If you ever wanted a perfect example of why Garth Turner was booted from federal caucus, go no further than the post he made last night where he lists the Minister of Finance’s personal blackberry email address on his blog. Of course, MPs and Ministers of the Crown get countless emails a day from constituents, but each and every one doesn’t buzz their hip-mounted Blackberries. The direct (to the hip) email address of the Minister of Finance, is reserved, for the Prime Minister, other cabinet ministers, caucus members, his staff and his family (in that order). But Garth, in his wisdom, has decided that his personal grudge with his former colleagues is more important than keeping matters of national importance separate from those of partisan anger.
Now, don’t get me wrong, emails from constituents are important, and this correspondence and that from angry members of the Green Party go to the Minister’s staff for a good reason; Flaherty is one of the most important Ministers of the Crown and therefore receives virtual piles of email. Not to mention that he’s also on the tee-vee a lot and this also attracts a lot of attention on its own. It takes a couple of full-time staff members to sift through the important concerns of constituents, those of all taxpayers and even of angry Turnernistas. The integrity of Flaherty’s personal email address is more important than Garth. It’s the email address that connects to Flaherty’s phone that hypothetically wakes him up in the middle of the night to alert him of a emergency cabinet meeting to address a pending national crisis.
So, before you hit up Minister Flaherty’s personal Blackberry address to express the juvenile partisan contempt for his office that both you and Garth harbour (“MInistr jim, u suck”), consider that by doing so, you are putting Garth’s petty anger before, you know, important stuff that goes beyond just you or me (even as constituents). Did you lose money on income trusts this week? Email his office, that’s what its for. Are you upset that Flaherty and a unanimous Ontario caucus voted to remove Turner from caucus? Email Flaherty’s office, they’re staffed to handle such correspondence.
Staying on the topic of caucus, it is this kind of breach of trust which resulted in Turner’s removal from it.
Garth has advised you to email all of your concerns to his own “personal” email address: email@example.com. However, you’d have much better luck buzzing his hip if you emailed his more personal @aol address which he has not posted. Garth even has his own special parliamentary email address (@parl.gc.ca), that he has also not revealed to the public.
I will not however, violate Garth’s trust by posting these (or even his personal cell phone number… (905) 330-####). Building relationships – even with Turner – are destroyed when you violate trust. I question how anyone (members of parliament, members of the press, even constituents) can trust Garth not to post their own personal information in the future. When Garth is fuming over his next beef, whose personal information is next? Don Newman? Elizabeth May? John Williamson? Bill Graham?