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

Chapter 37
1998 June

1998 June 1

CBC Rebroadcasting Transmitters for FM Radio

FM Rebroadcasting Transmitters
in Nova Scotia

owned and operated by the
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

as of 1 June 1998

Location Call Sign Carrier
Halifax CBAF-FM-5 92.3 MHz
Middleton CBAF-FM-6 107.5 MHz
Digby CBAF-FM-7 104.7 MHz
Weymouth CBAF-FM-8 100.9 MHz
Yarmouth CBAF-FM-9 107.3 MHz
New Glasgow CBAF-FM-10 88.7 MHz
Mulgrave CBAF-FM-11 107.5 MHz
Margaree CBAF-FM-12 92.3 MHz
Cheticamp CBAF-FM-13 103.9 MHz
Sydney CBAF-FM-14 95.9 MHz
Source: CRTC website

1998 June


The Maritimes Region of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans covers the provinces of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. As of June 1998, the Small Craft Harbours network consisted of 427 commercial fishing harbours and 71 recreational harbours. Of the fishing harbours, 228 were managed by 185 independent Harbour Authorities. The number of recreational harbours has decreased by 3% since 1995; in this region, 11 recreational harbours were transferred between April 1, 1995, and June 30, 1998. The Small Craft Harbours in Nova Scotia: [Source: Fisheries and Oceans Canada Small craft harbours]

1998 June 1

Fonorola Telephone Rates

In a flyer distributed in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on 9 June, Fonorola offered the following rates, effective today, for long-distance telephone calls originating in Nova Scotia

The flyer included this additional information:
These rates are effective as of 1 June 1998, and subject to change.  There is no minimum monthly amount, no service charges, no cost to switch from another phone company to Fonorola, no extra digits to dial, "no hidden catches at all".
[Source:  a flyer distributed in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 9 June 1998]

[The flyer included this statement: "Fonorola is a rapidly growing Canadian long distance telephone company." And so it continued for another 25 days.  On 26 June 1998, Fonorola was taken over by Sprint Canada, and disappeared forever.]

1998 June 1

Year 2000 at RailTex

RailTex Owns and Operates the
Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway

On this day, RailTex Incorporated issued a statement to inform shareholders, customers, vendors and suppliers of the actions RailTex is taking to ensure that the much publicized Year 2000 millennium bug, AKA Y2K, does not adversely affect the company. RailTex management is committed to the company being able to arrive in the new millennium with no significant adverse business impact. The company has established a project team that includes senior and executive management and reports progress to the RailTex Board of Directors each month. The project team has developed a plan that includes the following phases:
  1. Planning
  2. Y2K Assessment
  3. Y2K Remediation
  4. Y2K Testing & Verification and
  5. Y2K Transition Issue Resolution.
The assessment phase of the project includes not only computer systems but areas such as locomotives, railroad signals, equipment, communications, office equipment, environmental and facilities. RailTex considers itself to be fortunate in that it has virtually no legacy computer applications which typically have high impact millennium bug issues. The company's primary railcar control and billing system for the railroads, INFO, was developed as a year 2000 compliant, client server application. The company's primary financial system is reported by the vendor to be Year 2000 compliant. Both of these systems will be tested and verified for Y2K compliance as will all major computer systems. The assessment phase is also currently taking place for the other areas to determine what, if any, impact the millennium bug may have.

In addition to its internal Y2K efforts, RailTex is a member of the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and participates in the AAR Year 2000 task force. RailTex relies upon other rail industry members and the AAR or its subsidiaries for electronic data interchange of railcar movement information between railroads. Involvement with the task force allows input to, and knowledge of, the AAR computer system remediation schedule and the efforts of other railroads. Working together the exposure of the railroad industry can be limited.

All affected systems of the Company are scheduled to be year 2000 compliant, tested and verified by 30 June 1999. However, the Company notes that it cannot guarantee its compliance or the compliance of others. [This is a widely-accepted fact of life — that nobody can guarantee beforehand that any computer system, or equipment involving microprocessors, will cross the boundary with no adverse or unanticipated effects.]

[Source: http://www.railtex.com/Y2KPaper.htm]

RailTex, Inc. Subsidiaries:

1998 June 2

Digital Cellular Service
Available in Metro Halifax

On this day, MT&T Mobility introduced digital cellular telephone service in the Metro Halifax area, and had plans to extend digital cellular service to other areas in Nova Scotia during the remainder of 1998 and in 1999.  MT&T Mobility is the first carrier to bring CDMA technology to Atlantic Canada.  Three digital technologies are currently deployed across North America, CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access, also known as IS-95), TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access), and GSM (Global System for Mobile communications).  [For more technical details, see this History under date November 1997.]  Each technology is based on its own technical standards to encode digital signals, and each PCS phone will work on only one of these standards.  That means customers who decide to change service providers will not be able to use their old hardware with the new provider company.  MT&T Mobility has chosen CDMA, "the most widely used digital technology in North America, and we believe it delivers significantly enhanced voice quality and coverage relative to other technologies."

The world's first CDMA system started up in Hong Kong in 1995 and there are now [mid-July 1998] 12 million subscribers to such systems, 75% of them in Asia.  That figure should be 18 million by the end of the year, said Perry LaForge, executive director of the CDMA Development Group (CDG), comprising 100 companies including Lucent Technologies [formerly Bell Laboratories], Motorola and Qualcomm.  CDG says its technology has superior voice quality, increased base station capacity and unequalled coverage, compared to the European-based GSM (Global System for Mobile Telecommunications).  Scott Erickson of Lucent Technologies told reporters at the recent CDMA World Congress in Singapore that GSM "had systems in commercial operation almost a good five years before we did for CDMA, which is why even in the Asian markets out here you have many more GSM system currently deployed than CDMA.  However, the number of CDMA networks that have been deployed and commercialised within the last year in Asia has shown that CDMA has grown much more rapidly by a factor of three than the first GSM systems deployed."  Many of those in the CDMA camp say Asia, despite its economic crisis, is still the place to invest as only one third of the region's population has ever used a phone.  Reed Hundt, the former chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) told one audience that more telephone revenue was generated in Singapore, population 3,500,000, than in India, population 980,000,000.

Digital PCS (Personal Communications Services) offers important benefits compared to the older analog cellular phone system: Future development of digital cell phones will enable additional features, such as text messaging, and e-mail delivered to your phone.

[MT&T Mobility bill stuffer, June 1998, an MT&T media release dated 2 June 1998 http://www.mtt.ca/cgi-bin/AED/AED.cgi?TABLE=NewsFlash and a Reuters story from Singapore, 16 July 1998]

1998 June 5

NDP Website Badly Out of Date

Liberal Website Does Not Exist

"The NDP website needs updating," wrote David Swick in his regular column in the Halifax Daily News today.

ICS (webmaster) comment: In the afternoon of 5 June 1998, I looked at the websites of all three Nova Scotia political parties, to see what there was to be seen.

The NDP website certainly does need updating.

The NDP entry page at http://www.ns.ndp.ca/index.html was last uploaded on 2 April, but a note at the bottom of the page tells us "Last updated March 21, 1998. Please visit regularly for updates."

[I wonder what they mean by "regular updates." There is nothing in this site less than ten weeks old. On the Internet, this places the NDP website in roughly the same category as the Dead Sea Scrolls, for current content.]

The NDP "News Releases Index" page at http://www.ns.ndp.ca/press_releases/index.html was last updated on 21 March, three days before the election, and the latest news release indexed was dated 19 March. A great deal has happened since then. The "What's New" page at http://www.ns.ndp.ca/new.html was last updated on 21 March. The rest of the site is as outdated as these examples.

What about the Liberal Party?

