Cenotaph revisited, Do-Not-Call list needs more teeth

As a bit of followup to last week’s discussion on Dryden’s cenotaph and the aesthetics of the neon eternal flame, an interesting discussion continued online with a variety of readers weighing in on the matter.

A small, though reasonably representative sampling of 41 residents were quite torn on the issue of making upgrades to the cenotaph, the majority opting to simply leave it be.

The ‘Yes, change it’ camp were more active in leaving comments in the optional box and suggested everything from a brand new monument that reflects the service of veterans in more recent conflicts and peacekeeping roles, to fixing the flickering action of the lights, losing the light all together, or simply using any such funds to support the struggling Royal Canadian Legion.

Myself torn between nostalgia for this iconic bit of Dryden’s identity and a desire to see our society renew and advance its connection to our veterans, I was surprised to see the degree to which residents were attached to the old neon eternal flame.

But, I get it. I feel it too.

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In his new book Damned, author Chuck Palahniuk journeys into Hell to find it staffed mostly by telemarketers.

The topic of Canada’s Do Not Call Registry is one very close to my heart.

In the three years since myself and 10 million other Canadian households clamoured to deliver ourselves from the …wait for it… ‘click’ of the auto-dialer at dinner time, how is it possible that telemarketing’s affect on our lives has somehow grown even worse?

Canadians registered on the Do Not Call List are making an average of 12,000 complaints per month to the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission, a total of 460,000 since the registry was formed. To date the CRTC has penalized a mere 31 companies and collected next to nothing in fines.

So what’s going on?

For one thing, it’s easy for telemarketing companies to get past the Do Not Call Registry by operating from outside Canada, or capitalizing on a list of exemptions that allows companies to contact you if you’ve purchased a product from them in the past 18 months, have an existing business relationship, or claim to have your express consent to contact you (usually because of something you clicked on the Internet).

During the provincial election, my household fielded upwards of five calls per day between political parties and pollsters.

I remain hopeful that the CRTC registry will advance to a greater degree of effectiveness in coming years. A recent partnership with 11 other countries in the formation of an international do not call list, could play a role in reducing calls from beyond our borders, a first attempt to address a global problem with a global solution.

Chris Marchand

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