History of Nova Scotia
with special attention given to
Communications and Transportation

Chapter 27
1996 January - December

1996 January 19

Nova Scotia Government Web Site Improved

The Nova Scotia Government's improved Internet home page was officially launched this day at noon by Economic Renewal Minister Robbie Harrison at the Atlantic Internet Show.  It was located at http://www.gov.ns.ca/.  The Atlantic Internet Show was organized by Roswell James, of Roswell Computer Book Store, who joined Mr. Harrison for the opening.  Mr. Harrison said, "The number of government sites is growing every day, as is the amount of information being supplied.  Speedy access to information is crucial in today's fast-paced world and now you can do business with the government at your convenience." The Economic Renewal Agency is one of those departments now providing a new kind of service to Nova Scotians via the Internet.  "By visiting ERA's home page, you can discover how to start a business, fill out an application form for assistance, or plan your next vacation," Mr. Harrison said.  There are also links to related sites, such as public libraries, communities or federal government sites.  Legislation can now be found on the government web site, as well as policy documents, information on public tenders, tourist attractions, and other information.
— Source: N.S. Government press releases 96011805 and 96011901

The Wayback Machine has archived copies of the
Nova Scotia Government Website

Archived: 1996 October 22

Archived: 1998 January 28

Archived: 1998 June 26

Archived: 1999 April 20

Archived: 1999 October 09

Archived: 1999 November 03

Archived: 2000 May 11

Archived: 2000 August 15

Archived: 2000 December 19

Archived: 2001 March 02

Archived: 2001 June 27

Archived: 2001 September 24

Archived: 2002 January 24

1996 January 22

Criminal Prosecution:
Unitel versus MT&T

On this day, Unitel, a provider of long-distance telephone services, "launched a criminal prosecution against" the Maritime Telegraph & Telephone Company, including "MT&T's vice-president Ron Smith, and sister company MT&T Mobility, on a charge of violating the federal Telecommunications Act."

The dispute was over the rules governing long-distance telephone competition.  The legal action, taken in Halifax provincial court, was "authorized by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, and stemmed from a 1994 attempt by MT&T to win a government long-distance contract already awarded to Unitel."

At the time, MT&T had a monopoly on local telephone services in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.  Unitel complained that MT&T's proposed contract with the Nova Scotia government Department of Supply and Services "bundled monopoly and competitive products," which was against CRTC regulations.

The difficulty with such "bundling" is that a company which has a monopoly on certain essential services can (in theory, and it has happened in practice) use that monopoly position to charge extra for the monopoly services and thus can reduce the rate for the competitive services below actual cost.  This unfair pricing can be used to drive out competitors, to the long-term detriment of customers.  This pricing method is often referred to as 'cross-subsidization', and has been extensively used for many decades in monopoly situations.

"The government contract, awarded to Unitel in January 1994, was worth $60,000 to $65,000 a month," Terry Hallett, provincial telecommunications director, testified in court.  "He said Unitel had underbid MT&T by $100,000 [a year?] to supply long-distance service to government offices in Halifax, Truro, and Sydney." However, a revised proposal by MT&T "included three pages of amendments offering additional financial incentives... including about $190,000 in discounts."

In October 1994, the government notified Unitel its contract had been cancelled because MT&T's proposal was cheaper by $200,000 [a year?].  "A deal with MT&T was signed and approved by cabinet in the fall of 1994, but was put on hold after Unitel launched the court case."

[The quotes are from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 23 January 1996.]

In March 1996, a Nova Scotia Provincial Court judge threw out the charges laid by Unitel alleging that MT&T used illegal incentives to win Nova Scotia government business in 1994.  The incentives in question were condemned last year by the CRTC, which also gave Unitel leave to prosecute.  The judge ruled that Unitel failed to meet the standard of proof for criminal conviction.

1996 February

Unitel Communications to Change Name
to AT&T Canada Long Distance Services

Unitel Communications Inc. will change its name to AT&T Canada Long Distance Services within the next six months or so, at the insistence of three banks that recently became big shareholders of Canada's second largest (next to Bell/Stentor) supplier of long-distance telephone services.  Bill Catucci, Unitel's newly appointed president and CEO, told Unitel sales managers and outside consultants of the change at closed-door meetings held recently.  Unitel signed a new shareholders' agreement on 24 January 1996, to complete the restructuring and financial rescue that was announced by the company last September.  Unitel's two largest previous shareholders were Canadian Pacific Ltd. of Montreal and Rogers Communications Inc. of Toronto, which owned 48% and 29.5% respectively; both companies walked away from their investment after Unitel experienced extensive financial losses with no end in sight.

Under the $250,000,000 rescue deal, AT&T Canada — a subsidiary of AT&T Corporation of New York — became Unitel's largest shareholder with one-third of the company's voting shares, and three of Canada's largest banks acquired the remaining two-thirds of the shares.  The three banks were Bank of Nova Scotia, Toronto-Dominion Bank, and Royal Bank of Canada.  They agreed to refinance the $695,000,000 in debt owed by Unitel to a syndicate of six banks, and to inject an additional $125,000,000 into the company.  As part of the deal, the banks demanded, and got, conditions that Unitel change its corporate name in addition to adopting AT&T's brand names, according to Mr. Catucci, a career AT&T employee.  It was reported that the banks wanted the name change as an assurance of AT&T's long-term commitment to Unitel.

But the name change may also hand ammunition to Unitel's rivals, who charge that the company has been taken over by AT&T in violation of the foreign ownership restrictions in the Telecommunications Act.  Call-Net Enterprises Inc. of Toronto, owner of Sprint Canada, Canada's third-largest (after Bell/Stentor and Unitel) supplier of long-distance telephone services, has filed a complaint with the CRTC charging that AT&T has illegally acquired "control in fact" over Unitel.  Unitel denies the claim, and points to Call-Net's use of the Sprint name (which originated years ago in the Southern Pacific Railway's (SPR) telecommunications division) under a licensing agreement with the third-largest United States long-distance company.

Unitel has not disclosed how much AT&T will charge for use of its renowned corporate name.  Unitel's adoption of a new corporate identity will lead to other costs as it once again erects new signs, repaints its vehicles, and prints new letterheads.  It adopted the Unitel name less than six years ago, when it relaunched its bid to enter the long-distance business.  Before that, the name was CNCP Telecommunications, which was formed in 1967 from the remnants of the telegraph operations which the two giant railways — Canadian National and Canadian Pacific — had built over the previous century.

[Excerpted from The Globe and Mail 14 February 1996, and other sources]

In March 1996, Unitel launched a major advertising campaign for a simplified residential long distance plan, offering 25% off all calls when the total bill is over $25.  The ads included a tag "working with AT&T Canada," the first stage in Unitel's adoption of AT&T's name.  By September 1996 the name change was pretty much completed, with the launching a promotional campaign to publicize its new identity, featuring a new portfolio of savings plans bearing AT&T's "True Choice" trademark.

1996 March

Guidelines for Managing
a GPS-Based Control System
in the Maritime Provinces

The provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island are currently moving from a conventional survey control system to a more accurate control system based upon Global Positioning System (GPS) technology.

These guidelines, prepared for the Maritime GPS Implementation Committee, have been developed to assist in the management of the new survey control system.  Within these guidelines, the following subjects have been addressed: the geodetic datum to be utilized in supporting the control system, accuracy standards, GPS observation procedures, GPS data processing and adjustments, data storage, and the use of validation networks.  A version number has been assigned to this document.

GPS observation and processing techniques continue to evolve, and the provincial agencies using these guidelines may periodically find the need to review and update this document.  It is recommended that a two year cycle may be appropriate for such a review and, if required, an updated version should be prepared at that time.

At present (1996), this version — Version 1.0, March 1996 — of the guidelines is to be viewed as a working document until it has gone through the various standards processes in the individual provinces.  The Guidelines document is available to the public in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF) at

and in the more convenient HTML format at

GPS is a satellite-based radionavigation system developed and operated by the United States Department of Defense (DOD).  GPS permits land, sea, and airborne users to determine their three-dimensional position, velocity, and time 24 hours a day, in all weather, anywhere in the world with a precision and accuracy far better than other radionavigation systems available today or in the foreseeable future.

The GPS system became partially operational when hostilities began in the Persian Gulf in 1990, when experimental Block 1 satellites were used in addition to the established Block 2 satellites, thus giving a useable constellation of 21 satellites.  The U.S. Defence Department made the system operational for civilian users in 1990; the same GPS system is operating in 1999.

The GPS concept of operation is based upon satellite ranging.  The satellite array consists of 24 operational satellites in six circular orbits 20,200 km 10,900 nautical miles above the earth at an inclination angle of 55 degrees with a 12 hour period.  The satellites are spaced in orbit so that at any time a minimum of six satellites will be in view to users anywhere in the world.