The Liberal Party election website at http://www.nsliberals98.com/ has been eradicated completely. That address now returns an error message to the effect that this Domain Name (DN) does not exist on the Internet. The Nova Scotia Liberal Party has no other presence on the Internet. The Liberal Caucus website entry page at http://www.liberalcaucus-ns.com/main.html was last updated on 15 October 1997, and makes no mention of a Liberal Party website. The caucus site has a "Links" page at http://www.liberalcaucus-ns.com/links.html was last updated 14 October, and the sole Liberal Party link points to the national Liberal Party.

Conservative Website
Is Up To Date

The PC Party website is pretty much current, at least by comparison with the other two parties. The PC entry page at http://www.pcparty.ns.ca/ was last updated last Friday, 29 May 1998, just a week ago. This page contains a link to "John Hamm's reply to the Speech from the Throne" at http://www.pcparty.ns.ca/hamm3.html which contains his "speaking notes," to be "checked against delivery" — this is a 79-kilobyte file and it looks like it is a complete rendering.  The last paragraph is the widely-reported: "It is up to you, Mr. Premier.  If you want the job, you had better perform and perform now — not a month from now — but now, today.  Today, premier, you must understand: you do not have many tomorrows."  [It would do no harm to include a link to Dr. Hamm's speech, delivered on 22 May, as it was reported in Hansard.]

Unfortunately, that's about it.  There is nothing else in the PC website that is relevant to the current political scene in Nova Scotia (except a list of party constituency meetings).

But I must give credit where it is due.  The PC Party is far ahead of the other two parties in making use of the communication capabilities of the Internet.

17 June 1998
NDP Website Embarrassingly Out of Date

On 17 June 1998, I checked the NDP website.  There was a posting this morning on a local discussion list, saying that Reeves Matheson, who was elected on 24 March 1998 as an NDP candidate, but who was shortly thereafter disbarred and was dropped from the NDP caucus, was still listed in the NDP website as a member in good standing!  I didn't believe it, but it turned out to be true.  As of 12:30pm today, the official NDP website has a page http://www.ns.ndp.ca/candidates/06R_Math.html which describes Matheson in exactly the same way as the other NDP MLAs are described in their individual pages in this website.

Hey, NDP — is anyone minding the store?  Your website needs immediate attention.  Matheson has been gone from the NDP for more than two months.

Sort of makes you wonder about them, doesn't it?  If they can't get their act together enough to get a small-time website updated for a months-old event of considerable significance, what would happen if, some fine morning, they should wake up and find themselves running the provincial government?

1998 June 5

Air Nova Last Minute Discount Tickets
From $99

Air Nova today announced new short haul airfares for people making last minute plans to travel within the Maritimes. Air Nova Last Minute Discount Tickets will be available through September 1998 and will start as low as $99 one-way. Air Nova has created the new fares to encourage both business and leisure customers to fly, not drive, to their Maritime destinations. According to Joe Randell, President and CEO of Air Nova, the discounted airfares are designed to compete with government subsidized surface modes of transportation, such as bridges, ferries and roads. To take advantage of Air Nova Last Minute Discount Tickets, customers must book one or two days in advance of their departure. Most of the Air Nova Last Minute Discount seats will be available at the off-peak times of day, since the fares are designed to sell seats that would otherwise go unsold. Customers with flexible schedules can save over 50%. Air Nova Last Minute Discount Tickets are available for sale 6 June 1998. Travel must be completed by 30 September 1998. There is no Saturday night stay required and one-way tickets are available. To book, call your travel agent, Air Canada / Air Nova Reservations, or visit the company's website at http://www.airnova.ca/.

Air Nova's fleet consists of five British Aerospace model 146-200 planes, seating 77 passengers, maximum payload 10,478kg, range 2,733km, cruising speed 784km/h; and fourteen de Havilland Dash8-100s seating 37 passengers, maximum payload 4,268kg, range 2,130km, cruising speed 554km/h. Air Nova offers over 1000 flights per week to Bathurst ZBF, Boston BOS, Charlottetown YYG, Churchill Falls, Deer Lake/Corner Brook YDF, Fredericton YFC, Gander YQX, Goose Bay YYR, Halifax YHZ, Moncton YQM, Montreal, New York/Newark EWR, Ottawa YOW, Quebec City YQB, Saint John YSJ, St. Anthony, St. John's YYT, St-Leonard YSL, Stephenville, Sydney/Glace Bay YQY, Wabush/Labrador City YWK, and Yarmouth YQI. [All of these places are listed in Air Nova's "Destinations" webpage, but some, such as Churchill Falls, appear to be reached only by another airline's connecting flight.]

Sample schedule:
Below is the Air Nova schedule from Sydney/Glace Bay
to Halifax on Wednesday 17 June 1998.
All these flights are direct (non-stop).
             Flgt   Acft 
Airline      No.    Type     Dep.       Arr. 
Air Canada  8811*   DH1     06:20      07:20
        * AC8811 Operated by Air Nova 
Air Canada  8813*   DH1     09:10      10:10
        * AC8813 Operated by Air Nova 
Air Canada  8815*   DH1     12:15      13:15
        * AC8815 Operated by Air Nova 
Air Canada  8817*   DH1     15:10      16:10
        * AC8817 Operated by Air Nova 
Air Canada  8819*   DH1     17:45      18:45
        * AC8819 Operated by Air Nova 
Air Canada  8821*   DH1     19:55      20:55
        * AC8821 Operated by Air Nova 
[Excerpted from Air Nova press release dated 5 June 1998, and the website.]

1998 June 8

Defective Steel Joists

Open Web Steel Joist Information Campaign

The Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs has initiated a public information campaign to identify and inform building owners about possible structural problems associated with open web steel joists supplied by Robb Engineering, Amherst. The joists in question were used in the construction of primarily commercial and industrial buildings throughout the province from 1963 until 1985. The department has been advised of possible welding defects in joists fabricated by Robb Engineering and used in construction during this period. As a precautionary measure, Housing and Municipal Affairs is asking private building owners to have their facilities inspected by a qualified engineer to rule out potential structural problems. "We want to reassure Nova Scotians that the department does not believe any buildings in this province are at risk," said Ted Ross, the department's building code co-ordinator. "Nor are we aware of any serious incidents involving these joists in Nova Scotia. However, we do urge private building owners to contact us to obtain more information about this issue."

The Government of Nova Scotia was informed of this issue by the Government of Newfoundland in 1996 and made it a priority. Provincial departments immediately set to work to find a solution. The Department of Transportation and Public Works is responsible for the investigation of open web steel joists in provincially owned buildings, while the role of providing information to private building owners rests with the Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs.

Open web steel joists look like a series of Ws joined together in a horizontal row by steel bars on the top and bottom. The joists are used to support both floors and roofs and can be found, primarily, in steel-framed structures. From the outset, Housing and Municipal Affairs initiated an extensive search to determine which buildings contained the potentially defective joists. Various means were used to identify owners that may have been supplied steel products by Robb Engineering, including assistance from regional assessment offices and the Registry of Joint Stock Companies. Researching and identifying contacts for privately owned buildings throughout the province proved to be a labour-intensive and time-consuming task. The department obtained a list of contact numbers and information related to buildings supplied with steel products between 1970 and 1985. Subsequent investigations in Newfoundland, however, revealed that the potentially defective joists were produced as early as 1963.

To date, hundreds of private buildings throughout the province have been identified and detailed information packages distributed to owners. At this point, however, all avenues of identifying the affected buildings have been exhausted and the Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs is enlisting the assistance of building owners themselves through a public information campaign. The department has compiled a comprehensive information package that includes a description and illustration of open web steel joists and a list of defects potentially associated with these joists. This information is available by calling 1-800-884-1172 and leaving a recorded message including your name, mailing address, building street address, and, if possible, the property assessment number.

NOTE: The following is intended for use by broadcast media.

Owners of large commercial and industrial-type buildings in Nova Scotia are being asked to contact the Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs for an important message. The department wishes to advise building owners of possible problems with open web steel joists supplied by Robb Engineering. The joists in question were used in the construction of floor and roof support systems in buildings from 1963 to 1985. This is a precautionary measure only. Department officials do not believe any buildings in the province are at risk. However, they are urging owners to have their buildings inspected by a qualified professional.

