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

Chapter 71
2000 November 13-19

2000 November 11

Halifax Radio and TV Stations Observe Rememberance

On November 11th at 11:00am, Canadians gave a moment of silence to those that fought in the wars. In Halifax, the Metro Radio Group (780/KIXX, 920/CJCH, 96.5/SUN-FM, C100-FM and Q104-FM) respected the moment with a brief Canadian Legion program, followed by a moment of silence. Campus/Community radio, 97.5/CKDU-FM also paid respect by giving silence followed by tunes of remembrance. ATV/CTV and CBC Television also gave a moment of silence to remember at 11:00.
Source: On The Air In Atlantic Canada Wayne Harrett's website

2000 November 13

Tests of Political Party Websites

Coast Software Inc. Ratings Give NDP Website Top Score,
Liberals Close Second

Canadian Alliance Website Has 2,293 Pages
and Hundreds of Broken Links

The New Democratic Party's Web site shows the best performance and integrity of the five Federal party sites revved up for the November 27 elections, while the Canadian Alliance Party site needs some technical TLC, says a test by Ottawa-based Web testing software expert COAST™ Software.

In the first of nightly tests to be run until polls open on November 27th, COAST WebMaster's automated testing software showed the NDP site with few delays, no errors or "broken links" (Web links leading nowhere or to incorrect locations).

The Liberal Party site — containing nearly 400 pages — had a few problems with slow-loading pages and broken links, including one from a user feedback page.

The Bloc Quebecois Web site had fewer numbers of errors than the Liberal Party site, but relatively more problems within the smallest (93 pages) site of all the parties tested.

The 361-page Progressive Conservative site ranked fourth in the test with more slow-loading pages and broken links, including problems being able to contact key PC representatives.

The Canadian Alliance site, with 2,293 pages, had the most errors and performance problems, with hundreds of broken links or slow-loading pages, indicating it could use a technical check-up.

"We're taking a different tack on testing the candidates' platforms," said Tom Camps, COAST's vice president of marketing. "The Web has become such an important source of information that organizations worldwide use our testing solutions to ensure their Web presence is the best it can be. It can make an important impression on the customer and the voter alike. While using Web sites should be easy, maintaining and operating them is not trivial. Sites, even small ones, are complicated and require sophisticated tools to identify problems so they can be addressed."

COAST will post updated test results daily at its Web site, http://www.coast.com. Its software tests the quality of dynamic Web content and applications. It is the only product of its kind that can completely scan massive and complex Web sites containing hundreds of thousands of pages while documenting every piece of information about stored documents, files and hypertext links.

Coast Software Incorporated
150 Gloucester Street, Ottawa, Ontario

November 13th Test Results

COAST will post updated test results of the federal sites daily. COAST's software tests the quality of dynamic Web content and applications, and can completely scan massive and complex Web sites containing hundreds of thousands of pages while documenting every piece of information about stored documents, files and hypertext links. Following are the results obtained on November 13th

New Democratic Party

With a total of 679 web pages, the NDP's web site has
    1 broken link,
    6 pages with quality problems and
    5 slow loading pages.

Liberal Party

With a total of 403 web pages, the Liberal's web site has
    14 broken links,
    11 pages with quality problems and
    15 slow loading pages.

Bloc Quebecois Party

With a total of 98 web pages, the Bloc Quebecois' web site has
    6 broken links,
    11 pages with quality problems and
    18 slow loading pages.

Progressive Conservative Party

With a total of 344 web pages, the Progressive Conservative's web site has
    38 broken links,
    52 pages with quality problems and
    20 slow loading pages.

Canadian Alliance Party

With a total of 2,347 web pages, the Canadian Alliance's web site has
    399 broken links,
    718 pages with quality problems and
    971 slow loading pages.

1. COAST WebMaster tests run consecutively on a P75 and Window NT 4.0.
2. Broken link is an HTML reference to a file (pages, images, etc.) that cannot be found in the specified location. A link to a page is broken if the file is moved, deleted, renamed, or inaccessible due to server problems.
3. Pages with quality problems have links or files (HTML pages, images, etc.) that cannot be found in the related pages. A link to a page is broken if the file is moved, deleted, renamed, or inaccessible due to server problems.
4. A slow downloading page is one that takes more than a set period of time as defined in scan preferences or settings (based on the download rate of a file over a 28,800 bits-per-second modem with a 30 second load limit).

Coast Software Inc. website

Test Results During Election Campaign

Federal Political Party Websites
November 2000
New Democratic Party
Pages in site 679 709 768 781 784     882 850 890 926 947      
Broken links 1 3 6 0 0     0 0 2 1 2      
Quality prblms 6 8 14 0 0     0 0 6 3 3      
Slow pages 5 4 5 4 4     5 5 4 5 4      
Liberal Party
Pages in site 403 418 425 429 431     437 443 447 425 435      
Broken links 14 4 4 2 2     4 4 4 5 5      
Quality prblms 11 5 6 3 3     7 6 7 6 6      
Slow pages 15 15 16 16 16     17 17 17 15 15      
Progressive Conservative Party
Pages in site 344 354 350 362 371     477 489 499 507 513      
Broken links 38 38 42 43 48     43 41 41 40 36      
Quality prblms 52 52 52 53 52     54 55 54 54 54      
Slow pages 20 20 20 20 19     22 24 24 24 26      
Canadian Alliance Party
Pages in site 2347 2378 2594 2716 2739     2810 2817 2854 2854 2935      
Broken links 399 427 407 402 403     403 403 409 409 378      
Quality prblms 718 759 270 271 270     270 271 272 272 262      
Slow pages 971 1010 1018 1053 1070     1139 1168 1208 1208 1300      
Coast Software Inc. website