The satellites continuously broadcast position and time data to users throughout the world.  Users figure their position on the earth by measuring their distance from the group of satellites in space.  The satellites act as precise reference points.  Each GPS satellite transmits an accurate position and time signal.  The user's receiver measures the time delay for the signal to reach the receiver, which is the direct measure of the apparent range to the satellite.

Measurements collected simultaneously from four satellites are processed to solve for velocity, time, and the three dimensions of position.  Position is defined both horizontally and vertically.

There are two distinct signal types emitted from the satellites; CA (Coarse Acquisition) or Standard Positioning Service (SPS) for general public use, and an encoded Precise Positioning Service (PPS) primarily intended for use by the U.S. Department of Defense.

CA coded signals can give a position accuracy (uncertainty) of about 15 metres.  However, the U.S. Defence Department has introduced a random error into the system, known as Selective Availability.  This means that the satellites will randomly give out an error signal, thus degrading the accuracy of the signals to 100 metres officially, although accuracy is usually within 50 metres.  PPS is only available to licensed, mainly military, users and can give a position within less than 100 centimetres.

Sources and references (20 August 1999)

1996 March 1

New 888 Toll-Free Telephone Code

On this day, about 7,600,000 new toll-free numbers, all of which began with the prefix 888, became available across North America.  Customers of the Stentor alliance of Canada's telephone companies, which includes Maritime Telegraph and Telephone Company in Nova Scotia, were able to dial 888 numbers across the continent at no charge.  The new toll-free numbers were added because the supply of available 800 numbers was almost completely used up.  At the time, more than 7,100,000 toll-free 800 numbers were in service in North America, and businesses were requesting approximately 30,000 new numbers per week.  At that rate, the pool of available 800 numbers was expected run dry at the end of June 1996.  Many businesses had come to view toll-free numbers as competitive necessities, a mind-set that helped ignite a huge demand for 800 numbers in recent years.

The two codes were not interchangeable.  888 was an additional toll-free code, not a replacement for the familiar 800 code.  Businesses had to reprogram their PBX systems and other telecommunications equipment to recognize the new 888 code.  Customers could reserve toll-free numbers, which were assigned on a first-come first-serve basis, by calling their local telephone company business offices.  More information on the new 888 toll-free access code was available at 1-888-611-4888.

At some future time, when most 888 numbers have been assigned, the industry has agreed to use 877 as the next toll-free prefix, and then 866, 855, and so on.  This approach will provide ample toll-free numbers for decades to come.

The new 877 toll-free prefix came into operation
in Nova Scotia on 8 April 1998.

1996 March 29

Nova Scotia Hansard
Appears on the Internet

On this day, Hansard, the verbatim record of proceedings in the Legislature, first appeared on the Internet, at http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han56-4/i96mar28.htm

The Fourth Session of the Fifty-Sixth General Assembly of the Nova Scotia Legislature opened on March 28, the previous day, and the Hansard record for that day was posted on the Internet the following day, using the printer's word processor file as the source file for the HTML version posted on the Net.  Since then, the Hansard record for each daily session of the Legislature has been posted early the next day.  The Hansard index for the Fourth Session of the Fifty-Sixth General Assembly is at http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han56-4/.

1996 March 31

Fuel Sources for Electric Power Generation

Nova Scotia Power Incorporated
(formerly known as the Nova Scotia Power Corporation)

Sources of Energy
for the 12 Months of the Calendar Year
one MW·h   =   3,600 MJ
Thermal, Coal Fired 5,994,000 6,345,600 7,159,700 7,053,100 7,850,300
Thermal, Oil Fired 2,469,500 2,117,200 1,205,700 1,239,400 608,700
Hydro 875,000 877,600 1,012,000 883,200 1,111,600
Purchased 194,700 218,900 216,200 499,500 254,600
Total Generated
and Purchased
9,533,200 9,559,300 9,593,600 9,675,200 9,825,200
Less: Losses
and Internal Use
731,300 665,200 627,700 640,400 679,600
Electrical Energy
8,801,900 8,894,100 8,965,900 9,034,800 9,145,600
One MW·h is worth about $50 to $60
when sold as electricity at wholesale rates.

[Source: 1996 Annual Report, Nova Scotia Power Incorporated]

1996 March 31

Number of Customers for Electric Power

Nova Scotia Power Incorporated
(formerly known as the Nova Scotia Power Corporation)

Number of Customers Buying Electric Power Service
as of 31 December in Year Stated

1992 1993 1994 1995 1996
Residential 365,672 371,270 375,553 380,055 384,856
Commercial 32,143 32,289 32,342 32,383 32,329
Industrial 1,533 1,537 1,581 1,633 1,686
Other 5,518 5,596 5,731 5,892 5,908
Total 404,866 410,692 415,207 419,963 424,779

These numbers do not include customers
of the seven independent municipal electric utilities:
Antigonish, Berwick, Canso, Kentville,
Lunenburg, Mahone Bay, and Riverport.

[Source: 1996 Annual Report, Nova Scotia Power Incorporated]

1996 April 1

911 in Operation in Cumberland County,
Colchester County and Hants East Municipality

On this day, the new 911 emergency telephone number system went into regular operation in Cumberland County, Colchester County and Hants East Municipality.

Announcement of the new 911 emergency telephone system in Cumberland and Colchester Counties, and East Hants Municipality, March 1996

This advertisement, paid by MT&T (Maritime Telegraph and Telephone Company), appeared in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on 28 February 1996.  The same ad appeared in all issues of this daily newspaper throughout March 1996.

As printed, this ad measured 15.9cm wide by 15.4cm high.

1996 April 1

CIBC Call Centre Opens

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce's new Halifax call centre opened this day.  The centre was located in the Trade Mart building in downtown Halifax, which was extensively renovated for this use.  Walls were knocked out, creating a "bright, open space containing 250 ergonomic workstations" in what was once a National Sea Products warehouse.

The centre provides 24-hour banking services in eastern Canada.  It takes calls from the Bank's customers for many purposes, from opening accounts to checking an account balance to paying bills to applying for a mortgage to buying an RRSP (Registered Retirement Saving Plan).  CIBC's Link-Up telephone banking service grew from 20,000 customers in 1993 to more than 330,000 by spring 1995.

It was estimated the centre's yearly payroll would be about $15,000,000 by 1997.  Bank officials said salaries would be in the range of $30,000 to $50,000 annually.  "These are fairly sophisticated jobs.  That's why the pay scale is so high," Ann Walker, press secretary to Premier John Savage, said in March 1995, at the time the decision was announced to locate the call centre in Halifax.

CIBC, which began in Halifax in 1825 as the Collins Bank, was Canada's second-largest bank in 1995.  One of the inducements offered by the province was no sales tax on 1-800 services for call centres, in contrast to all other telephone services which, in Nova Scotia, then were charged a sales tax of 15%.

[Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 8 & 9 March 1995 and 2 April 1996]

1996 April 4

First E-Mail in the Legislature

History was made in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly on this day, that had nothing to do with legislation.  At 1:12pm, MLA Alan Mitchell sent the first e-mail message from the floor of the House of Assembly to his constituency office in Cole Harbour.  Using his laptop computer and a wireless LAN connection, Mr. Mitchell used the government e-mail system to send the message and receive a reply.  Mr. Mitchell's press release describing this occasion was still available as an archived copy on the Internet on 22 February 2000, at

The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this document:
Alan Mitchell — Press Release
New Technology in the Legislature
April 4, 1996

Archived: 1999 October 03

Archived: 2000 May 30

Archived: 2000 October 02

Archived: 2001 May 10

Archived: 2001 August 22

1996 April 17

Movie Theatres in the Annapolis Valley
Windsor, Wolfville, Kentville, Cambridge, Middleton

Kemosabe racist, hurtful: Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission
TeleGuide, 17 April 1996
The TeleGuide was distributed as an insert in seven local weekly and semi-weekly newspapers:
the Windsor Hants Journal, the Kentville Advertiser, the Berwick Register, the Digby Courier,
the Annapolis Spectator, the Bridgetown Monitor, and the Middleton Mirror-Examiner.
Within five years, all of these theatres were closed because of declining attendance.

1996 April 19

Cable TV Royalties

The Copyright Act provides for the payment by cable television operators of a royalty fee in respect of the retransmission of distant radio and television broadcast signals (defined as over-the-air television signals originating more than a minimum specified distance from a cable operator's licensed area).  The amounts raised from these royalty fees are paid to copyright collectives representing the owners of the copyright in television programming, including producers, broadcasters and major league sports organizations, as well as authors, composers and publishers of the music in these programs.

