The Halifax Chronicle Herald
Sunday, March 28, 1999
page A5

Return to Sender: E-Mail Fee is a Hoax

by Kelly Shiers

The cyberspace rumour mill is working overtime.

And some Internet users may be getting outraged for no reason at all.

Lately, some e-mail users have received a message on Bill ^02P, federal legislation that proposes a five-cent surchage on each e-mail they send.

According to the sender, an assistant to an Ontario lawyer, "Alternate postal fees" have been suggested to bolster Canada Post revenues, which are dwindling because of the growing popularity of electronic mail. The fees would be added to customers' Internet bills, it says.

The message also says a Liberal backbencher by the name of Tony Schnell has suggested a $20 to $40 charge on all Internet services, on top of the nickle-an-email surcharge.

Some people might think it's possible.

But none of this story is true.

"The idea is not only a hoax, it is fraudulent", said Marc Roy, a spokesman for the government House leader in Ottawa. "This has never been considered."

Mr. Roy said the story doesn't even come close to reality.

"First of all, Bill 602P does not exist, P doesn't figure into any bill", he said.

"(And) the MP quoted here doesn't exist. ... There's never been an MP by that name."

There is also no telephone listing for the lawyer who is supposedly leading the fight agsinst the proposal.

While e-mail users are urged to pass the message along to family and friends and to write to their MPs to voice their displeasure, Mr. Roy said this was the first time he had head of Bill 602P.

Copyright © 1999 by The Halifax Chronicle Herald. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.