2000 November 16-27

Tests of Candidates' Election Websites

Federal General Election

November 2000

Nova Scotia Candidates' Websites
November 2000
Claude O'Hara
Site size, kilobytes 454 454 454 454 -
Pages in site 17 17 17 17 -
Internal images 21 21 21 21 -
Large pages 6 6 6 6 -
Broken links 1 1 1 1 -
Wendy Panagopolus
New Democrat
Site size, kilobytes 198 198 198 198 -
Pages in site 5 5 5 5 -
Internal images 7 7 7 7 -
Large pages 3 3 3 3 -
Broken links 3 3 3 3 -
Amery Boyer
Canadian Alliance
Site size, kilobytes - 192 192 192 192
Pages in site - 8 8 8 8
Internal images - 2 2 2 2
Large pages - 0 0 0 0
Broken links - - - - -
Scott Brison
Site size, kilobytes 178 192 192 192 192
Pages in site 8 9 9 9 9
Internal images 31 31 31 31 31
Large pages 1 1 1 1 1
Broken links 1 0 0 0 0
Kaye Johnson
New Democrat
Site size, kilobytes 171 171 n/a n/a n/a
Pages in site 7 7 n/a n/a n/a
Internal images 12 12 - - -
Large pages 1 1 - - -
Broken links 1 1 - - -
Wendy Lill
New Democrat
Site size, kilobytes 160 160 160 160 -
Pages in site 7 7 7 7 -
Internal images 20 20 20 20 -
Large pages 6 6 6 6 -
Broken links 0 0 0 0 -
Paul Fitzgibbons
Site size, kilobytes 159 159 159 161 -
Pages in site 11 11 11 11 -
Internal images 12 12 12 12 -
Large pages 1 1 1 1 -
Broken links 0 0 0 0 -
Peter MacKay
Site size, kilobytes 148 148 142 104 104
Pages in site 7 7 7 4 4
Internal images 30 30 30 20 20
Large pages 1 1 1 1 1
Broken links 0 0 0 4 4
Bill Casey
Site size, kilobytes - 142 132 142 142
Pages in site - 7 7 7 7
Internal images - 30 30 30 30
Large pages - 1 1 1 1
Broken links - 0 12 0 0
Note: Also see Mr. Casey's other website (below)
1.1 kilobytes
Wade Marshall
Sackville-Musquodoboit Valley-Eastern Shore
Site size, kilobytes - 142 141 142 142
Pages in site - 7 7 7 7
Internal images - 30 30 30 30
Large pages - 0 0 0 0
Broken links - 0 0 0 0
Mark Muise
West Nova
Site size, kilobytes - 139 139 139 139
Pages in site - 7 7 7 7
Internal images - 30 30 30 30
Large pages - 0 0 0 0
Broken links - 0 0 0 0
Gerald Keddy
South Shore
Site size, kilobytes 122 122 122 121 122
Pages in site 5 5 5 5 5
Internal images 30 30 30 30 30
Large pages 1 1 1 1 1
Broken links 0 0 0 2 0
Mr. Keddy also has a campaign video online
1161 kilobytes     running time 3:20
Bruce Stephen
Sackville-Musquodoboit Valley-Eastern Shore
Site size, kilobytes - 110 114 132 -
Pages in site - 5 5 9 -
Internal images - 12 12 18 -
Large pages - 1 1 1 -
Broken links - 0 0 0 -
Evan Walters
Canadian Alliance
South Shore
Site size, kilobytes - 97 106 106 115
Pages in site - 1 3 3 3
Internal images - 6 13 13 14
Large pages - 1 1 1 1
Broken links - 0 2 2 2
Geoff Regan
Site size, kilobytes - 84.7 85.1 85.1 85.1
Pages in site - 1 1 1 1
Internal images - 2 2 2 2
Large pages - 1 1 1 1
Broken links - 0 0 0 0
Jordi Morgan
Canadian Alliance
Site size, kilobytes 81 84 99 58 -
Pages in site 5 6 6 3 -
Internal images 14 14 16 6 -
Large pages 1 1 1 0 -
Broken links 0 0 0 6 -
Note: Also see Mr. Morgan's other website (below)
43.7 kilobytes
Rod Farrell
Canadian Alliance
Site size, kilobytes - 69.5 69.5 69.5 69.5
Pages in site - 1 1 1 1
Internal images - 1 1 1 1
Large pages - 1 1 1 1
Broken links - - - - -
Hilda Stevens
Canadian Alliance
Halifax West
Site size, kilobytes - 63.5 63.5 63.5 63.5
Pages in site - 1 1 1 1
Internal images - 2 2 2 2
Large pages - 1 1 1 1
Broken links - - - - -
Mike Donaldson
Canadian Alliance
West Nova
Site size, kilobytes - 46.8 46.8 46.8 46.8
Pages in site - 1 1 1 1
Internal images - 2 2 2 2
Large pages - 0 0 0 0
Broken links - - - - -
Gerry Fulton
Canadian Alliance
Site size, kilobytes - 45.2 45.2 45.2 45.2
Pages in site - 1 1 1 1
Internal images - 2 2 2 2
Large pages - 0 0 0 0
Broken links - - - - -
Bill Stevens
Canadian Alliance
Sackville-Musquodoboit Valley-Eastern Shore
Site size, kilobytes - 44.2 44.2 44.2 44.2
Pages in site - 1 1 1 1
Internal images - 2 2 2 2
Large pages - 0 0 0 0
Broken links - - - - -
Jordi Morgan
Canadian Alliance
Site size, kilobytes - 43.7 43.7 43.7 43.7
Pages in site - 1 1 1 1
Internal images - 2 2 2 2
Large pages - 0 0 0 0
Broken links - - - - -
Note: Also see Mr. Morgan's other website (above)
84 kilobytes
Tony Seed
Halifax West
Site size, kilobytes - - - 41.6 41.6
Pages in site - - - 1 1
Internal images - - - 1 1
Large pages - - - 0 0
Broken links - - - 0 0
Brydon Ryan
Canadian Alliance
Site size, kilobytes - 34.0 34.0 34.0 34.0
Pages in site - 1 1 1 1
Internal images - 2 2 2 2
Large pages - 0 0 0 0
Broken links - - - - -
John Curry
Canadian Alliance
Bras d'Or-Cape Breton
Site size, kilobytes - - 26.9 26.9 26.9
Pages in site - - 1 1 1
Internal images - - 1 1 1
Large pages - - 0 0 0
Broken links - - - - -
Anna Curtis-Steele
Site size, kilobytes - - - 24.3 24.3
Pages in site - - - 1 1
Internal images - - - 8 8
Large pages - - - 0 0
Broken links - - - - -
Jim Harpell
New Democrat
Site size, kilobytes 17.2 17.2 17.2 17.2 -
Pages in site 1 1 1 1 -
Internal images 2 2 2 2 -
Large pages 0 0 0 0 -
Broken links 0 0 0 0 -
Michelle Dockrill
Bras d'Or-Cape Breton
Site size, kilobytes - 17.1 17.1 17.1 17.1
Pages in site - 1 1 1 1
Internal images - 2 2 2 2
Large pages - 0 0 0 0
Broken links - 0 0 0 0
Peter Stoffer
New Democrat
Sackville-Musquodoboit Valley-Eastern Shore
Site size, kilobytes 17.0 17.0 17.0 17.0 17.0
Pages in site 1 1 1 1 1
Internal images 2 2 2 2 2
Large pages 0 0 0 0 0
Broken links 0 0 0 0 0
Peter Mancini
New Democrat
Site size, kilobytes 16.8 16.8 16.8 16.8 16.8
Pages in site 1 1 1 1 1
Internal images 2 2 2 2 2
Large pages 0 0 0 0 0
Broken links 0 0 0 0 0
Bill Zimmerman
South Shore
Site size, kilobytes - - - 13.2 13.2
Pages in site - - - 1 1
Internal images - - - 1 1
Large pages - - - 0 0
Broken links - - - 0 0
Alexa McDonough
New Democrat
Site size, kilobytes 10.9 10.9 10.9 10.9 10.9
Pages in site 1 1 1 1 1
Internal images 1 1 1 1 1
Large pages 0 0 0 0 0
Broken links 0 0 0 0 0
Alfie MacLeod
Bras d'Or-Cape Breton
Site size, kilobytes 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.2 -
Pages in site 1 1 1 1 -
Internal images 0 0 0 0 -
Large pages 0 0 0 0 -
Broken links 0 0 0 0 -
Bill Casey
Site size, kilobytes - 1.1 1.1 1.1 -
Pages in site - 1 1 1 -
Internal images - 0 0 0 -
Large pages - 0 0 0 -
Broken links - 0 0 0 -
Note: Also see Mr. Casey's other website (above)
142 kilobytes
I was unable to analyze the eleven Liberal candidates'
websites embedded in the Liberal Party database.
Also, I was unable to analyze the following website:
Michael Oddy
Green Party
Online research by Ivan Smith

1.   Site size, kilobytes is the total size of the website in kilobytes, including text and graphics — this is the number of bytes of storage capacity required to host (store) the complete website. (The current retail price of hard drives, used for data storge, is slightly below one cent per megabyte.)
2.   Internal Images is the number of graphics files in the site.
3.   Large pages is the number of pages whose size, including text and graphics, exceeds 50 kilobytes. This is the number of bytes required to be downloaded to view the complete page. A larger page will take longer to download. The threshold of 50 kby is an arbitrary but often-used indicator of slower-downloading pages.

