The following is an email received by hundreds of staffers and MPs on Parliament Hill today:
From: Fry, Hedy – M.P.
Sent: April 18, 2006 2:33 PM
To: – LIBERAL ASSISTANTS; – LIBERAL MEMBERS/DEPUTES; – NDP MEMBERS/DEPUTES NPD; – NDP/NPD ASSISTANTS; – CONSERVATIVE MEMBERS/DEPUTES CONSERVATEURS; – CONSERVATIVE ASSISTANTS CONSERVATEURS
Subject: NWR – INVITATION TO MEMBERS/STAFF
Members and Staff are invited to attend the birthday party fundraiser for Alex Munter who is running for Mayor of Ottawa as he is almost 40! Please see the attachment for more information, and feel free to contact me or call the number on the invite for tickets.
See you there!
Office of the Honourable Hedy Fry, P.C.,M.P.
583 Confederation Building
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
tel. (613) 992-3213
fax. (613) 995-0056
Now, sending out birthday party invitations via your work account is generally acceptable (even to hundreds of people as the case may be — however this may be reaching spamming proportions!). Staffers use their Blackberries to send personal messages all the time. Perhaps this is not the best use of public resources, but staffers are like you or me. Who hasn’t sent a personal email from their work account? You’ll notice that the email is labeled NWR meaning “not work related”. Besides, it’s nice to see that there is friendly relations accross the aisle as Fry’s assistant emailed not only Liberal Members and Staffers, but also those from the Conservative and New Democrat Parties. Shockingly, no love for the Bloc…
However, the advertising of a political fundraiser is not something that the the taxpayer’s Parliamentary email system should be used for. Hedy Fry is considering a run for the leadership of the Liberal Party. Was this email the result of her directive?
UPDATE: Bryn Hendricks gives some more details and offers an apology in the comments section: “I am the STAFFER who sent that message out. I would like to clarify a couple points. FIRST: I recieve several emails a day with respect to “housing” or “resumes” or “candidates running” for one thing or another. This email was sent out ONLY as an offer to attend an event that is happening. Not only that, I sent this message out without consulting Dr. Fry because of the massive amount of messages I receive in a day to the same effect. After consulting with Dr. Fry, she would have recommended that I not send this message out, but it was only as an over-enthusiastic person that I thought I would send it out. I appologize if that created an issue for taxpayers or Canadian’s, but assure you it was not with the approval of Dr. Fry, and not with any ill-intentions. I think there are larger issues to concern ourselves over than what a Hill-staffer choses to send out over his lunch-break as it was not meant as anything other than a point of notification just like the MANY other things that are send over the exact same email loops. My appologies.”