[Excerpted from N.S. government press release 19980608001.]
[Concerns with Robb Engineering steel joists first came to light in Newfoundland where they are believed to have played a role in the collapse of the roofs of two buildings under snow loading. Through an extensive investigation by the Government of Newfoundland, serious defects were identified in the welds of certain types of open web steel joists supplied by the company between 1963 and 1985. The joists in question are no longer being produced.]
Open Web Steel Joist Information Package

1998 June 9

New 221 Exchange

Continuing heavy demand for new telephone numbers

New block of 10,000 numbers may last only four months

MT&T Mobility introduced today a new local cellular prefix (or "exchange" as these three-digit numbers used to be called), 221, in the Halifax/Dartmouth area. This move is in response to the continued growing demand for new cellular service. "Every time we open another block of cellular telephone numbers, that's another 10,000 customers we can accommodate on our cellular network," said Chuck Hartlen, MT&T Mobility's Director of Network Services. The new 221 prefix joins a growing list of cellular prefix numbers including 456, 471, 483, 497, and 499 used in the Halifax/Dartmouth area. Cell phone users should be aware that even though most Halifax metro numbers begin with a "4", starting today, cellular numbers beginning with "221" are local Halifax numbers. "Our customer base is growing by 25% per year," added Mr. Hartlen. "In fact, we had to introduce this new block of numbers sooner than anticipated in response to a recent surge in new customers. At this rate, we'll most likely have to launch another new cellular prefix by October of this year." MT&T Mobility, a wholly owned subsidiary of Maritime Telegraph and Telephone Company, Limited, serves more than 100,000 cellular and paging customers across Nova Scotia. MT&T also announced cell phone users heading to Kejimkujik National Park this summer will have service in the area. New cellular sites have been installed in Kejimkujik and Caledonia, Queens County.
[Excerpted from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 10 June 1998, and an MT&T Mobility press pelease dated 9 June 1998.]

1998 June 11

New Control Tower
Halifax Airport

Louis Comeau, Nav Canada's Chairman, and John Crichton, President and Chief Executive Officer, officially opened the new air traffic control tower located at the Halifax International Airport on Old Guysborough Road, Halifax Regional Municipality, at 11:00am today. Caviar and smoked salmon were served at a ceremony attended by numerous political and business leaders, and representatives of the aviation community. The tower, located on the east side of the runway, is 20 metres high and provides optimal 360-degree visibility. It replaces the old tower built on top of the air terminal building almost 40 years ago. Halifax International Airport is 42 km from downtown Halifax. Since 1963, the volume of air traffic in Halifax has increased by more than 300% and globally, air travel is expected to increase by 5.5% each year for the next five years. The control tower cab is designed in such a way to easily expand from five to seven control positions, to handle today's air traffic and that of the foreseeable future. The new control tower has new communications equipment, new radar display systems, and new data handling equipment. Nav Canada's services, including the cost of the new $7,000,000 control tower, will be recouped through user fees paid by the airline companies. These fees will replace the Air Transportation Tax that, until now, has been paid by travellers when they bought their tickets.

Nav Canada was created in 1995 as a private non-share capital corporation to operate Canada's civil air navigation system. In 1996, the federal government transferred responsibility for civil air navigation services to the company for $1,500,000,000. Nav Canada's operations extend coast to coast, providing air traffic control, flight information, weather briefings, airport advisory services and electronic aids to navigation. Planning for the new tower began under the direction of Transport Canada in the mid-1980's. In the early 1990's, WHW Architects Inc. of Halifax designed the tower, for which they received the Nova Scotia Lieutenant Governor's design award for architecture. Site work commenced in September 1995 with building construction starting in May 1996, under the direction of the general contractor Rideau Construction of Bedford.

[Excerpted from Nav Canada press releases dated 8 and 10 June 1998, and from The Chronicle-Herald and The Daily News, both of 11 June 1998.]

1998 June 12

The Advertiser
Gets Connected

In today's issue, the Kentville Advertiser, a twice-a-week newspaper published Tuesdays and Fridays in New Minas, had an item under the headline We're Now On Line: "The popularity of electronic mail is fast turning computerized communication into the mode of choice. If one has a computer and modem, it is certainly fast and simple. Here at The Advertiser, we are pleased to inform our readers that editorial submissions and letters to the editor can now be received via e-mail. Any reader who would like to transmit an item to the editorial department can now do so by employing this electronic address: advert@glinx.com..."

1998 June 13

Cornwallis CAP Opens

On this day, the Community Access Program at Cornwallis Park, Digby County, was officially opened. The program, housed in the park's Professional Centre in Building 1, is sponsored by Industry Canada and assists people in becoming computer literate. It offers daily training sessions to computer club members and the general public.
[The Digby Courier, 10 June 1998]

1998 June 15

Strait Region CAP Sites

More than Saskatchewan

"Recently we announced the opening of additional CAP sites which will allow many communities to access the Internet. I am pleased to report that, in the area served by the Strait area board, we have more community access sites to the Internet than the Province of Saskatchewan."

Raymond White, MLA representing Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury, speaking in the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly this day. This constituency straddles the Canso Strait. Mr. White's phrase "the Strait area board" is a reference to the Strait Regional School Board (SRSB), which, according to its website, provides educational services to 11,476 students at 39 school sites. The SRSB is one of seven regional school boards in Nova Scotia, covering the counties of Antigonish, Guysborough, Inverness and Richmond.
Complete text according to Hansard

Strait Area CAP Sites

  1. Framboise
  2. Johnstown
  3. L'Ardoise
  4. St.Peter's
  5. Arichat
  6. Louisdale
  7. Evanston
  8. Petit De Grat
  9. Mulgrave
  10. Port Hawkesbury
  11. Cheticamp
  12. Pleasant Bay
  13. St Joseph DuMoine
  14. Judique
  15. Mabou
  16. Port Hood
  17. Inverness
  18. Margaree
  19. Whycocomagh
  20. Liscomb
  21. Melrose
  22. Port Bickerton
  23. Sherbrooke
  24. Country Harbour
  25. Lincolnville
  26. Goldboro
  27. Goshen
  28. Guysborough
  29. Sunnyville
  30. Upper Big Tracadie
  31. Canso
  32. Hazel Hill
  33. Larry's River
  34. Little Dover
  35. New Harbour
  36. Antigonish
  37. Heatherton
  38. Maryvale
  39. Lakevale
  40. Pomquet
  41. St.Andrew's
  42. St.Joseph's
  43. Afton
  44. Havre Boucher
  45. Monastery
  46. Baddeck
  47. Ingonish
  48. Iona
  49. Middle River
  50. St. Ann's Bay
  51. Boularderie
  52. Scotsville
  53. North Shore

Note: The above links were valid in mid-1998.

[Source: http://sencen.ednet.ns.ca/communities.htm]

Additional links:
Judique CAP site Celtic music and history
Monastery CAP site

1998 June 17

St. Peter's Canal Stamp

On this day, the St. Peter's Canal commemorative stamp went on sale at post offices throughout Canada. The canal was officially opened on 13 August 1869. The St. Peter's Canal stamp is one of ten different stamp designs (the St. Peter's Canal stamp is the one in the upper left corner of the picture) contained in a ten-stamp booklet issued by Canada Post, to mark the history of inland waterways in Canada. Except for the St. Peter's Canal in Nova Scotia, all the stamps in the set commemorate waterways in Ontario and Quebec. The St. Peter's Canal in Cape Breton is 2,400 feet 730m in length, and connects the south-western end of Bras d'Or Lake with the Atlantic Ocean. It was of commercial importance from 1869 until the 1940s. In 1998, it remains in operation, with most traffic these days being recreational boats. The site has been used as a portage between these bodies of water since the early 1600s. This stamp features the swing bridge and lockmaster+s house along the main road to Sydney.