Caught in a tangled Web

OTTAWA — Tracking down details about your federal candidates through the Web is tedious, frustrating and sometimes impossible, a trial run by a Star panel of experts has found.

That's mainly because neither the political parties nor Elections Canada are making good use of the Web's key strengths — the capacity to sort and tailor information.

The frustration starts with a key piece of individual information — the federal riding where a voter lives. Unless you already know your riding or the name and party affiliation of a local federal candidate, disappointment looms as soon as you browse the cyber-election world...

The most important question for a lot of people is going to be what riding do I live in?" says Silvia Presenza, a lawyer and crisis communications consultant. A former Liberal political aide at Queen's Park, Toronto, Presenza pointed out that a simple way of finding your constituency — by typing in your postal code — is buried deep in another federal Web site. But Elections Canada and the main political parties don't even acknowledge this service, much less link to it.

Presenza is keeping an eye on the election campaign in cyberspace for The Star, along with Mike Custode, a Toronto graphic artist and Web site designer, and Paul Attallah, a communications professor at Carleton University in Ottawa. Last week they looked at how the main political parties are showcasing candidates on party Web sites and at the Elections Canada website where the official list of 1,808 candidates is posted.

They agreed no one was taking advantage of the Web's potential. Links from the party home pages to Web sites of individual candidates were spotty, contact information was inconsistent and interactive features non-existent.

"The Liberals don't have telephone numbers or addresses for many of the candidate campaign offices. I can't be bothered e-mailing to the Web site and waiting to hear back for information that should be there," Custode said...

Attallah said the political parties have not thought enough about the wider capabilities of the Web for visitors checking out local candidates. "They could be capturing people's e-mail addresses and then targeting them with really effective campaign information that was tailored to the riding and to the policy areas that people visited on the Web site," he said.

All three experts said the biggest hurdle — and a wholly unnecessary one — was the lack of a simple way for people to discover what riding they live in.

The Elections Canada Web site has searchable constituency maps but it takes five mouse clicks to reach a downtown Toronto riding which displays only major thoroughfares. The map must then be downloaded in a special Adobe Acrobat format before it can be enlarged. "It's simply not user-friendly," says Presenza.

And the constituency map hassle is also unnecessary. The House of Commons Web site already delivers the name of any federal constituency, needing only a postal code. An Elections Canada spokesperson said this service wasn't included on the official elections Web site because it wasn't accurate enough.

In an informal test by The Star, the postal code service delivered the correct federal constituency ten times in a row. But it was stumped once, offering three possible constituencies for a postal code on Butter Road, a rural lane near Hamilton. The Elections Canada solution? Frustrated Web users should instead telephone the toll-free VOTE INFO line at 1-800-463-6868. They'll type your postal code into that data base.

To identify your federal constituency using a postal code, go to www.parl.gc.ca. — the Parliamentary Web site. Click language preference, click on Senators and Members, scroll down to House of Commons Current and click, scroll half-way down the next page and click on Find your MP using your postal code. Then enter the postal code.

[The Toronto Star, 12 November 2000]

2000 November 14

Mahone Bay Checking Out Abandoned Rail Lines

The Town of Mahone Bay is going to take a closer look at the use of motorized vehicles on abandoned rail lines. Councillor Chris Heide brought concerns from the town's parks and recreation committee to council's November 14th meeting. He said members are especially concerned about the section of the former rail line between the Fauxburg Road and Main Street.

People who live in that area and use the abandoned line for activities such as jogging and walking their dogs are worried about the increasing number of all-terrain vehicles on the trail. They want to know, he said, if the town has a position on the use of the rail line. "That piece in particular seemed to us to be quite inappropriate for a bunch of ATVs to be running around," Councillor Heide said.

Mahone Bay had considered buying a section of the line once before, but no one at last week's meeting could recall the outcome of those discussions. Several trail groups in the area are now looking at developing the former rail line which would include use by all-terrain vehicles. "Once the doors are open and the cows are out of the barn we can't do anything about it," said Councillor Don Mader, who also sits on the recreation committee. "We felt quite concerned that if this goes through and all of a sudden there are all these ATVs going up along our walkway, then we're stuck. "It would be nice to take a good hard look at this," he added.

Lunenburg and Bridgewater Own Their Abandoned Rail Lines

Lunenburg does not allow ATVs on its walking trail and Bridgewater is currently in a one-year trial. But both those towns own the abandoned lines within their town limits.

Deputy Mayor Virginia Uhlman questioned if Mahone Bay has any authority over trail use if it doesn't own the land. "If we don't own it, we can't tell them what they can drive on it," she said. Council agreed to refer the matter back to the parks and recreation committee for evaluation and recommendations.

Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Heide said he'd like to see the town take ownership of the section of trail that abuts Jubilee Park. "I for one would like to see the town own at least that portion of the line and perhaps more. That portion crosses three streets and there's a real danger there," he said. "My position would be that the town should move in."

[The Lunenburg Progress-Enterprise, 22 November 2000]

2000 November 14

Digital Radio in Canada

DAB — Digital Audio Broadcasting

News release, November 14 — Digital Radio Roll-Out (DRRI) Incorporated is pleased to announce a major Canadian website for digital radio — www.digitalradio.ca. The website was launched at the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Conference in Calgary, November 12-14. It promises to serve as the central hub linking all DAB stations in the country. Consumers will be treated to technology updates, new product information and dealer locations, exclusive artist profiles, contests, a monthly e-zine, and comprehensive links to their favourite DAB radio stations.

A consortium of all major commercial and non-commercial broadcasters is forging ahead under the name Digital Radio Roll Out Inc. At the conference, Calgary stations began a test broadcast in the new format which promises to replace AM and FM over the next decade. The test consists of DAB carrying five programme services, three CORUS Entertainment Inc. and two Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) services. With current market coverage including Vancouver, Toronto, Windsor, and Montreal, DAB is now available to over 35% of Canadians, establishing this country as a world leader in the field.

