Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier for his two questions.
I will first answer the question on telemarketing, because it is indeed an important consideration. The Christmas season is approaching and we will undoubtedly witness an increase in such calls during the forthcoming days and weeks. Many people will receive calls of this kind, in which someone asks them to send money in the form of a certified cheque or money order in order to receive a prize. In such cases, a red warning light should start flashing to prevent them from following up on this type of action and urge them to notify the authorities as quickly as possible. In this way, it may be possible to eliminate at least some of the negative aspects of telemarketing.
With regard to the second question, the creation of database so that anyone who wishes may request that their name be placed on a do not call list, which that would apply to all telemarketers. This activity will no longer be permissible.
It can happen that people give contracts to specialized companies, but these will be covered by the bill, in the same way as all companies are. The aim is to ensure that it is done as simply as possible.
According to statistics from the United States an impressive percentage of people have asked that their names be taken off the list. We expect that similar numbers of Canadians will support the creation of this list and that there will be a considerable number of calls at the outset from people who want to have their names removed from the list.
In return, the government will also have a responsibility to publicize the exclusions. People will continue to receive telephone calls from charities registered under the Income Tax Act. These people will be making their calls perfectly legally. Canadians must be made aware of this to prevent these organizations being viewed in a negative light when they make their calls.
Other cases will be self-evident. For example, in existing business relationships, specifically those with health care professionals, retaining the initial wording, according to which such people would no longer be able to make these calls, would have caused more problems. It could have led to aberrant situations. People would have been calling members’ offices to tell them that they had wanted to call their doctor, but he did not have the right to call them back. We have avoided this type of situation and we hope that the problem has been corrected.
Over the course of the next few months, we will probably have an opportunity to test in a fairly meaningful way the extent of the exemption granted to political organizations. Furthermore, the law as a whole will be reviewed after three years. While obviously, nothing in this world is perfect, let us hope that we have drafted a bill that will prove its worth in practice, provided appropriate amendments are made from time to time.
I will conclude by stressing the need for fairly close monitoring to ensure that the costs do not become excessive beyond reason. We must not throw out the baby with the bath water. The way in which the act is administered must not be such as to cast doubt on its fundamental principle.