Thursday, August 26, 2010

A private members bill for reinstating the long-form census

For immediate release
August 26, 2010

Liberals introduce bill to reinstate mandatory long-form census

OTTAWA – In a move to bring ‘sense back to the census,’ Liberals today introduced legislation to amend the Statistics Act to bring back the mandatory long-form census questionnaire.
“Liberals believe that sound information helps make sound decisions,” said Liberal Finance Critic John McCallum. “That’s why we will fix the mess Stephen Harper created by reinstating the mandatory long-form census and ensuring the threat of jail time is removed in the Act.”
The Bill – which will be tabled upon the September 20th return of Parliament – clarifies that 20% of the Canadian population will receive a mandatory long-form questionnaire during the period in which the Government of Canada conducts a census. It will also remove the controversial threat of jail time for not completing the census.
“As one business person put it recently, the first rule of business is ‘you can’t manage what you can’t measure,’ said Mr. McCallum. “It’s also the first rule of government, yet the Conservatives have chosen to blindfold themselves by gutting the census, which means our annual $250 billion budget is more likely to be mismanaged.”
The long-form census plays a major role in improving health care, education, employment equity, immigrant settlement, retirement security, public transportation, and support for veterans and Aboriginals, to name a few.
“Provincial, territorial and municipal governments, community groups, medical associations, religious groups and countless organizations who spoke out against the Conservative decision understand the census is a vital tool that helps inform their decisions,” said Liberal Industry Critic Marc Garneau.
The Conservative decision to make the long-form census voluntary will mean that the results can’t be compared to previous years, and will skew the picture of what Canada looks like, as lower income, minority Canadians will be less likely to fill out a voluntary survey.
“The Conservatives have shown zero interest in listening to Canadians but were forced to add language questions only when they faced legal threat, effectively admitting the voluntary form is inadequate,” added Mr. Garneau. “Now that the Conservatives are the last party to advocate removing the threat of jail time, it’s time to make the long-form census mandatory again, so we can get an accurate picture of Canadians.”
“Canadians rely on the federal government for a multitude of services, and they expect our federal government to make wise decisions based on sound information. This bill will make sure decision makers at all levels of society can do just that,” he concluded.
Office of the Hon. John McCallum, MP: 613-996-3374 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 613-996-3374 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Office of Marc Garneau, MP: 613-796-0103 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 613-796-0103 end_of_the_skype_highlighting


An Act to amend the Statistics Act (mandatory long-form census)

This enactment amends the Statistics Act to provide that the census of population taken under section 19 the Act must be taken using a long-form census questionnaire that conforms substantially, in length and substantive scope, to the census questionnaire used to take that census starting in 1971 and at intervals thereafter to meet the requirements of that section. This enactment also removes the punishment of imprisonment for a person convicted for the offence of providing false of unlawful information.
Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:
1. Section 19 of the Statistics Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (3):
Mandatory long-form census questionnaire
(4) The census taken at the time and in the manner set out in this section must include the use of a long-form census questionnaire and the distribution of that questionnaire to at least 20% of all households or whatever percentage of households is determined to be necessary by the Chief Statistician to ensure an accurate statistical representation of the Canadian population and its constituent groups.
"long-form census questionnaire"
(5) In this section, the term “long-form census questionnaire” refers to a census questionnaire that conforms substantially, in length and substantive scope, to the long-form census used to take the census in 1971 and at intervals thereafter to meet the requirements of this section.

2. The portion of section 31 of the Act after paragraph (b) is replaced by the following:
is, for every refusal or neglect, or false answer or deception, guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars
Breaking: A private members bill for reinstating long-form census to be announced today at 11am |

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