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

Chapter 41
1998 November - December

1998 November

BEC Science Website

The science department at Breton Education Centre, in New Waterford, Cape Breton, has launched its own website. "It's a collection of science sites under the Breton Education Centre's (BEC) home page," says science department head Greg MacSween, who designed the site with the help of several other teachers. "Almost every topic you can think of relating to science can be found there." The site was launched about three weeks ago. "I had a good collection of science websites myself and I really thought we should do something through the school, so this was the result," says MacSween.

Breton Education Centre's home page

In the Science Department's entry webpage

you can choose from seven categories — biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, junior high, fun stuff, geology, staff list and science fair. The web has become an important teaching tool, notes MacSween. "In my biology class, for example, we follow the progress of everything we teach using the web." MacSween even gives his high school students web assignments. "One assignment, for example, was to take a cell and break it down into parts and assign each student in the class to go on the web and find out about their part, run it off and bring it back to the class," he says.

[Cape Breton Post, 13 November 1998]

1998 November

Chester Basin Gets More Street Lights

Chester Basin is purchasing more heritage-style street lights. The Chester Municipal Council agreed to purchase $17,000 worth of streetlights for Chester Basin and is lending the Chester Basin Streetlight account $10,000 from operating expenses to be repaid over two years. Much of the community's commercial core will now be lighted by the heritage-style poles.
[The Lunenburg Progress-Enterprise, 18 November 1998]

1998 November

Chester Municipality Takes Over Three Wharves

Chester, Chester Basin and Western Shore

Chester Municipal Council is accepting ownership of federal wharves in Chester, Chester Basin and Western Shore. The municipality is receiving $24,500 from the federal government for repairs needed at the wharves. Council originally requested hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair the wharves but was rejected outright by officials from Public Works Canada and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Council will now ask municipal engineer Kent Morash to outline what can be done with the funds to shore up the wharves. Only minimal repairs are needed at the Chester Basin wharf. The Chester back harbour wharf needs extensive repairs.
[The Lunenburg Progress-Enterprise, 18 November 1998]

1998 November

Orangedale Gets Improved Water Supply

After many years of concern about their water supply, the people of Orangedale have an affordable solution and clean drinking water. Technology developed in Nova Scotia has given the Cape Breton village a worry-free water supply for the first time. Groundwater in the Orangedale area is notoriously unfit for drinking and domestic use because of gypsum deposits. To solve the problem, the Environment Department's Environmental Industries and Technologies Division introduced technology developed by MG Environmental Equipment of Enfield and manufactured by ABCO Industries Ltd. of Lunenburg.
[Cape Breton Post, 7 November 1998]

1998 November 1

Satellite Telephone Service Now Available

Iridium, the global satellite phone service, has opened for business, giving people the power to make and receive calls anywhere from Mount Everest to the Dead Sea. Iridium, which took $5,000,000,000 and eleven years to design, manufacture, test, and deploy in space, made its service available today, after a one-month delay. Iridium customers will be able to make and receive phone calls from ships at sea to the highest mountain to the middle of the most remote desert, according to the company. The system enables business executives, as well as workers with disaster relief or oil and mining operations in remote areas, to never be out of touch.

The first official call on Iridium was made from the White House Rose Garden Friday by Vice President Al Gore, who phoned Gilbert Grosvenor, great-grandson of telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell and chairman of the National Geographic Society. The Iridium phone, which is much larger and heavier than a conventional cellular phone, carried Gore's voice directly to the satellite company. The call then connected into the public phone system through Phoenix, one of Iridium's 12 gateway ground stations. The Iridium system uses a constellation of 66 low-Earth-orbit satellites combined with land-based wireless systems. It went into service after more than a decade of testing and development, some lost satellites and the postponement of the initial September launch.

The technology comes at a high price. The phones, being made by Motorola Inc. and Japan's Kyocera Corp., cost nearly $5,000 each, in Canadian money. Phone calls cost about $2 to $3 per minute domestically and $3 to $10 per minute internationally. In urban areas, a cellular roaming service features dual-mode phones that can be switched to operate with land-based wireless services. Tim O'Neil, a telecommunications industry analyst at SoundView Financial Group, said he spent an hour last week using the Iridium handset and was impressed with voice quality, shape and weight of the phone. "The voice quality is not as good as terrestrial-based wireless systems but very close and much better than other satellite alternatives," he said. However, O'Neil said limited availability of the phones will contain growth this year. An Iridium spokeswoman said the company plans to have about 100,000 phones in customer's hands by year-end. It expects to have a positive cash flow by the end of next year. Motorola, a pioneer in high technology, first developed the Iridium concept, setting it up as a separate company in 1991. Motorola, based in Schaumburg, Illinois, has booked large losses from the $5,000,000,000 venture but finally sees a "significant contribution" to overall profits at the technology and telecommunications giant in 1999.

Iridium is now a consortium of a number of high-tech companies, of which Motorola holds the largest stake at 20%.  Others are Sprint Corp., Raytheon Co., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Pacific Electric Wire & Cable Co.  Two days ago, Iridium said it had negotiated more than 270 distribution agreements with service providers and cellular partners in 125 countries to serve more than 105,000,000 wireless telephone subscribers.  CEO Staiano expects Iridium to experience some problems like dropped calls and other bugs.  But it has a system to identify and fix problems with minimal disruption, he said.  Shares of financing vehicle Iridium World Communications Ltd. are publicly traded on the NASDAQ stock market.

Iridium Communications Inc.

1998 November 2

Provincial Governments Lagging on Year 2000

"The provinces are not up to speed in updating all the intricate computer systems that control our water, gas, electricity, and health care. While an elevator shutting down in an apartment building might be a mere inconvenience, an elevator or respirator suddenly turning off in a hospital could indeed be dangerous ... The word 'frightened' is very much in my vocabulary as I perceive the next twelve months unfolding," Joe Boivin said recently, on the eve of a newly released poll by Industry Canada that reveals that more than 80% of Canadians consider the Y2K threat benign. Mr. Boivin, 55, is president and founder of the Ottawa-based Global Millennium Foundation, a non-profit group of concerned citizens urging governments and business to prepare for the coming crisis in computer systems all over the country.
[The National Post, 2 November 1998]

ICS comment (written 2 November 1998):
Certainly it is true that the government of Nova Scotia is not anywhere near up to speed on the Y2K problem. A message posted on an Internet discussion list on Sunday, 1 November 1998, describing an attempt to pry information out of the government about the current status of efforts and plans to deal with the Y2K situation in its computer systems, included this comment: "People are telling us privately that some departments are in desperate shape." My information is scanty, but what I have been able to find out agrees with this gloomy assessment. Perhaps the most telling information of all is the government's persistent refusal to tell us anything whatever about what is happening. It sure makes it look like they have a lot to hide.

1998 November 2

Y2K Hits Front Page
of The Globe and Mail

Today, the Year 2000 computer problem, also known as Y2K or the Millennium Bug, appeared on the front page of The Globe and Mail for the third time. On page A1 below the fold, a three-column headline read:

Year 2000 Woes:
They're Banking On It

Central bank plans to print more money
in anticipation of Y2K panic

The previous appearances of Y2K on the Globe's front page occurred on 4 February 1998 and 27 October 1998.

1998 November 3

Twinned Section of Highway 103 Opened

An official ceremony this day marked the opening for normal traffic of a newly-completed twinned section of Highway 103 about five kilometres in length, built at a cost of about $4,200,000. This was the first phase of a $22,000,000 project to twin 18 kilometres of Highway No. 103, from Beechville to Exit 5 at Upper Tantallon. Traffic volume on this section of Highway No. 103 increased by over 30% in five years. About 13,000 vehicles now use this road every day. In the next few years, it is planned that the rest of the highway as far as Upper Tantallon will be twinned. This work will be done in the two remaining phases of the project.
Hansard, 3 November 1998, page 3172

and the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 4 November 1998.

1998 November 3

Furnace Oil Price 22.4¢ Per Litre

It was moved by Councillor MacDougall, and seconded by Deputy Mayor Anderson to award the contract to supply the fuel oil requirements of the Town of Port Hawkesbury for 1998/99, to the low tenderer, Frank's Fuels, in the amount of 22.4¢ per litre.
Source: Port Hawkesbury Town Council minutes, November 3, 1998

1998 November 4

Y2K Hits Front Page
of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald

Today, the Year 2000 computer problem, also known as Y2K or the Millennium Bug, appeared on the front page of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald for the first time. On page A1 above the fold, a five-column headline in type 17 millimetres high:

Y2K Health Costs Soar
Province pushes Ottawa
to help pay $65m price tag

Written by Paul Schneidereit, the story began: Ensuring the Y2K bug doesn't cripple vital medical equipment across Nova Scotia will cost the provincial government $60 million to $70 million.  And that price tag is only part of the government's commitment to making sure the millennium bug doesn't bite the province, Technology and Science Minister Robbie Harrison says.  [The story was accompanied by a 34mm × 47mm cut (picture) of Mr. Harrison.]

"Our target is to have all of our critical systems test-run by late next summer," said Mr. Harrison, referring to government computers that control everything from issuing pension cheques to monitoring intensive-care patients.  The province has already spent about $15 million tackling the Year 2000 problem government-wide, he said.  That figure includes the Health Department but excludes hospitals and regional health boards. [Emphasis added: ICS] Other government departments will also spend more, although it's still unclear how much will be needed, he said.  "The affordability factor is not an issue.  We will find the resources."

Harrison to issue regular progress reports

Mr. Harrison said he will begin issuing regular progress reports within ten days on Year 2000 work.

