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Yesterday, the Ontario government revised its deficit projection from $14.1-billion to $18.5-billion.

Last week, the federal government inflated its deficit projection from $33.7 to $50-billion. (This a half year after projecting a $100 million surplus.)

The Toronto-Dominion Bank says other provinces will follow Ontario and Ottawa in increasing their deficit projection far higher in the near future.

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Conditions are changing so dramatically, budgets tabled just two months ago - like Ontario's - already require revision, says TD's top economist.

Yet somehow, Nova Scotia Premier Rodney MacDonald claims he will balance the budget this year.

To describe this as an empty election promise would be to give empty election promises a bad name.

This is mendacious deceit.

The Nova Scotia budget was packed together to give the barest hint of a technical surplus, but the deteriorating fiscal conditions all governments now face clearly put paid to that razor thin margin.

Nova Scotia is in deficit. It will be in deficit for years to come. The only question is how long and how deep.

To maintain otherwise is to take the voters for fools, a belief that clearly dominates the higher echelons of Premier MacDonald's regime.

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All three parties in the Nova Scotia election should have to answer one simple question: what is your plan for the economy?

Because a deficit - and a big, multi-year one - is a given.

What matters now for the people of Nova Scotia is which of three parties on offer is best suited to getting the province back out of recession and thus back out of deficit.

In short, who can ensure a strong and quick recovery by building confidence in business, investors and consumers?

That should be the ballot question.

It's the only honest one.

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