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Editorial: Stepping up

Premier Dwight Ball speaks with reporters at Confederation Building on Wednesday.
Premier Dwight Ball. — Telegram file photo

A good question might be, what would you do if you were in his shoes?

What would you do if you were Dwight Ball, heading into a provincial election that could make you premier while your daughter was in the throes of an opioid addiction? What’s worse, what would you do if you thought you had just recognized her boyfriend, wearing a coat stolen from you, as the suspect on surveillance video from a bar where a man had been shot to death during a robbery?

Ball went to police and revealed what he had seen, and more: that he and his daughter had been threatened by drug dealers, had their cars damaged, and that Ball’s property and credit card numbers had been stolen and used to pay for drug debts.

Let’s hope no one decides to seize this as a political opportunity.

Two years after this all took place, and only after Brandon Phillips was convicted of second-degree murder in the bar shooting, were court records unsealed that laid out some of the many things Ball was dealing with in the lead-up to the 2015 election.

Premier Ball described going to the police as his civic responsibility. His actions certainly had an effect on the investigation, because the information was used, in part, to obtain a search warrant that discovered the murder weapon, a shotgun, in a search of Phillips’ mother’s home in downtown St. John’s.

“The information that I provided wasn’t as premier, it wasn’t … even as leader of the Opposition at the time, it was clearly doing the role that I felt that I should do in the investigation in the death of Larry Wellman,” Ball told The Telegram.

What the documents also show is that the turmoil of drug use — and the huge burden it puts on family members of the addicted — can strike pretty much anywhere.

There are many things that become talking points and political footballs in the harsh world of democratic politics. There might be an opportunity seen here by someone to score points by questioning Ball’s judgment over the way he handled the actions of his daughter’s boyfriend, even before the murder took place.

Let’s hope no one decides to seize this as a political opportunity.

It is too personal and tragic to be kicked around that way.

You don’t choose your family members, and you don’t choose the crises they find themselves in. When your family members are in desperate trouble, you’re desperate, too.

The police asked for the public’s help. Dwight Ball gave them that help. A man was arrested for murder, and convicted, in part, as a result of that help.

That is the way it is supposed to work.

So ask yourself the question again. If you were in Dwight Ball’s shoes, what would you do?

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