Talk at the conference has indicated that Ottawa is next in line to be added to the market list, with Rogers leading the way. Steve Edwards, Vice President of Corporate Engineering & technology for Rogers Media, stated that "as part of our ongoing commitment to DAB, an Ottawa launch is our next priority. We've started technical planning. Our on air target is next year's CAB convention with approximately 17 Ottawa area stations participating". Both audio receiver manufacturers (e.g. Pioneer, Arcam) and auto manufacturers (e.g. General Motors) were in attendance, speaking in extremely positive terms about the future of DAB. A roundtable discussion highlighted the host of new revenue opportunities that will be afforded to broadcasters by the new technology.

Digital Radio Roll-Out (DRRI) Inc. news release, 14 November 2000

Digital Audio Broadcasting website
This new website was launched at the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Conference in Calgary, November 12-14, 2000. It promises to serve as the central hub linking all DAB stations in the country. Consumers will be treated to technology updates, new product information and dealer locations, exclusive artist profiles, contests, a monthly e-zine, and comprehensive links to their favourite DAB radio stations...

Digital Radio

2000 November 16

Salmon River Bridge Construction Underway
On Abutments Built in 1931, 69 Years Ago

Main Suspension Cables Completed

Members of the Guysborough Trails Association were estatic as the group's latest project reached an important milestone. The suspension bridge crossing over the Salmon River is nearly complete and one of the major components, the cables, was hooked up Thursday morning, November 16th.

Salmon River Bridge, Guysborough Railway
(Bridge photo taken after completion.)

The project is being constructed by Galeb Construction and its sub-contractors. They started work on the bridge in October. Eldon Halloran, chairman of the association, says it was a later start than they originally planned. He explains there were a lot of technical pieces and specialized equipment which had to be manufactured and brought in.

"The weather hasn't been too helpful either," he admits. The project is worth approximately $150,000 and Halloran says it's enormous. "When people see it, it sinks in," he explains, adding this isn't a flimsy cable bridge with a few planks strung across the water. "It's an engineer-approved plan. Sable Offshore provided us with the plans through their sub-contractors. It's valued around $20,000. It gave us a real lever to seek funding."

Halloran says the bridge removes one of the main bottlenecks in the trail. "This will open it up for a lot of people to use," he says. "It's part of the whole package."

The bridge will be visable to people from the Giant's Lake Road. Work will continue on the project for the next several weeks. Halloran says the decking still has to be installed, as do the rails. He adds a final inspection will also be completed before the bridge is open to the public. "We hope to have it open to the public by mid-December,"he says. "We'll have an official opening in the spring with all of our funding partners."

One piece of unfinished business with the bridge is christening it with a name. Halloran says they may hold a contest for that job. The bridge also has some historical significance. It rises above the river using the abutments which were built to hold a railway bridge. The original stamp on the base reads 1931, but this is the first bridge to fill the gap. With it in place the trail is now completed from Forest Hill in Country Harbour to Guysborough, providing hikers, bikers and ATV and snowmobile users with approximetly 35 kilometres of completed trail. This winter will be the first time people will be able to cross that river.

[The Guysborough Journal, 22 November 2000]
Guysborough Trails Association website

Pedestrian Cable Suspension Bridge over Salmon River

Canada Gazette, 24 June 2000

Guysborough County Trails Association hereby gives notice that an application has been made to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans under the Navigable Waters Protection Act for approval of the plans and site of the work described herein. Under section 9 of the said Act, the Guysborough County Trails Association has deposited with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and in the office of the District Registrar of the Land Registry District of Guysborough, at Guysborough, Nova Scotia, under deposit number 582 (Plan-file No. 227), a description of the site and plans of a pedestrian cable suspension bridge over Salmon River, at Ogden, Nova Scotia, on Crown land of the Province of Nova Scotia (Old Guysborough Railway) near McAllister farm on the Guysborough Nature Trail, which is part of the TransCanada Trail.

Written objections based on the effect of the work on marine navigation should be directed, not later than one month from the date of publication of this notice, to the Regional Director, Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Foot of Parker Street, P.O. Box 1000, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2Y 3Z8.

Canada Gazette, Part I, Volume 134, Number 26, 24 June 2000

2000 November 17

Thanks to to Bill and Melinda Gates

Nova Scotia Legislature
Resolution No. 3356

From Page 8943, Hansard's report of proceedings
in the Nova Scotia Legislature
on 17 November 2000:

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

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

Whereas computers are now as important to the function of public libraries as books; and

Whereas the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated $855,000 worth of computer equipment to public libraries in Nova Scotia to provide low-income earners access to computer resources, as well as the Internet; and

Whereas this grant has allowed the provincial library to establish regional computer centres in Yarmouth, Halifax, Sydney and Truro;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House express their gratitude to Bill and Melinda Gates for their generosity, and wish them all the best in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Source: Nova Scotia Hansard, 17 November 2000, page 8943

2000 November 17

Public Transit in Lunenburg County

A move is afoot in Lunenburg County to provide a public transportation system which, initially, will serve residents of the communities of Mahone Bay, Bridgewater, Lunenburg and Riverport. A steering committee is in place to promote the idea and a study undertaken by students from Saint Mary's University lends support to the need for transit service.
[The Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 17 November 2000]

2000 November 17

Canadian Internet Use Keeps Climbing

Nearly half of all Canadian homes are now hooked up to the Internet, more than in either the United States or leading European countries, according to a new study.

As children race home to answer their e-mail and adults check their stock portfolios or the latest news, more than 48 per cent of Canadian households now have Internet access, up from 43 per cent last year, according to a study by consulting and accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. This compares with 43 per cent of homes in the United States, 38 per cent in Australia, and 26 per cent of households in Britain, France and Germany combined.

Most of the growth in Canadian home Internet use this year has been due to a rapid expansion in Quebec. About 42 per cent of households in that province are now wired to the Web, up from only 29 per cent last year, as more and more French-language Web sites are created and Montreal continues its rise as a hotbed for high-tech indstry.

In addition to the increase in French-language sites, "there is more emphasis by the [Quebec] government in making its residents Internet-literate," said Peter Lyman, who heads PricewaterhouseCoopers' Information Communications and Entertainment/Media practice in Canada.

But for the rest of Canada, the rate at which Internet use has grown has slowed. Fifty per cent of Canadian homes outside of Quebec now have Internet access, up from 48 per cent last year.

Among Canadian users, high-speed Internet connections are also catching on, rising to 22 per cent of Internet-using households from 18 per cent last year. "Clearly, hish-speed connections are on the rise. However, today's high-speed market is still largely an early adopter market," Mr. Lyman noted.

The Internet is becoming more of a substitute for reading or watching television as a source of evening entertainment. Canadians are spending about five hours a week on-line, compared to slightly less than four hours last year. On the other hand, Americans are spending less time on-line, down to four hours a week from five hours last year. This decline in the United States "may be a sign of the medium's maturity and that people are becoming more economical and efficient in their use of the Internet," the study said.

In Canada, the prime reason for accessing the Internet is to send and receive e-mail messages, the survey found. Quebeckers indicated they were more sociable than most Canadians on-line, with 48 per cent citing e-mail as their main reason to log on as opposed to 37 per cent of users in the rest of Canada.