Digby-Annapolis Tory MLA Gordon Balser said he wants to know why last spring's budget contains almost no references to dealing with the millennium bug.  "There was nothing in the budget that clearly denoted money set aside for Year 2000."  The government seems to be reacting instead of planning, said Mr. Balser, who filed a Freedom of Information request Friday asking for details of Year 2000 spending and progress.  Crunching the millennium bug in health-care facilities is proving to be expensive across the country.  Alberta has committed $170 million to solving the problem while Ontario will spend hundreds of millions.  Computers or microchips are used in thousands of medical devices such as heart defibrillators, intensive-care monitors and chemotherapy units.  Halifax's largest hospital complex, the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, is budgeting $20 million to deal with the millennium bug. Some of the $60 million to $70 million "has already been spent," Mr. Harrison said. "The rest will be spent as they (the Health Department) develop their compliance checks through to summer 1998 and on through to completion.  Departments are now preparing estimates for Year 2000 work over the next 18 months, he said.  "I would say in a month's time we'll have a much clearer picture of those estimates."

With only 14 months left before 2000, the public has a right to know the government's progress on solving the Year 2000 problem, Mr. Balser said.

[Excerpted from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 4 November 1998]

ICS Comment (written Wednesday evening, 4 November 1998):
To me, the most interesting, by far the most interesting, sentence in this story is: "Mr. Harrison said he will begin issuing regular progress reports within ten days on Year 2000 work."

Yeah, right.

But, what will be in these reports?

Will they be filled with the turgid bafflegab that has been the sole content of all of Mr. Harrison's previous statements on the Year 2000 computer problem?

For a representative sample of this kind of statement, made by Mr. Harrison on the floor of the Legislature speaking as the cabinet minister in charge of the government's preparations for Y2K, see Hansard, 27 May 1998, page 350:

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.

MR. SPEAKER: The time for Oral Question Period has expired.

423 days remaining before 1 January 2000.

ICS (webmaster) comment, written 5:00am 5 November 1998:
As the minister responsible for the government's work on the Y2K problem, this (immediately above) was Mr. Harrison's very first statement in the Legislature, made on 27 May 1998. This was six months, to the day, after the minister in charge of Y2K was asked in the Legislature to tell us what was being done.

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.

Mr. Harrison's vague, uninformative response, quoted above, up to 28 October 1998 was all, every word, the government had ever said in our Legislature about the infamous Millennium Bug.  Was Mr. Harrison being evasive, or was he simply unprepared?  This was the best he could do, after six months' notice?

So, now, we can confidently await the appearance of timely, candid, and informative "regular reports" from this same source?

Yeah, right. You wanna know how I think this will unfold?

First, there is the ten-day waiting period. So, everyone will have to wait (patiently or impatiently makes no difference to the government) for those ten days to elapse.

Then, oops, the ten-day wait turns out to end on 14 November, a Saturday. That's too bad — of course, the report has to be released first to the Legislature, and the Legislature doesn't sit on Saturdays, so we'll have to wait for at least two more days until the Legislature meets on Monday.

There's twelve days right there. By now, we're getting pretty close to the Legislature going into adjournement. Bit of a squeaker, but don't get upset, there's still time.

Then, we will be told about a series of minor, very regrettable but unforeseen and unavoidable delays in getting out the first of these "regular progress reports". The cumulative effect of these delays will be that no report will appear until after the Legislature has adjourned and gone home to hibernate until next spring.

That way, the government won't have to face questioning in the Legislature on the content, or lack thereof, of whatever the report may contain when the first one does finally drift out into public view.

However, for the government there is a big benefit attached to Mr. Harrison's promise (of regular progress reports). The government won't have to worry about dodging and evading, or appearing to dodge and evade, questions about Y2K. That huge benefit became effective when the Halifax Chronicle-Herald hit the streets on 4 November, and will continue throughout all remaining sitting days of the current Legislature session. To any and all questions about Y2K, the government can blandly say:

Wait for the progress report, which will be available any day now and will contain the answers to all your questions.

After the Legislature adjourns, and the MLAs have gone home, and the report finally appears, it won't matter that it contains nothing like adequate answers. There will be no platform for anyone to ask questions.

I think that's how Niccolo, the famous political consultant, would have analyzed this very clever manoeuvre. We'll see how the universe unfolds.

1998 November 4

Harrison Hassles
Y2K Researchers

From Page 3290, Hansard's report of proceedings
in the Nova Scotia Legislature
on 4 November 1998:

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.


HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the research director for the New Democratic Party has canvassed all departments and constituents of the public body of the Government of Nova Scotia for documents concerning its Year 2000 problem; and

Whereas in lawyer-like fashion as becomes a man of his profession, he has shown a preference for statutory red tape rather than the ease of his telephone to obtain the information; and

Whereas the telephone is faster than any statutory process; and

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge Graham Steele and the New Democratic Party to shed their legal approaches, pick up their phones in pursuit of this very commendable effort to raise Nova Scotians' awareness about their government's effort to deal with the Year 2000 problem.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

Source: Hansard, 4 November 1998, page 3290

ICS (webmaster) comment, written 3:00am 7 November 1998:
This little speech (resolution 1616) by Mr. Harrison, is a mystery to me.  What was his purpose?  What could possibly be the point?

If he just wanted to speed up the process, seems to me that would have been accomplished far better by following his own advice by picking up his own office telephone and delivering the message directly, instead of waiting for the next Legislature meeting.

Each time I read resolution 1616, a mental image forms — of a little boy standing with his thumb to his nose, wiggling his fingers in the air, and singsonging "Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah."

423 days remaining before 1 January 2000.

ICS comment:
Once again, we see the yawning chasm between what Mr. Harrison says in the Legislature, and what is being done.

Mr Harrison speaks approvingly of "this very commendable effort to raise Nova Scotians' awareness about their government's effort to deal with the Year 2000 problem."

But, during his seven months as the minister responsible for the government's efforts to deal with that very problem, the record shows nothing but a continuing refusal to divulge any information whatever about that, and a repeated use of methods such as bafflegab and stonewalling that have been standard bureaucratic tactics for centuries when the real purpose is obfuscation and delay.

Another example (Hansard page 3314, next below) occurred in the Legislature just one hour later.

In my dictionary: obfuscate verb, transitive
(1) to confuse, becloud
(2) to make obscure
(3) to make difficult of comprehension or interpretation

1998 November 4

Harrison Dismisses
Y2K Risks

Minister in Charge of Y2K Work
Compares Warnings to Chicken Little

From Page 3314, Hansard's report of proceedings
in the Nova Scotia Legislature
on 4 November 1998:

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

YEAR 2000

MR. PETER DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister responsible for the Technology and Science Secretariat. It is funny that information this minister wouldn't give to the House last week he gave to a reporter yesterday. (Interruptions) In today's Halifax Chronicle-Herald, the minister reveals that the Year 2000 costs for the Health Department alone are between $60 million and $70 million. Now, the minister says he hopes to get some of the money in next spring's federal budget. My question for the minister, does he have any funding commitment from the federal government or is this just another example of wishful thinking on the part of a provincial government which appears to be bungling the Year 2000 problem?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: I am sure we are going to hear a lot of sky is falling, Chicken Little comments about why Y2K, we have 400 days to go, I am sure we will hear a lot about that.

The bottom line is, Mr. Speaker, that the Health Department is committed to full compliance on essential services by next summer. So that they can test track literally every item within their field. The expenditure has already begun. Is the member opposite asking whether or not the federal government has made a commitment to health care? He need only listen to his radio, day after day after day, to this Minister of Finance or that Minister of Health, to the Prime Minister of the country, it will be the top priority of the next federal budget.

MR. DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, the last thing, I can assure the minister that what I want to do is preach doom and gloom. Just genuine concern here for the citizens of Nova Scotia. The same article I made reference to quotes the minister as saying that, "Departments are now preparing estimates for the Year 2000 work over the next 18 months,". Mr. Speaker, if that is true, it is a scandal. It is now November 1998.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. DELEFES: We are far past the time when estimates should have been prepared.

MR. SPEAKER: Question.

MR. DELEFES: My question for the minister is, if the Year 2000 is going to cost the Health Department sixty million to seventy million dollars, what is the projected cost for the rest of government?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is suggesting that 12 month planning or 18 month planning is scandalous. One of the problems we have with a Party that chooses to go behind closed doors and say they are going to raise taxes and then call the member of the Third Party a liar is that they don't do long-term planning. We are planning four years out. Government By Design is a four year budgeting process for the first time in the history of the province.

MR. DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, the same article says that regular progress will be issued. I can't help thinking that the Freedom of Information request filed by my office on October 2nd and the Auditor General's ongoing investigation has something to do with the minister's new-found desire to share information.

MR. SPEAKER: Your question please.

MR. DELEFES: My question.  Will the minister guarantee that the first Year 2000 Progress Report will be released while this House is still sitting?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, regular updates on progress will be filed before this House concludes its business.  It will be filed on our website so that the member opposite, regardless of where he is, can access information, so that we can reassure Nova Scotians that essential service compliance will be carried out by this government and with many sectors of the Nova Scotia society.

Source: Hansard, 4 November 1998, page 3314

ICS comment:
In the summer of 2000, when we will know what really happened, it will be amusing to recall Mr. Harrison's comments this afternoon, and compare them to the actual events.

423 days remaining before 1 January 2000.

Mr. Harrison said: "Regular updates on (Y2K) progress will be filed on our website..."

Somehow, he forgot to mention what website.

Mr. Harrison is the Minister in charge of the Technology & Science Secretariat, which is officially responsible for the Nova Scotia government's response to the Y2K problem. The Technology & Science Secretariat website is at http://www.gov.ns.ca/tss/. At 5:00am Saturday, 7 November 1998, two full working days after Mr. Harrison's statement that "Regular updates on (Y2K) progress will be filed on our website," I searched through this website carefully, looking for any mention of Y2K or the Millennium Bug or the Year 2000. All of the webpages in the site were more than fifteen months old, and contained no mention of Y2K. Is this the website Mr. Harrison spoke of, in the Legislature? If not, what did he have in mind?

