02/10/2012 07:42 EST | Updated 04/11/2012 05:12 EDT

Nova Scotia Tory leader touts party as defender of small town self reliance

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia Tory Leader Jamie Baillie touted his party as the champion of lower taxes and the "small town values of self reliance" in his keynote address to the party's general meeting on Friday.

Baillie went after the NDP for doing too little to reduce tax rates and electricity bills weighing on small businesses in the province.

"Their actions raising our taxes and our electric bills, scaring off investment ... are causing real hardship in too many parts of our province," says a copy of Baillie's speech provided to The Canadian Press.

Baillie told the convention that his party favours bringing in a law that will rewrite rules on the profit margins allowed to Nova Scotia Power and will ensure that executive bonuses are covered by shareholders rather than ratepayers.

Baillie also said the proposed Muskrat Falls hydroelectric mega-project, which would bring Labrador electricity to the province from Newfoundland, should be subjected to a provincial cost-benefit analysis — rather than being left solely as a matter for the Utility and Review Board to review.

The member of the legislature for Cumberland South focused his attack on the NDP government's economic policies, calling them "duct tape economics."

He gave the example of the party's decision not to subsidize the ferry between Maine and Yarmouth, N.S.

"The tourists stopped coming. An important local hotel faces outright closure, so the NDP gives that hotel a million dollars to spruce the place up," says the transcript.

"Put a little duct tape there."

Baillie says the Tories would focus on lowering taxes and controlling power bills to help small businesses be more competitive.

"We believe in small town values of self reliance, of getting fundamentals right, of encouraging our entrepreneurs and job creators," says the transcript.

"We believe that hard work gets rewarded, that taxes must be lower and the economy will grow because of it."