Only four more days before you can stop ignoring this less than riveting provincial election, so let’s recap how the parties have done.
The Liberals seemed to be on the comeback trail. They were rising in the polls and stood apart by being the only party not to vow to balance the books, saying that was impossible to promise, which is what a lot of people think.
So they were likely quite disappointed when the last poll had them dropping in support and losing ground to the NDP. Still, they’ll insist their internal polling is different and they expect some big gains – particularly in HRM behind star candidates like Kelly Regan and Andrew Younger.
The Tories needed to run a superb campaign to hold onto power. Quite simply, they did not. A big part of that was due to Rodney MacDonald’s refusal to stray from message. On repeated questions of how he could say his budget was balanced when even members of his own party said it wasn’t, he just kept repeating over and over it was balanced as if he was Superman repelling bullets.
When his government was accused of picking the highest gas price of three options he denied it, but wouldn’t release the documents proving his case. If they prove your case, why not release them, reporters ask. MacDonald wouldn’t answer, instead changing the subject to attacking the Liberals.
Still, the Tories have a lot of popular candidates and could surprise people who have completely written them off.
The NDP could not have run a safer campaign. They took some knocks for releasing a “four page leaflet” as a platform. But it wasn’t the size that was the problem - it was the vagueness.
The NDP said they’d pay for their own promises, plus honour some Tory commitments all while balancing the budget. How? Well, they said, we’ll have to wait until we get into power and do an audit. Then we’ll let you know.
Then there’s the big “scandal” of the campaign – the inappropriate donations from unions. The other parties have tried their best to keep it in the headlines, but it just doesn’t seem to be resonating. Unless they can prove the NDP knew something was wrong, it’s not going to be the blow they need.
So place your bets on Darrell Dexter becoming the first NDP premier of Nova Scotia Tuesday, albeit probably falling a bit short of a minority.
Paul McLeod is a staff reporter at Metro Halifax. He’s currently in rehab for being a political junkie. It’s going badly. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.