Using a BlackBerry is “handicapping, retarding and penalizing MPPs” says Canadian MPP

In Canada, home of BlackBerry, Liberal MPP for Etibicoke-North, Shafiq Qaadri has asked legislature to allow members of parliament and staff to use a variety of smartphones instead of remaining trapped in its “BlackBerry-only policy.”

Qaadri called the assembly’s current policy “handicapping, retarding and penalizing MPPs”

Local Conservative Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris was unhappy with the words and said his use of language was inappropriate.

“It’s highly offensive,”

“As an MPP, these are taxpayer-funded devices.”

According to Shared Services Canada, 98 per cent of smartphones used by government employees are BlackBerry devices.

Smartphones for members of parliament are purchased by the assembly and the decision on what type of smartphone will be used is made by the Board of Internal Economy, the governing body of the House of Commons.

While there is no official “BlackBerry policy,” according to legislative assembly clerk Deborah Deller, only BlackBerry phones are purchased for its members and staff.

Harris said BlackBerry phones are used by the government because they have top-notch security and that is why governments from Barack Obama’s to Angela Merkel’s also use them.

“If he’s upset because he can’t get Snapchat on his BlackBerry, frankly he can get his own device and pay for it with his own money,” Harris said.

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