Otherwise, the Web appears to increasingly be used as a reference source, with 36 per cent of Canadians saying that obtaining information and reference material was their prime reason for accessing the Internet at home, the study said. Much of this research is devoted to obtaining government documents on-line. The survey also found that 44 per cent of home Internet users in Canada access government services, up from 32 per cent last year.

[The Globe and Mail, 17 November 2000]

Survey Shows Canada Leads the World
in Internet Use

PricewaterhouseCoopers study done
to further the understanding
of Internet applications on a household level
and to identify trends in take up rates

Canada has become a world leader in Internet use, the second annual survey by management consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests. The survey found that almost half of Canadian households surveyed were online — 48.2 per cent — compared with 43 per cent in the United States, 38 per cent in Australia, and 26 per cent in "Europe" — that is, Britain, France and Germany combined. Canadians also led in the average hours of Internet use per week with 5.1 hours, up from 3.9 last year. The net average hours of Internet use per week in Europe was 3.2, while Australia was 3.6. The United States saw the average hours per week on the Internet decline from 5.3 in 1999 to 4.2 this year. This decline of nearly one hour of Internet use per week in the U.S. "may be a sign of the medium's maturity and that people are becoming more economical and efficient in their use of the Internet," PricewaterhouseCoopers said Thursday, November 16th, in a release. The survey in Canada consisted of 802 interviews with"a sample representation" of the population, PricewaterhouseCoopers said, and it is considered to be accurate within 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
[The Halifax Daily News, 19 November 2000]

Canadians Lead the World in Internet Use,
Subscription to High-Speed Access Grows

16 November 2000

TORONTO, November 16, 2000 — The PricewaterhouseCoopers Canadian Consumer Technology Study 2000, released today, shows that Canada is a world leader when it comes to per household Internet access. The annual study, designed to investigate the extent and many uses of the Internet in homes around the world, found that almost half of the Canadian population is now on-line (48.2%), compared to 43% in the U.S., 38% in Australia, and 26% in Europe (U.K., France, and Germany).

Canadians also lead in the average hours of Internet use per week with 5.1 hours/week, up from 3.9 hours/week last year. The net average hours of Internet use per week in Europe was 3.2 hours/week, while Australia was 3.6 hours/week. The U.S. saw the average hours per week on the Internet decline from 5.3 hours/week in 1999 to 4.2 hours/week this year. This hour-long decline in Internet use per week in the U.S. may be a sign of the medium's maturity and that people are becoming more economical and efficient in their use of the Internet.

Overall household Internet access in Canada increased from 43% in 1999 to 48% this year. Most of this growth represents change in Quebec, which saw household Internet penetration grow from 29% last year to 42% in 2000. Growth of Internet subscribers in the rest of Canada has only increased from 48% in 1999 to 50% this year. This again reflects the adoption pattern already evident in the U.S. as its market is beginning to show signs of saturation with 43% of its population on-line.

Of Canadian household Internet users, 22% are using high-speed connections to the Internet, including cable modems (18%) and digital subscriber lines (4%). This is a growth over last year, when only 18% of Internet users were subscribing to high-speed service providers.

"Clearly, high-speed connections are on the rise. However, today's high-speed market is still largely an early adopter market. To sign up the general population, service providers will have to develop more compelling value propositions," said Peter Lyman, leader of the Information Communications and Entertainment/Media (ICE) practice for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Canada. "Our data highlights the fact that cost is the primary deterrent holding back the migration of consumers to high-speed."

Of the Canadians polled who were not yet connected, 24.3% said they expect to hook up to the Internet within a year. Of this segment, 29.2% said they were considering high-speed connections. The use of high-speed Internet access is higher in Canada than in many other countries. Only in Germany, where an Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) is widely available, is there more high-speed access.

Throughout Canada, research and information (92.2%) and e-mail (93.2%) are the top reasons for using the Internet. Interest in on-line banking has risen to 45% from 36% last year. Shopping is also making inroads as a reason to use the Internet, increasing to 28% from 22%.

Last year, 38% of Canadians said they'd be watching television if they weren't on-line. This year, only 32% said they would be watching TV if they weren't on-line. Reading topped the list (38%) of things people would be doing in the absence of the Internet.

About the Canadian Consumer Technology Study

For the second year in a row, PricewaterhouseCoopers has released the Canadian Consumer Technology Study, a study designed to investigate the extent and many uses of the Internet in Canadian homes. In addition to collecting data on Internet usage, a series of questions on digital television and attitudes towards the convergence of technologies was administered. This study is the Canadian portion of an international effort by PricewaterhouseCoopers to further the understanding of Internet applications on a household level and to identify trends in take up rates. Conducted by the PricewaterhouseCoopers' National Survey Centre in Ottawa, data collection consisted of 802 interviews with a sample representation of the Canadian population. The data is considered to be accurate to ±3.5%, 19 of 20 times.

Canadians lead the world in Internet use — Subscription to high-speed access grows

PricewaterhouseCoopers website

PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada

PricewaterhouseCoopers: Canadian Consumer Technology Study 2000

2000 November 18

New Suffixes Ease Dot-Com Crunch

Say hello to .biz, .museum and .info

MARINA DEL REY, California — Hoping to ease the dot-com name crunch, an Internet oversight board created seven new Web address suffixes Thursday, November 16th, including .biz, .name and .info.

The decision by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers capped a half-decade of discussion about how to relieve demand for addresses ending in .com. With some 20,000,000 .com names registered worldwide, easy-to-remember addresses have been all but used up.

The new suffixes, or Internet domain names, are the first major additions since the system was developed in the 1980s. The new suffixes could be in use by the middle of next year.

ICANN approved .info for general use, .biz for businesses, .name for individuals, .pro for professionals, .museum for museums, .coop for business cooperatives and .aero for the aviation industry.

More new suffixes are expected, ICANN chair Esther Dyson said.

There are already "regional" suffixes familiar to most computer users, such as .edu .gov, and .mil, which are for educational institutions, government agencies, and military organizations, mostly in the United States. But .com, .net and .org currently are the only suffixes designated as available to anyone worldwide — and all are becoming crowded.

The new suffixes are similar to adding area codes to the telephone system to accommodate growth.

They could make more simple addresses available and Web sites easier to find. A computer user, for example, could someday type ama.health to reach the American Medical Association Web site instead of www.ama-assn.org. The current name is so long because ama.org belongs to the American Marketing Association.

The new suffixes could also begin a new Internet land rush, with speculators and trademark holders competing to claim the best names first. ICANN (www.icann.org) must now negotiate contracts with companies or groups that made the winning proposals.

New suffixes have been under consideration since the mid-1990s, but there were disputes over how many and which ones. ICANN was designated by the U.S. Commerce Department in 1998 as the overseer of online addresses.

For this week's meeting, companies proposing new suffixes paid US$50,000 for the chance to become record keepers for the new names. As registry operators, they would be able to charge a few dollars for each name registered, an amount that could add up to millions of dollars for the most popular suffixes.

In all, there were applications for 191 new suffixes, with 47 surviving the first round for consideration in depth.

