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If a spate of new polls are to be believed, Andrea Horwath's NDP may well hold the balance of power in a minority government after Thursday's Ontario election.

If so, then whoever becomes premier will have to take her priorities seriously. But what are those priorities? What kind of Ontario would Ms. Horwath make, if she had the power to make it?

The answer is contained in the NDP's 46-page (though with lots of pictures) election platform. It's a chilling read.

The Ontario NDP would hike corporate taxes, nationalize home care and new energy production, regulate gasoline prices and throw up non-tariff barriers to foreign investment.

They would cut and cap the salaries of executives in the public sector, driving many of them down the road. They would freeze tuition fees and transit fares, starving colleges and municipalities of revenue. Their Buy Ontario policies would turn Canada's industrial engine into an island of protectionism in a globalized sea.

They would also cut emergency-room waiting times in half, reduce waiting lists for home care, reverse the creep in health-care user fees – and eliminate the deficit. Somehow.

Populist pandering, impossible promises and fictional accounting are the stock in trade of minor parties that will never be allowed anywhere near a lever of power. But after the next election, Ms. Horwath could have the power to decide whether and when the government of the day falls, which means at least some of these NDP fantasies could become dangerously real.

These fantasies feed on resentment. In its essence, the NDP grab-bag of election promises seeks to identify, stoke and then address grievances.

Unemployment is high and people are worried about losing their jobs or not finding another one. The NDP diagnosis: Workers in foreign countries are taking away Ontario jobs. The solution: Award government contracts to Ontario firms, whether it be new subway cars or corn for ethanol.

This, of course, would drive up costs, wreck existing and proposed free trade agreements and make a mockery of Canada's efforts to fight exactly this sort of protectionist foolishness when it rears its head in the United States. But no matter.

To help create jobs, corporate taxes would go up while small-business taxes would go down, resources that are mined in Ontario would have to be processed in Ontario, foreign corporate takeovers would be curtailed, the minimum wage would rise and be indexed to the cost of living, social assistance benefits would be modestly improved.

And yet in some strange way, Ontario would continue to attract investment.

People are rightly appalled by skyrocketing energy costs. In response, an NDP government would lower the HST on gasoline, which would encourage people to drive more and buy bigger; cap transit fees, starving public transit of revenue; eliminate the HST on home heating costs, gouging a hole in the province's finances; prohibit new nuclear reactors and also prohibit any new large-scale electricity generation unless it's publicly owned, driving out private-sector investment.

People are concerned about the deteriorating public health-care system. Under a Horwath government, even as emergency room waiting times are halved, waiting lists for long-term care beds and for home care would be slimmed, doctors would be directed to underserviced areas, and private-sector providers would be replaced by public-sector bureaucrats. Why has no one thought of this before?

Ms. Horwath promises that the fundamentals of this platform would be enacted within the first 100 days of an NDP government.

But there won't be an NDP government. There may, however, be a Liberal or Conservative minority government, with Dalton McGuinty or Tim Hudak struggling to stay in power by keeping Andrea Horwath happy while doing as little damage to Ontario as possible.