The Canal Stamps are 45¢ denomination, size 30mm × 45mm. They will be on sale from 17 June 1998 to 16 June 1999. 10,300,000 stamps were printed by lithography in six colours, by Ashton-Potter on Tullis Russell Coatings (coated) paper. Stamps and First Day Covers will be available at participating postal outlets, or by mail order from the National Philatelic Centre. From Canada and the USA call toll-free 1-800-565-4362 and from other countries call: 902-863-6550.

[Excerpted from the Halifax Sunday Herald, 7 June 1998, and the Canal Stamp page http://www.canadapost.ca/CPC2/corpc/newsrel/canals.html in Canada Post's website.]

1998 June 17

The Telephone War Escalates
CallNet Raises Bid for Fonorola

Increases Offer by $7 a Share,
Offer Expires 11:59pm 26 June

Telus merger with BC Telecom introduces new threat

Tiny MT&T could be hurt by fallout

CallNet Enterprises Incorporated today sweetened its unsolicited bid for Fonorola Incorporated from $60.00 to $67.00 a share. Both companies are in the business of supplying long distance telephone services in Nova Scotia, and most of Canada. At the $67 price, the deal would cost CallNet $1,780,000,000. CallNet offered Fonorola shareholders the option of receiving $67.00 in cash or 2.68 Call-Net Class B non-voting shares for each Fonorola share. The new offer is scheduled to expire at 11:59pm on 26 June 1998, immediately following the expiration of Fonorola's poison pill. CallNet, based in Toronto, two months ago offered $60.00 a share for Fonorola.

Convinced that other bids will emerge soon, by the time the Toronto Stock Exchange closed today investors had driven Fonorola shares up $3.80, to close at $68.80 — significantly above the CallNet offer. Trading was heavy, with slightly more than one million shares changing hands — about four times the daily average for the last six months. CallNet's class B shares fell 65¢ to close at $24.25 on the TSE, with about 27,000 shares traded. CallNet owns 100% of Sprint Canada Incorporated, the second-largest alternative long distance company. A merger with third-ranked Fonorola would form a combined company which would rank ahead of Canada's now-largest alternative long distance company, AT&T Long Distance Services Company http://www.attcanada.com/ of Halifax. ["Alternative" means non-Stentor.] With headquarters in Toronto, Sprint Canada operates 18 offices and employs more than 2,000 across the country.

Canada's biggest telephone company is Bell Canada, owned by BCE Incorporated of Montreal. ["BCE" is derived from Bell Canada Enterprises.] BC [British Columbia] Telecom Inc. of Burnaby, [a suburb of Vancouver], and Telus Corporation of Edmonton, are the second- and third-largest telephone companies in Canada. BC Telecom is controlled by GTE Corporation of Stamford, Connecticut. [GTE is a biggie. "GTE" is derived from General Telephone & Electronics, a company which, for many decades, has operated a large telephone system mainly based in the southwestern United States. GTE's 1996 revenues of more than $21,000,000,000 make it one of the largest publicity held telecommunications companies in the world. In the United States, GTE offers local and wireless service in 29 states and long-distance service in all 50 states.] The Stentor group is an association of the former monopoly telephone companies, including Bell Canada, BC Telecom, Telus, Nova Scotia's MT&T, and several others which operate telephone systems in the various provinces. Some analysts think that Telus will soon merge with BC Telecom, and that the combined company will make an offer for Fonorola that will be higher than CallNet's current $67.00 bid. It is this belief that drove the Fonorola share price up to $68.80 today, $1.80 above CallNet's offer.

The pressure to merge Telus with BC Telecom comes mainly from their close associate Bell Canada, the country's largest telephone company, serving more than seven million customers in Ontario and Quebec. Since the Canadian long distance market was opened to competition in 1992, Bell Canada has suffered from significant market share erosion and price competition. The company's market share in its long distance market currently stands at 62%, down from 95% in 1992. Bell Canada has threatened to launch a national long-distance network, as soon as autumn 1998, which will invade the territories now occupied by Bell's associated Stentor companies. Some believe that the only way Telus and BC Telecom could stand up to this threatened invasion by the huge Bell Canada, would be for them to merge [the old "hang together or hang separately" strategy]. But a merger of Telus and BC Telecom alone would not be enough to enable them to compete effectively against Bell. "Telus and BC Telecom would also need a national network, which Fonorola can provide," said Douglas Cunningham, a veteran telecommunications financial analyst and president of Network Research Inc.

What all this could mean for Nova Scotia's tiny MT&T is a very good question.

22 June 1998
Fonorola Says No to CallNet's Offer

Today, Fonorola Inc. rejected a $1,780,000,000 takeover offer by CallNet Enterprises, parent of Sprint Canada. Fonorola, based in Montreal, announced that its Board of Directors had decided to advise its shareholders not to accept CallNet's offer of $67.00 per share. Instead, Fonorola will continue discussions with other would be "white knights" with a view to developing a better offer. Fonorola again refused to identify any rival bidder. At the close of trading today, Fonorola's share price was $69.00 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, with 84,312 shares traded during the day. CallNet's class B shares closed at $23.50 on the TSE, with 85,169 shares traded.

[Excerpted from The Globe and Mail, 18 & 23 June 1998, The Daily News, 23 June 1998, and assorted press releases.]

1998 June 19

Auditor General to Monitor
The Millennium Bug

Has had no response from the provincial government

Nova Scotia's Auditor General, Roy Salmon, plans to assess the public sector's efforts to deal with the Year 2000 computer problem, commonly known as Y2K, or the Millennium Bug. Mr. Salmon told The Chronicle-Herald in an interview today that "We intend to broaden our focus beyond the core of government" to include public bodies like hospitals. "From what I've been reading about other jurisdictions and what is being said in some quarters, I'm concerned about the hospital sector, for one," Mr. Salmon said. Auditor General Erik Peters of Ontario issued a special report last Tuesday [16 June 1998] on the Year 2000 problem, saying Ontario's government needs to "significantly pick up the pace" on it's efforts. Mr. Peters said systems such as social assistance, ambulance response, and tax collection are at risk. Mr. Salmon said he hasn't seen the Ontario report yet and that he has no plans to issue a special report on the Year 2000, although that could change.

Citing a recommendation from his annual report in January 1998, Mr. Salmon said the provincial government should be periodically reporting to the legislature on the state of Year 2000 efforts within government computer systems. "It's very important," Mr. Salmon said. "The legislature and the public have a right to know the status, to know what's going on, and to know whether or not actions are being taken so that government services are going to be deliverable on January 1, 2000."

He said he has had no response from the government on his recommendation.

[Excerpted from The Chronicle-Herald, 20 June 1998.]

On 19 June 1998, there were
560 days remaining before 1 January 2000.

[ICS (webmaster) comment, written 21 June 1998]

I wonder why Mr. Salmon has not yet seen Mr. Peters' report. It is available on the Internet, and can be downloaded by anyone. I downloaded a complete copy on Sunday, 21 June, and looked through it. Lots of good stuff there. I recommend it to any citizen who takes an interest in what our governments are and are not doing.

Special Report of the Provincial Auditor of Ontario to the Legislative Assembly: Year 2000, the Millennium Bug, issued 16 June 1998, is available through a prominent link in the Ontario Provincial Auditor's website.

I wonder if the Hon. Robert Harrison, Minister of Science and Technology, and thus the Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia government's efforts to deal with Y2K, has read Mr. Peters' report. I recommend it to Mr. Harrison's attention, and to the attention of all MLAs.

[ICS comment, written 21 June 1998]

I'm concerned that the Auditor General is much too relaxed about Y2K. The Chronicle-Herald quotes Mr. Salmon, in that article, as saying, on 19 June 1998: "There are 18 months left." That kind of statement opens a huge loophole for procrastinating administrators in all kinds of government operations, from hospitals to school boards to property tax assessments to water systems, to put it off until next year.