[The Halifax Daily News, 18 November 2000]

Seven New Domains Are Chosen to Join Popular .com

Vinton Cerf Named Chairman of ICANN

18 November 2000

Marina Del Rey, California — Seeking to expand the virtual real estate of the Internet, the board that oversees the Internet's addressing system decided Thursday, November 16th, on seven new domains to compete with the popular .com.

The board of directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, known as ICANN, selected .info and .biz for general use and .pro for professionals. Also added were .name for personal Web sites, .museum for museums, .aero for airline groups and .coop for business cooperatives.

Winners were selected from nearly 50 applications submitted by businesses and other groups seeking to manage the new suffixes, officially called generic top-level domains. Proposals that failed to win enough support Thursday include .web, .kids, .xxx, .union, .health, .travel and .geo.

Any new domains will not be put to use until next spring at the earliest. In the meantime, ICANN staff members will continue negotiations with the winning bidders to coordinate the business and technical aspects of the new domains.

"People are used to the .com space," said Sloan D. Gaon, director of business development with Register.com, a member of a consortium that had winning bids for .info and .pro. He added that heavy marketing would be necessary to "change the mindset of Internet users around the world."

The decision Thursday, November 16th, begins the largest structural change to the Internet since the late 1980s. While other domains, like .org and .net, were created to differentiate Web sites, the distinctions have largely been lost as groups have staked out property in cyberspace. The .com domain is by far the most popular, with more than 20,000,000 names.

Created in 1998 by the U.S. Commerce Department to open up the monopoly on registering domain names, ICANN ensures that each domain name is unique, preventing different registration companies from handing out the same address. The addition of new domains still requires the approval of the Commerce Department.

The businesses that offered proposals hope to make money by selling new names within the domains, although they suggested that profits might be years away. Afilias, a consortium of 19 current domain registries, including Register.com, that proposed .info, has said it expects losses of US$13,000,000 during its first four years, as it signs up an estimated 16,000,000 new Web sites. But those projections were based on its first choice, .web, which the board rejected. Thomas Barrett, an Afilias member, said the consortium would have to revise its estimates for .info, because it thought that suffix would be harder to sell.

"It won't have the same kind of acceleration you would see with .web," said Barrett, chief executive of Netnames International, a registry based in London.

Afilias also includes VeriSign Incorporated, whose Network Solutions unit long held the monopoly on the registration of names within .com.

The company overseeing .biz, JVTeam, which has roots in Australia and the United States, said it expected to register nearly 4,000,000 sites. The Global Name Registry, based in Britain, said it expected to register 14,000,000 customers for its .name site.

One of the day's largest surprises was the denial of Stanford Research International, whose proposal to tie geographic locations to .geo was hailed as "interesting and innovative" by ICANN staff members and board members.

Despite concerns about whether the technology was ready, .geo survived until the final round, when it fell victim to the board's quest for diversity among its winners. Stanford Research relied on JVTeam, which had already won with two other projects, for technical support.

Also failing to allay the board's concerns Vinton Cerf was .kids, which was proposed as a safe domain for children to surf the Internet. "It's not possible to deliver, on a global scale in all cultures and age groups, a coherent and reasonably assured experience," said Vinton G. Cerf, a board member who is widely credited for helping found the Internet. After the announcement Thursday, five new board members were seated and Cerf was named new chairman, replacing Esther Dyson.

Unlike several of the large registry companies that submitted applications, the National Cooperative Business Association, which won with .co-op and .coop, does not have a large presence on the Internet. Paul Harven, association president, praised ICANN for not merely choosing "the same players shuffling the same deck."

[The Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 18 November 2000]

ICANN Announces Selections For New Top-Level Domains

16 November 2000

Marina del Rey, CA — The board of directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, (ICANN) today announced its selections for registry operators for new top level domains. The applications selected for further negotiation are the following:
      .aero — Societe Internationale de Telecommunications Aeronautiques SC, (SITA)
      .biz — JVTeam, LLC
      .coop — National Cooperative Business Association, (NCBA)
      .info — Afilias, LLC
      .museum — Museum Domain Management Association, (MDMA)
      .name — Global Name Registry, LTD
      .pro — RegistryPro, LTD

The ICANN staff will now work through the end of the year to negotiate registry agreements with the applicants selected. The proposed schedule for completion of negotiations is December 31, 2000. The negotiated registry agreements must then be approved by the board of directors. Following that approval, the ICANN board will forward its recommendations to the U.S. Department of Commerce for implementation.


ICANN — The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers

ICANN Report on New TLD Applications, released 9 November 2000

History of the ICANN process for new TLDs

New TLD strings applied for

Multimedia Archives of ICANN Public Meetings, November 13-16, 2000, at Los Angeles, California — (This online archive includes streaming video of the entire proceedings during all three meetings.)

Vinton Cerf's personal home page

Internet History

Interplanetary Internet

Vinton Cerf is co-designer of the TCP/IP protocol, the communications protocol that gave birth to the Internet and which is commonly used today. In December 1997, President Clinton presented the U.S. National Medal of Technology to Cerf and his partner, Robert E. Kahn, for founding and developing the Internet...

VeriSign Incorporated

The ICANN Resolution — New TLDs

16 November 2000

"There were many complaints about which TLDs ICANN selected and the process it used to do so (including the fact that five newly elected At-Large board members could not take part in the decision.) Yet it certainly is a welcome step to have a set of diverse additions to the congested gTLD space. ICANN is changing the landscape of cyberspace..."
— An observer at the meeting

Here is the resolution that ICANN passed on November 16th, at the "raucous and historic Los Angeles meeting"...

"Selection of New TLD Proposals for Negotiation"

Whereas, in resolution 00.46 the Board adopted the Names Council's recommendation that a policy be established for the introduction of new TLDs in a measured and responsible manner;

Whereas, on 3 August 2000 the ICANN staff, acting under the President's direction, posted a "New TLD Application Process Overview";

Whereas, on 15 August 2000 the ICANN staff, again acting under the President's direction, posted Criteria for Assessing TLD Proposals that it would follow in making recommendations to the Board and instructions and forms for the use of applicants in applying to operate or sponsor new TLDs;

Whereas, 47 applications were received by the 2 October 2000 deadline for submission of new TLD applications;

Whereas, the non-confidential portions of the applications were posted and extensive public comments were received on them;

Whereas, on 10 November 2000, a report evaluating the applications prepared by an evaluation team consisting of ICANN staff and outside advisers was posted on the ICANN web site;

Whereas, many additional written comments were received on the web site, by e-mail, and otherwise;

Whereas, several constituencies of the Domain Name Supporting Organization have presented positions to the Board;

Whereas, several hours of applicant and public comments were presented at the in-person ICANN public forum held on 16 November 2000;

RESOLVED [00.89], the Board selects the following proposals for negotiations toward appropriate agreements between ICANN and the registry operator or sponsoring organization, or both: JVTeam (.biz), Afilias (.info), Global Name Registry (.name), RegistryPro (.pro), MDMA (.museum), SITA (.aero), NCBA (.coop);

RESOLVED [00.90], the President and General Counsel are authorized to conduct those negotiations on behalf of ICANN and, subject to further Board approval or ratification, to enter into appropriate agreements; and

RESOLVED [00.91], the President and General Counsel are authorized to retain legal and other assistance in support of the negotiations and related activities.