In the entry page, there were several links leading into the site:

The Statement of Purpose link led to a webpage dated 1997-Jul-21, which contained no mention of Y2K or the Millennium Bug or the Year 2000.

The Key Activities link led to a webpage dated 1997-Jul-21, which contained no mention of Y2K.

The Goals link led to a webpage dated 1997-Jul-21, which contained no mention of Y2K.

The Information Technology Standards link led to a webpage dated 1997-Jul-21, which contained no mention of Y2K.

The Information Technology Guidelines link led to a webpage dated 1997-Jul-21, which contained no mention of Y2K.

At http://www.gov.ns.ca/tss/stds/its3213.htm there is a webpage titled "Desktop Operating Systems." It is dated 1996-Aug-14, more than 26 months ago, and contains nothing about Y2K.

At http://www.gov.ns.ca/tss/stds/its2401.htm there is a webpage titled "Data Base Management Systems." It is dated 1996-Aug-14, more than 26 months ago, and contains nothing about Y2K.

At http://www.gov.ns.ca/tss/docs/INetGuide.htm#appendix there is a section titled "Acronyms and Definitions." It is dated 1997-Apr-18, more than 18 months ago, and contains no mention of "Y2K" or "Millennium Bug" or anything remotely suggestive thereof.

There is a search engine in the entry page of the Nova Scotia Government's website at http://www.gov.ns.ca/. I did a search on "y2k" and got 21 hits, in the entire government site. I looked at most of them — all that were viewable with Netscape (some weren't) — and none could remotely be classified as progress reports on Y2K.

What Mr. Harrison may have had in mind when he referred to "Regular updates on (Y2K) progress will be filed on our website..." remains a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Was this what he intended?

1998 November 4

Getting the Bugs Out

Editorial in the Bridgewater Bulletin

I'm what you'd call a worrier.

There's no use denying it. Some people can go about their business without so much as a thought to the world around them. But that's not me. I envy people who can block out their problems, both real and imagined. I think that's an admirable personality trait.

I know it's not healthy to worry so much. But that's just the way I am. I worry about everything, much of which I can't control anyway. Maybe it's a genetic disorder because other members of my family are also prone to worrying. No matter how insignificant something may seem to some people, I'll worry about it.

In fact, I've worried so much over the years that much of my hair has fallen out and what little bit that remains on top of my head, is turning a silvery grey. I had to laugh a few weeks ago when my seven-year-old son turned to me at the supper table one night and asked why the whiskers under my chin were white. Jokingly, I told him, that came from having to deal with the realities of life.

Naturally, he didn't understand what I meant, but I was impressed with his powers of observation. Then, I thought, perhaps much can be told by that little, but ever expanding patch of white under my chin. Maybe the realities of life are taking their toll.

Now, if those realities weren't enough to worry about, modern technology has given us many more to brood over. As we are in the waning years of the 20th Century and talk about the millennium continues to escalate, I've been forced to worry about all the problems that the dreaded Y2K bug is going to create when the clock strikes 12:01 on the morning of January 1, 2000 — that's if your clock still works.

If you believe everything you read, watch on television or hear from "informed" people, the Y2K plague will cause the world to stand still as computers ground to a halt rendering this technology-dependant society incapable of functioning. For those of you who haven't heard of the Y2K bug, it's the glitch in computer software created when early programmers abbreviated the year to two digits to save memory space. As a result, the dreaded Y2K bug could be lurking anywhere in the millions of computer chips and programming around the word.

This is serious business, especially for us worriers, because we don't know where it will strike, although we know when.

For instance, if the dreaded Y2K bug hits, my computer at home may not work.

Even worse, many appliances in my home may not work after New Year 2000 including my microwave and worse still, my television or VCR (video cassette recorder).

This plague could have extensive ramifications knocking out our telephones and other communication equipment such as fax machines.

Worse still, if this bug invades, it could knock out official records including those at hospitals, to say nothing about what it will do to the financial world.

Alarm and security systems are another area of concern if you have one in your business or your home.

Speaking of your home and business, heating and air-conditioning systems could also be affected.

As for driving, well that could become a nightmare because, in case you didn't know, traffic lights are controlled by little computer chips. If they're not compatible with the year 2000, they could stop functioning.

While on the subject of lights, municipal governments are concerned about how the bug will affect street lighting. Most of us may not realize it, but street lights are controlled by little computer chips that tell them when to turn on and when to turn off.

All this computer crashing will obviously spell bad news for everyone. There are steps you can take to make sure all your computer dependent equipment doesn't fail when the clock strikes midnight to signal the dawn of a new century. But you must be careful as specialists warn that setting your clocks or counters ahead to the year 1999 may cause your equipment to crash prematurely. There, that's something else to worry about, as if we didn't have enough to think about already.

Fighting the dreaded Y2K bug is big business. Governments and businesses are spending millions of dollars to combat the plague, but they warn they may not be done in time. For all of you who don't own computers and think you have nothing to worry about, well the experts say you should worry because our lives are intertwined with technology.

So for me, this is just something new to add to my list of worries. I'm bringing this to your attention for two reasons. First, I think you should be prepared and, secondly, because misery loves company.

Vernon Oickle, Editor

[Editorial in the Bridgewater Bulletin, 4 November 1998]

1998 November 5

Y2K Expenses at
Nova Scotia's Largest Hospital

Government Continues Stonewalling Y2K Questions

From Page 3407, Hansard's report of proceedings
in the Nova Scotia Legislature
on 5 November 1998:

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition...


MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker ... My question to the Minister of Finance in this document they [the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre] talk about a $20,000,000 grant that they are expecting to receive from the Province of Nova Scotia to help them deal with their Y2K expenses. Has the Minister of Finance given a commitment to the QE II that he, in fact, will provide them with $20,000,000 to defray those expenses for 1998-99?

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, every department has their own budget dealing with the Y2K issue.  In fact, every department in this government is reviewing the activities of the Y2K, the implications and the serious issues that could come out of that.  So every department has money in their budget of this fiscal year, dealing with Y2K and next year they will obviously be looking at other allocations with regard to this specific experience.

Source: Hansard, 5 November 1998, page 3407

Now we know.  Thanks, Mr. Downe.

422 days remaining before 1 January 2000.

1998 November 9

Y2K Appears in Lead Editorials

Today, the Year 2000 computer problem was a major topic in the lead editorials in both of the two largest-circulation daily newspapers in Nova Scotia. The Halifax Daily News used the phrase "year 2000 computer fix." The Halifax Chronicle-Herald used "Year 2000 compliant" once and "Y2K" three times. Both editorials dealt with the huge and growing deficit at Nova Scotia's largest hospital, the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, and the cost of fixing its Y2K problems which is a significant component of that deficit.

1998 November 9

Government Underestimates Y2K Cost

Province's Y2K Costs Continually Rising

From Page 3534, Hansard's report of proceedings
in the Nova Scotia Legislature
on 9 November 1998:

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.


DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the government has consistently underestimated the cost of dealing with the Y2K bug; and

Whereas each estimate released is significantly higher than the one previous; and

Whereas our over-administered health care system has overrun its budget;

Therefore be it resolved that the government and its science and technology minister provide a comprehensive plan to ensure health care will not be devoured by the Y2K bug.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

[Source: Hansard, 9 November 1998, page 3534
    http://nslegislature.ca/index.php/proceedings/hansard/C56/57_1_h98nov09/i98nov09.htm#[Page%203534] ]

This is the first time the Leader of the PC Party
has ever mentioned the Y2K problem in the Legislature.

418 days remaining before 1 January 2000.

1998 November 9

Dominion CAP Site Launched

Residents of the Town of Dominion now have access to top of the line information technology. The Dominion Community Access Project (CAP) officially kicked off this evening at the Cape Breton Regional Library in Dominion. Rosalie Gillis, co-ordinator of financial support for the Cape Breton Regional Library in Cape Breton and Victoria counties in Nova Scotia, said the project focuses on ensuring technology is accessible in smaller communities. The project is partnered with Industry Canada, the Dominion Library, Dominion Heritage Group and individuals in the community. Gillis said $11,150 in funding for the project was received from Industry Canada to purchase equipment including two computers, a printer and scanner. The computers have large screens to allow easier access to the equipment for those with vision problems. The way the project works is the contribution received then has to be matched in some form by the community, Gillis said. In Dominion, their contribution includes volunteer time given at the site, the library providing access to the Internet and the use of the site location. There is no charge to the public with the exception of a minimal fee for use of the printer to cover costs. "All you need is a library card and a stamp for Internet use," Gillis added. Those wishing to access the Internet can do so in one-hour sessions. Gillis said the Dominion site marks the sixth CAP project on the island. Other sites include libraries in Sydney, North Sydney, Sydney Mines, Donkin and Baddeck.
[Cape Breton Post, 11 November 1998]

1998 November 10

Fast Work by Hansard

Today there was a demonstration of fast work by the staff of the Hansard reporting office. The Legislature was in session early this afternoon, until 1:52pm.  I happened to look at the Hansard website at 5:40pm the same afternoon, and there was the complete on-line Hansard for today!  I don't know when they got it uploaded, but it was there less than four hours after the session was adjourned.

Source: Hansard, 10 November 1998

1998 November 10

It's Now Too Late
to Head Off All the Y2K Problems

ABC News Gets the Message

Peter Jennings, ABC News anchor: There was another urgent warning today about the Year 2000 computer bug — the problem is even more complicated, and will be more expensive to fix, than anyone had expected. The warning results from a nation-wide — I beg your pardon — a world-wide survey, done by the biggest computer consulting firm in Europe. Here's ABC's Ned Potter:

Ned Potter, ABC News: With only 416 days to go, the new survey says it's too late to head off all the problems. (clip: "Long Beach 911.") All we can do now is make sure that the essentials, such as vital phone systems, don't crash, that assembly lines are not stopped by the computers that control them, that power companies not only have plans to keep running, but have tested them.

