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Rodney Buchanan in "The case of the befuddled budget"

After receiving some heat from small-c conservatives around the province and some comparisons in the press to his indenture-the-province-forever forefather John Buchanan, Rodney MacDonald is attempting to change the colour of his campaign to make it a little less, well, green.

In order to drop the apparent overall cost of the Conservative party platform, MacDonald is trying to argue that his unpassed budget is both "a done deal" and a campaign promise at the same time. Last night, he announced the most inexpensive campaign platform of the three parties, but the platform he announced did not include the numbers for such big-ticket items as the $500-million for highway expansion and over $300-million for the HST rebate on home heating oil. The total stated cost of the party promises, over four years, comes to $668-million, not including these items.

Both Darrell Dexter and Francis MacDonald have noted that an honest tallying of the promises goes well over the $1-billion dollar mark.

MacDonald's argument appears to be that those big scary expensive promises are "pre-election" news, done deals as it were, and while they are committed to them, they are not part of the party platform. Well, sort of - he still feels free to mention them at every campaign stump speech to anyone that wants to hear. And there still is the matter that they have not yet been budgeted or paid for. They are decidedly not "done deals" until passed by the Legislature, which would have been possible had MacDonald not called a snap election before they could have been tabled.

I am not exactly sure what fiscal model MacDonald is using to predict that the province will be able to afford both $700-million in campaign promises and whopping expenditure increase in the "budget" of earlier this month. He has also claimed in the past that he is committed to John Hamm's goal of lowering taxes, which naturally appeals to many. However, he also appears to be committed to NDP-style spending while having to maintain the mountainous debt that is the heritage handed down by previous Conservative and Liberal governments.

Since it is not possible to be committed to both of these things, all I can conclude is that Rodney MacDonald is committed more to making Rodney MacDonald premier than to anything else. That would be a noble goal if he was going to be the one picking up the tab, but he isn't.

We have seen this type of politician before in this province and we are still paying for it.

Cross-posted at nselections2006.

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