A large majority of informed analysts agree that we have nothing like 18 months left. We have at most six months to complete the conversion and replacement stages, if we are to avoid serious disruptions in government services. In fact, in his report, on page 6, Mr. Peters states explicitly that we have, at most, only three months left, to complete the code conversion stage.

Erik Peters wrote: "Code conversion and renovation work should be completed by late summer 1998 to allow sufficient time for the testing of all converted or replaced system components. This much testing lead time is necessary as testing is the most problematic phase of a Year 2000 project and generally takes about 50% of the total time and resources."

From the date of Mr. Salmon's interview, 19 June 1998, completion of conversion work "by late summer 1998" allows only three months, even by the most generous interpretation.

For that reason, I question whether the Auditor General is up to speed on this very important matter. Casual public statements by very senior people that make it appear there is still plenty of time to deal properly with the problem, make it easy for lower-level administrators to drag their feet into next year, and can have the most serious consequences for all of us.

An often-overlooked fact is that fewer than 10% of software projects are completed and put into successful operation within the original time schedule. This has been the record for decades, and is still true in the late 1990s. Yet, on Y2K, most administrators are running their departments as if this one project, as complex as it has been found to be, will be completed and tested and put into reliable operation within the scant time remaining. They are making inadequate allowances for the likelihood that the conversion and replacement plans cannot be implemented on time.

They seem to assume that, if this one runs late, no problem. Like all those other projects in years gone by, that ran into serious delays, they can simply postpone the deadline.

They overlook the fact that this deadline is different from all other deadlines they have encountered in their careers.

This deadline cannot possibly be delayed, by anyone, for any reason.

[ICS comment, written 22 June 1998]

The government of Alberta has set a deadline of 31 March 1999, for completion of the work to make it's information systems Year 2000 compliant. This deadline allots only nine months from June 1998, to get it done.

"A key issue which is currently being addressed is the year 2000. As you know, some of government's existing information systems do not accurately recognize dates with years beyond 1999. This has the potential to cause serious problems where operations are time related or dependent on calculations, particularly in the year 2000. If this problem is not properly addressed, information systems may become inoperable as we enter the next millennium. I am pleased to inform you that we are well on our way to ensuring that critical government systems will be year 2000 compliant by March 31 of 1999. Public Works and the CIO have been actively working with ministries to provide cross-government co-ordination and communication of year 2000 activities including decisions related to systems assessment, testing, repair, and replacement. Through other ministries we have also been supporting the year 2000 efforts of nongovernment entities RHAs, government boards and agencies to ensure continued delivery of overall government services."

Above is from the published minutes of the meeting held on February 25, 1998, of the Alberta Legislature's Subcommittee C: Public Works, Supply and Services. The quote is from the statement made at that meeting by Hon. Mr. Stan Woloshyn, Minister of Public Works, Supply and Services in the Alberta government. This document was found by going to http://isys.assembly.ab.ca/hansard.htm and searching on the keyword "millennium".

In the Auditor General's 1997 Report to the New Brunswick Legislature, chapter 11 was titled "The Year 2000 Program".

In paragraph 11.5 we read: "...The message is clear, the Year 2000 programming problem is not a discretionary item. Delays in addressing this issue only serve to increase its importance."

Paragraph 11.27: "...Upgrades to systems in the departments of Health and Community Services, Justice, and the Solicitor General did not occur as planned..."

Paragraph 11.29: "...The true issue has now become time. The process of evaluating and choosing alternatives, then planning, implementing, and testing solutions is a time-consuming one. There simply may not be enough time left to complete work ... before the turn of the millennium.

Paragraph 11.30: "The Year 2000 programming problem is unique. It is a pervasive problem whose impact does not stop with computers or information technology personnel. It can affect an organization at every level. This problem also has a very specific, and inflexible, deadline."

I draw your attention to this quote: "There simply may not be enough time left..." That was written in mid-November 1997, seven months ago!

And this: "Upgrades to systems in (three important departments) did not occur as planned..." This is another example of the persistent experience of many computer system upgrades — it often happens that the planned work just does not get done on time, or anywhere close to the original deadline.

This document was found at http://www.gov.nb.ca/audgen/public.htm

1998 June 22

Kentville Electric Commission

Bill No. 20, 29 June 1998
An Act Respecting the Sale
of Certain Assets of the Town of Kentville
and Kentville Electric Commission
to Nova Scotia Power Incorporated

First Reading: June 22, 1998
Second Reading: June 23, 1998
Third Reading: June 26, 1998 (with Committee amendment)
Royal Assent: June 29, 1998


1 This Act may be cited as the Town of Kentville and Kentville Electric Commission Sale of Assets Act.

2 In this Act,
•  (a) "Agreement" means the Agreement dated September 9, 1997, between the Town and Nova Scotia Power for the sale and transfer of certain assets of the Town and the Electric Commission to Nova Scotia Power;
•  (b) "assets" means all the property, assets and undertaking to be conveyed to Nova Scotia Power pursuant to the Agreement;
•  (c) "Electric Commission" means the Kentville Electric Commission, incorporated by Chapter 98 of the Acts of 1919;
•  (d) "Nova Scotia Power" means Nova Scotia Power Incorporated...

•  (1) The Electric Commission is dissolved.
•  (2) Chapter 149 of the Acts of 1891, An Act to Incorporate the Kentville Electric Light and Power Company, Limited, is repealed.
•  (3) Chapter 109 of the Acts of 1918, An Act to Enable the Town of Kentville to Borrow Money for Electric Light Purposes, is repealed.
•  (4) Chapter 98 of the Acts of 1919, An Act Constituting an Electric Light and Power Commission for the Town of Kentville, is repealed...

This Act does not come into force unless and until an order
of the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board approving the
sale and transfer pursuant to the Agreement is issued.

Go To:   Complete Text of Bill 20 Town of Kentville and Kentville Electric Commission Sale of Assets Act
Go To:   Complete text of The Asset Purchase Agreement, 9 September 1997
Go To:   Historical notes about the Kentville Electric Commission
Go To:   History of Electric Companies in Nova Scotia

1998 June 23

Chrysler Canada Supports Pier 21 Project

A substantial donation to the Pier 21 project was announced this day by Chrysler Canada President and C.E.O. William C. Glaub, at a ceremony held at the Westin Hotel in downtown Halifax, attended by numerous prominent people, including His Honour James Kinley, The Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, The Honorable Russell MacLellan, Premier of Nova Scotia, and His Worship, Walter Fitzgerald, Mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality. Announcing Chrysler's $250,000 donation, Mr. Glaub called Pier 21 a "permanent and living testament to freedom and to Canada." The Pier 21 Society is a non-profit group of volunteers organized in 1988 to revitalize Pier 21. Located on the south end of Halifax's waterfront, a hundred metres east of the VIA Rail station, Pier 21 was the principal embarkation point for Canadian troops bound for Europe during World War Two. Pier 21 was also the entry point for more than one million immigrants to Canada between 1928 and 1971, including thousands of British evacuee children, war brides and their children, displaced persons and other refugees fleeing war-torn Europe in the 1940s. On one occasion Alan Ladd was among the numerous celebrities to be viewed in the corridor leading from the CNR station to the embarkation desk. Immigration guards, working overtime, were paid $3.50 an hour by the steamship company to escort him to the waiting train. Nonetheless, by the time he boarded Alan had lost both his hat and his belt to aggressive female admirers.  The list of ships that docked at Pier 21 includes both the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth, and the USS Carrier Essex which made an unusual departure on 28 July 1960, by grazing Pier 21 creating a gaping hole. When completed, Pier 21 will be a major Canadian tourist attraction.