Chris Webster, Cap Gemini Computer Consultants: (clip) What really matters to us is on the first of January in the year 2000 is we turn on the light switch and the light comes on, the central heating works.

Ned Potter: The survey says US and European firms will have to spend 858 billion dollars updating their computer systems. That's half the economy of Germany, and the number has jumped twenty per cent in just the last six months. Economists say the US is far better prepared than other countries, but in today's wired world, one computer crashing on New Year's Day 2000 can take many others down with it.

[Source: ABC World News Tonight. This item was broadcast at 7:37pm AST on 10 November 1998. ABC is carried by most (all?) cable television companies in Nova Scotia. Above is the complete text.]

ICS comment (written 4:50am 11 November 1998):
It's great to see the mainstream media finally beginning to get the message, that Y2K really is a major problem.

It will be interesting to see how much longer it takes local media, such as the TV networks and the newspapers, to start taking this seriously. So far, the local media has pretty much ignored it. For example, there has been not a word from any newspaper or television station about the numerous refusals of the Nova Scotia government to give a serious reply to repeated questions in the Legislature, over the last two weeks.

Of course, Peter Jennings' comment that "the problem is even more complicated, and will be more expensive to fix, than anyone had expected" is rubbish. For years, lots of people have been saying exactly that — thay've been saying and writing it forcefully and repeatedly. The real problem has been that very few in a position of authority, corporate or government, have comprehended what this is about, and the few who have understood have been unwilling to act.

And how about that startling news that it is now "too late to head off all the problems"? That was true many months ago. For sizeable companies and government departments, it was too late if they had not started really serious work by mid-1997. For many of those which had started serious work before 1997, it has become too late because of management dithering and false economies and procrastination. The Toronto Stock Exchange is a glaring example of that.

1998 November 10

Y2K Expenses at
Nova Scotia's Largest Hospital

Government Continues Stonewalling Y2K Questions

From Page 3593, Hansard's report of proceedings
in the Nova Scotia Legislature
on 10 November 1998:

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West...


MR. GEORGE MOODY: ...I would ask the Minister [of Health], in a final supplementary, when they talk about the Year 2000, my understanding is the QE II has replaced, and when the new facility was put in place, there was new equipment bought, and it is my understanding, or I would hope, that it would be Y2K-compliant. Is the minister telling me, and telling Nova Scotians, the equipment that was bought, was it Year 2000-compliant or are we now looking at replacing the new equipment that was just purchased within the last year?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, when I was saying that this company and the department and others will be looking at what initiatives are coming forward from the facilities that they will, in fact, be compatible and it is ensuring that we will not have to replace them. Now, there has been equipment, probably, throughout the province somewhere, I am not aware. I have not micromanaged the health care system, but I am sure there are some areas, maybe, that they have been incompatible.

Source: Hansard, 10 November 1998, page 3593

Thanks for clearing up that matter, Dr. Smith,
and for telling us in plain language.  Not!

417 days remaining before 1 January 2000.

1998 November 12

Y2K: Is Canada Doing Enough?

In this day's issue, The Globe and Mail asked its readers to vote Yes or No on the question:
Is Canada doing enough to prepare for the millennium bug?
The voting progressed as follows: [Source: http://www.globetechnology.com/ ]

1998 November 17

Y2K Costs Adding to Hospital Deficit

Government Stonewall on Y2K Continues

From Page 3848, Hansard's report of proceedings
in the Nova Scotia Legislature
on 17 November 1998:

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.


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

Whereas the IWK-Grace Health Centre is one of Canada's leading tertiary care centres providing family-centered care to children and women in Nova Scotia, the Maritimes and beyond; and

Whereas with a projected deficit of $7 million and millions more needed to address the Year 2000 bug, Atlantic Canada's largest hospital for children and women requires urgently needed funds from the Department of Health; and

Whereas without additional funding from the Department of Health, hospital officials are saying the magnitude of the debt will really get out of control and services will have to be cut;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health immediately meet with the hospital and board officials and that he clearly define a strategic plan that sets out a reasonable debt-management plan that prevents the need for service cuts.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.
Is it agreed?
I hear a No.
The notice is tabled.

Source: Hansard, 17 November 1998, page 3848

410 days remaining before 1 January 2000.

1998 November 17

Harrison is "Weak Link"

Y2K problem
"potentially disastrous"
for Nova Scotia

From Page 3852, Hansard's report of proceedings
in the Nova Scotia Legislature
on 17 November 1998:

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.


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

Whereas a recent report out of Ottawa suggests the provinces are the weak links in any attempt to have computers ready for the new millennium; and

Whereas there is no better way to describe Nova Scotia's minister responsible for ensuring that Y2K problems are rectified, other than as a weak link, because the only information released to date from the minister has been a guesstimate of the cost to the Department of Health; and

Whereas simple answers to short and specific questions put to the minister have been ignored, presumably because the minister has absolutely no idea what the total budget cost will be for the Nova Scotia Government;

Therefore be it resolved that since the minister's deputy, in October of last year, referenced the Y2K problem as being a potentially disastrous one for this province, the minister explain whether he is a weak link, as the majority of Nova Scotians feel, or if he is a strong conductor who can provide the answers concerning Y2K problems here in Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: That notice of motion was too long; however, it is tabled.

Source: Hansard, 17 November 1998, page 3852

1998 November 18

New Bus Line on South Shore

MacKenzie's last trip operated on October 31st

DRL wants permanent bus licence

The Newfoundland company providing scheduled bus service on the South Shore wants to do so for the long term. DRL Coachlines has applied to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board for a permanent motor carrier licence for bus service between Yarmouth and Halifax. The company has been operating under a temporary licence since 1 November. DRL stepped in when MacKenzie Bus Line, a Bridgewater-based company which had operated in the region for 65 years, applied to abandon its licences. What MacKenzie really hoped to do was force the government to look at the bus industry in the province and provide interim financial assistance while correcting problems. Instead, when the Newfoundland company offered to provide transportation here, the Utility and Review Board approved MacKenzie's application to give up scheduled service. MacKenzie's last trip operated on 31 October 1998.

DRL has brought in new coaches, but is selling tickets at the same prices MacKenzie was charging. The firm focuses on customer service, having an attendant on board each coach to assist passengers and showing movies to break up travelling time. DRL's interim manager here says, So far things are going well. "In the first two weeks of our operation we are pretty well on track and we feel quite confident in where we're heading. It's as we expected," Jason Roberts said Monday.

The permanent licence application provides for daily return scheduled service for passengers and parcels via Highways 3 and 103. Monday through Saturday, the coach leaves Yarmouth at 6:25am and arrives in Halifax just before noon. On Sundays and holidays, it leaves Yarmouth at 11:30am and gets to Halifax at 4:50pm. The coach leaves Halifax every day at 6:25pm, arriving at Bridgewater about 8:30pm and Yarmouth just before midnight. That is a schedule change, but Mr. Roberts explained the existing schedule that leaves Bridgewater at 7:15am didn't have many riders. It was too late for commuters and too early for shoppers. By moving that to around 9:30am, DRL hopes more people will find it convenient for travelling. Right now, the coach stops are located at the Cookville Irving in Bridgewater, Bayside Irving in Mahone Bay, at the Bluenose Mini Mart in Lunenburg, and Big Red's in Chester.

Although MacKenzie president and general manager Darrin Parker had said several times in recent months that his company might go head to head with DRL for a permanent licence when the time came, he said Monday that won't happen next month. "We are unable to consider any kind of operations or business ventures until our financial situation is straightened out," Mr. Parker said. "However, I don't know what next winter or spring holds. We'll just have to wait and see what the state of the industry is like and whether or not government is ready to come forward and provide either assistance to the carriers or simply change a few regulations."

Public hearings on DRL's application will be held in Halifax on December 15th and Yarmouth the following morning. The hearing in Bridgewater will be held at 7:00pm December 16th at the Bridgewater town hall. DRL has not decided where its operations base will be located. The company plans to open a travel agency in Halifax soon and will operate the coachline from there for the interim, at least until permanent licences are issued.

[Excerpted from the Bridgewater Bulletin, 18 November 1998]

1998 November 18

Horse-and-Carriage Tours Approved

Visitors may be able to view Mahone Bay's scenic streets and architecture from a horse-drawn carriage next summer. The Mahone Bay Town Council approved a request from a Bridgewater woman who wishes to operate carriage tours in the town. Lori Gould is still planning the endeavour, but hopes to pick up and drop off passengers at several locations in Mahone Bay. Those include the parking lots across from the three churches, the tourist bureau, and possibly the Suttles and Seawinds lot. She would load and unload the horses and carriage at the government wharf, except during Wooden Boat Festival week when she hopes to find an alternate site.
[Bridgewater Bulletin, 18 November 1998]

1998 November 20

Nova Scotia Government
Fails to Deliver
Promised Y2K Progress Report

Progress Report
on Mr. Harrison's Promised Progress Reports

On 4 November 1998, speaking on the floor of the Legislature in his official capacity as the Minister in charge of the Nova Scotia Government's Year 2000 Project, Mr. Harrison said:
"Regular updates on (Y2K) progress will be filed on our website..."

On 4 November the Halifax Chronicle-Herald printed on its front page an interview with Mr. Harrison. In that interview, Mr. Harrison said he would "begin issuing regular progress reports within ten days on Year 2000 work."

Today is a full working week after the end of that ten-day period. It would be reasonable to expect that this clearly-stated public promise would have been implemented in some manner.

