What the panel report confirms about the NDP campaign

Contrarian is working his way through the Economic Review Panel’s 95-page report. At first blush, it seems a sensible document, offering a balanced approach to navigating the economic mess the MacDonald government left us in.

Premier Darrell Dexter choose wisely in selecting Donald Savoie, Elizabeth Beale, Tim O’Neil, and Lars Osberg to carry out the review. All are respected, progressive, and fair-minded.

But before we get too deep into discussing the pros and cons of their recommendations, something needs to be said:

Dexter - finger - adjusted-sDarrell Dexter campaigned on a triple-barreled promise: not to run a deficit; not to raise taxes; and not to cut programs. The report makes clear he will have to do all three. There is no surprise in this. Dexter made a conscious decision to promise voters what they wanted to hear, even though he knew he could not deliver as advertised. (It might be added that many voters made a conscious decision to believe him, or at least to suspend their disbelief.)

That’s water under the bridge, but it warrants notice. The premier and his party indulged in dishonest politics, and the inevitable harvest is increased public cynicism and reduced public faith.

We are not naive about politics. We understand that winning is the point of the exercise. But when politicians of Dexter’s caliber dissemble so brazenly, they cannot feign surprise or disappointment at voter mistrust.

Nova Scotians who don’t want to wade through the panel’s full report can find a useful 12-page summary here.