At 3:53 p.m. last Friday, the Toronto Star conducted a test of the links on Premier Dalton McGuinty's website www.strongontario.ca, which encourages Ontarians stressed out about the province's fiscal position to email Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his cabinet members.
Treasury Board President John Baird's office was the first to respond -- just three minutes after the paper's query.
At 4:06 p.m., Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Mike Chong's office confirmed they had received the message.
At 4:55 p.m., an email arrived from Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl.
And then? Silence.
Not a missive has been received from any other Conservative minister.
The Star finally heard back from Harper's office on Tuesday at 8:12 a.m. A lightning-like response given the PMO's struggles with media relations.
In the interest of full disclosure, here is the complete text of that scintillating exchange:
Dear Mr. Benzie:
On behalf of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, I would like to acknowledge receipt of your e-mail.
Thank you for writing to the Prime Minister.
Executive Correspondence Officer
for the Prime Minister's Office
Agent de correspondance
de la haute direction
pour le Cabinet du Premier ministre
>>> Rob Benzie firstname.lastname@example.org 2006/05/30 07:49:31 AM >>>
This is a test to see if anyone actually reads these e-mails or if they vanish into the ether.
I am sending this to Messrs. Harper and McGuinty and will report on who writes back first.
Queen's Park Bureau Chief