1998 June 26

Agreement to Merge
Fonorola with CallNet

CallNet Enterprises Incorporated and Fonorola Incorporated agreed today to merge into one company, which will be Canada's second-largest long distance telephone company. CallNet announced its original bid of $60.00 a share for Fonorola on April 15, then sweetened that offer to $67.00 on June 17. Fonorola's board and management had spurned both of CallNet's bids — and had rejected CallNet's sweetened offer as recently as last Monday. Today, Fonorola finally capitulated, accepting the sweetened $1,780,000,000 takeover offer made recently by CallNet. The agreement ends a bitter two-month takeover fight and means CallNet boss Juri Koor has won the expensive gamble that no other suitor would match his offer for Fonorola. The merged company will surpass AT&T Canada Long Distance Services Company of Halifax, which is currently the top-ranked alternative long-distance phone company. Toronto-based CallNet owns Sprint Canada Inc., now the second-largest alternative long distance company. The acquisition of Montreal-based Fonorola, which ranks third, would give the combined company annual revenue of $1,300,000,000, a 16% share of the long-distance market, now worth $8,600,000,000 a year.

The deal will almost immediately intensify the fight for market share in the already competitive long distance telephone business. In the longer run it should provide Canadian consumers with more choice as the merged company moves into the recently-deregulated local telephone market. The merger will also increase CallNet's scope. Sprint Canada competes mainly in the residential and small-business market, while Fonorola gets the bulk of its $400,000,000 in annual revenue from large business customers. The combined company will be a strong competitor in every segment of the long-distance market, allowing Sprint Canada to compete on a more equal footing against AT&T Canada and the Stentor phone companies. "No other combination has this synergy, which is why we have proposed to pay such a premium for Fonorola," Mr. Koor said.

With the acquisition Mr. Koor has garnered one of the most advanced long-distance networks in Canada. Fonorola's 23,000 kilometres of fibre-optic lines and switching centres in New York and London also extend Sprint Canada's reach beyond Western Canada to the United States and Europe. When completed, the network will span North America from Vancouver and Seattle to Miami, New York, and Halifax, and will provide the shortest direct fibre-optic route from North America to Europe and Asia. "The merged company will be a major international long distance carrier," said Eamon Hoey, a telecom consultant and head of Toronto-based Hoey Associates Inc. Pointing to Fonorola's fibre-optic line from Edmonton to Prince Rupert, B.C., Mr. Hoey said it would be logical for CallNet to build a new gateway in B.C. to route overseas calls to Asia. The acquisition of Fonorola's network will save CallNet an estimated $600,000,000 in capital spending, Mr. Koor said. And it will accelerate Sprint Canada's plans to compete against Teleglobe Inc. when it loses its monopoly on overseas long distance calls in October 1998.
[Excerpted from The Globe and Mail and the Halifax Daily News, both of 27 June 1998.]

1998 June 26

New Seven-Screen Movie Theatre
Opens in New Minas

The new Empire Theatres 7-screen movie theatre in New Minas, Kings County, opened this day, bringing Empire's total in Atlantic Canada to 108 screens, making it the third largest movie theatre chain in Canada. Empire Theatres is the only movie chain in Canada that is 100% Canadian owned and operated. Empire Theatres Limited is a subsidiary of the Empire Group of Stellarton, Pictou County, owned by the Sobey family. The new theatre is located in the New Minas building formerly occupied by Sobeys Food Warehouse at 8944 Commercial Street. About a year ago Sobeys moved the large Food Warehouse to the County Fair Mall at the eastern end of Commercial Street, leaving the old building vacant over last winter. Work began last March to convert the building to its new use. The cost of the renovations was estimated to be about $1,400,000. The movie complex has about about 20 full-time and part-time employees. The seven screens are curved, and vary in size in the seven auditoriums to fill the available space wall-to-wall, with the latest projection equipment. Each auditorium has digital sound equipment. Each of the 1,100 sloped high-backed seats has an individual cup holder. Unlike conventional theatre seats, which are spaced 36 inches 91cm apart, the seats in the New Minas complex will be spaced 42 inches 107cm apart, according to Empire Theatres president Stuart Fraser. There is a large eight-station concession stands, serving the usual popcorn, candy, and soft drinks, with gourmet hot dogs. There are two box offices selling tickets, and two self-serve automated ticket machines for debit cards or Visa credit cards, selling tickets up to two weeks in advance. Tickets are priced at $5.50 Monday through Thursday for adults; $4.50 for children and Golden Age every day. The lobby has movie preview monitors showing scenes from upcoming movies. The seven movies showing on opening day were: Out of Sight, George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez; The Truman Show, Jim Carrey; The X-Files; A Perfect Murder; Sliding Doors, Gwyneth Paltrow; Dirty Work, Norm Macdonald; and Dr. Dolittle, Eddie Murphy. Empire Theatres recently opened large theatre complexes in Halifax, Fredericton, Sydney, and New Glasgow.
[Excerpted from the Kentville Advertiser, 23 and 26 June 1998, and the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 10 April 1998.]

On 2 July 1998, the marquee display:
       Dirty Work          2:10     7:00     9:00
       Dr. Doolittle       1:45     6:40     9:05
       The X-Files         1:35     6:30     9:10
       Out of Sight        1:30     6:35     9:15
       Perfect Murder      2:00     6:45     9:20
       Sliding Doors       1:55     6:50     9:25
       The Truman Show     1:50     6:55     9:30

1998 June 29

More Turmoil in Canada's
Long Distance Telephone Industry

Fonorola Executives Fired
All Directors Replaced at Noon

CallNet Enterprises has fired 31 of Fonorola's top executives including Jan Peeters, Fonorola's Vice-Chairman and President, also the chief operating officer and the chief financial officer, following its $1,780,000,000 takeover which took place on 26 June. In a media release carried on the Canada NewsWire this day, Fonorola announced that its board of directors has been replaced, effective at noon today, with nominees from the board of directors and senior management of CallNet Enterprises Inc. Fonorola has about 850 employees. CallNet announced yesterday that it completed its offer for the outstanding shares of Fonorola. Approximately 95.3% of Fonorola's shares were tendered and taken up and paid for as at the termination of the offer at 11:59pm on 26 June 1998. CallNet has initiated the process to compulsorily acquire the remaining shares of Fonorola, under the same payment options available under the offer. The combined company is Canada's second biggest long distance telephone company.
[Excerpted from The Globe and Mail, 1 July 1998, the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 2 July 1998, and a Fonorola media release dated 29 June 1998.]

1998 June 29

Sydney Radio Stations Automated at Night

CJCB 1270 AM

Beginning this day, Sydney radio stations CJCB AM and CKPE FM are automated between 6pm and 6am. That means a local DJ will add his or her voice to a computer which holds digitized copies of music and advertising spots. "It will be local voices, with local time checks and local weather — replacing the previous system using satellite feeds from Toronto, which is what listeners have been hearing overnight here for awhile," said Garry Barker, executive vice-president of Maritime Broadcasting System, which bought the stations on 1 May 1998.
[Excerpted from The Cape Breton Post, 24 June 1998]

If you want to get some insight about automated radio stations and how computers fit in, you could look at an item in this History, under date 1997 April 17, The New Copyright Act Versus Radio Station Operating Methods, which is relevant. This item contains excerpts from testimony given before the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications, during discussion of Bill C-32 (to amend the Copyright Act), in which the phrase "hard drive" occurs eight times. This testimony was given by Elmer Hildebrand, president and chief executive officer of Golden West Broadcasting of Altona, Manitoba, but it is equally applicable at this time to many radio stations in Nova Scotia.

"About one-half of Canada's radio stations have adopted computer-based music systems. It is expected that all broadcasters will eventually adopt this new technology": Elmer Hildebrand, 17 April 1997.

1998 June 29

Newsworld Live from the Leglislature

From 3:39pm to 3:43pm today, the CBC Newsworld cable channel broadcast coast to coast to coast, from the Nova Scotia Legislature, carrying live the vote on the government's budget. The vote tallied at 31 yea, 20 nay, meaning the budget was approved and the government survived. The reason for the greater-than-usual interest — enough to get Newsworld's attention — is the party structure in the Legislature, 19, 18, 14, 1. With 27 required to obtain a majority in the 52-seat house, no party commands a majority. For the government to survive, it had to have the support of at least eight opposition MLAs, and, right up to the time of the vote, it was uncertain what would happen. The total number of votes cast was 51, one less than the number of seats, because one of the MLAs is chosen to be the Speaker, and the Speaker does not vote.