On 19 April 1996, the Copyright Board approved performing rights royalties that are payable in respect of the cable transmission of the music component of non-broadcast television services, such as pay television and specialty channels.  These royalties are retroactive to 1 January 1990.  Pursuant to the tariffs approved by the Copyright Board, cable television operators must pay a monthly royalty based on the number of subscribers that they serve in respect of other non-broadcast services, including Canadian specialty services.

The royalty rates for these Canadian specialty services were:
1990   4.7¢ per month, per subscriber
1991   5.5¢
1992   5.8¢
1993   6.4¢
1994   7.0¢
1995   7.6¢

Statements of proposed royalties have been filed by the collecting societies in respect of the 1996 and 1997 calendar years, but have not yet been considered by the Copyright Board...

In January 2000 this royalty rate was 70.0¢ per month per subscriber for cable systems with more than 6,000 subscribers.
Source: Shaw Communications Inc. Annual Information Form, 18 January 2000 at

1996 April 30

Making Money in the Railroad Business

Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway

The Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway
is a 394 kilometre railway line between Truro and Sydney in Nova Scotia,
which was purchased by RailTex from CN in October of 1993.

Ottawa, Thursday, May 2, 1996 —
The Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications.
The following is part of the transcript of this proceeding.

The Chair: We will now hear from Mr. Bruce Flohr, Chief Executive Officer of Rail-Tex.  Please proceed, Mr. Flohr.

Mr. Bruce M. Flohr, Chief Executive Officer, Rail-Tex: I last spoke to your committee in 1992 before the Canadian National rail line in Nova Scotia was sold... We are making money in the railroad business... In Nova Scotia, we operate a 245-mile line, the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway, which was purchased from CN in October of 1993.  Most recently, we purchased the rail assets of the Central Vermont Railway, a former CN line, running southward 326 miles from East Alburg, Vermont, on the Canadian border, south of Montreal down to New London, Connecticut... Canadian National received 100 per cent cash payment for each acquisition, and Canadian National does not guarantee any of our debt.  Our debt is with the National Bank of Canada for our Canadian lines.  We do not have any minimum revenue guarantees with CN, nor with any of our other railroads.  There are no federal or provincial loan guarantees, no tax abatements, and no government subsidy payments on any of our Canadian lines.  We like doing business in Canada... On our Cape Breton railroad, 47 employees today are handling 20 per cent more business then when CN operated the line with 110 people.  When we acquired the Central Vermont from Canadian National, there were 161 employees.  Today, we are operating the same line with 95 employees... We provide better management supervision of the activities.  We certainly caused the line to stay alive rather than being abandoned... We are taking wood chip cars and wood rack cars to Nova Scotia.  We were astounded in Nova Scotia that the two paper plants were not bringing any wood fibre in by rail.  It was all coming by truck.  We are now hauling pulp wood and wood chip into those paper plants by rail.  We got the trucks off the highway.  We can beat the trucks, even at short haul... Many people do not realize there is a death spiral to a branch line.  If a big railroad does not want to continue service to rural areas in Canada or the United States, it will cut back on track maintenance and the speed of the trains.  Then it will cut back from daily service to weekly service.  It will not supply the railroad cars.  It will literally cause the branch line to die.  Companies such as ourselves want to get in fast enough, before all the business is driven off to truck, so that we have a chance of making it... I mentioned earlier our Cape Breton-Central Nova Scotia railway and how the employees there went from 110 to 47.  Of the 47, 45 are former Canadian National employees who were all working for labour unions.  I include in my testimony a publication with interviews from the employees of that railroad, all former Canadian National employees, talking about how wonderful it is working for a new company...

Senator Atkins: I sat through the hearings on the Truro to Sydney line.  One of the major questions then was maintenance.  When you talk about reducing the number of employees from more than 100 down to 42, it is surprising to me that you are able to continue the level of maintenance expressed throughout those discussions.  Is the standard as high if not higher?

Mr. Flohr: We believe the standard is as high and, in some cases, actually higher than before.  We made big savings in situations like this: A train crew would go on duty at Sydney and drive the train down to Havre Boucher, roughly 120 miles.  They would get off the train, rest, and then, the next day, take another train back east into Sydney.  They worked for about four and a half hours but were paid the equivalent of ten hours' pay.  Now we run the train from Sydney all the way down to Stellarton with one crew, about 200 miles.  They are being paid about nine hours' pay.  They do more work for the same amount of pay.  They get rest at Stellarton and go back to Sydney after their rest.  We have literally cut the train crew costs in half.  We pay them for eight to nine hours' work, and they actually work those eight to nine hours.  In the track maintenance area, we are using some outside contractors to do heavy repair work.  They will come in and change out a large number of ties.  However, Canadian National left that railroad in very good condition.  We are now doing just continual maintenance of the line.

Senator Atkins: Have you reduced the number of people working on the line?

Mr. Flohr: No.  The net result is that we have not reduced the number of people working on the line.  We simply changed the organization of how they do the work.  We actually have more people working on locomotives right now than CN had when they were operating the line... Nova Scotia Power has two power plants on our line in Nova Scotia.  All of their heat comes from coal which is currently being mined by Devco in Sydney.  Now that Nova Scotia Power is privatized, they are really working on Devco to drive down the price of the coal, for reasons everyone here will know.  Nova Scotia Power has been out in the world market looking to buy coal offshore to bring into Nova Scotia to power those power plants.  It does look like they are now captive to coal and rail with us, but three years from now they might start buying coal from Poland or Australia.  We bought 140 rail cars to serve the coal movements for Nova Scotia Power, and they are not at all captive to us because they could start buying coal offshore.

Senator Adams: ...Short lines do not have great distances to run.  You mentioned some engineers get eight hours, some get ten hours.  Do you pay them overtime, or is it straight hours?

Mr. Flohr: We pay by the hour.  After 40 hours in any one week, then we pay them overtime.  Sometimes they take the train over the territory in five or six hours, and we pay them that amount.  However, we guarantee 40 hours a week in a five-day work week.  Anything worked on a sixth day or anything worked over 40 hours is overtime.

Senator Adams: According to our figures, an engineer makes about $80,000 per year.

Mr. Flohr: That is correct.

Senator Adams: Mr. Payne was here last week and talked about buying an abandoned railway line for about $30,000 per mile.  Is that true?

Mr. Flohr: If it is a line in very poor condition with light rail — that is small, cross-section rail — the price will be as low as $15,000 per mile.  If it has fairly heavy rail and is in good condition, it is about $30,000 Canadian per mile.

Senator Adams: You do not have long-distance rail.  If you receive a large, bulk order that you cannot cover, do you have some kind of agreement with CN or CP for an at-cost rate for transport by CN?

Mr. Flohr: A shipper could approach us about wanting to make a movement originating on our railroad.  In Nova Scotia, it might actually move 240 miles.  Then it would go onto CN at Truro and be hauled all the way out to western Canada.  CN and ourselves and the shipper will agree that the tariff will be, for example, $4,000.  That is what the shipper sees, and the shipper will get its bill from Canadian National.  Canadian National then turns around and pays us perhaps $500 for bringing the car from the factory down to the interchange point at Truro.  That is a separate agreement between CN and ourselves.  In our agreements with them, we have a standard division of revenue for single-car movements, things that do not happen very often.  If there are big movements, such as from Michelin Tire, Scott Paper, and so on, in Nova Scotia, we have special divisions of revenue, especially if we supply the railroad car or if Canadian National supplies the railroad car, but it is a sharing of revenue...


The complete text is available at

Historical notes about the CB&CNS Railway Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway

1996 May

Mill Cove School Website

In May 1996, the Mill Cove District School (P-5), at Mill Cove, Lunenburg County, installed its website on the Internet at

The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this document:
Mill Cove District School Website

Archived: 1999 January 17

Archived: 1999 February 20

Archived: 2000 March 4

Archived: 2000 April 14

Archived: 2000 June 18

Archived: 2000 September 30

Archived: 2000 December 1

Archived: 2001 February 3

Archived: 2001 March 1

Archived: 2001 June 2

Archived: 2001 August 13

Archived: 2001 October 17

1996 May 1

Rate Increase for Local Telephone Service

On this day, there was an increase of $2.00 per month in the rate charged for local telephone service, for all residential customers in Nova Scotia.  This was the first in a series of three increases in local telephone rates in Nova Scotia, which were a direct result of the decision to eliminate the monopoly — that is, to introduce competition — in long distance telephone service.  The remaining two increases were scheduled to take effect on 1 May 1997, and 1 January 1998.

