I'm signed up to be on the Prime Minister's Office email subscription service. For months now, I've been receiving the same official press releases, statements, transcripts of speeches and notifications of future appearances that journalists and media institutions are sent. It's not a closely guarded secret; just go here if you'd like to do the same. Every other day or so there's a new message, stating that it's from the "PMO".
Today, September 21, 2008, at 12:51:20 PM I received the following email, claiming to be from "Stephen Harper" this time, not the usual "PMO" label, with the subject heading "Why you shouldn't fear me", issued from the exact same address as the regular PMO official messages:
Hi The Average Canadian,
Stephen Harper wanted to tell you... My name is Stephen Harper. I am an ALBERTAN, here me roar! My goal is to make Canada America's 51st state and destroy health care that all Canadians cherish by infusing my propaganda with hard core ad hominem attacks. Please vote for me, because if you do, I promise you'll be able to vote for McCain 2012!
We are a tar sands level party, not a grass roots party. We consider anything with the word \"Green\" offensive, except for the almighty American dollar, which we hope to be able to implement in the coming months! We shall first have to make sure that American and Canadian jelly beans have the same standards, and then we shall proceed.
I hope everyone has a great weekend,
Stephen \"I can lead you to Hell but not back\" Harper
The bottom of the message links to a site called "willyoubetricked". Who knows what damage visiting that site will do to computers, so visit at your peril. (there's ".ca" tag to add to the end to the above address, to reach it.)
What juvenile delinquency, coming from "patriots" whose idea of patriotism is not so much love of country, or love of much of anything, so much as it is envy of something else.
UPDATE: A second junk email has now been sent through the Prime Minister's email address:
Serbia's Southern province of Kosovo declared independence in February 2008. Harper's government recognized it's independence. Does this lead to slowly accepting sovereignty for Quebec? Here's why Canada must follow International Law, the UN Chart, UNSC Resolution 1244 and the Final Helsinki Act of 1975.Stephen Taylor explains what seems to have happened:
Somebody emailed the PMO listserve address sending this email to whoever signedAlso more at Kate O'Malley's blog at Macleans, and Steve Janke, who adds:
up on the Prime Minister’s government website for the email mailing list. ...
The email is absurd in its content, but the goal is to embarrass the Prime Minister by suggesting a major breach in security.
UPDATE II: At 9:48:19 PM, another email, this time seemingly from the government.
Subject: Unauthorized Messages Purporting to be from Prime Minister Stephen Harper
This message is being sent to you on behalf of the Office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Government of Canada.
As a subscriber to the Prime Minister's website (http://www.pm.gc.ca/), you may have received what appear to be two emails from Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Please be advised that these were unauthorized uses of the Prime Minister's email listserv and do not represent the views of the Prime Minister or his Office. We regret these unauthorized communications.
The circumstances surrounding this unauthorized use of the Prime Minister's listserv are under investigation.