1998 June 30

Year 2000 "Millenium Bug"
Is the Legislature Paying Attention?

I have downloaded the complete Hansard record of all of the Nova Scotia Legislature's sitting days in the current session — 28 days from 21 May to 29 June inclusive — and did computer searches for mentions of the Year 2000 computer problem, the so-called Millenium Bug. I found seven mentions, which are detailed below. There are four items of substance:
  1. 25 May 1998, Mr. Ernest Fage
  2. 27 May 1998, Mr. Wayne Gaudet
  3. 27 May 1998, Mr. Peter Delefes & Hon. Robert Harrison
  4. 28 May 1998, Mr. Peter Delefes
  5. 2 June 1998, Mr. Ernest Fage
  6. 8 June 1998, Mr. James Dewolfe
  7. 22 June 1998, Mr. Gordon Balser

25 May 1998

MR. ERNEST FAGE: ...Are they worrying about the bugs in their computers when the millennium arrives?  Can they solve it?  At the rate they are going, the snail will win and the bugs will remain in the computers...

27 May 1998

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: ...Students and recent graduates can apply for placements ranging from Assistant Coordinator for a Gas Hearing to a Junior Human Rights Officer to a Year 2000 Researcher for the Technology and Science Secretariat. Career Starts goes beyond job experience and enables the participant to see how organization works, enjoy skills training and benefit from a mentor...

27 May 1998

MR. PETER DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, our time is short here. I have a question for the Minister responsible for the Technology and Science Secretariat.

MR. SPEAKER: You have 3.3 minutes left.

MR. DELEFES: Thank you. The Auditor General's Report on the year 2000 readiness observed that the year 2000 issue is a real threat to government and its ability to provide complete and uninterrupted service to the people of this province at the turn of the century. The Auditor General also noticed that the government must fully consider risks and ensure that sufficient resources are available to deal with the problem. I am particularly concerned about the safety and health of citizens with respect to life support systems, security systems, power generation systems, systems that use embedded chips in their operation. My question, Mr. Speaker. What specific measures has the government taken to ensure that there is no serious disruption of government services to Nova Scotians with respect to the year 2000 readiness and, again, with respect to the health and safety of our citizens?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for his question in this House of Assembly. The question, fundamentally, is the government committed, first of all, to ensuring that the problems with the year 2000 are addressed and that fundamental services are preserved and protected? That is a responsibility of this government. It is a responsibility of the secretariat to serve departments and the responsibility of ministers to ensure that their staff take steps, not only within their department and their mandate, but also with their partners to ensure that essential services are protected from what is very real, complex, and a problem that needs to be addressed. The second issue, are we committing funds? There is no question that the Department of Finance and the departments themselves have a priority to commit funds necessary to address these problems. I would be pleased to entertain further questions from the member opposite, as to details at any time.

MR. DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, again to the minister. The Auditor General's Report, again on the year 2000 readiness, emphasizes the limited scope of the government's Year 2000 Project Office. It addresses only eight corporate service units, as well as a few small entities. Many public service sectors are excluded from the project, the Crown Corporations, regional health boards, hospitals, museums, so it is evident that the year 2000 is not a government-wide project. What is the minister going to do for these departments?

MR. HARRISON: The Auditor General's Report takes a snapshot of a period of time when, in fact, there were limitations. That is why we have an Auditor General. The departments and the government has ensured that policies are in place for the corporate government and, in addition to that, extended policies to the various department's partners, such as the Department of Education through to its school boards, to ensure that there is a commitment for essential public services and that we honour the commitment to make sure that essential public services are not affected negatively by the year 2000 problem.

[ICS (webmaster) comment: Well, that's a relief.

Mr. Harrison's response is very reassuring. Not!

Exactly what did Mr. Harrison say? "...policies are in place ... to ensure that there is a commitment..." What does that mean? There is not a hint of a whisper of a shadow of solid information about what is being done, by whom, and when.

Compare Mr. Harrison's vague, uninformative response, quoted above, [which, by the way, up to 5 July 1998 is all the government has ever said in our Legislature about the infamous Millenium Bug], with Many State Computers Unprepared For Year 2000 printed in the Austin, Texas, American-Statesman on 27 January 1998. This story has quantities of detail about how the Texas Legislature is carrying out its responsibilities to the people of Texas.
  • "...56 percent of state offices have missed deadlines to report how much progress they are making on eradicating the so-called millennial bug..."

  • "...State lawmakers were angered to learn more than 100 state agencies and universities are not filing progress reports to the Texas Department of Information Resources..."

  • "...They pledged to hold hearings every three weeks and to hand out "pass" or "fail" grades to state offices..."

  • "...The Department of Information Resources reported that 105 agencies have been missing deadlines to submit year 2000 progress reports. Among them: Texas Water Development Board, State Board of Medical Examiners, Texas Commission on Human Rights, State Bar of Texas, Texas Ethics Commission, Department on Aging, Texas A&M University and several campuses of the University of Texas System..."

  • "...Five key state agencies are considered "at risk" for serious year 2000 problems: Department of Public Safety, attorney general's office, Department of Criminal Justice, Teacher Retirement System and the Department of Health, which has not submitted a progress report..."

  • "...State efforts to correct the year 2000 glitch are hampered by high turnover among computer specialists, who are wooed by companies that can double or triple their salaries..."

  • "...The Department of Information Resources had a 55 percent turnover rate last year among its computer specialists..."

  • "...At the Department of Human Services, the 513-person management information systems office has 65 vacancies ... The Department of Human Services needs so many computer workers it has considered training prisoners..."

  • "...The House subcommittee members said all state agencies and universities should have their year 2000 conversions completed by the end of 1998. That will allow a year to test systems and correct problems..."
The Texas Department of Information Resources is the equivalent of our Technology and Science Secretariat, for overseeing the government's computer systems.  In Texas, they are collecting regular progress reports from departments, agencies, universities, hospitals, school boards, etc.  In Nova Scotia, is this being done?  If it is, Mr. Harrison neglected to mention it.  In Texas, they are making public the names of those offices that are slow to send in their reports.  In Nova Scotia?

Compare that wealth of detailed information, with what the people of Nova Scotia have been told by their government.  Then you decide whether the government of Nova Scotia is doing its job, or just looking the other way and hoping it will all go away.

28 May 1998


MR. PETER DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the National Task Force on the Year 2000 computer problem has advised that failure to achieve Year 2000 compliance may well result in critical disruption of the services to the public and the possibility of economic disaster; and

Whereas the national task force has stated in its report, A Call for Action, that encouraging compliance by all government contractors is one key way to assure Year 2000 goals are reached; and

Whereas the national task force has advised that small and medium-sized businesses need information and direction from government in order to achieve compliance and thereby avoid ruin;

Therefore be it resolved that this House call on the Nova Scotia Liberal Government to immediately fulfil both the letter and the spirit of all the recommendations of the National Task Force on the Year 2000, for example by including Year 2000 compliance in all tender calls and by providing the business community with vital information and direction.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

[Comment, written 5 July 1998]

On 29 June 1998, the Legislature adjourned, and is not scheduled to meet until 15 October.  At the time of adjournment, Resolution 223 was still tabled.  Thus it now has no effect and will have no effect until October (if then).

2 June 1998

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas we are now only 577 days away from the beginning of a new millennium; and...

[The remainder of this motion is not relevant to Y2K.]