In 1996, the CRTC approved and MT&T announced a series of three local rate increases to be spread over two years.  These increases were intended to bring local telephone rates up to match the cost of providing this service on a province-wide basis.  For many years, local telephone service had been "cross-subsidized" by long distance service.  That is, there had been a policy of undercharging for local telephone service to obtain as many customer connections as possible, and the revenue lost by this undercharging was recovered by overcharging for long distance.  Stated another way, long distance users were subsidizing local customers.  This worked reasonably well while all telephone services were supplied by a monopoly company, but when competition was permitted in long distance service the cross-subsidy put MT&T, the former monopoly telephone company, at a serious disadvantage in the long distance market.  If MT&T had to charge extra for its long distance service, to cover losses in local services, other long distance phone companies would find it much easier to lure away MT&T's long distance customers.  That was the reason the CRTC decided that the rate charged for local telephone service would have to be adjusted to cover the cost of providing this local service.

1996 May 1

Driver's Licence Renewal Rules Changed

The rules for renewing drivers' licences changed as of 1 May 1996.  Previously, driver's licences expired at the end of the month of the driver's birthday.  Starting 1 May 1996, licences expired on the birthday itself.

For example, a driver with a birthday of January 10th previously had to renew his or her licence by January 31st.  Under the new system the driver was required to renew by January 10th.

"This change will result in better service to drivers because it will distribute the deadline for renewal throughout the month, and alleviate the lineups that occur at the Registry of Motor Vehicles at the end of each month," said Business and Consumer Services Minister Don Downe.

Mr. Downes' announcement, made public on 19 April, continued: "The 16,500 drivers who have birthdays in May have already been sent renewal notices informing them of the change.  Because the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) now issues a photo licence, renewals must be made in person at any of the 13 RMV offices across Nova Scotia.  Licences are valid for five years and can be paid with cash, cheque or money order.  The 13 RMV offices are open 8:30am - 4:30pm Monday and Tuesday, and 8:30am to 7:00pm Wednesday to Friday.  Drivers should call 1-800-898-7668 to find out where their nearest RMV office is located."

[Excerpted from a Government Press Release]

The Legalese

Order in Council 96-315
Approved: the 30th day of April, 1996

The Governor in Council on the report and recommendation of the Minister of Business and Consumer Services dated April 17, 1996, pursuant to Section 79 of Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes of Nova Scotia, 1989, the Motor Vehicle Act, is pleased to determine that on, from and after May 1, 1996, every driver's license shall expire in the year endorsed on the license, effective on the anniversary of the birth day of the driver.

1996 June 10

Cost of Hard Drive Data Storage
Falls Below 30¢ per Megabyte

Future Shop, Halifax, in a flyer distributed in The Chronicle-Herald on this day, offers for sale Western Digital 1.6-gigabyte hard drives, for use in personal computers, at $399.99 each.  After 15% retail sales tax is added, this price is 29.5¢ per megabyte.  The drives carry a 3-year warranty.
Historical notes about Cost of Hard Drives

1996 June 20

Inventory of Former Public Harbours

Ninety small Nova Scotia ports
had their status as public harbours terminated

Annual Progress Report on Port Divestiture, 1996-1997
Transport Canada, Harbours and Ports

All of the following ports, which had been legally designated as public harbours for generations, were stripped of that status on this day:
  1. Abbots Harbour
  2. Advocate Harbour, Colchester County
  3. Apple River, Colchester County
  4. Arichat, Richmond County
  5. Aspotogan, Lunenburg County
  6. Barrington, Shelburne County
  7. Bay St. Lawrence, Victoria County
  8. Bayfield, Antigonish County
  9. Bear River, Annapolis/Digby border
  10. Beaver Harbour, Halifax County
  11. Big Bras d'Or, Victoria County
  12. Big Harbour, Victoria County
  13. Big Pond, Cape Breton County
  14. Cape Canso, Guysborough County
  15. Cape Negro
  16. Cheticamp, Inverness County
  17. Clark's Harbour, Shelburne County
  18. Clementsport, Annapolis County
  19. Coleman's Cove, Lunenburg County
  20. Cow Bay, Halifax County
  21. d'Escousse, Richmond County
  22. East Bay, Richmond County
  23. Freeport, Digby County
  24. Gabarus, Cape Breton County
  25. Glace Bay, Cape Breton County
  26. Guysborough, Guysborough County
  27. Ingram River, Halifax County
  28. Isaacs Harbour, Guysborough County
  29. Jeddore, Halifax County
  30. Kelly Cove, Richmond County
  31. l'Ardoise, Richmond County
  32. Lingan, Cape Breton County
  33. Liscomb, Guysborough County
  34. Little Bras d'Or, Cape Breton County
  35. Lockeport, Shelburne County
  36. Mabou, Inverness County
  37. Mahone Bay, Lunenburg County
  38. Main-a-Dieu, Cape Breton County
  39. Margaree, Inverness County
  40. Margaretsville, Annapolis County
  41. Marie Joseph, Guysborough County
  42. McKinnon's Harbour, Richmond County
  43. McNair's Cove
  44. Merigomish, Pictou County
  45. Meteghan River, Yarmouth County
  46. Musquodoboit, Halifax County
  47. Neils Harbour, Victoria County
  48. New Haven
  49. Noel, Hants County
  50. Northport, Colchester County
  51. Northwest Cove, Lunenburg County
  52. Orangedale, Inverness County
  53. Petit-de-Grat, Richmond County
  54. Petite Riviere, Lunenburg County
  55. Plaster Harbour
  56. Port George
  57. Port Greville, Colchester County
  58. Port Hood, Inverness County
  59. Port la Tour, Shelburne County
  60. Port Lorne, Annapolis County
  61. Port Maitland, Yarmouth County
  62. Port Medway, Queens County
  63. Pubnico, Yarmouth County
  64. River Bourgeois
  65. River Hebert
  66. River John, Pictou County
  67. Sambro, Halifax County
  68. Ship Harbour, Halifax County
  69. South Bay Ingonish, Victoria County
  70. Spencer's Island, Colchester County
  71. St. Anns Bay, Victoria County
  72. St. Anns Harbour, Victoria County
  73. St. Margarets Bay, Halifax County
  74. St. Marys River, Guysborough County
  75. St. Peter's, Richmond County
  76. Tangier, Halifax County
  77. Tatamagouche, Colchester County
  78. Tennycape, Hants County
  79. Tidnish, Colchester County
  80. Tor Bay, Guysborough County
  81. Tusket, Yarmouth County
  82. Wallace, Colchester County
  83. West Arichat, Richmond County
  84. Westport, Digby County
  85. Whitehead
  86. Whycocomagh, Inverness County
  87. Windsor, Hants County
  88. Wolfville, Kings County
  89. Woods Harbour, Shelburne County
Transport Canada, Harbours and Ports
Annual Progress Report on Port Divestiture 1996-1997

1996 July 15

Ferry Rates Raised

After an extensive review, the Department of Transportation and Public Works made several changes in provincial ferry service operations to reduce, by an estimated $680,000 this fiscal year, an annual operating deficit which had been over $4 million.  The changes, effective July 15, 1996, included an increase in cable ferry fares to 75¢ for ticket holders and $1.75 for cash fares.  The new fares applied to ferry services at LaHave, Country Harbour, Englishtown and Little Narrows.  Fares, which had remained the same for decades, had been 20¢ for ticket holders and 50¢ for cash fares at LaHave, Country Harbour and Englishtown and 10¢ for ticket holders and 25¢ for cash fares at Little Narrows.  Also effective July 15, the Tancook Island ferry passenger fare, which had been $1 (round trip), increased to $2 (round trip) for ticket holders and $5 (round trip) for cash fares.  The Tancook rate took into account that there was no charge for transporting goods and services for island residents.  The Petite and Grand Passage ferry fare was increased to 50¢ for ticket holders and $1 for cash fares.  Previous fares were 20¢ for ticket holders and 50¢ for cash fares.  Fares for trucks and buses were higher, ranging from $5 on cable ferry services to $3 at Grand and Petite Passage.  Annual rates for businesses, school boards, and other organizations that use the ferry services regularly were set by negotiation between the Transportation Department and the organization concerned.  In addition, annual passes, at a cost of $250, were available to frequent commuters.  24-hour service was to be maintained at all ferries, with more frequent crossings at LaHave and Country Harbour during peak travel periods.  The increased service will be provided as long as there is a sufficient volume of traffic.

Other cost-cutting measures were being explored.  Transportation and Public Works Minister Richie Mann said the Department was considering the sale of one of two spare ferries at Digby Neck for a one-time capital saving.  Premier John Savage said the government was looking at the possibility of building a bridge between Englishtown and Jersey Cove, Victoria County, through a public-private partnership.
[Excerpted from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 29 June 1996, and Department of Transportation press releases dated 12 April and 11 June 1996.]

