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Leaders' balanced budget pledges deceptive, McNeil says

Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil isn’t promising balanced budgets, andsaid yesterday the other party leaders are deceiving Nova Scotians whenthey promise to do so.

Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil isn’t promising balanced budgets, and said yesterday the other party leaders are deceiving Nova Scotians when they promise to do so.

McNeil singled out NDP Leader Darrell Dexter’s vow to balance the budget as something impossible to do because no one knows how far the province is in deficit.

“You can’t guarantee you’re going to balance the budget, as he has. You can’t. You’re misleading Nova Scotians,” McNeil proclaimed.

“It would be like you saying you’re going to pay off your mortgage in five years having no idea what your mortgage is worth.”

Premier Rodney MacDonald has said he would balance the budget this year. Dexter has said that is impossible, but his party would balance the budget starting next year and from then on.

Dexter said if elected he would immediately audit the province’s books to find out what it would take to present a balanced budget. McNeil said Dexter’s promise makes no sense until that happens.

“He’s promising people he’s going to balance the budget when he simply doesn’t have the information,” McNeil said. “He’s doing that because he knows he’s vulnerable on the economy and he doesn’t have a solution for it.”

Dexter was campaigning in Cape Breton yesterday and when reached over the phone laughed off McNeil’s comments.

He said the NDP platform was built to be affordable, and he would make sure his government doesn't leave debt to be paid by future generations.

“Look at parties out there offering half a billion dollars in new spending promises… and here we are the party that has a very modest plan recognizing the very difficult time that we’re under,” Dexter said.

“Priorities are the reason we’re not doing what the Liberals are doing, which is trying to be all things to all people.”

 
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