After the close of the working day on Friday, 20 November 1998, I looked around in the government's website, to see what had been posted, or "filed" as Mr. Harrison said. This was two weeks and two days after Mr. Harrison made that promise.

In the government's official website index at http://www.gov.ns.ca/gov_index.asp there is a link "What's New" pointing to http://www.gov.ns.ca/new.htm, a webpage titled "What's New" that begins: "We are pleased that you have come to visit our Government of Nova Scotia World Wide Web site. Keep watching here for new information and services as they become available."

This "What's New" webpage seems to be a reasonable location to find the promised Y2K Progress Report, or at least information about where it can be found. But no. The most recent item is dated 10 November, ten days ago, and it reads: If you're looking for information at the Legislative Library in Halifax it's much easier these days." There's no mention of the Year 2000 computer problem. The next item is dated 8 October 1998. All the other items in the What's New webpage are older than that. Most are puff pieces, devoid of content. None mention Y2K.

So much for the government's "What's New" webpage.

I looked at each of the 94 press releases sent out by the government in the last thirty days. No mention of Y2K.

The Technology and Science Secretariat is the department officially responsible for the Nova Scotia Government's Year 2000 Project. Its website is at http://www.gov.ns.ca/tss/. The entry page was last updated 1998-Jul-21. There are several links, which I followed. None contained any mention of Y2K or anything remotely related to the Year 2000 computer problem in the government's operations.

It is evident that the Nova Scotia Government's long-standing policy of stonewalling any questions about Y2K in its operations is continuing, despite Mr. Harrison's publicly-stated promise sixteen days ago to "begin issuing regular progress reports within ten days on Year 2000 work."

You'd think the man would be embarrassed, or contrite, or show some indication of an awareness of having failed in an important part of his official responsibilities. But no.

407 days remaining before 1 January 2000.

1998 November 20

Y2K Workshop for Municipalities

The Town Clerk informed Port Hawkesbury Town Council that the UNSM and AMA are offering a workshop in Truro, November 20, 1998, on Tackling the Year 2000; he reported that himself and Jim Davis will be attending, noting that we do have a means to deal with the year 2000 problem.
Source: Port Hawkesbury Town Council minutes, November 3, 1998

UNSM: Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities
AMA: (probably) American Municipal Association

1998 November 20

Increase in Railway Traffic

New Track Being Built by CB&CNSR

Rail traffic at the Strait of Canso is being boosted by development in Point Tupper. Elaine Collins, marketing director for Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway, said Thursday the rail line being built to the Sable Offshore Energy (SOE) fractionation plant will mean an additional 12 to 15 cars every day that the railway will be moving between Truro and Point Tupper, empties eastbound and loads westbound.

The rail spur being built will ship natural gas liquids processed at SOE's fractionation plant. The plant will process an average 20,000 barrels per day of liquid natural gas in Point Tupper and broken down into propane, butane and condensate products. The natural gas liquids, piped to Point Tupper from the gas processing plant in Goldboro, Guysborough County, is separated into its components — butane, propane and condensate.

Collins said the railway will also be shipping some of the construction pieces for the fractionation plant. She said Stora's expansion has meant an increase to their railway business and with more development being talked about, especially recent news that companies are eyeing the Strait as a location for an ethylene/polyethelene plant, the future is looking good as well.

[Cape Breton Post, 20 November 1998]
Also see:
Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway
Sable Offshore Energy Inc.

1998 November 21

Y2K Hits the Front Page
of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald

Today, the Year 2000 computer problem, also known as Y2K or the Millennium Bug, appeared on the front page of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald for the second time. The main headline on the front page, in type 16 millimetres high, read:

Y2K Costs Up - Tory
Price tag could reach $100 million, says critic
The millennium bug could take a $100 million bite out of provincial coffers, the Tory finance critic, Argyle MLA Neil LeBlanc said Friday, 20 November 1998. Robbie Harrison, the Liberal minister responsible for exterminating the Y2K bug, said two weeks ago the province may have to shell out $70 million to ensure vital medical equipment isn't crippled.

The previous appearance of Y2K on the Halifax Chronicle-Herald's front page occurred on 4 November 1998.

ICS comment (written 4:00pm 21 November 1998):
If there was an betting pool or "office pool," to be paid in December 2000, on what the total cost of Y2K to the provincial government will turn out to have been, I would want a ticket for an amount in the range two to three times this estimate — somewhere between $200,000,000 and $300,000,000.  To pick a specific amount, my best guesstimate now is $250,000,000.

The final amount to be decided by an independent audit — the provincial Auditor General would be my choice — which includes all ABCD costs (those incurred by agencies, boards, commissions, and departments of the provincial government) and the MASH costs (municipalities, schools, hospitals) including hardware and software, with Y2K consultants' fees and expenses included.

The 52 MLAs, of all parties, simply do not grasp the depth and reach of this problem.  Or, if any of them do, they're keeping very quiet about it.

406 days remaining before 1 January 2000.

1998 November 24

Modem Survey

Tallships, an Internet service provider located in Bridgewater, operates a webpage titled "Modem Survey," which, on this day, reported the following (presumably applicable to the Lunenburg County area):

14.4 6 3%
28.8 14 8%
33.6 99 56%
56.6 55 31%
Total 174
"kbps" means kilobits per second
[Source: http://www.tallships.istar.ca/ ]

1998 November 25

Y2K Mentioned on the Front Page
of the Halifax Daily News

The Millennium Bug appeared on the front page of the Halifax Daily News, in the "Inside" teasers:

Y2K cost may hit $31.5 million

The page 4 story contained details about a page from the QEII's November 6th business plan, projecting Y2K costs at Nova Scotia's largest hospital at $31,471,000 over the next two years.  The page was tabled in the legislature yesterday by Dr. John Hamm, leader of the Progressive-Consevative party.  The story added: Education Minister Robbie Harrison, who is responsible for the Y2K fix, said the estimated cost of millennium compliance throughout the health-care system (in Nova Scotia) will be $65,000,000 to $70,000,000.

402 days remaining before 1 January 2000.

1998 November 25

East LaHave Wharf May Be Doomed

EAST LAHAVE, LUNENBURG COUNTY — As you drive along the highway, approaching Bridgewater there is a sign that reads:

LaHave River Cable Ferry
Historic Ferry Service since 1830

Nova Scotia's Department of Transportation and Public Works is planning to remove the East LaHave wharf, part of this famous historic ferry service, along the LaHave River.

Local resident, Chris Banfield has been fighting to keep this wharf in existence for approximately four years. For the past 13 years Mr. Banfield has been using the wharf, with permission from the provincial government, to dock his fishing boat. During those 13 years, according to Mr. Banfield, the wharf has not been maintained at all by the Transportation Department.

The wharf began to deteriorate after years of neglect and became a safety hazard. Mr. Banfield, believing that the wharf would never become a priority to fix, contacted the Department of Transportation with a solution to the problem.

Mr. Banfield proposed that he would make all repairs to the wharf and continue to maintain the upkeep to proper safety regulations, if the government would sign over the wharf as Mr. Banfield's property. This would guarantee his access to the wharf and solve the problem of the deterioration.

This proposal was shuffled to different offices of the Department of Transportation and public works, according to Mr. Banfield. He never received a straight answer from anyone.

Bill Yarn, an accountant for the Department of Transportation in Millers Lake, voiced his answer to Mr. Banfield's first solution by saying, "You just can't give government assets away."

The Department of Transportation put forth the next solution to the problem. They decided to offer the wharf out on a tender agreement. Mr. Banfield and another gentleman put in their offers. With a tender agreement, interested parties gave an offer of money and an explanation of their plans for the property. Mr. Banfield claims that once again the proposal was set aside.

Victor Coldwell, District Director of Transportation in Bridgewater, states that the department had to rethink the offer of tender because of the conflict it could create with the operation of the ferry. "If there were someone to actually go in and buy that wharf and allow it to deteriorate further then what it is already, it could become a navigational impediment to the ferry operations." Mr. Coldwell also noted the problems of the ferry cable running across in front of the old wharf and the possibility of traffic congestion.

The Department of Transportation and Public Works then suggested leasing the wharf. This would solve the problems that might occur with the sale of the wharf. Control and regulation of the wharf's use could still be maintained by the government, while allowing Mr. Banfield guaranteed access. Mr. Banfield was very agreeable to the idea, but once again the department changed its collective mind.

Mr. Coldwell, in response to why they would not lease the wharf, said, "We really didn't want to go down that road."

The last and, according to Department of Transportation officials, final offer, was given to Mr. Banfield.

According to Mr. Coldwell the offer is: "here's the wharf, if you want to upgrade it to the standards we set, we will allow the old wharf to stay here and we will allow you to continue to use it but you won't be able to restrict the usage to anyone who wants to walk on the wharf or dock a boat off the wharf."

Mr. Banfield who has been using the wharf to dock his boat for his career in fishing, finds this offer unacceptable. "Why should I fix up the government's property so everyone else can use it? So I said no, I can't agree to that."

One of Mr. Banfield's biggest concerns about this offer is not having guaranteed access to the wharf, even after spending his money to repair the wharf to the government's safety standards.

Mr. Coldwell acknowledges Mr. Banfield's concerns but offers no solutions claiming, "He could spend a little money fixing it up and there could be three or four boats come in and dock before he got there and he wouldn't be able to do anything about it."

The estimate of the wharf's repair varies from $20,000 to $40,000 dollars according to different officials at the Department of Transportation and Public Works. Mr. Coldwell explains the range in estimates is dependent on how the repairs are done and who does them. To tear down and remove the wharf the estimates range from $5,000 to $15,000 dollars.

With Mr. Banfield's refusal to repair the government's wharf, the Department of Transportation has made plans to tear down and remove the structure.

