Quebec's latest bid to break away from Canada HALTED by a single dot

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It was not the news the company behind the new dot-quebec domains wanted to hear.

Just days before launch, dot-quebec's biggest supporter – the government of the Canadian province of Québec – ditched its plan to move from to the much simpler and more convenient .quebec. Apparently the shift in websites would be too expensive.

A letter from the government's communications chief Christian Lessard, leaked to news agency The Canadian Press, noted that a financial assessment of the move had put the total cost at CAN$12m ($10.6m), and it was decided this was not a good use of public funds.

Lessard had previously put the brakes on ambitious plans to move the entire government over to the new top-level domain in September, telling all ministries to wait for an official government position.

That was despite an investment of CAN$1.6m ($1.4m) in the company behind the registry – PointQuebec – the formal approval of the top-level domain in the National Assembly in 2008, and words of support from the former finance minister.

Instead of snapping up hundreds of domains, the Government of Quebec has registered just eight, most of them uninspiring and likely defensive purchases to thwart cyber-squatters: gouv, gov, gouvernment, gqc, gouvqc, and gouvdc.

PointQuebec is putting a brave face on the situation however. Its communication director Michel Philibert told The Register that the ministry of tourism had seemingly defied Lessard's letter by registering

He also argued that the government would "have no choice" but to move to dot-quebec domains once business and others had taken to the registry. "It will happen little by little, just not for the moment," Philibert told El Reg.

The Quebec province – famous for constantly threatening to break away from Canada – is still behind dot-quebec, he argued, but when asked if the company had asked for a statement of support, he told us that there was no need for such a statement as the government had already shown its defense through its CAN$1.6m loan.

The dot-quebec registry launched today but statistics on how many domains have been bought won't be available until tomorrow. The domains are open to anybody on the planet, and cost $60 a year. ®

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