8 June 1998


MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the House of Commons committee examining the millennium computer bug has pinpointed hospitals across the country with critical areas of concern; and

Whereas the Ontario Medical Association has warned that Canada's public health care system is in serious danger because of thousands of pieces of medical equipment that could potentially fail on January 1, 2000, due to embedded computer chips; and

Whereas Dr. Spencer Barclay, Chief of Staff at the Aberdeen Hospital in New Glasgow, told the Canadian Press that doctors are concerned about the millennium bug and that patients should be concerned as well, because no one has a direct knowledge of how extensive the problem is;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister responsible for the Technology and Science Secretariat release a document presented to Cabinet by his predecessor one week before the provincial general election was called, so that Nova Scotians can have a thorough understanding as to whether the present Liberal Government is even remotely close to solving this problem.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

[Comment, written 5 July 1998]

On 29 June 1998, the Legislature adjourned, and is not scheduled to meet until 15 October.  At the time of adjournment, Resolution 507 was still tabled.  Thus it now has no effect and will have no effect until October (if then).

22 June 1998


MR. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Nova Scotia's Minister responsible for the Technology and Science Secretariat continues to remain silent on the critical issue of the Year 2000 problem and how it relates to Nova Scotia's health care institutions; and

Whereas the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Industry has identified hospitals across Canada as being one of their major concerns because most have barely started to address their Year 2000 problem; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's Auditor General is now planning to broaden his focus and include facilities such as Nova Scotia hospitals because of his concern over the volume of equipment and instruments which could have embedded chips;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health, and the Minister responsible for the Technology and Science Secretariat immediately move to allay any concern about this potentially devastating impact on Nova Scotia health care by tabling a report in this Legislature by week's end showing the progress made by Nova Scotia hospitals on the Year 2000 problem.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice.
Is it agreed?
I hear several Noes.
The notice is tabled.

[Comment, written 5 July 1998]
On 29 June 1998, the Legislature adjourned, and is not scheduled to meet until 15 October.  At the time of adjournment, Resolution 832 was still tabled.  Thus it now has no effect and will have no effect until October (if then).

On 29 June 1998, there were
550 days remaining before 1 January 2000.

1998 June 30

Scotia Investments Limited

The Board of Directors of Cobi Foods Incorporated has announced the appointment of Roger J. Kingston to the position of Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer. Cobi Foods Inc. is a Canadian processor and distributor of frozen vegetable and fruit products. It is an affiliated company of Scotia Investments Limited, a private investment holding company with major interests in Annapolis Basin Group Incorporated, Ben's Limited, CKF Incorporated, Maritime Paper Products Limited, Minas Basin Pulp and Power Company Limited, Pole Star Transport Incorporated, and other companies.
[The Globe and Mail, 30 June 1998]
["CKF" is derived from Canadian Keyes Fibre.]
[Scotia Investments Limited currently embodies much of the industrial empire built up by Roy Adelbert Jodrey, 1888-1973. Minas Basin Pulp and Power Company Limited owns and operates one of the very few privately-owned electric power transmission lines in Nova Scotia, the 23kV "wishbone" power line between St. Croix and Hantsport, in Hants County.]

1998 June 30

MT&T Pay Phone Monopoly Ends

On this day, the Maritime Telegraph & Telephone Company's long-standing legal monopoly on pay telephone services in Nova Scotia ended. Until today, Stentor member telephone companies held a monopoly in this market across Canada. The pay telephone market was opened to competition today, everywhere in Canada, and pay phones likely will soon be offering Internet access and other high-tech services. The opening of this market clears the way for newcomers like Canada Payphone Corporation to install pay telephones in stores and on streets, in competition with the long-established telephone companies. The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which regulates the pay telephone business, said it hopes consumers will benefit from having alternative pay phone services to choose from. The CRTC specifically expects that abolishing the pay phone monopoly, held for many decades by provincial telephone companies — such as MT&T in Nova Scotia — will lead to the launch of new pay phone services.

Canada Payphone Corp. (CPC) is based in Burnaby, British Columbia. The company was formed in 1995 by five partners, three of whom were former telephone company employees who worked in the pay phone department. Its shares trade on the Vancouver Stock Exchange under the symbol CPY. During May and June 1998, Canada Payphone's shares traded in the $5.80 to $6.00 range, but spiked as high as $7.00 early in July — after the pay phone market was opened to competition — then closed on 8 July at $6.60. The company's website says there are 5,558,717 shares now issued — at $6.60 each the market capitalization (total value of the company) was $36,687,532.20 at the close of the business day on 8 July.

The CRTC decision defines the terms and conditions for a competitive payphone market. The CRTC won't regulate the prices charged by newcomers like Canada Payphone, but all newcomers to this market must meet the following conditions, set by the CRTC to protect the interests of consumers in a competitive market. Each pay telephone must meet all of these requirements: "We applaud the Commission's decision to allow Canadians to receive increased choice and new service options," said Stephen Niven, Vice President Corporate Development for Canada Payphone. "We've been busy preparing for this decision for more than three years," said Niven. "This has included conducting Canada's first CRTC-licensed trial involving 20 of our intelligent payphones" in Vancouver from April to October 1997.

Canada Payphone plans to have its pay telephones installed and operating in locations in Toronto and Vancouver by December 1998, and to move into other urban centres during 1999. Canada Payphone has lined up a powerful ally to help get its pay phones installed. In February 1998, it closed an exclusive deal with Halifax-based AT&T Canada Long Distance Services Company. "This agreement is an important milestone in our business plan to become the first independent provider of service in the $700,000,000 a year Canadian payphone market," Mr. Niven said. "Our firm commitment to service excellence demands that we provide our customers with premium communications services, and AT&T Canada certainly fits that bill." "The payphone market is a natural extension of our core business," remarked Anil Amlani, Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning and New Business Development at AT&T Canada Long Distance Services. "We are confident that our agreement with Canada Payphone Corporation will result in the provision of a reliable and convenient payphone alternative for Canadians from coast to coast."

[Excerpted from The Globe and Mail, 1 July 1998, Canada Payphone's website, and other sources.]
Complete text of CRTC Telecom Decision 98-8, 30 June 1998, "Local Pay Telephone Competition" Part 1 and Part 2

1998 March 31

MT&T Quality of Service Indicators

The most fundamental of these quality indicators is 3.1, Dial Tone Delay. The reported number is the percentage of attempted calls experiencing dial tone delay of three seconds or less, during the company's busiest hour of the month.

Maritime Telegraph & Telephone Company

Quality of Service Indicators (QSI)
as reported by MT&T to the CRTC

January - June, 1998

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
1.1B Rural 90% or more 96% 98% 98% 98% 98% 98%
1.2B Rural 90% or more 91% 93% 94% 94% 92% 92%
1.3B Rural 3.3% or less 0.3% 0.4% 0.3% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2%
1.5 U & R 80% or more 67% 80% 68% 70% 65% 76%
1.7 U & R 90% or more 93% 92% 91% 76% 92% 89%
2.1B Rural 80% or more 70% 69% 59% 75% 73% 71%
2.2B Rural 90% or more 88% 87% 82% 87% 87% 87%
2.3B Rural 5% or less 2% 2% 3% 2% 2% 2%
2.5 U & R 80% or more 70% 66% 45% 59% 81% 77%
3.1 U & R 98.5% or more 99.9% 99.9% 99.9% 99.8% 99.8% 99.8%
4.1 U & R 93.8% or more 99.9% 99.9% 99.9% 99.9% 99.9% 99.9%

Items which do not meet the standard
are shown on a yellow background.

Explanation of what each QSI means.

Above are selected QSIs only. Complete report.

"na" means either Not Available or Not Applicable
"U & R" means Urban and Rural combined

Source: CRTC website

This data is presented here for your information only.
Care has been taken to transcribe the data accurately.
However, in case of differences, the official version shall prevail.

My thanks to Mr. Leumas R. Drofnats of Joliet, Illinois <shinley@concentric.net>. When I found I did not know how to do the file format conversions that were necessary to get access to this data, Mr. Drofnats generously volunteered his time and expertise to assist. He performed the format conversions in his computer, and sent the results to me. His assistance is much appreciated.

Go To:   History of Telegraph and Telephone Companies in Nova Scotia

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Go To:   Proclamations: Land Grants in Nova Scotia 1757, '58, '59

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