A spokesman for the minister of transportation's office said, "The East LaHave wharf is going to be removed. I think they are looking at a timetable of next summer, May or June. I don't think there is a firm date on it yet."

The removal of the wharf not only upsets Mr. Banfield and threatens his livelihood, but it also upsets local councillor, Don Zwicker.

Mr. Zwicker says he believes the wharf is very important to the history of East LaHave and should be considered part of the community's infrastructure.

Mr. Coldwell offers a solution to Mr. Zwicker's concern. "We have an old wharf that has long outlived its usefulness. If the councillor would be interested in pursuing it as a historical monument then perhaps he should take that to municipal council and gather some support from his fellow councillors for spending municipal money to upgrade that wharf so it could be used as a museum."

Other arguments posed by Mr. Banfield and Mr. Zwicker have been disputed by Mr. Coldwell. Both men claim the ferry operators support their bid to keep the wharf because of the protection it gives to the ferry ramp now used. According to Mr. Banfield the ferry operators told the government that the wharf was needed because, "it acts as a barrier, a breakwater to stop currents and wind and in the wintertime the ice." According to Mr. Coldwell, this is not what he was told. "It is certainly not the story the ferry personnel gave us. Somebody is obviously telling stories to try to make a case for one scenario or another."

The ferry operators were not available for comment, Mr. Yarn an accountant at the Transportation office in Millers Lake, acted as their spokesman instead.

[Bridgewater Bulletin, 25 November 1998]

1998 November 26   10:37pm

"Canadian" Search Engines
Failing to Index Genuine Canadian Content

The following is a transcript of a discussion which took place on CPAC's Roundtable this evening. The Canadian Public Affairs Channel (CPAC, pronounced SEE-pack) is a cable television channel; it transmits by satellite to cable companies across Canada. The program is distributed to cable subscribers; it is not available over-the-air. Roundtable appears on CPAC weekly, with a different question posed each week as a means of promoting public awareness and discussion of important matters. The question this week was: Should the Internet be regulated? It was suggested by the CRTC hearings this week on policy questions related to "New Media" (which most people interpret to refer to the Internet).

This transcript contains only part of this evening's broadcast, that pertaining to the point raised by one caller identified only as "Ivan from Nova Scotia," whose call began at 10:37pm AST. This Roundtable was broadcast 10:00pm to 11:00pm AST 26 November, and was repeated 2:00am to 3:00am, and 10:00am - 11:00am, 27 November. The call-in feature was available only during the first broadcast; the repeats were broadcast from the tape recording of the original broadcast.

MR. STRINGER: Okay. I want to go to another caller. We have Ivan on the phone from Nova Scotia. Go ahead Ivan.

IVAN: Good evening.

MR. STRINGER: Good evening.

IVAN: The question is, what about regulation of the Internet. Well, there's one part of the Internet that could sure use some regulation. The so-called —

There's several organizations that are operating Canadian search engines or Canadian indexes. They advertise themselves, they promote themselves, as Canadian indexes, and yet they exclude — they define Canadian content as the geographical location of the server, not on what is in the website. I run a website which runs on a server in Connecticut.


IVAN: My website is excluded from the Canadian indexes, but if you look at my site there's 350 pages, one hundred per cent Canadian content. Now, I would like CRTC or somebody to say, if you're going to advertise yourself as a Canadian search engine, you must accept Canadian content regardless of the geographical location of the server.

MR. STRINGER: Can I ask you, what your website's about, because you say it's one hundred per cent Canadian content but because it goes through, what, Connecticut, it's not —

IVAN: All the Canadian search engines and Canadian indexes, so-called, define Canadian sites as the geographical location of the server. If the server is in Canada it's a Canadian site. If the server is somewhere else, outside of Canada, it's not a Canadian site. That excludes my site from —

Somebody goes in to a Canadian index and looks for Nova Scotia history —


IVAN: — I'm not there —

MR. STRINGER: So that's what you say —

IVAN: — but I've got more Nova Scotia history on my website than anyone else in Canada.

MR. STRINGER: So that's what a lot of your site's about, Nova Scotia history.

IVAN: Yes. I have a whole page, for instance, on the Nova Scotia pony express, which you will not find anywhere else. And yet I —

The Canadian indexes refuse to accept my site.

MR. STRINGER: Okay, let's put your point to the panel.

MR. COLVILLE: Well, being a Nova Scotian myself, I'd like to see your address so I could go and check out the site and perhaps learn a little bit more about the history of Nova Scotia.

You know I — it's interesting this kind of issue gets raised, because clearly there's a legitimate concern here. I'm not sure it's the kind of thing that one would want to regulate in any event —

Certainly we've been hearing from a lot of the Internet service providers and content aggregators over the last few days about how sites get listed, and whether they get listed as Canadian or not.

I think that's an excellent point that's been raised, and that's the kind of issue that I think could probably be resolved in the industry by dealing with Ron Kawchuk and his members in terms of setting industry guidelines as to how you classify that. I don't think you need a regulator to classify that sort of thing.

MR. FRIEDMAN: That certainly points up the need for the industry to take responsibility and to act in a responsible way. It needs to take a look at that.

MR. STRINGER: Pierre Bourque, you watch the industry. Is this a big problem in terms of lack of clarity, in terms of what's called what and what is what?

MR. BOURQUE: Well, I think Ivan, whether he realizes it or not, brought up a very subliminal, a very powerful subliminal argument, and that is that he can be sitting in Nova Scotia and have his website hosted in Connecticut. That goes to the crux of the problem that the CRTC, or anyone who wants to regulate the Internet, is going to have.

I can be anywhere.

It doesn't matter to Ivan that his site is hosted in Connecticut, because as long as you get on line, you can find that other computer in Connecticut, or Bahrain, or the Cayman Islands, or wherever you want, and there's no difference whatsoever in your ability to manipulate it, to access it, to put up information and what have you.

MR. COLVILLE: Ivan, are you still on the line? Because I'd be interested to know —

IVAN: I'm still here, Mr. Colville.

MR. COLVILLE: — why did you choose to go to Connecticut? Was there some impediment in Canada that led you to decide well, I can't do business in Canada, I've got to go to Connecticut?

IVAN: Well, I couldn't find a Canadian site that would rent me space. I rent space in Connecticut at five dollars per megabyte per month. I can't find that in Canada. I would prefer to be in Canada, but I can't find somebody that will rent me space.

MR. COLVILLE: And what do you think has caused that?

IVAN: Well, I can't say. I don't know. You asked about my site: a l t s dot n e t slash n s 1 6 2 5


MR. BOURQUE: Now, Ivan, there isn't anything on your site, such as the secret love life of Gerry Regan, or something, that would prevent you from being hosted in Canada, is there?

IVAN: No. I have nothing about Gerry Regan, but I do have the expense accounts of a former premier of Nova Scotia; John Savage's expense accounts. I've got that on my site. That's one hundred per cent Canadian content — (laughter, Roundtable panel) — but nobody will index it.

MR. BOURQUE: You know the fun part about being on the Internet, and Canadian content, in Ivan's case it happens to be hosted in Connecticut, but it runs the gamut from the history of Nova Scotia to a politician's expense account, and he's an individual. He's not a corporation, he's not a conglomerate, he's an individual. Someone said today at the hearings, that the vast majority, I think it was the Electronic Frontier Canada, there are millions and millions of Canadians who are putting up their own content, their own Canadian content.

They don't need regulation. They don't need public funding. They don't need tax abatements. They don't need any kind of incentives or protection. They just need the ability to understand what they can do on the Internet.

MR. STRINGER: One person, in the early years of the Internet, described it as being like the Library of Congress, but all the books have been thrown on the floor. Search engines have helped to put some order into all of that, but I'm wondering, this point that Ivan mentioned, a very interesting one. How bad is this situation of —

Because content is only determined by the location of the server, that you've got a server in Toronto that's nothing but American content, and a server in Connecticut that's nothing but Canadian content, Ivan's case —

Mr. Colville suggests that probably industry should develop its own standards, its own guidelines, for this?

MR. BOURQUE: I personally don't have an answer to that, other than to point out that the Internet is the ultimate melting pot. It doesn't have any boundaries. There are no geographical or political boundaries that I know of at this date. An interesting point: if there's an exclusively Canadian search engine, is that ghettoizing Canadian content? Are a lot of people going to that particular search engine as opposed to NetFind or some of the other search engines, AltaVista or Yahoo Canada?

MR. STRINGER: Ivan's problem is, I wouldn't say truth in advertising, but is just knowing what you're looking for, if these things are listed as American.

MR. BOURQUE: If I was the webmaster of that particular search engine, I'd be stupid not to accept Ivan's listing. There has to be some sort of stupidity involved to prevent Ivan from being listed in that Canadian search engine.

It doesn't make sense. It's a benefit to the users of the search engine. So, if I was running that search engine I would want to have Ivan listed, and it makes total sense.

MR. COLVILLE: One of the things, I think, that was mentioned today is, somebody said there's a lot of individuals who've got information on the Internet. With all due respect, somebody else today said, a lot of that could be characterized as, sort of, the hobby business, if you will. And I think one of the interesting things, too, that several of the parties at the hearing mentioned, is that we really should be developing this tool for health care, education, and really developing also as a business in Canada, commerce and so on.

I think we may well be finding that there are a number of impediments that drive business south, so that this doesn't get developed in Canada, so that we can be using it for education, telling the Canadian stories, telling Ivan's kind of information about Nova Scotia in the classroom and so on.

I think we've got to make sure that we can develop that kind of content for Canada.

