballard stated: “If the numbers aren’t declining, we can tweak the programming or funding.”
Then in June of 2016 he became Minister of Housing and Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy where he could actually tweak said programming or funding. Has there been a reduction in poverty in Ontario over the last 2 years? Have homeless shelters shrunk in size and need over the same period?
Ballard has been able to fool fewer and fewer people to support him, but one is Newmarket’s Gordon Prentice who believes he has been an effective MPP these past four years, championing policies which resonate with him.
But that’s the problem, Ballard is all blunder and cheerleading. There’s a difference between championing policies and actually getting them in place and tweaking them. The latter is not Ballard’s strong suit as those in Aurora endured during his time on council.
As the clock ticks down Prentice has a much different take on tonight’s outcome. He starts his piece with Ballard’s trademark attempts to play down the situation:
“I am worried that if only 2 or 3% of those supporters at the past election move to the NDP we could be in trouble here.”
Oh, Ballard’s in trouble alright, but it’s not by 2-3%.
In 2014 Ballard captured 43% (22,997) to the NDP’s 11.51% (6,023). Tonight he’s poised to lose 20% of those votes, with only half going to the NDP, the other half PC:
This isn’t a matter of “A few votes seeping to the NDP from the Liberals will gift the riding to Doug Ford.” Ballard and his party have leaked half of their support and half of that is going blue. If all of it went to the NDP then perhaps there would be a race in Newmarket-Aurora.
Prentice states that the NDP candidate comes across as authentic, someone who wants to make a difference. But she has a mountain to climb to win here. His vision is so clouded that he cannot or will not recognize the mountain in front of Ballard is equal or even larger.
I wouldn’t rule out the fact of Ballard placing 3rd to the NDP.
Either way, Ballard is sunk, and not only will he have to own the loss of his seat, he may have to own the fact that the loss of his seat was a contributing factor to the OLP’s loss of party status.
Tonight while watching the election coverage and enjoying your popcorn be on the lookout for Ballard’s concession speech and you’ll hear Costanza’s voice:
“from out of nowhere, a huge tidal wave lifted me, tossed me like a cork, and I found myself right on top of him – face to face with the blowhole.”