Nova Scotia NDP vows balanced books
Sep 6, 2013 / 9:10 pm
Nova Scotia's NDP premier sent the clearest signal yet that he's about to call an election by releasing a party platform Friday that partly focuses on cutting costs for families by promising to make things like car seats and strollers exempt from the province's harmonized sales tax.
Darrell Dexter has been careful not to show his hand on election timing, but the platform's release at a Halifax recreation centre filled with candidates and campaign workers suggests an election could be called as early as Saturday. That would likely mean voters will go to the polls on Oct. 8 in a 31-day campaign.
The party is basing its campaign on seven broad commitments that Dexter says would not cost the province more than $34.4 million annually.
"The last election was about change. The next election will be about the future," Dexter said.
"The experience of the NDP means Nova Scotians are seeing a platform that is fully costed to keep the budget balanced."
Both opposition leaders questioned the NDP's ability to maintain a balanced budget that has been forecast for the 2013-14 fiscal year when the party is promising tax cuts and increased spending.
"There's a big page missing and that's the one with all the details around the costing," said Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil.
He said with a flurry of government spending announcements over the summer and now the platform promises, the province is likely looking at a deficit for this fiscal year.
"We have very rosy revenue projections," said McNeil. "If the premier is going to make all of these the commitments then he needs to tell Nova Scotians where he's going to cut."
Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie accused Dexter of playing a political game with the release of the platform before the election is called.
"It is political game playing that really has nothing to do with what the voters want and deserve and more about the NDP trying to manipulate a political result," he said.
Baillie has promised to bring in legislation fixing election dates. Nova Scotia is the last province in the country without set election dates.
Despite the release of the platform, Dexter wouldn't say when he is going to call an election. The NDP has been in power for more than four years.
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