Ron Kawchuk, representing the Canadian Association of Internet Providers, made a presentation to the New Media hearing on 25 November 1998.
See New Media, Tentative Order of Appearance

Opening remarks to the public hearing examining New Media by David Colville, Vice-Chairman, Telecommunications Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Hull, Quebec, 23 November 1998.
CRTC New Media Hearing Set to Begin News Release, 20 November 1998

"I rent space in Connecticut at five dollars per megabyte per month."
(Saturday, 28 November 1998)   Reliable sources confirm that this website owner now rents fifteen megabytes of server space in Connecticut, at a cost of U$33.00 per month.  At the current currency exchange rate of 65 cents US for $1.00 Canadian, this rental comes to C$50.75 per month.  That's C$3.38 per megabyte per month.

For comparison, here's the price charged for hosting personal websites at this time by Auracom, a subidiary of Interhop, a large provider of Internet connection services in Canada.  The stated price per month will have the HST sales tax of 15% added when billed.  The price /MB·month (per megabyte per month) includes this 15%.
  • Personal Web Sites: http://interhop.net/~emailid
  • 5MB: $15.00 per month — $3.45/MB·month
  • 10 MB: $35.00 per month — $4.03/MB·month
  • 15 MB: $42.50 per month — $3.26/MB·month
  • 20 MB: $47.50 per month — $2.13/MB·month
  • 25 MB: $50.00 per month — $2.30/MB·month
  • 30 MB: $53.75 per month — $2.06/MB·month
  • 35 MB: $55.00 per month — $1.81/MB·month
  • 40 MB: $54.75 per month — $1.57/MB·month
  • 50 MB: $67.75 per month — $1.56/MB·month
  • 100 MB: $72.50 per month — 83.4¢/MB·month
  • 200 MB: $103.00 per month — 59.2¢/MB·month
[Source: http://home.auracom.com/services/hosting/hosting.html ]
Note: This website hosting service is available
only to subscribers to Auracom's ISP service.

1998 November 27

400 Days To the Triple Zero

Only 400 days remain until January 1, 2000.
Year 2000 Press Clippings

The Millennium Time Bomb

Y2K Bug (Maple Square)

The Definitive Commentary on Y2K

This is an animated cartoon. Be sure to let it run to completion. Says all there is to say about Y2K.

How Long Have We Known About This Problem?

Decades. Software engineers were discussing it 20 to 30 years ago. The leading information technology (IT) newsweekly published an article about it in 1984 and again in 1993. The US Social Security Agency started working on it in 1989, after encountering a problem in a program that had a ten-year "time horizon" (that is, it did calculations with dates ten years in advance of the present). In short, we've known about it for a long, long time.

Why Are We So Late In Dealing With It?

"When asked why so many IT [information technology] projects go wrong in spite of all we know, one could simply cite the seven deadly sins: avarice, sloth, envy, gluttony, wrath, lust, and pride. It is as good an answer as any and more accurate than most."
Source: Statement of Bruce F. Webster submitted to the Subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, 22 June 1998.

Why Worry?  They're Going To Fix It

While corporations and governments are spending billions to fix their software, Peter de Jager believes some things won't get fixed properly or in time.  The reason is simple: In information technology, or IT, almost nothing gets fixed properly or in time, he said.
[The Sacremento Bee, 30 October 1998]

Year 2000 FAQ — Washington D.C. Year 2000 Group

Graph of Traffic at Year 2000 Website Entry Page
Graph of Traffic at Year 2000 Website Entry Page
Month by month, May 1995 through October 1998.
There were 570,435 accesses to the Year 2000
Information Center home page during October 1998.
[Source: http://www.year2000.com/NFy2khist.html]

1998 December

Space Software

From a small office at the Sydport Industrial Park, near Sydney, Nova Scotia, a talented and dedicated band of high-tech Cape Breton workers are quietly making a name for themselves. For the past two years, the eight workers at Novation Limited have been testing software for the new space vision system (SVS) being used on the International Space Station. "We have to prove this stuff to the nth degree. After all, you can't afford to have any failures in space," explains Bernard Vince, who along with his business partner, Ross Hooper, formed the company after the demise of another island high-tech firm, Micronav. Novation secured a sub-contract for the work from Ottawa based Neptec, which is manufacturing the SVS as well as training astronauts to use the system. Simply, the SVS becomes the eyes of the astronaut when working outside the space station. It can also be applied for docking procedures and other maneuvers in literally taking an astronaut to a place where none have gone before. The system uses the Shuttle standard installed cargo bay cameras and reorients the geometry of targets from various angles. The system extends the hand and eye coordination of astronauts who can't even see the delicate components they are trying to assemble in the night Earth glow or the blinding sunlight of space.
[Cape Breton Post, 10 December 1998]

1998 December

Internet Usage in Halifax-Dartmouth

Internet use by Halifax Metro residents in their homes was almost 12 percentage points above the national average in 1998. According to Statistics Canada, 33.8% of Metro residents used the Internet at home, compared to 22.6% of Canadians. The figures for Interent use at work and school were similar. More than 50% of Metro households had access to Internet services.
[The Halifax Daily News, 6 March 2000]

1998 December

NSP Burning Oil
To Conserve Coal Stocks

A Nova Scotia Power generating station located in the heart of coal country is burning an oil/coal mixture these days in an attempt to conserve coal stocks. The 600-megawatt Lingan station has been burning oil for a few weeks now, according to power company spokesperson Alison Gillan. Coal is expected to be returned as the exclusive energy source by the end of the month. In addition, oil was used in one unit at the mainland Trenton station and another island station, Point Tupper. Both have since returned to using coal only. "It is a move in an attempt to build up coal inventories on the ground," explained Gillan, adding the company targets having a six-week supply in its inventory. The problem of dwindling coal stocks results from production problems with the company's main supplier, Cape Breton Development Corp. (Devco). Devco has been plagued with a host of geological problems at both of its mines, Prince in Point Aconi and Phalen in Lingan. Both mines are now nearing full production capacity. World oil prices are attractive at this time — about $11 per barrel — and are expected to remain low for several years.
[Cape Breton Post, 5 December 1998]

(Written 24 November 1999)
As it turned out, that expectation was unfulfilled. Ten months later, in September 1999, the world price of oil had doubled, to around U$22 to U$23 a barrel. On 23 November 1999 the price reached U$27.00 a barrel, a nine-year high.

How much oil is there in a barrel? As a unit of measure, the barrel is notoriously difficult to pin down. The official size of a barrel depends on what it contains. In the 1990s, the U.S. oil barrel is defined as 42 U.S. gallons. One U.S. gallon is equivalent to 231 cubic inches, or 3.79 litres.

Thus, one barrel of oil contains 159.2 litres. For most purposes, 160 litres is close enough to a barrel of oil.

According to legend, back in the fifteenth century King Edward IV of Norway standardized the herring barrel at a size that corresponds to 159 litres in our modern system of measures. It promptly became the standard for coopers, whisky distillers, and, four centuries later, the oil industry. No one has moved oil anywhere in barrels since the days of the horse and wagon — the barrel survives today not as a tangible physical object but as a unit of measurement...
[Saturday Night magazine, 13 May 2000]
(distributed as an insert in the National Post of the same date)

1998 December 1

Fudging the Y2K Problem

The Halifax Daily News
Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

In "Bug Could Cost QEII $31.5 Million," Tories Say (the Halifax Daily News Nov. 25), we read: "Education Minister Robbie Harrison, who is responsible for the Y2K fix, said the estimated cost of millennium compliance throughout the health-care system (in Nova Scotia) will be $65 million to $70 million."

That's absurd.

In the autumn of 2000, we will have a pretty good idea about that cost. The final total will be a lot higher than Mr. Harrison feels able to admit to.

On Nov. 4, speaking in the Legislature in his official capacity as the minister in charge of the Nova Scotia government's Year 2000 Project, Mr. Harrison said: "Regular updates on progress will be filed on our website so that the member opposite, regardless of where he is, can access information, so that we can reassure Nova Scotians that essential service compliance will be carried out by this government and with many sectors of the Nova Scotia society."

So far, that promise has remained just an empty promise.

No "updates on progress" have been made available, either in "our website" or anywhere else.

A search of the government's website http://www.gov.ns.ca/news/ at 4:45pm on Nov 25, on the keyword "y2k", showed that the most recent information was released by the government on Feb. 16, more than nine months ago. This search covered all departments, including Mr. Harrison's.

There has to be a reason for this prolonged foot-dragging by the Minister.

My view is: he's so upset by the truth about Y2K's effects within the provincial government's operations, he cannot bring himself to release that information to the public.

Ivan Smith
Via the Internet

[The Halifax Sunday Daily News, 1 December 1998]

In Hansard, Nov. 4th, 1998, page 3314,
you will find Mr. Harrison's statement: "Regular updates on progress will be filed on our website so that the member opposite, regardless of where he is, can access information, so that we can reassure Nova Scotians that essential service compliance will be carried out by this government and with many sectors of the Nova Scotia society."

396 days remaining before 1 January 2000.

1998 December 1

First Y2K Progress Report
Posted on Internet

"The Biggest Internal Project in History"

Today, the government of Nova Scotia posted on the Internet its first Year 2000 Progress Report, at http://www.gov.ns.ca/y2k/default.htm. For the first time, the public got a look at what the provincial government is doing about the infamous millennium bug. "This is the first in a series of public reports informing Nova Scotians on how the government is addressing this critical issue ...This progress report on the Government of Nova Scotia's efforts to deal with its Y2K computer and embedded system problem was prepared by the Year 2000 Project Office in the Technology and Science Secretariat, from monitoring data collected in October 1998... The Government of Nova Scotia is taking the matter seriously and has mounted the biggest internal project in its history to protect its services to the public, especially those related to the health, safety, security, economic well being and the environment of Nova Scotians."
Year 2000 Progress Report by the Government of Nova Scotia

1998 December 2

Tancook Islands Left Out of 911 System

CHESTER — The Chester Fire Department will continue to respond to emergency calls from Big and Little Tancook Islands, despite concerns Chester village tax dollars are paying for the service.

