Bluebook is a platform, not actual promises: Kennedy

James McLeod
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The Dunderdale government’s election promises are on increasingly shaky ground in light of the province’s ongoing fiscal issues. In fact, Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy told The Telegram Tuesday that they weren’t really election promises at all.

When The Telegram reported on the PC Party’s campaign platform during the 2011 election, the headline was “PC promises would cost $135M a year” but nearly two years later, Kennedy said that sort of language isn’t accurate.

“You use the word ‘promise.’ I’m not sure the Blue Book can be described as a promise,” he said. “It’s a blueprint or a platform as opposed to an absolute promise.”

Speaking to The Telegram, he said that he couldn’t talk about specific campaign promises, but he confirmed all of the election committents were made with the caveat that they’d only be implemented if the province’s fiscal situation allowed for it.

At the beginning of the year, Kennedy warned the government was forecasting budget deficits of $1.6 billion for each of the next two years. Deep spending cuts, public service layoffs and a boost in oil production managed to reduce the budget deficit to $563 million this year, but the government is planning to make further budget cuts to health authorities and post-secondary education next year with the aim of getting back to a surplus by 2015.

That doesn’t leave a lot of room for big-ticket Blue Book pledges such as rural broadband, paid family caregivers and richer grants for post-secondary students.

“I’m not aware of all of the commitments that were in the Blue Book,” Kennedy said. “In terms of individual items, I would simply have to refer you to the ministers who are responsible and would know where these items are in terms of their departments.


“Back in 2011, I could tell you what the Blue Book contained in relation to health, but I can’t tell you what it contained in relation to education,” Kennedy said.

One very specific promise, that the PC Party made under the heading “Fiscal Responsibility” in the Blue Book, was to control the rate of government spending by capping it.

“Each year, in choosing Budget initiatives, we will establish a ceiling for new spending growth and make our choices accordingly,” the 2011 election platform said.

In the two years since the election, the government has not publicly announced a ceiling for new spending growth ahead of the budget.

Kennedy said that’s because it’s easier said than done.

“It’s difficult to do that because we don’t get our oil projections from the CNLOPB until January. By January, we’re a couple months into the budget process, so it depends on the amount of money that we have available,” he said. “We have a notional figure in our heads; we work our way through the budget process, but I can tell you that there’s no way at the beginning of this budget year, we are going to say, one per cent (for a new spending ceiling.)”

Kennedy wasn’t the finance minister in 2011, and he said he didn’t know where that promise came from.

“I’m not aware who wrote this, who put this in the Blue Book, what exactly they meant,” he said.

Regardless, NDP Leader Lorraine Michael said it looks  like a broken promise. She said it doesn’t look like much long-term planning goes into the government’s budgets.

“What I see is that they’re making knee-jerk decisions, and I don’t have a sense that the decision-making that they’ve been carrying on is really coming out of any well thought out plan,” Michael said. “I just see knee-jerk reactions from government.”

Liberal Leader Dwight Ball said as far as he’s concerned, even if the government was living up to the commitment to put an annual ceiling on new spending growth, that still wouldn’t be any good.

Ball said year-by-year financial targets make for a pretty bumpy ride.

“In order to do this properly, you can’t be adjusting on an annual basis. You have to keep that line as consistent as possible,” he said. “Doing this on an annual basis would really fly in the face of good proper management.”

Twitter: TelegramJames


Organizations: The Telegram, PC Party

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Recent comments

  • CFA Troll
    July 10, 2013 - 23:50

    Now, If all you brilliant townies and tenacious baymen stopped whining as individual trolls, and started a troll party. I'd vote for that. I come here to start a family and am bewildered at the weakness and stupidity of the native population. While other former colonies fight boldly for freedom in the streets, you cower in your basements and disparage a puppet government on the interchat lines like hormonal teenagers. We've sold our souls away. And the roads are still not paved. Boo hoo, blow yer noses in the pink and the green you bunch of spineless whelps. Welcome to Canada! Organize your noise and stop lapping up the slops that the mainstream media feeds you. Look at little closer at the big picture. You can change the world. Actually, no you can't, but you can grow a voice, and not have to die ashamed to look into yer children's eyes for your tacit betrayal of their future.

