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As the Nova Scotia election countdown begins, there are concerns an NDP government would raise taxes, engage in freewheeling spending and worst of all, it would be in the pocket of unions.

These concerns are misguided.

Quite opposite to raising taxes in Nova Scotia, the NDP is pledging to offer a spate of tax rebates and credits that actually fly in the face of good economic sense during an economic recession - to forego revenue at a time when revenue is declining.

For more than a decade, Nova Scotia has consistently ranked amongst the lowest spenders per capita on all social programs. A marginal increase in spending, especially spending targeted to those who are most vulnerable during this economic crisis, would be more than justified.

But, that's not what the Nova Scotia NDP is planning. Instead, it is pledging an expenditure management review, which they anticipate will allow them to cut 1% from all budgets.

Finally, the threat is loosely cast about, but what exactly would it mean to be in the pockets of the unions?

If we look to the priorities of the unions in Nova Scotia, they are to improve work conditions for all workers. Would it be such a bad thing if labour legislation and protection for workers in this province were strengthened?

After all, Nova Scotia has the fewest statutory holidays and one of the worst health and safety records in the country. Nova Scotia also has some of the lowest wages in the country - even during the recent period of unprecedented economic growth the average worker saw a decline in their wages.

Curiously, the same fears are never expressed about other parties. Actually, I am more concerned about government that's in the pocket of big business, rather than a government that pays attentions to the needs of working people.

Following this line of reasoning, the Greens must be in the pockets of environmentalists. A scary thought indeed.

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