1996 July 25

First Official MLA Home Page on the Internet

MLA Alan Mitchell launched the first official Internet Home Page set up by a Member of the Legislative Assembly in Nova Scotia.  Mr. Mitchell made history earlier in the year when he sent and received the first e-mail message from the floor of the House of Assembly using a wireless LAN connection and his laptop computer.  "I have always held a great interest in the new technology and the limitless opportunities for greater accessibility and accountability.  I am pleased to introduce this Homepage as a record of accountability to the people of Dartmouth Cole Harbour and a source of valuable federal, provincial and municipal links to all Nova Scotians." Mr. Mitchell's press release describing this occasion was still available on the Internet on 20 July 1998, at http://fox.nstn.ca/~amitchel/web.html and the website itself at http://fox.nstn.ca/~amitchel/.
The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this document:
Alan Mitchell launches first official MLA Homepage
Press Release— July 25, 1995

Archived: 1999 October 5

Archived: 1999 November 9

Archived: 2000 February 26

Archived: 2000 July 8

Archived: 2000 December 2

Archived: 2001 May 29

Archived: 2001 September 3

The Wayback Machine has archived copies of the
First Official MLA Web Site in Nova Scotia
Alan E. Mitchell
Member of the Legislative Assembly
for Dartmouth - Cole Harbour

Archived: 1998 February 24

Archived: 1998 December 1

1996 August 16

CBC Radio Stations

Below is a complete list of radio transmitters broadcasting to the public, operated at this time in Nova Scotia by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.  There was only one AM station remaining in operation.  Halifax and Sydney were production centres, all other locations were satellite transmitters.  The CBC was operating two radio networks: CBC Radio and CBC Stereo.  Some transmitters repeated the CBC Radio network, the others repeated the CBC Stereo network.  All of these were operating with analog signals — digital radio was approaching rapidly but had not yet arrived.

CBC AM Radio Stations
Sydney 1140 CBC Radio

CBC FM Radio Stations
including satellite transmitters
Sydney 105.1 CBC Stereo
Halifax 102.7 CBC Stereo
Middleton 93.3 CBC Stereo
Bay St. Lawrence 90.1 CBC Radio
Cheticamp 107.1 CBC Radio
Inverness 94.3 CBC Radio
N.E. Margaree 93.9 CBC Radio
Mulgrave 106.7 CBC Radio
New Glasgow 89.5 CBC Radio
Sheet Harbour 97.3 CBC Radio
Truro 89.1 CBC Radio
Halifax 90.5 CBC Radio
Middleton 106.5 CBC Radio
Liverpool 97.1 CBC Radio
Shelburne 100.3 CBC Radio
Yarmouth 92.1 CBC Radio

Source http://www.radio.cbc.ca/radio/services/english_radio.html
Updated to 16 August 1996

1996 August 19

Canadian Talent Development

CRTC Decision 96-418 approved several applications, including those by the Nova Scotia licensees listed below, for relief from current direct cost commitments for Canadian talent development made as part of their last licence renewal and to amend their licences by adding the following condition of licence, commencing with the 1996-97 broadcast year:

The licensee is required, by condition of licence, to make payments to third parties involved in Canadian talent development at the level identified for it in the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Distribution Guidelines For Canadian Talent Development, as set out in Public Notice CRTC 1995-196 or as amended from time to time and approved by the Commission, and to report the names of the third parties associated with Canadian talent development, together with the amounts paid to each, on its annual return.  The payments required under this condition of licence are over and above any outstanding commitments Canadian talent development offered as benefits in an application to acquire ownership or control of the undertaking.

The approval granted was consistent with the approach outlined by the Commission in Public Notice 1995-196 entitled Contributions by Radio Stations to Canadian Talent Development - A New Approach and in Public Notice 1996-114 released this day and titled Implementation of the New Approach to Canadian Talent Development.

CKDH Amherst, Maritime Broadcasting System Limited
CJFX Antigonish, Atlantic Broadcasters Limited
CKBW Bridgewater, Acadia Broadcasting Company Limited
CFDR Dartmouth, NewCap Incorporated
CFRQ-FM Dartmouth, NewCap Incorporated
CHFX-FM Halifax, Maritime Broadcasting System Limited
CHNS Halifax, Maritime Broadcasting System Limited
CIEZ-FM Halifax, Sun Radio Limited
CIOO-FM Halifax, CHUM Limited
CJCH Halifax, CHUM Limited
CKEN Kentville, Annapolis Valley Radio Limited
CKWM-FM Kentville, Annapolis Valley Radio Limited
CKEC New Glasgow, Hector Broadcasting Company Limited
CIGO Port Hawkesbury, MacEachern Broadcasting Limited
CHER Sydney, Radio Cape Breton Limited
CJCB Sydney, Celtic Broadcasting Limited
CKPE-FM Sydney, Celtic Broadcasting Limited
CKCL Truro, Radio Atlantic (CKCL) Limited
CKTO-FM Truro, Radio Atlantic (CKCL) Limited
CJLS Yarmouth, Radio CJLS Limited

1996 August 21

Disputed Railway Freight Rates for Feed Grain

Railway Carloads Shipped to
Port Williams and New Minas
In the Annapolis Valley

National Transportation Agency, Order No. 1996-R-324
National Transportation Agency, Decision
Press Release

IN THE MATTER OF an application by Halifax Grain Elevator Limited... for an investigation into Canadian National Railway Company Freight Tariffs... for the carriage of feed grain from southwestern Ontario, western Canada and various U.S. origins to certain Nova Scotia destinations...

Evidence was received from:
Halifax Grain Elevator Limited (HGEL)
Canadian National Railway Company (CN)
Windsor and Hantsport Railway Company (WHR)
Halifax Port Corporation
Canada Steamship Lines
Dover Mills Limited
Mr. Joe Von Bommel
Parrish & Heimbecker Limited
Smith Brokerage Limited
Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Marketing
Interpro Sales Limited
Bidalosy Farms Limited
Sproule Farms
Nova Scotia Chicken Producers Board
Nova Scotia Turkey Producers' Marketing Board
Chicken Producers Association of Nova Scotia
ACA Co-operative Limited

...With respect to the efficiency of CN's operation, HGEL indicates that while CN claims that the emergence of WHR has resulted in a lower cost structure for the interchange of traffic, it is incorrect to state that these efficiencies enable CN to charge no revenue beyond Moncton to Truro, Windsor Junction, New Minas and Port Williams nor divisional charges to WHR... HGEL also challenges CN's estimates of the per tonne cost of moving feed grain via water from Thunder Bay to Halifax and furtherance by truck to the Annapolis Valley.  HGEL submits that the estimates developed by CN were based on "cargo flow" rates which require specialized facilities.  No such facilities exist at either Port Williams or New Minas.  HGEL also looks at movements to points on the Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway (hereinafter CBCNSR).  In light of the fact that CB&CNSR is owned by RailTex, Inc., a short line operator with extensive experience in Canada and the U.S., HGEL makes the assumption that the CB&CNSR is as efficient as the WHR.  Further, by comparing movements to Little Bras d'Or, Nova Scotia on CB&CNSR with those between Moncton and Port Williams [located 2.9km west of Wolfville], HGEL estimates that CN is absorbing $556.86 per carload to force HGEL out of business... The sale of the Dominion Atlantic Railway line to the provincially-incorporated WHR has resulted in a lower cost structure for the interchange of traffic, making shipments more competitive... WHR submits that it did not pay 'divisional charges' to CN, as suggested by HGEL.  WHR charges CN a specific per-car fee.  This loaded car fee is a flat charge regardless of the commodity or distance carried.  WHR states that there is no evidence that HGEL has ever asked CN for a rate to Port Williams ...

THE AGENCY HEREBY... Determines that CN's rate action has had a direct and damaging effect on Halifax Grain Elevator Limited and the marine/ truck transportation routing that serves it.

1.   CN shall adjust the applicable rates in Tariffs CNR 4436, CNR 4484 and GTW 4501 to remove the prejudicial features.
2.   Pursuant to subsection 61(1) of the NTA, 1987, CN shall forthwith increase and maintain the applicable rates in Tariffs CNR 4436, CNR 4484 and GTW 4501 at a more competitive level.  In respect of Tariff GTW 4501, this applies to that portion of the routing within Canada.

The following is excerpted from testimony given by Mr. Paul M. Tellier, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian National Railway, at a hearing in Ottawa before the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications, on Thursday, May 2, 1996.  The complete text is available at http://www.parl.gc.ca/english/senate/com-e/tran-e/02ev-e.htm.

The Chair: We heard Halifax Grain Elevators Limited express a concern about lack of competition in the Maritimes.  Would you care to respond to that?

