BY LISA GOUDY
The introduction of iPads in the Saskatchewan government has received mixed reviews.
Cam Broten, the NDP MLA of the Saskatoon Massey Place constituency, said that the new flat Apple touchpad computer could be a practical asset to the government.
“It can actually save money and save paper and that is a good thing,” said Broten.
The iPads have the potential to be more effective in storing files electronically than keeping paper files of cabinet documents. Broten has used a BlackBerry and a laptop and said he recognised that it can be a good tool – if the politicians know how to use it.
But Broten said that the use of the iPads can’t solve a “number of problems for the SaskParty government, especially during budgeting.”
NDP Opposition Leader Dwain Lingenfelter agreed with Broten’s statements about the issues presented with the iPads.
“You still need someone who can add,” said Lingenfelter.
At least the devices may keep MLAs attention focused on business. Previously with the use of laptops, members were able to look at other members during session and see if they were playing games on their computer, according to Sandra Jackle, the director of communications and media relations for the NDP. This is no longer the case because the iPads are flat.
In addition, Broten suggested that the government should introduce a program to teach politicians how to use the iPad.
“Maybe they need to develop a Marketing 101 app for their iPads because that seems to be their biggest challenge,” he said, referring to some of the negative publicity the purchase has raised.
None of the SaskParty members were available for comment. However, Wayne Elhard’s office in the Cypress Hills district stated that “only cabinet ministers will receive iPads.” The system is anticipated to be in full effect in the next five or six months.