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Duncan packs a PlayBook for Ontario budget

An Ontario MPP handles a copy of the 2011 provincial budget at the Ontario Legislature on Tuesday

Darren Calabrese/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Research In Motion Ltd. couldn't have asked for a more prominent product placement.

The cover of the printed version of Ontario's provincial budget, released Tuesday, featured a graphic representation of RIM's new PlayBook tablet, which won't be officially released until April 19.

Still, Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan managed to get hold of one ahead of time. He clutched his PlayBook as he strode into the "lockup" - where reporters consult the budget documents behind closed doors before they are released - and read a statement off it before handing the tablet to an aide.

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Mr. Duncan said he wanted to read his entire budget speech off the Playbook in the legislature, but the Opposition wouldn't let him.

When asked by a reporter if he were getting a product placement fee from RIM for showcasing the new Playbook, Mr. Duncan replied: "I think that we should be very proud of Ontario businesses that innovate."

He noted that the budget included an extra $50-million over the next 10 years for the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ont., the research institution that was founded by RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis .

"It's about the future, it's about innovation, it's about higher education, it's about higher value-added components of products like the new Playbook," Mr. Duncan said of his government's budget. Companies such as RIM "produce high-value-added jobs for a better future,' he added.

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About the Author
Reporter, Report on Business

Richard Blackwell has reported on Canadian business for more than three decades. At the Financial Post and the Globe and Mail he has covered technology, transportation, investing, banking, securities and media, among many other subjects. Currently, his focus is on green technology and the economy. More

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