The Berkman Center for Internet and Society
at the Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts

ICANN: 7 Out of 44 Ain't Bad

ICANN Should Approve More Top Level Domains

ICANN Use More Web Suffixes
by Declan McCullagh
The Wall Street Journal Op-Ed
Monday, November 20, 2000

If there's one thing on which the quarrelsome geeks who run the Internet can agree, it's that the online world badly needs some new suffixes to supplement the overcrowded .com, .org, and .net.

As far back as the mid-1990s, frustrated engineers and entrepreneurs proposed creating additional suffixes, known as generic top level domains (GTLDs) in the unflattering vernacular of Webheads. Five years, dozens of false starts, and a considerable amount of confusion later, a nonprofit group backed by the U.S. government has finally chosen seven new GTLDs. Its decision last week marks the first move toward relieving .com's congestion.

So why is almost nobody happy?

One reason is that the new suffixes approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers are woefully inadequate. Instead of picking GTLDs that would meet market demand, ICANN decided to approve the lackluster set of .aero, .biz, .coop, .info, .museum, .name, and .pro instead. (If these were proposed brand names, you can bet most would fail the first focus group test.) Any more additions, ICANN's board members indicated, would not be approved until late 2001.

This is absurd. Technology experts occasionally wrangle over how many GTLDs the current setup can include, with the better estimates in the millions, but few doubt that the domain name system can handle tens of thousands of new suffixes without catastrophe.

ICANN could easily have taken a more careful look at more than 100 GTLD applications-each of the 47 hopefuls, some of whom suggested multiple names, paid $50,000 for the chance-it received in advance of last week's meeting. Or it could have reduced the application fee and thereby attracted more submissions. Approving more GTLDs would have been sensible, since .com domain names are in such terribly short supply. A Wired.com survey conducted in April 1999 found that of 25,500 standard dictionary words, only 1,760 were still available, and the problem of finding even a multiple-word domain name is more acute today.

"In an ideal world, they would have awarded all nonconflicting applications that met objective feasibility requirements," says Milton Mueller, a professor at Syracuse University. "Things that didn't break the system."

At a time when the market is demanding more competition and an end to this artificial scarcity, ICANN is responding far too sluggishly. That keeps a premium on .com and makes it more expensive for new entrants in the marketplace to obtain prime online real estate. It also has the effect of continuing the monopoly status of VeriSign's Network Solutions, which has a lucrative Commerce Department-granted right to collect $6 a year on each of the .com, .org, and .net domain names in use. (No wonder VeriSign paid $21 billion to buy Network Solutions earlier this year.)

Another problem is a predictable one: Politics. In the past, some of ICANN's duties had been handled by various federal agencies. Unlike what some regulatory enthusiasts have suggested, however, the solution is not encouraging the government to again become directly involved in this process. A wiser alternative is a complete or near-complete privatization of these functions.

ICANN has begun to act as a de facto extension of the Commerce Department, which by law has ultimate approval over additional GTLDs. That has given Internet users the worst of both worlds None of the competitive checks and balances that the marketplace would provide, and none of the procedural protections of government.

This quasi-governmental role is already threatening to derail, or at least delay, the arrival of new GTLDs. Rep. Ed Markey (D., Mass.) last week asked the Commerce Department not to approve any new suffixes until it reviews the level of competition in the domain registration business. When the World Health Organization learned it didn't receive the hoped-for .health domain, it hinted it would take legal action. At least a few other disappointed GTLD hopefuls are likely to feel the same way. Ralph Nader's Consumer Project on Technology is unhappy that .union didn't make it. And so on.

There are a few ways out of this mess. Not all nations are overjoyed about the White House having a veto over ostensibly global top-level domains, so the process could be handed to the United Nations instead. But a Republican Congress may not go along, and, besides, the U.N. has displayed pro-Net-tax tendencies and scant appreciation for free expression.

If ICANN and the Commerce Department move too slowly, frustrated businesses could turn to alternative solutions. The OpenNIC project, which requires tech-savvy users to reconfigure their computers, already supports alternative GTLDs including .parody, .oss (for open-source projects), and .geek (still pending). But that risks balkanizing the Internet: On two different machines, the same domain name could lead to two different Websites.

Perhaps the best suggestion comes from Michael Froomkin, a professor of law at the University of Miami and a co-founder of the icannwatch.org Website. He suggests a round-robin process in which nations and non-profit groups would take turns adding a fixed number of new GTLDs, and ICANN would merely keep track of the master list. The number of domains added could double each round. The process might not make everyone happy, but it would have one important benefit: It might actually work.

Mr. McCullagh is the Washington bureau chief for Wired.com.


2000 November 18

Nova Scotia to Levy 43¢ Fee for 911 Service

"It's roughly about $6 a year — it's not a major thing"

Nova Scotians will soon start paying an extra 43 cents each month on their phone bills for 911 service — plus 15 per cent BST (Blended Sales Tax).

However, Jamie Muir, minister responsible for emergency measures, said the charge, to take effect in January or February, isn't a tax grab. "It's a recovery fee," he said Friday. "It's roughly about $6 a year — it's not a major thing."

The new charge applies to the 750,000 phone lines in the province capable of dialling out, including all land-based residential and business phones, cellphones and fax machines.

It will bring in more than $3,200,000 next year after it's implemented and the fee for collecting it is subtracted, Mr. Muir said. "The actual cost of the system is about $1,400,000." The system needs another $1,800,000 in improvements, the minister added. In its last budget, the government claimed 911 costs $677,000 to operate and it planned to recover $745,000 through the new fee.

"It's going to cost you five times that and the government is going to reap a big windfall on it, so by any measure it's just a tax," said NDP emergency measures critic Darrell Dexter. "Were they just so desperately wrong in their budget estimates that they didn't know what they were doing six months ago?" Liberal critic Kennie MacAskill also called the measure a tax. "It's excessive to the ordinary Nova Scotian," he said.

Hidden telephone charges

Mr. Muir said the phone companies have a hidden charge of about 60 cents a month worked into their bills for costs associated with 911. The federal telecommunications regulator has already ruled the province is responsible for about $400,000 of the amount that the phone companies are charging, he said. But he said he didn't know whether the companies planned to drop their rates to reflect that or continue taking in the extra thousands of dollars as profit.

Sixteen Per Cent Collection Fee

The phone companies will keep about seven cents of every 43-cent charge per month — about $600,000 a year — as a collection fee, Mr. Muir said.

He said 911 improvements needed include a digital mapping system and highway markers throughout the province to help orient people calling the service from mobile phones. "Our 911 system is very good but it's got to be upgraded. We think it's a good investment and people will understand that it is." He said the money will be collected in a separate account and be used only for the 911 service.

If it turns out after the first year the costs for upgrades are mostly covered, the 43-cent charge will be evaluated again, he said. "We will take a look at the costs on an annual basis," Mr. Muir said. "We're not in this business to make money."

