POLITICS

N.S. MLAs warned to put away BlackBerrys

05/02/2012 12:05 EDT | Updated 07/02/2012 05:12 EDT

The man in charge of keeping politicians in line in Nova Scotia's legislature has threatened to take away their BlackBerrys.

Speaker Gordie Gosse is fed up with MLAs using their smartphones during question period.

Starting Wednesday, the sergeant at arms will start confiscating phones if the politicians don't get the message.

"If you don't want to be embarrassed, you will shut those BlackBerrys off," Gosse told MLAs on Tuesday after catching six of them using their phones.

MLAs are not supposed to receive notes during question period, a time when opposition members grill cabinet ministers. This means no tablets either.

Gosse has repeatedly warned the 51 other MLAs about their smartphone use. He said it's a problem on both sides of the house.

All confiscated smartphones will be placed in a box. MLAs will be able to get them back after question period.

Gosse said he shouldn't have to treat politicians like elementary school students.

"But I mean, that is the rule and I will follow the rules associated with this house," he told reporters.

In the House of Commons, members of Parliament are allowed to read or text on a smartphone during question period, but not talk on it.