Nova Scotia NDP Premier Darrell Dexter to unveil election platform today

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HALIFAX - Nova Scotia appears on the verge of an election as the governing New Democrats plan to unveil their platform today.

Premier Darrell Dexter is scheduled to speak at midday after a technical briefing on the platform at a Halifax area recreation centre.

Dexter is in the final year of his mandate after winning a majority government in 2009.

It is the first NDP government in Atlantic Canada.

The NDP holds 31 seats in the legislature, the Liberals 12 and the Tories seven.

Two are were vacant.

The upcoming election will be fought on a new electoral map that cuts the number of seats in the legislature to 51 from 52.

Before its historic election victory, the NDP came close to winning in 1998 and 2006. The NDP inherited a listless provincial economy in 2009 that provided immediate challenges for a party that promised fiscal prudence.

The goodwill surrounding the NDP's election victory began to evaporate in the spring of 2010 when Dexter broke a key election promise by raising the province's harmonized sales tax after a blue-ribbon panel recommended the move because of the size of the province's deficit. Before Dexter was elected, he promised to balance the books the following spring without raising taxes or cutting spending.

The decision to raise the sales tax by two percentage points became a popular target for the opposition parties and, in 2012, the government promised to reverse the increase with two equal cuts in the tax rate starting next year, bringing it back to 13 per cent in 2015.

The promise to reduce the HST separates the NDP and the Liberals, who have not agreed to reverse the tax increase until the budget is balanced.

Organizations: NDP

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, HALIFAX, Atlantic Canada

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