Take us to your leaders: What you may not know about Davis, Ball and McCurdy

When perusing through the three provincial leader's biographies, we found, like most other professional bios, they tend to be perfunctory … and a bit on the stale side.
NDP Leader Earle McCurdy, Progressive Conservative Leader Paul Davis and Liberal Leader Dwight Ball are competing for votes in the Nov. 30 election. (CBC)

When perusing through the three provincial leader's biographies, we found, like most other professional bios, they tend to be perfunctory … and a bit on the stale side.

But we've discovered that Paul Davis, Dwight Ball and Earle McCurdy are much more.

Did you know that Progressive Conservative Leader Davis likes to have his eggs over-easy? Or that NDP Leader Earle McCurdy likes to cut a rug around a ballroom floor? Or that Liberal Leader Dwight Ball received a most unusually-sounding (and highly-prestigious) award? 

We asked around and dug up some details that help shed a bit more light on the leaders, competing for votes in the Nov. 30 election. 

Paul Davis

Paul Davis says that both politics and policing were not on his mind while he was growing up. (CBC)

Davis graduated from Holland College in 1985. It was during a time when Royal Newfoundland Constabulary recruits did their training on Prince Edward Island, before the RNC started its program here in the province. 

Davis joined the RNC that same year, until retirement in 2010. In addition to being named Crime Stoppers Police Officer of the Year, Davis was also the recipient of a Police Exemplary Service Medal. 

His political roots run deep, beginning his career at the municipal level as a town councillor, and later as deputy mayor of Conception Bay South. Davis was elected as the MHA for the District of Topsail in 2010, became the leader of the provincial PC party on Sept. 13, 2014, and is the 12th premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. 

Davis told CBC Radio's Central Morning in September that even with a 25-year career in the RNC, as a child he never considered becoming a police officer — or thought about a career in politics. Go figure!

He seems to have a penchant for doodling barns and houses, all things Toronto Maple Leafs, and Bonavista is his favourite place to visit in the province.

Davis even quipped about keeping his handcuffs, adding that many officers have them mounted or put in a display case once they retire.  

Dwight Ball

Liberal Leader Dwight Ball waves while walking to the party's campaign bus. (CBC)

Ball was raised in Deer Lake, and upon graduation from Elwood Regional High School, he attended Memorial University's School of Pharmacy at the age of 17.

That uncommon award we spoke of earlier? Ball was the recipient of the Bowl of Hygeia — the highest honour for a community pharmacist. Before entering politics in 2007, Ball had a successful career in business, starting with the franchising of Deer Lake Pharmacy. He also acquired a community pharmacy in Springdale.

Ball owns a number of personal care homes for seniors, is involved in real estate development and venture capital investments; and employs several hundred people across his businesses. Heck, he's so well-liked, he's been named Employer of the Year in both the towns of Deer Lake and Springdale, for contributions to supportive employment programs.

Having served on numerous boards, organizations and initiatives, Ball has to his credit — 10,000 volunteer hours.

Ball began serving as Leader of the Official Opposition in January 2012, and was elected to lead the party Nov. 17, 2013.

Ball credits his mother, who is in her 80s and still working, to be a "great influence" on his life. 

Earle McCurdy

NDP Leader Earle McCurdy got a taste of the power of activism at a student occupation at Memorial University. (Paul Pickett/CBC)

Stephen was McCurdy's given name, although he's always been called Earle.

Born in Halifax in 1950, McCurdy grew up in St. John's and says he's "a townie" — not to mention a lifelong New Democrat.

Graduating from Memorial University with a Bachelor of Arts, McCurdy worked as a newspaper reporter in the 1970s, and was with The Muse in 1972 when students occupied the Arts and Administration Building to protest the university president's decision to interfere with student union fees. 

McCurdy went on to serve as secretary-treasurer and then president of FFAW-CAW (later Unifor), for 21 years. He retired in November 2014.

Fun Fact! The FFAW re-hired McCurdy — two days after he retired.

Perhaps one of McCurdy's most notable moments as union president was during the so-called 'Turbot Wars,'  an international fishing dispute between Canada and Spain in the mid-1990s.

Speaking of fish — McCurdy names it as one of his favourite foods. Perhaps it would complement movie night, where he'd likely want to view Casablanca.

In March 2015, McCurdy was elected leader of the provincial NDP, and received 68 per cent of the party's support.

McCurdy has been active in a wide variety of industry, labour and community organizations throughout his life, including the Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters, the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour and St. Clare's Mercy Hospital.

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