MPP Shafiq Qaadri has come in for withering criticism from BlackBerry CEO John Chen for anti-BlackBerry comments he made recently. Mr Qaadri introduced a petition to get the provincial government to use Apple and Android phones.
Qaadri, the Liberal MPP for Etobicoke-North, introduced a petition a week ago at Queen’s Park by saying that BlackBerry phones are “handicapping, retarding and penalizing MPPs, their staff and indeed all members of the legislative community.”
In a post on the company’s website, Chen said that Qaadri “used offensive words that have no place in modern discourse” and called on him to apologize for “behaviour that reflects poorly on all of Canada.”
Qaadri said that the province’s “BlackBerry-only policy” was hampering legislators and support staff, and that he wanted to see the government embrace other smartphones and tablets including Apple and Android.
In a tweet on Monday morning, Qaadri apologized for his language, but did not elaborate. Qaadri’s office said the MPP would not comment further. The question we want to ask readers is does Qaadri have to apologize? People who work for BlackBerry and others who hold BlackBerry shares, such comments aren’t helpful especially as the company struggles to survive amid crushing competition. BlackBerry at one time was an international rage and was an Ontario-based success story that was supported by successive Ontario governments. Such intemperate comments from Qaadri could have repercussions for the company.
On the other hand, many employees of banks and other financial institutions are more comfortable with Apple and Android devices but are forced to use BlackBerry as it is a policy requirement. Clearly the public and management is divided on this issue.