The Canadian Newspaper Association (CNA) has won an important victory this week in getting its members exempted from a national Do Not Call (DNC) telemarketing list. On Monday, October 24, Bill C-37 passed third reading in the House of Commons – the final stage before the bill goes to the Senate – and contained amendments exempting certain organizations and companies, including newspapers, from the national registry.  The inclusion of newspapers in the list along with charities, political parties, and others ends debate over the issue in which the Liberal Party of Canada said it wouldn’t support the amendment to include newspapers, otherwise known as Motion 7.  David Gollob, VP of public affairs for the CNA, told Network Letter it’s a relief to get this through. "All parties have come together to recognize and reaffirm the importance of the role newspapers play in the democratic process, amending this legislation to ensure that our continuing ability to play a role is balanced against the need to safeguard privacy and consumer interests," he wrote in an email. It wasn’t a forgone conclusion that the newspaper association would get on the exemption list when the bill was introduced for second reading on October 19. Several amendments were adopted during the second reading debate, but a newspaper carve-out wasn’t one of them. Motion 7 was introduced at third reading and passed by the House this week.  The newspaper provision appeared to have garnered enough support from members of Parliament to be included in the list of amendments to be debated, but the Speaker of the House ruled the amendment out of order on a matter of procedure. It’s unclear at this point why the newspaper carve-out was rejected by the Speaker. Officials from Minister of Industry David Emerson’s office were unavailable to comment by press time. During debate of the amended bill prior to passing second reading, the Conservative Party of Canada and the Bloc Quebecois each tried to secure a carve-out for newspapers in the legislation, but were blocked by the governing Liberal Party of Canada. The provision for newspapers wasn’t included in the amendments to be debated in the House, but it was still possible to get the change added to the bill. An amendment can be brought forward and adopted during debate if there is unanimous consent from all members present in the House. Bill C-37 was highly criticized for a lack of substance when it was first introduced in Parliament in December 2004. In a rare move by the House, it referred C-37 to committee after first reading. The committee was tasked with making it a better and more comprehensive piece of legislation. Hearings at the Standing Committee on Industry, Natural Resources, Science and Technology helped members flesh out key requirements of a national DNC and also allowed the committee to make changes to the bill.  Since first reading in Parliament nearly one year ago, C-37 has undergone significant modifications, making the bill more palatable to the business community and organizations which rely on telemarketing for their effective operation. Charities, political parties, people standing for election, and polling firms are exempted from the national registry. Equally, there is an exemption for businesses that have an existing business relationship with customers – those with which there has been a transaction within the previous 18 months. These were the original amendments that the Standing Committee reported to the House on June 13. The newspaper carve-out didn’t make the list and it was rumoured at the time that the CNA would use Senate committee hearings to try and get a special amendment introduced for its members.  One of the key tenets of the legislation is that it will be revisited after three years of operation and the government will then have the opportunity to make changes if they are required. Another key aspect is that callers have to identify from which organization or on behalf of what person they are calling and for what purpose they are calling. But there is a special exemption for polling firms on this aspect.  "There are unintended consequences of these amendments...that could possibly create unrepresentative samples of the Canadian public created by unreliable survey results," said Jerry Pickard, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, said in introducing the bill for second reading. "If survey and polling firms do not have the ability to contact all Canadians, this could create a misleading survey.  The survey results would be, at best, a subset of Canadians, the opinions of individuals who are not on the Do Not Call list, instead of capturing the views of people that represent all Canadians. In addition, if a survey and polling firm has to identify on whose behalf the call is being made, the possibility of biasing the survey exists." Passage of Bill C-37 by the House of Commons on October 24 marks the end of a long and tortuous time for the telemarketing legislation. The CRTC itself faced heavy criticism last year when it enacted its telemarketing legislation in Telecom Decision 2004-35. Following a number of complaints from the marketing industry, including the Canadian Marketing Association and several Cabinet appeals, the commission stayed implementation of its rules.