Mr. Tellier: Halifax Grain Elevators Ltd. is in the business of handling grain.  My short answer is that we will not apologize to anyone because we serve our customers well.  We are providing the farmers, the producers of red meat in the Annapolis Valley, better rates as a result, to some extent, of bypassing the Halifax grain elevator during the winter.  They do not like that, but, as I said, we will not apologize because we are producing cheaper feed grains to these producers in the Annapolis Valley.

Mr. Gerald Davies, Senior Vice-President, Marketing, Canadian National Railway: Our focus is to keep Canadian producers and consumers competitive in the world market.  That is the factor that is at play in the Annapolis Valley.  Their ability to be competitive in their market-place depends in part on low-priced feed grain.  As long as we have the opportunity to move that feed grain from Saskatchewan or Manitoba into the Annapolis Valley at a profit, we will continue to do so.

1996 August

Historic Dockyard Clock
Finds New Home

Construction began this week at historic Chebucto Landing on the Halifax waterfront of a steel tower which will eventually become a permanent new home for the navy's oldest turret clock, which dates from the 1700s.  As a lasting tribute to the close relationship that exists between the navy and the people of metro Halifax, the commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic, Rear Admiral Gary Garnett, agreed to have the old HMC Dockyard clock donated to Halifax Regional Municipality.  Mounted in a newly refurbished cupola and set in a steel frame, the clock, circa 1767, will stand at the foot of George Street between the former fisherman's market and Metro Transit ferry terminal.

Originally erected in HMC Dockyard in 1772, the clock served almost continuously as a timekeeper in several buildings, most recently the old dockyard fire hall.  The clock was placed in storage in 1993 when the old fire hall was torn down to make way for the new main supply building.  Maritime Forces Atlantic engineering and technical staffs are currently overseeing renovation of the clock and cupula, Halifax Regional Municipality has donated the site and the Halifax Foundation is co-ordinating the project and has committed $25,000 to defray the costs of the initial placement and the first ten years of upkeep.  "We are delighted to offer this gift to the municipality, both at the time of municipal amalgamation and in anticipation of the 250th civic anniversary," says Garnett.  "This clock represents the strong historic and cultural ties between the navy and the local population."

A contract for site preparation and construction of the steel frame has been awarded to Largo Construction of Halifax.  The clock will rest in a wooden cupola, complete with a functioning bell.  "This clock provides further tangible evidence of the nearly two-and-a-half centuries of close relations among the men and women of the navy, their civilian co-workers and the citizens of this historic seaport," says Mayor Walter Fitzgerald.  "It is particularly fitting that the clock will be placed at the very site where the first settlers came ashore in 1749." Construction should be completed in mid-October and will be marked by a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
[From Trident, The Newspaper of Maritime Command, 29 August 1996]

1996 September

Cost of Hard Drive Data Storage
Falls Below 20¢ per Megabyte

The Computer Paper, (monthly) Eastern Canada Edition, September 1996, page 56, has an advertisement offering for sale Quantum 3.2-gigabyte hard drives, for use in personal computers, at $469.00.  After 15% retail sales tax is added, this price is 17.3¢ per megabyte.
Historical notes about Cost of Hard Drives

1996 September 27

CEED Website Launched

Nova Scotia Government press release
25 September 1996
The Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development will hold an "official launch" of its new web site Friday Sept. 27, 1996 at 11am.  Education and Culture Minister Robert Harrison will launch this new resource for Nova Scotia's young entrepreneurs, students, educators and partners in the advancement of entrepreneurship.  The ceremony will take place at Open for Business, 1521 Grafton Street, Halifax.
Source: government press release, 25 September 1996

Nova Scotia Government press release
27 September 1996
Entrepreneurship education entered cyberspace today with the launch of the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development (CEED) web site by Education and Culture Minister Robbie Harrison, at a ceremony held at CEED's Open for Business youth centre on Grafton Street, Halifax.  Young people, educators and members of the business community interested in entrepreneurship can log on to CEED's web site at http://www.ceed.ednet.ns.ca/ for a wide range of interactive information and services.  The site provides in-depth information on CEED and its programs, educational tools for educators and students, an interactive quiz to measure entrepreneurial aptitude, links to other entrepreneurship sites, a calendar of events, a suggested reading list, on-line conference registration, and a gallery of accomplished entrepreneurs.

A section of the site called "Ask an Expert" provides on-line assistance to young entrepreneurs with questions on marketing, finance and business plans.  Visitors to the site can download a free CEED screensaver by registering on the guest book.  "The CEED web site reflects the traits of innovation and creativity essential for success in entrepreneurship.  With this new resource, the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development will reach potential partners locally, nationally and internationally," said Mr. Harrison.  "The site will also attract more young people to entrepreneurship and serve as a resource for students and teachers," he said.

Many communities throughout Nova Scotia have public access to the Internet through libraries and schools.  The government of Nova Scotia provides Internet links through Access Nova Scotia centres in Bridgewater, Truro, Kentville, Yarmouth and Sydney.  The "Open for Business" centre on Grafton Street in Halifax also provides public access to the Internet.  "This site will be constantly evolving as the centre improves its range of programs and develops partnerships with other companies and organizations dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship.  The CEED web site will always be an interesting place to visit," said Chris Curtis, manager of CEED.  The Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development is a joint venture funded by the Department of Education and Culture and the Canada/Nova Scotia COOPERATION Agreement on Economic Diversification, managed by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Nova Scotia Economic Renewal Agency.

Source: government press release, 27 September 1996

CEED website at

1996 October 12

U-Bolt Failure at Indian Sluice Bridge

On this day, the single-lane Indian Sluice bridge connecting Surette and Morris Islands in Yarmouth County with the mainland, buckled under the weight of a 26 tonne truck.  An inspection of the steel truss structure, following the failure, showed that one of a set of galvanized U-bolts that had been installed recently had broken.  Transportation and Public Works Minister Don Downe has asked senior staff to review why new U-bolts used on the bridge were inadequate.  "Public safety is our greatest concern.  We have to find out why U-bolts used on the Indian Sluice bridge didn't work," said Mr. Downe. "Whatever happened in this case, we have to make sure it doesn't happen again." All the U-bolts, 18 on each side of the bridge, were replaced and were tested as part of the examination.  The bridge was repaired, inspected and reopened to traffic six days after the incident.
[Excerpted from a Transportation and Public Works press release.]

1996 October 16

AT&T Canada is Here To Stay

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued a decision ruling that Unitel — now named AT&T Canada Long Distance Services — is eligible to operate in Canada as a common carrier.  The decision is based on the fact that AT&T Canada is controlled by a Canadian board of directors and that its corporate structure and other safeguards ensure that non-Canadians do not have control of the company.

However, although the CRTC has concluded that AT&T Canada is controlled by Canadian interests, the commission also directed the company to modify certain corporate agreements in order to guarantee that the board will have control over the appointment of all senior managers.

The commission also ordered AT&T Canada to place numerous agreements and documents, for which the company had claimed confidential treatment, on the public record.

In issuing this ruling, the CRTC denied related applications by both Call-Net and Stentor.  Call-Net had argued for third-party participation in the commission's review of AT&T Canada's ownership and control.  Stentor had requested a public proceeding to consider and disclose all facts and circumstances relevant to "control in fact" and/or to adopt "policy guidelines" regarding control of Canadian carriers.  The CRTC's decision follows an extensive review first initiated in December 1995.  At that time, Unitel had begun a restructuring process, culminating in new ownership comprised of the Bank of Nova Scotia, the Toronto-Dominion Bank, the Royal Bank of Canada, and a subsidiary of U.S.-based AT&T.  In its decision, the CRTC pointed out that Canadians now hold 66 per cent of AT&T Canada's voting shares, and eight of nine members of the board of directors are Canadians.  AT&T holds 33 per cent of the voting shares and has a right to appoint only three of the nine directors.  The remaining directors are either appointed by the Banks or are independent

The Commission also found that AT&T Canada's board of directors provides overall supervision of the company's affairs.  This includes making the major decisions regarding strategy, appointing and overseeing management, and having overall responsibility for the company's operations.  In particular, the board approves all budgets, business strategies, capital plans, and material agreements.  According to the CRTC, the board's structure, composition and powers — along with the role of the independent directors — ensure that AT&T Canada is controlled by the board.

The 1993 Telecommunications Act prohibited facilities-based telecom companies from being controlled by non-Canadians, and set a maximum level of foreign ownership (20% voting shares in the operating carrier and 33% in its holding company).

In a Part VII application filed with the CRTC on 3 April 1996, Bell and the other Stentor companies called for full and open disclosure regarding AT&T's role in the control of Unitel.  The application also called on the federal regulator to develop unambiguous guidelines on foreign involvement in Canadian telecommunications and broadcasting, through an open and public process.  In its decision to allowing AT&T Canada to operate in Canada, the CRTC has agreed with Bell that Canadians should know more about the AT&T/Unitel deal and has ordered that numerous related agreements and documents be placed on the public record.

