iPad read on the throne

Earlier this week we reported that a purchase by the Nova Scotia Legislature speaker's office made it the first Canadian provincial government to embrace Apple's iPad in the House of Assembly.

But it appears that Nova Scotia's House may actually be second in line with iPad adoption, with the potash, oil, and agriculture-rich western province of Saskatchewan's Premier Brad Wall and his 17 cabinet ministers, as well as several senior aides, having being issued government iPads prior to the autumnal government session, at a total cost to taxpayers of roughly $23,000 Canadian.

The Wall government says the expense will be justified by greater data access and communications efficiency, as well as helping conserve paper and reduce courier costs, projecting annual savings of up to about twice the amount of the capital outlay.

On October 27, Saskatchewan's Lieutenant Governor Gordon Barnhart read the government's 2010 throne speech from an iPad wrapped in velvet with a gold rope attached to open the fall session of the provincial legislature.

"This may be a small saving to taxpayers and a small achievement for the environment," Premier Wall told the CBC on Wednesday, "But small achievements are important too, and so are small savings. "Frankly, this technology is pretty easy to use," Wall said, continuing to demonstrate the politician's art of talking cobblers, "And [it] can be life-changing in terms of the number of binders we usually have in our lives."

Canada's two iPad-using governments bracket the Canadian political spectrum, with Nova Scotia's New Democratic Party government leaning left, while Brad Wall's business-oriented Saskatchewan Party leads what is probably the farthest right provincial government in the country.