Creator of popular conservative Ontario Proud page joins Erin O'Toole campaign team - 2020-01-17
Ballingall has made a name for himself over the past few years in pioneering the use of Facebook to spread conservative messaging, often through viral posts that don't require any ad spending. The Ontario Proud page remains his best known effort, with nearly half a million followers, but he also runs Canada Proud (192,000 followers) and B.C. Proud (82,000 followers). In addition Ballingall co-owns The Post Millennial, another conservative website that's gained a strong online following.
There have been efforts by various other political groups to match Ontario Proud's reach on Facebook, but nobody has come close. During the 2018 Ontario election Ballingall also drew in big-money donations through Ontario Proud to run television ads and send out mass texts to cell phones. In the aftermath, Liberal campaign manager David Herle told a Ryerson University forum that Ontario Proud "delegitimized Kathleen Wynne. And we didn't know how to fight it."
Ballingall was also part of the public effort to oust Andrew Scheer as leader after the 2019 election, creating a group called "Conservative Victory" with fellow Conservatives Kory Teneycke and John Reynolds. "When a political leader fails, they resign," the group's website said. In a 2019 Toronto Life interview, Ballingall said he was working at crisis communications firm Navigator when he came up with the plan for Ontario Proud, largely to fight back against the anti-conservative ad campaigns often run by labour unions. He figured nobody was effectively using Facebook to organize a third-party campaign. "The ecosystem was changing," he told the magazine. Ballingall told the National Post on Thursday that Ontario Proud and the related pages will be neutral during the Conservative leadership race and will feature news about all of the leadership candidates. He declined to comment on his campaign role for O'Toole.