    • david
      July 11, 2013 - 15:58

      Are you whining about whining? Freudian.

  • Corporate Psycho
    July 10, 2013 - 16:55

    In other words not worth the paper it is written on.

  • Carl
    July 10, 2013 - 15:34

    I thought Ball is no longer leader, James??

  • Wanda White
    July 10, 2013 - 14:29

    What? Mr. Speaker, we are saying, Mr. Speakers is that ALL we said in the previous campaigns, Mr. Speaker is that no one should believe us, that thiose statements were purely imaginings in the peoples heads, Mr. Speaker. We HAVE NOOPTIONS Mr. Speaker only to be eft alone to cut, slash and butn Mr. Speaker and to the Newfoundland people Mr. Speaker we sqy we are a HAVE province, the economy is BOOMING but the ordinary person CANNOT have any of it. Thank you Mr. Speaker. No JOBS, no EDUCATION, no DENTAL, no JUSTICE, and now no PAID HOMECARE! We are doing a wonderful job of getting this province BACK on track! .

  • EDfromRED
    July 10, 2013 - 12:02

    The only thing the Blue Book is good for is Outhouse wiping material...although better not, it would probably cause a rash. I dare say the P.C.'s are making plans already to pack up their M.H.A office supply's...they must have made deals for future employment with their NALCOR masters, seeing how they obviously don't give a damn about ordinary people and their votes.

  • Harper Stephens
    July 10, 2013 - 09:56

    Good comeback Jerome 'bye! Do you mind if I use that line?

  • Tony Rockel
    July 10, 2013 - 09:49

    What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away... Jerome reminds me of one of those weasel-word merchants on those sleazy TV adds where they slip in a phrase at the very end like "not exactly as described" or "results may vary". Way to go Jerome-- a lawyer to the very end.

  • Torey Nomore
    July 10, 2013 - 09:41

    This is reason # 57,493 that I cannot vote Tory no-more.

  • Kev
    July 10, 2013 - 09:29

    Didn't think the Blunderdale government couldn't sink any stupider... But I should have known I'd be wrong!!!! See you at the ballot box, losers.

  • bloody L
    July 10, 2013 - 09:27

    Mr. Kennedy, you made need larger glasses: your nose is growing. And you may want to get that verbal diarrhea checked out as well.

  • DWB
    July 10, 2013 - 09:27

    Well now...If the Blue Book isn't actually a committment to the people of the province as to what you are going to do during your term in office, why not add a few more things....How about a fixed link to the mainland? Zero wait times for medical assistance? New schools in every community and oh, just for fun, minimum wage of $30.00 an hour? Kennedy! What a buffoon!

  • Steve
    July 10, 2013 - 09:23

    If everything in all the election platforms are promises than i would love for someone to cost out the NDP platform. All parties are alike...they try to put in things that will appeal to people. It doesnt necessarily mean it all has to be done right away, many things are in platforms for a few elections.

  • Rick
    July 10, 2013 - 09:10

    Here's a promise to you Jerome. We're going to have to listen to any more of your drivel after the next election.

  • Derek Churchill
    July 10, 2013 - 09:08

    Jerome's statement on the Bluebook clarified : " It's not what we were actually going to do, just what we said we were going to do. " That makes it all better now, doesn't it ?

  • Philllleee
    July 10, 2013 - 09:06

    And the house of Dunderdale continues to fall.

  • flexxa
    July 10, 2013 - 09:01

    ...Jerome we the electorate "promise" to vote you out of office next general election!

  • Chi
    July 10, 2013 - 08:58

    If the 'blue book' is just a platform, and not promises... then my government union contract stipulations are just 'suggestions'. So from now on I suggest that all government workers only need to work a two-day workweek. After all, negotiations for my contract have been going on for over a year... I guess that was not promised either.

  • Foghorn Leghorn
    July 10, 2013 - 08:55

    A political party will put together a "platform". Then publish it, and go on a media frenzy telling everybody who will listen that if you elect us we will do the following. Now in the immortal wisdom of Jerome Kennedy none of this should be taken as some sort of promise. I think I have reached my official limit of BS that I am willing to hear from any politician. Is there any way we can vote them out now?

