The NDP released its election platform yesterday, unveiling 50 promises worth $79 million.
NDP Leader Darrell Dexter said his party’s budgets would be balanced, and he would honour some commitments made by the Rodney MacDonald Conservative government. But questions about how he could afford to do both remain unanswered.
The NDP platform includes incentives to keep graduates in Nova Scotia, increasing renewable energy, paving roads and opening 27 new hospital beds.
Dexter said they will find the $79 million to fund the new promises through measures like reducing the size of the provincial cabinet to 12 from 18 and cutting back on expenditures across the board.
But Dexter said he would also honour some Tory commitments, while still promising to keep the books balanced. The Tories have been promoting their $1.9-billion stimulus plan that would add about $1.4 billion to the provincial debt.
Dexter said his government would perform an audit upon becoming elected to find out the true state of the province’s books. Until that happens, Dexter said he can’t say what Tory promises he would keep, or whether he would keep them if it meant adding to the debt.
“I’m going to make sure we have the benefit of that information before I start making decisions that are going to affect the finances of the province,” Dexter said.
“I think that’s what reasonable Nova Scotians would expect their premier to do.”
The platform included high-profile NDP promises to remove the HST from home electricity and create a manufacturing tax credit they say will create 2,200 jobs.
One major new plank unveiled was a tax incentive to keep university and college graduates living in Nova Scotia.
Students from anywhere in Canada who choose to settle in Nova Scotia could get $15,000 back in taxes over six years after a university degree, or $7,500 after college.