Chester Village Commission chairman Carol Nauss said she was advised by officials from the 911 call centre in Halifax there is no 911 responder listed for the islands. She also contacted the provincial Department of Municipal Affairs and was advised the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg should appoint an island fire ward and that some form of written plan should be in place.

In the past, according to Chester Fire Chief Tom Bremner, either Blandford or Chester firefighters responded to island emergencies. He described the situation as confusing. The Tancook Islands are part of the Municipality of Lunenburg, he said, they are within the Blandford telephone exchange and the provincial ferry used by islanders as their lifeline to the mainland docks in Chester. He added he believes the fire department has a moral obligation to respond to emergencies on the islands, although, "Somebody should reimburse us and I believe it should be the Municipality of Lunenburg."

Commissioners Brenda Mulrooney and Karl Hume said Tancook Islanders should be leading efforts to solve the problem, not the Chester Village Commission. Mr. Hume said, "I think the first thing to do is ask the people on Tancook Island who should provide the service (Blandford, Chester or themselves) and let them raise the flag." Big Tancook Island previously had a fire department, which no longer exists.

The Municipality of Chester is assisting the village commission with the matter. Lunenburg Municipal Councillor Diane Tanner, who represents the islands, doesn't wish to comment on the issue until she is contacted by municipal or village commission officials. The issue, although a long-standing problem, was raised after Chester Village Commissioners decided to compile unwritten policies and guidelines into a single document for future commissions to utilize.

[The Lunenburg Progress-Enterprise, 2 December 1998]

1998 December 9

Getting Ready for Y2K

Steps must be taken NOW

The new millennium is just a little more than twelve months away and plans are shifting into high gear to make sure Dalhousie University is 2000-compliant by Aug. 1, 1999.

Reaching Year 2000 compliance is much in the news because many computer programs, and equipment using chips with date and time functions, only store the last two digits of the year and read all years as beginning with 19.

There are fears that equipment may fail or behave erratically when the date changes from 1999 to 2000 because equipment was not programmed to understand that a new millennium is upon us.

Year 2000 problems may be found in computer hardware, operating systems or programs. They also may be found in other non-computer equipment that uses chips with date and time functions.

At Dalhousie, steps are being taken to help all the faculties, departments and units get the information they need to deal with Y2K. But John Sherwood, acting director of University Computing and Information Services (UCIS), says it's everyone's responsibility to help solve the problem.

"It's more than just a computer problem, it's a problem for all of us," says Sherwood. "If steps are not taken work could be seriously disrupted in labs and departments all across the three campuses."

Responsibility for testing all equipment and fixing, upgrading or replacing it lies with the individual department, says Sherwood. Faculties and departments have been asked to appoint a person to a group of Y2K co-ordinators that has been meeting regularly for many months. Faculties and departments also were asked to assign, by Nov. 23, a responsible person to ensure that an inventory of all equipment is undertaken (please see the Y2K schedule below). By Jan. 11, everyone is to have tested all their equipment and recorded its status. Special Year 2000 compliance forms are now available on the Year 2000 Web site or from UCIS.

In some departments, this will be a fairly straightforward process but research labs could pose a different situation. Researchers with computers and equipment purchased through grants are responsible for dealing with the issues of research equipment, says Sherwood. In many cases, they will have to go to the original manufacturer to determine Y2K compliance. That must be done by February 1 of next year, when all suppliers to the university must verify that they are 2000 compliant.

All of Dalhousie must have plans in place by March 1 to abandon, retire, replace or upgrade every piece of equipment including personal computers. That gives everyone six months to buy, upgrade or abandon equipment that could cause problems and it puts Dalhousie in a position to reach its target date of August 1 for total compliance.

"That's the date we need to work toward reaching," says Sherwood. "We cannot move the Year 2000. It's a deadline we have to meet."

Schedule for Year 2000 Readiness
Mark these dates on your calendar:

For the most up-to-date information on Year 2000 at Dalhousie,
visit the Web site at http://admwww1.ucis.dal.ca/y2k/index.html
Dalhousie University News OnLine, December 9, 1998, Vol. 29 No. 7

1998 December 10

Sysco Requalifies as Supplier of CN Rails

The long standoff between Sysco and CN Rail is over. CN communications director Daniel Hamelin confirmed today the railway has requalified Sysco as a supplier and placed an order for 10,000 tonnes with the Sydney plant. The rails are to be delivered by mid-January, marking the first business between the two companies since the end of 1995 when CN rejected an order of Sysco rails because of a flaw known as "radial streaking." Sysco's efforts to restore a vital business relationship that had existed for decades continued as CN turned to other suppliers and lawsuits were lodged by both sides. Hamelin said the litigation is now ended.
[Cape Breton Post, 11 December 1998]

1998 December 16

Most Jolting Warning Yet

RCMP's expert

I heard following item on the regular 8:00am news broadcast over CKEN, the Kentville radio station operated by Annapolis Valley Radio, on this day.

It's the most jolting warning yet about the Year 2000 computer bug. The RCMP's millennium bug trouble-shooter says when 2000 arrives, emergency services could shut down, prison doors could open, and bank machines could die. Dave Morreau adds the computer glitch could cause planes to crash and elevators to stop. He suggests we stock up on food, water, and cash in the days leading up to that January first.
[Source: CKEN news script]
RCMP: Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada's national police force

381 days remaining before 1 January 2000.


29 Cruise Ships Visit Cape Breton

A total of 29 cruise ships visited Cape Breton Island during 1998, stopping in Sydney, Louisbourg, Cheticamp, and Baddeck. Barbara MacLeod, director of marine and cruise at Tourism Cape Breton, said the 29 ships in 1998 contributed about $1,500,000 to the Cape Breton economy. Tourism Cape Breton calculated the total by assuming each passenger spends an average of $92 and each crew member spends about $10 while the ship is docked.
[Cape Breton Post, 6 April 1999]


North Sydney Heritage Museum

Communications Room and Western Union Display

During the 1998 tourist season, over 2,000 people visited the North Sydney Heritage Museum located along the waterfront in North Sydney. The museum, which moved from the North Sydney Fire Station to its present location four years ago, is operated by the North Sydney Historical Society. A visit to the North Sydney Heritage Museum is like stepping back in time. Along with the artifacts, the building itself has old world character. There are numerous theme rooms such as the Communications Room, the Rice Gallery, the Dutch Heritage area, library, Western Union and Fire Department displays. The main entrance of the museum is devoted to the former town of North Sydney and includes the minutes of the first town meeting.
[Cape Breton Post, 15 May 1999]

In April 1851 a group of businessmen from Rochester, New York, organized The New York & Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company to build a telegraph line from Buffalo, New York, to St. Louis, Missouri. More lines were soon built. On the 8 April 1856 the name of the company was changed to Western Union Telegraph Company. In May, 1860, the American Telegraph Company leased the telegraph lines and equipment owned and operated by the Nova Scotia Electric Telegraph Company, that is, all telegraph lines in Nova Scotia. ATC now controlled all telegraph operations from Newfoundland to Louisiana. In 1866, the Western Union Telegraph Company took over the leases held in Nova Scotia by the American Telegraph Company, which included all electric telegraph lines and equipment in the province. By March 1872, 53 telegraph offices were in operation in Nova Scotia. In January 1873, advertisements appeared in Nova Scotia newspapers announcing the sale of the Nova Scotia Electric Telegraph Company system to Western Union. After 1866, Western Union continued to operate a telegraph system throughout Nova Scotia into the 1950s.



1998 Ferry Traffic at All-Time High

1998 traffic levels between North Sydney and Newfoundland set an all-time record for Marine Atlantic's ferry service. In 1998, 444,300 passengers travelled on Caribou and Smallwood which is a fat increase of 31,488 over traffic the previous year. The company expected traffic levels to be significantly increased for the Cabot celebrations in 1997 but there was an increase of only 9,000 over the 1996 figures. The preceding record year for Marine Atlantic was in 1993 when a total of 419,450 passengers travelled to and from Newfoundland. The heaviest traffic for 1998 occurred during the peak summer tourist season. Marine Atlantic's North Sydney terminal manager Len Rhyno said the reservation system has made a significant difference for people travelling to Newfoundland. "The reservation system works. Passengers are more relaxed because they know with a reservation when they get to the terminal they have a spot on the boat," he said. "We are already getting bookings for summer 1999. A lot of folks finalize their vacations plans and book their spot early." With the two super ferries, the trip to Newfoundland becomes more than just a ferry ride, it becomes an adventure at sea. "Caribou and Smallwood have everything on board for the passenger's comfort from the cafeteria to live music and a great movie selection," Rhyno said. The business community is pressing for Marine Atlantic to be privatized. Part of the service, operating in the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of Maine, was privatized a few years ago. Some business leaders say it only makes sense to hand the Newfoundland run over to private operators. Ottawa has held on to the link mostly because of its constitutional obligation to maintain service to Newfoundland. Premier Tobin says Newfoundland isn't interested in taking over Marine Atlantic.
[Cape Breton Post, 13 Feb. & 13 May 1999]

Marine Atlantic Looks at Traffic Prospect

Marine Atlantic will conduct a survey to determine why there have been dramatic traffic increases between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia in recent years — and whether the pace can be sustained. Bud Harbidge, Marine Atlantic's operations vice-president, says the status quo won't meet the company's requirements for 2000. Marine Atlantic runs two passenger ferries and a freight vessel between North Sydney, Nova Scotia, and Port aux Basques, Newfoundland, and a summer service to Argentia, Newfoundland. A report will be compiled for Ottawa by the fall of 1999.
[Cape Breton Post, 21 May 1999]

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

Go To:   History of Railway Companies in Nova Scotia

Go To:   History of Electric Power Companies in Nova Scotia

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Go To:   Nova Scotia in the War of 1812

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