Regardless of the nature of AT&T's involvement in Unitel, Bell also called for an end to subsidies and other regulatory advantages that are extended to foreign-backed competitors operating in Canada.  Such regulatory protection has led to Canadian telephone companies subsidizing the entry and operations of much larger American companies such as AT&T and Sprint.  This subsidization is the result of regulatory rules that allow competitors substantial discounts on the amount of contribution they pay to help support low local phone prices for residence customers.  Since 1993, Bell and the other Stentor companies have subsidized competitors by about three quarters of a billion dollars.  Furthermore, AT&T Canada and other foreign companies operating in Canada are free to price and package services to meet customer needs, while Canadian telephone companies are held back by extensive regulatory rules.

To address the issue of contribution discounts enjoyed by competitors, on 26 July 1996 Bell and the other Stentor companies filed an application with the CRTC seeking the elimination of four of the discounts available to competitors.

[Excerpted from Bell Canada News Releases and Bulletins at

1996 October 16

Local Radio Management Agreement,

CRTC Public Notice 1996-138, The Commission's Approach to Dealing with Local Management Agreements in Canadian Radio Markets, was issued on this day.

On 30 November 1995, the Commission issued Public Notice 1995-204 entitled Call for Comments on the Commission's Approach to Management Agreements Between Licensees of Radio Programming Undertakings (the Call).  The Call was issued due to certain Commission concerns regarding a local radio management agreement (LMA) between Newcap Inc., licensee of CFDR and CFRQ-FM Dartmouth, and Sun Radio Limited, licensee of CIEZ-FM Halifax.  This LMA was the first such agreement reviewed by the Commission involving two licensees in a radio market comprised of three or more licensees.  In the Commission's view, the LMA raised certain issues requiring further consideration.  Letters of complaint received by the Commission from members of the public served by the licensees in some of the six markets where such agreements had previously been implemented, raised concerns about the effects of the alleged radio monopoly created by the agreements, including the inability of certain advertisers and outside producers to access airtime, the lack of diversity of news sources and the introduction of artificially inflated advertising rates.  The primary concern in considering the Newcap - Sun LMA was that the potential cost savings associated with the rationalization of radio operations could give parties to the agreement a competitive advantage over other radio licensees operating in that market.

In reaching its determination in this matter, the Commission took into account several factors, including: The radio industry's chronic financial difficulties; the increasing competition for limited advertising dollars; the direct benefits of LMAs with respect to the maintenance of local radio stations particularly in small and remote markets; and the Commission's understanding that parties to LMAs will ensure that the terms of such agreements make clear provision for the maintenance of separate, distinct news and other programming services and management, and for the retention of effective ownership and control of their respective radio broadcasting undertakings.

The Commission decided that licensees would be free to implement appropriate LMAs, regardless of the location or size of the affected radio market, so long as they did not contravene the radio regulations and the general conditions of licence.  The Commission stipulated that the following requirements be met in each case: The Commission would continue to review LMAs submitted by licensees.

The complete text of Public Notice 1996-138 can be downloaded from the CRTC's Internet website.

1996 October 25

Southam Buys
Cape Breton Post,
Daily News,
and Evening News

On this day, Southam Inc. announced it had bought seven daily newspapers in Atlantic Canada.  Three were Nova Scotian papers: The Daily News in Truro, the Evening News in New Glasgow, and the Cape Breton Post in Sydney.  The other four were: the Northern Light in Bathurst, NB, the Guardian in Charlottetown, PE, and, in Newfoundland, the Western Star in Corner Brook, and the Evening Telegram in St. John's.  The seven newspapers had a combined circulation of about 130,000.  As The Financial Post reported the next day, "Southam would not disclose the financial terms of sale, but analyst Bill Wolfenden of Deacon Capital Corporation estimated it at $120,000,000 ...The acquisition increases Southam's daily newspapers to 32, including the Vancouver Sun, Ottawa Citizen, and Calgary Herald... While Southam continues to grow, this latest sale marks a further reduction in the size of Thompson Corporation's newspaper holdings.  Once one of the largest newspaper empires in Canada, it now owns only ten Canadian dailies."

1996 November 1

AT&T Long-Distance Charges

For residential customers, AT&T Canada Long Distance Services Company offered a full range of long-distance savings plans: True Choice Anywhere™, True Choice Province™, True Choice Canada™, and True Choice U.S.™.  The different plans were designed to accomodate different ways in which Canadians use long-distance services.  AT&T Canada Long Distance Services also served numerous business customers.  The company's portfolio for business services included long-distance savings packages, advanced data products such as DataVPN Frame Relay, toll-free 800/888 services and Electronic Commerce Services — all delivered under the True Business Choice™ brand.

AT&T Canada Long Distance Services Company
Residential Services

(**)compared to your local telephone company's regular time of day, evening and weekend long-distance rates.

[Excerpted from a Press Release]

1996 November 6

KTG Training Centres

Software Experts Learning Centres Limited
Acquires the Business Operations of
Sigma Computer Training Incorporated

Roland T. Martin, President of Keltic Incorporated, announced that its technology training subsidiary, Software Experts Learning Centres Limited, has acquired the business operations of Sigma Computer Training Incorporated, one of its major competitors in the Nova Scotia marketplace.  The two companies provide training in certified and end user software applications and networking on all computing platforms and systems.  Software Experts has taught in excess of 42,000 students since being established in 1988, and Sigma has provided technology training and consulting since 1989.  The combined operations will be known as KTG Training Centres, a division of the Keltic Technologies Group.  It will be one of the largest technology training entities in Atlantic Canada and places Keltic at the forefront of the burgeoning information technology sector.  KTG's other technology interests include Mensa Computer Systems Limited and a growing Network Services division.

"The IT sector has become a critical part of the Atlantic economy and Keltic is committed to expanding its range of technology services available to its customers throughout the region," says Mr. Martin.  KTG has five offices and 11 classrooms in Halifax, Dartmouth, Moncton, Fredericton and St. John's.  The acquisition of Sigma expands KTG's depth and experience in application training, database and networking, as well as Internet and Intranet training and consulting, according to Mr. Martin.  The combined company expects to create up to 10 new jobs in the region's IT sector over the next 12-18 months.  Software Experts is Microsoft's largest training partner in Atlantic Canada and expects that relationship to grow as a result of expanding its business through the acquisition of Sigma.

"I am very excited about the opportunity this combination provides for our customers and staff," says John Leahy, President and founder of Sigma.  "Our aim is to become the 'productivity partner' in technology training for the Atlantic region." Keltic Incorporated is a publicly traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange and has provided services to Atlantic Canadians since 1963.  It has two major areas of business, Information Technology and Management Services.  More information on the Keltic Group is available on its web site at http://www.keltic.ca/.
[Excerpted from a Press Release]

1996 November 11

MT&T and Bragg Cable
Reach Agreement in Principle
On High Speed Internet Service

Amherst, Bridgewater, Halifax, New Glasgow, Sydney, and Truro
To Be Among the Earliest Communities
to Receive This New Service

Maritime Telegraph & Telephone Company and the Bragg Cable Group announced this day they have reached an agreement in principle to form a new company which would link the telephone company and cable company networks together.  At a meeting held this morning, the Board of Directors of MT&T unanimously approved the concept and established an independent committee of Directors to review and validate the proposal and make recommendations to the Board.

High speed, two-way telecommunications requires tremendous line capacity — commonly called "broadband telecommunications".  Telephone companies and cable companies acting alone, are years away from being able to provide this technology down every street and into every home and workplace.  The MT&T/Bragg joint venture, would operate in new product areas only.  Its first products and services are expected to be launched in 1997.  The first product to be offered by the new company would be Internet service at speeds up to 20 times greater than available on regular telephone lines.  This product would combine MT&T's popular Sympatico Internet service delivered directly to homes and offices through the modern cable network serviced by the Bragg Cable Group.  Amherst, Bridgewater, Halifax, New Glasgow, Sydney, and Truro would be among the earliest communities to receive this new service.

This was not a merger of MT&T and Bragg Cable Group.  Each would continue to operate their traditional services independently and would compete with each other when appropriate.  The new agreement would result in MT&T and Bragg Cable Group exchanging a minority interest in each other.  MT&T would acquire 29.9% of the shares of Bragg and in exchange, the Bragg organization would receive approximately 6% of the shares of MT&T.

On 18 December 1996, the Board of Directors of Maritime Telegraph and Telephone Company Limited approved the previously announced joint venture with Bragg Cable Group.  The approval followed a unanimous recommendation from an independent committee of the Board of Directors and was subject to due diligence, regulatory review and conclusion of the necessary legal agreements.