[The Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 18 November 2000]

43 Cents per Phone Line per Month will go to 911,
Poison-Control Centre

18 November 2000

Nova Scotians with a phone will start paying for the province's 911 system in the new year, as well as for the poison-control centre at the IWK Grace Health Centre, formerly funded by the hospital. Jamie Muir, minister responsible for the Emergency Measures Organization, announced yesterday the government will charge 43 cents per month, or $5.16 a year, per telephone line. The fee will also apply to cellphones and dedicated Internet connections.

Muir said this will bring in about $3,200,000 annually. Of that, $800,000 per year will go to the poison-control centre. The fees will also be used to upgrade computerized maps to make it easier to find people needing assistance, and to set up highway markers, he said.

Last year, the Hamm government said the monthly fee would be about $1, and the spring budget estimated it would generate $745,000 annually.

Muir said the fee will be applied only to outgoing telephone lines, not incoming lines. For example, a call-centre with 200 incoming lines and two outgoing lines would only pay 86 cents per month.

"It is important to note that Nova Scotians will not be charged per call to 911," he stressed. "In other words, the number of times a person calls 911 will not have any impact on this fee. It will remain consistent at 43 cents, less than the cost of a cup of coffee per month." The money won't go to the province's general coffers, but will be disbursed through a cost-recovery board, Muir said.

"It's certainly not a tax grab. This is really trying to see that we have a safety service that is second to none in Canada," he said.

But the Liberals and NDP argued it's a new tax. NDP critic Darrell Dexter wondered how the government's budget estimates could have been so far out of whack. "It is either a surplus over and above what they need to run the service, or it is evidence that they had so little information in putting together their budget projections that they are wildly inaccurate," Dexter said. Liberal critic Kennie MacAskill contended it will hurt small businesses. "It's excessive to the ordinary Nova Scotian if you run a business and you have a phone and a fax machine and a cellphone," he said.

[The Halifax Daily News, 18 November 2000]

2000 November 18

Tufts Cove Number Two Generator
Running on Natural Gas

NSPI Generates Electricity With Sable Gas

New Energy Source Gets Trial Run

As Nova Scotians flicked on their coffee makers this morning, some of the electricity they were using was generated with Nova Scotia natural gas. Nova Scotia Power Inc. is burning Sable gas in one of three boilers at the Tufts Cove generating station, as part of a complicated testing process that could take another two weeks.

Bill Hearn, special projects advisor for NSPI, said the station's second unit is operating full-out on natural gas. "It's been running very smoothly ... we're quite pleased with how the unit has responded to this new source," Hearn said yesterday.

He made his comments just after Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline president Pat Langan officially opened the consortium's Halifax lateral, which brings gas to Tufts Cove.

The $90,000,000 lateral pipeline, which connects to the main pipeline south of New Glasgow, was built with more than 80 per cent Atlantic labour, Langan said.

With the sound of gas hissing its way through a pressure reduction station behind him, Langan said it shows industry in this region is more than capable of seizing the new opportunities natural gas presents.

Gordon Balser, minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Petroleum Directorate, said the facilities that opened yesterday "should send a very strong and powerful message to Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada that gas is going to be an energy source of the future."

Three hundred kilometres to the northeast, however, the province's other gas lateral — which crosses the Strait of Canso to Cape Breton — still isn't in operation. Langan said Maritimes continues to negotiate with the Point Tupper lateral's builder and current owner, Sable Offshore Energy Inc. The line was completed earlier this year.

Because of concerns over quality defects in the pipe used to build the lateral, the National Energy Board would only allow it to operate at less than half of its design pressure. Langan said if everything goes as planned, a reduced flow of gas could be moving through the line by February or March of 2001.

Plans for a trio of transfer stations off the Halifax lateral have finally been sent to the National Energy Board for review, an official with Maritimes said. The stations are needed to move gas from the lateral into the local distribution system being built by Sempra Atlantic Gas in metro.

[The Halifax Daily News, 18 November 2000]

NSP's fuel challenge

Market price to determine if Dartmouth plant burns gas, oil

Nova Scotia Power is burning natural gas and selling it too.

"We sell it to various markets, there's various buyers" both in Canada and the United States, NSP president David Mann said Thursday, November 23rd, after a ceremony at the Tufts Cove generating station marking the first consumption of Sable offshore gas by a Nova Scotia company.

Nova Scotia Power, the province's largest electrical utility, is also the largest single customer for Sable gas. NSP, which owns a 12.5 per cent stake in the Maritimes and Northeast pipeline carrying Sable gas to New England, signed a ten-year contract with Shell Canada to buy 60,000,000 cubic feet of gas a day.

The company has spent $30,000,000 to upgrade its Tufts Cove generating station in Dartmouth to burn gas as well as oil. Mr. Mann said market conditions will dictate which fuel the station burns, which could leave NSP with excess gas capacity to sell. "Some days we might have all these units on gas, other days we might not," he said, adding that he couldn't say what the company might save by burning gas over oil. "That would depend almost on a day-to-day basis. Actually, the price changes hourly. That's why this is such a sophisticated challenge to us," he said. "Traditionally (the price of) gas has followed oil. What we're seeing at the moment is a parting of the ways here and no one knows how long that's going to last."

But he said the ability to switch fuels enables NSP to keep electricity prices stable, and he noted that no rate increases are planned for 2001 - the fifth year in a row NSP has maintained electricity prices.

"The price of fuel is a huge proportion of our overall costs," he said. "And so our ability to manage price for fuel enables us to keep our prices stable to our customers."

Although he wouldn't say where NSP might sell its excess gas capacity, he noted that prices in New England could skyrocket this winter. "You're going to see gas prices, for example in Boston this winter, if they have a cold winter as some are expecting, at levels that nobody would have ever anticipated five years ago."

Mr. Mann deflected questions on what proportion of its gas capacity NSP would burn and what it would sell. "We've contracted presently for about 62-odd million (cubic feet) a day and what we don't burn we sell at the marketplace," he said. "We are selling gas into the marketplace, but we're also burning gas. That would really be all I'd be prepared to say."

He said NSP has no immediate plans to divert excess gas capacity to its other generating plants and that the introduction of natural gas won't have an impact on the company's existing demand for coal. "We have no plans at the moment to refuel or make any changes in our other plants, although sometime in the future that may come."

He said NSP also has no plans to build a co-generation plant in Goldboro, Guysborough County, site of the Sable gas processing plant.

Mr. Mann wouldn't discuss the details of NSP's contract with Shell when asked whether the company paid a fixed or floating price for gas. "I really don't feel as though I'd want to get in a discussion around our contract. Those are pretty precious things."

Premier John Hamm, who was given a tour of the revamped Tufts Cove facility on Thursday, called the introduction of natural gas a "tremendous day" for Nova Scotia. "The benefit as I see it is choice," he said. "The consumer wins. The energy landscape in Nova Scotia will never again be the same." Economic Development Minister Gordon Balser said seeing Nova Scotia gas burning in Nova Scotia was "a dream that's finally come true."

Sable gas actually began flowing to the plant on November 7th, said plant manager Doug Campbell. Public tours of the Tufts Cove plant will be held today and Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm.

[The Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 24 November 2000]

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