O Canada's e-prowess

While U.S. federal online efforts remain in the formative stage, about half

the transactions between Canadians and their government now can be performed

online. Whether applying for child support or registering a patent, obtaining

a communications license or buying auto decals, Canadians can do it without

standing in lines or mailing in forms.

And since 1997, Canada has had a national chief information officer

to develop and carry out the nation's electronic government plan. As a result,

said Paul Rummell, Canada's first CIO, Canada has sprinted years ahead of

the United States in e-government.

Government services are available through home and office computers

and through electronic kiosks installed in public places. Canada's national

government is linked to its provincial and municipal governments in a network

"we call clicks and mortar," said Rummell, who holds Canadian and U.S. citizenships.

By 2004, all Canadian federal programs and services are scheduled to

be available online, providing "end-to-end electronic service. It is the

ultimate example of what a government can do for its citizens," Rummell

told a U.S. House subcommittee Sept. 12.

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