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CRTC panel to deliberate over scofflaw telemarketers

The CRTC is to hold secret talks next week to determine whether or notthree unidentified telemarketers knowingly violated the nationaldo-not-call list.

The CRTC is to hold secret talks next week to determine whether or not three unidentified telemarketers knowingly violated the national do-not-call list.

The agency has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure you don’t know who the telemarketers are and what they did. They won’t even let you know when exactly the three CRTC commissioners are going to talk to each other by phone.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission took the step of striking the panel after the telemarketers refused to pay undisclosed fines.

“It’s a meeting of a panel (only) … they review what they have on file and make a determination. It is not a public hearing,” said a CRTC spokesperson.

He said if the three commissioners, Timothy Denton, Louise Poirier and Michel Arpin (vice-chair broadcasting), determine the telemarketers violated the almost year-old rules only then will their names be published along with the fine on the CRTC website.

The three being hauled on the carpet may only be a tiny fraction of telemarketers flouting the law.

The entire process has been shrouded in secrecy and critics say it is hard to believe a government agency would shield scofflaw telemarketers by first refusing to name them, then conducting a hearing behind closed doors.

The no-call list law was introduced in September 2008 to protect consumers from being bothered by telemarketers. Some seven million telephone numbers have been registered on the do-not-call list.

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