    • coco
      July 10, 2013 - 10:05

      Danny Williams decreed fixed elections (allowing elections only once every four years). We are stuck with his team until October 2015.

  • Dianne
    July 10, 2013 - 08:39

    Mr Kennedy...Now the Liberal will be using the same for the red book...make all kind of promises...and leave everyone hanging...

    • coco
      July 10, 2013 - 09:56

      Yes and the Williams/Donederdale Regime will be the first to condemn them for it. Hypocrites!

  • Virginia Watersa
    July 10, 2013 - 08:29

    Speaking, I suspect, for a great many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians Mr. Kennedy, I can promise you and your government an opportunity to find meaningful employment in the private sector two years from now. Unlike your government's promises, this is one you can take to the bank.

  • IAMtheJIB
    July 10, 2013 - 08:19

    It doesn't really matter what you call it, promises or blueprint. We see it as hogwash and failure. A historic failure by the most ignorant, arrogant and incompetent government we have ever witnessed in our province.

  • david
    July 10, 2013 - 08:16

    Dear Idiots: We're exactly like every other government you ever had. And we're now as arrogant as any one of them when they got fat and lazy. If nothing lese has changed that we don't know aobut, we'll take our chances come election time that there's still a good enough mix of apathy, Danny-cultists and stupidity left for one more go around.

  • Joanne
    July 10, 2013 - 08:13 trouble to tell that Kennedy is/was a lawyer...can you say 'loophole?'

  • Skeptical Bob
    July 10, 2013 - 08:11

    Gee, what a shocker. A politcian saying his promise wasn't really a promise. (Tongue firmly planted in my cheek) But what is shocking is Kennedy saying he doesn't now what was in the Tory Blue Book? Seriously? A senior minister.....of Finance no less....doesn't know his own government's main priorities. Time to resign Jerome. Actually,hearing that already is in the works.

  • Ed. Anstey
    July 10, 2013 - 08:02

    kennedy is just admitting to the lies they tell to get elected. mr. kennedy we will not be fooled by your lies in 2015.

  • Keanman
    July 10, 2013 - 07:30

    So when you drive the province into the ground financially, it clears you of any obligations to promises already made? Nice try Mr. Kennedy, but we all know the end of the election is when politicians stop fulfilling promises.

  • Steve
    July 10, 2013 - 07:27

    Liberal Leader Dwight Ball? I thought he just resigned as interim Liberal Leader to run for the job of Leader? Is it really fair to be quoting him now as Liberal Leader?

  • concerned
    July 10, 2013 - 07:21

    The problem is that the entire government planning for the past 5 years is that oil would be at, or quickly return to 150 $/barrel. Whether it was their investment in Muskrat Falls, increased spending, growth in the public sector, or other 'promises' it was not based on a cautious view of the economy. Now they have to live with the consequence of their risky planning. Kent, Collins and others with deride the liberals and NDP for not costing out their plans. Will this is like the kettle calling the pot you know what. The government is tired, out of ideas, and void of leadership. They are scampering from issue to issue, and as a result are in free fall. We need a true fiscal conservative in this province, to try to salvage the mess of the past 10 years. A decade of squandered opportunity.

  • les holley
    July 10, 2013 - 07:07

    answer #1 bluebook not promises? good answer there Mr. kennedy... but try answer #2 how about.... ELECTION BAIT?

  • hslaw
    July 10, 2013 - 06:41

    Seems like this Minister is trying to save face. A lot to late Sir and a surplus by election year HA HA You sir is the master of deseption

  • robroy
    July 10, 2013 - 06:38

    Paid family caregivers is maybe the largest promise ,opps sorry commitment, that was made. In this ever aging population And I might add not only aging, because there are a lot of youth that's needs care and help. It would be easier to have a family member help their own. Now before greed gets in to the mix let me explain. I am the father of a 21 year old daughter. she has 31 hours of home care every two weeks the other the other 224 hours that she is awake is looked after by my wife and I we have to have a stranger come into our home and do things for my daughter someone is getting paid to do it anyway so where is the expense in changing it so a family member can help? also I have to put my wifes 100 hours of work every two weeks in there also where she leaves our house to go and look after someone else