Background on MT&T

Background on Bragg Cable Group

New 450 MHz systems are in final construction stages in most other areas controlled by Bragg including Sydney, Bridgewater, Truro, New Glasgow, Springhill, Amherst, Aylesford, Middleton, Berwick, Blockhouse, Lunenburg, Chester, Mahone Bay and others.  These state of the art platforms, combined with MT&T's switching capability and fibre optic/digital network will be exceptionally capable of providing broadband services to homes, institutions and businesses.

Background on the Agreement Between
Bragg Cable Group and MT&T

[Excerpted from a Press Release, with additional details about the corporate structure of MT&T from MT&T's 1995 Annual Report.]

1996 November 12

Free Long Distance Telephone Service
Begins in Halifax Area

CALGARY, November 12 — The Telephony division of Xentel Interactive Inc. announced the installation of LoCall switches in the Halifax-Bedford-Dartmouth area.  Initially sponsored by local advertising, the LoCall switches enable residents in outlying areas to talk with residents of other surrounding towns without incurring long distance charges.  The success of LoCall in Calgary, Lethbridge and Red Deer has driven plans to launch LoCall in other selected Canadian markets.

The Halifax area service will be sponsored initially by local businesses and offered free, just in time for Christmas.  Over 250,000 calls are made each month in Alberta alone using the LoCall switching systems.  It is expected that usership will increase over the holiday season.  "LoCall offers rural residents a substantial savings on calling in their immediate areas," said Xentel Telephony President Mike Dodd.  "Many rural residents in the metro Halifax market will save $30, $50 or even more every month by using LoCall." The Alberta Stock Exchange symbol for Xentel Interactive Inc. is XII.

[Excerpted from a Press Release]

1996 November 25

Glenholme Overpass Opens

The first overpass on the Highway 104 Western Alignment [which later was named the Cobequid Pass Highway] to take traffic permanently opened this day.  The overpass, located at the intersection of the old and new highways, in Colchester County, carries traffic on the existing 104 over the construction proceeding on the new highway underneath.

The Glenholme Overpass is one of the first of its kind in Nova Scotia.  Termed an "integral abutment design", the overpass is constructed without expansion joints in its deck, reducing the maintenance costs normally associated with repairing such joints over time.  Transportation and Public Works Minister Don Downe was on hand to officially open the overpass.

The existing 104 through the Wentworth Valley has one of the highest accident rates in the province, largely because of a dangerous mix of high-speed through traffic, including trucks, and slower moving local traffic turning on and off the highway.  The 45-km Western Alignment will be twinned and will have a speed limit of 110 kilometres per hour, allowing through traffic to travel safer and faster through the area.  The existing 104 will also be safer for local traffic and tourists.

Construction is now more than half finished, and the highway is on schedule for opening in December, 1997.  [It opened for regular use on 15 November 1997.]  More than 400 workers have been employed on the site since construction began on 1 April 1996.  The overpass is the first completed portion of the Glenholme Interchange which will move traffic on and off the Western Alignment.  The interchange ramps will open when the highway is finished.
[Excerpted from a Press Release]

1996 December 6

Rocky Lake Drive Railway Crossing

National Transportation Agency's Order No. 1996-R-496, which authorized the Department of Transportation and Communications of the Province of Nova Scotia to reconstruct Rocky Lake Drive, by widening it and adding a sidewalk along the south side where it crosses at grade the track of the Canadian National Railway Company at mileage 2.23 Dartmouth Subdivision, in the village of Waverly, in the province of Nova Scotia... The cost of maintaining the highway approaches to the crossing shall be paid by the Halifax Regional Municipality...
National Transportation Agency, Order No. 1996-R-496

1996 December

Last New Railway Track
in Kings County

The Dominion Atlantic Railway, which operated in the Annapolis Valley for nearly 100 years, was abandoned on 29 August 1994.  That same day, the Windsor & Hantsport Railway, a new short line company, bought all the remaining track, and began operations.  In December 1996, the W&HR built a new siding at New Minas.  Here are five photographs taken during the construction of that new siding, which has a capacity of eight cars.  The first train to use this siding arrived on 26 December 1996, when the daily freight westbound from Windsor Junction – which usually ended its westward trip at the three-track crossing at the Minas Warehouse Road – on this day continued westward beyond the Minas Warehouse Road to this new siding, and stopped here to run the engines around the train for the trip back to Windsor.  This was the first train to operate along this section of the main line since 16 September 1993, when the Last Train From Kentville passed here eastbound.  Until January 1990, there was daily passenger service along this main line, between Yarmouth and Halifax.

Last new railway track in Kings County, December 1996 – photograph by G. Wayne Hines
Photograph #1: At the east switch of the new siding, looking eastward along the main line toward Wolfville and Windsor.

Last new railway track in Kings County, December 1996 – photograph by G. Wayne Hines
Photograph #2: Construction equipment, backhoe and tamper.  The main line is in the foreground.

Last new railway track in Kings County, December 1996 – photograph by G. Wayne Hines
Photograph #3: At the west switch of the new siding, looking eastward along the main line toward Wolfville and Windsor.

Last new railway track in Kings County, December 1996 – photograph by G. Wayne Hines
Photograph #4: At the east switch of the new siding, looking westward along the main line toward Kentville.  The track gang has just finished work for the day.  We see piles of crushed stone, ready to be spread as ballast for the siding.  Some crushed stone has been spread over the switch ties.  In the distance we can see the highway overpass, which carries Middle Dyke Road over the W&HR main line and the Cornwallis River.  As of November 1996 - March 1997, the end of track is about 1000 feet [about 300 metres] beyond this overpass.

Last new railway track in Kings County, December 1996 – photograph by G. Wayne Hines
Photograph #5: The tamper stands on the new siding at New Minas; on the main line is the weed cutting machine rented from CP for four weeks.  The weed cutter has hydraulically-powered arms that can reach as far as 30 feet [10m] on either side of the track, to cut brush and small trees with rotating cutting blades — much like a lawn mower on steroids.  Crushed rock ballast has been dumped on the new track.  The next step is for the workers to use track jacks to lift and level the new track; then, to complete the job, the tamper will force crushed rock under the ties to make the track permanently level.  After this, the track will be finished and ready for use.

Above photographs by G. Wayne Hines

1996 December 10

Contribution Charges for
Local Telephone Companies

CRTC Telecom Decision 96-11 gave approval to the contribution rates for 1996 as shown below.  For Bell, this was an interim rate.  For BC Tel (British Columbia Telephone), Island Tel (Island Telephone, the local operating company in Prince Edward Island), MTS (Manitoba Telephone System), MT&T (Maritime Telegraph & Telephone Company, the local operating company in Nova Scotia), NB Tel (New Brunswick Telephone) and NewTel (Newfoundland Telephone) these are final rates.

The following table provides a comparison of 1996 contribution rates, as approved in this Decision, to 1995 rates.  The column headed 1996 shows the 1996 contribution rate in dollars per minute.  The column headed 1995 shows the 1995 contribution rate in dollars per minute.  The column headed CHANGE shows the per cent change from 1995 to 1996.

Contribution Charges

MT&T 0.0538 0.0576 -6.6%
Island Tel 0.0401 0.0458 -12.4%
NewTel 0.0349 0.0349 0.0%
NB Tel 0.0420 0.0544 -22.8%
Bell (interim) 0.0236 0.0411 -42.6%
MTS 0.0307 0.0477 -35.6%
BC Tel 0.0360 0.0465 -22.6%

As obtained from the CRTC website in September 1997, these figures did not look right.
The CRTC website clearly stated that the numbers above are the contribution rates
in "cents per minute", but it seemed to me they slipped a couple of places in the
decimal point.  I thought these figures were really dollars per minute, not cents per minute.
In September 1997, I sent a query to the CRTC about this, but there was no response.

In June 1998 I confirmed, by inspection of other CRTC reports of contribution rates,
that the figures in the above table actually are stated in dollars per minute, and the
CRTC headings which read "contribution rate in cents per minute" are errors.

1996 December 20

CHFX-FM Decreases Transmitter Power

CRTC Decision 96-808 approved the application by CHFX-FM Halifax to decrease the effective radiated power from 100,000 watts to 91,000 watts.  The Commission noted that "this reduction, coupled with an increase in the effective height of the antenna, will not significantly change the coverage area."

1996 December 31

MT&T Network Facts

Number of exchanges — 175
Percentage of digital lines — 94%
Percentage of analog lines — 6%
Number of single party customers — 716,521
Number of multi party customers — 5,186
Number of customers converted to single party service in 1996 — 2,941
Total kilometres of fibre optic cable — 4,800
Number of cell sites — 90


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