This page is in the midst of a redesign. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

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

This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session, which ended in March 2011.

Sponsor

Carolyn Bennett  Liberal

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

In committee (House), as of Dec. 8, 2010
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Statistics Act to provide that the census of population taken under section 19 of the Act must be taken using a long-form census questionnaire that conforms substantially, in length and substantive scope, to the 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 of the offence of providing false or misleading information.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

Dec. 8, 2010 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.

Royal Recommendation--Bill C-568--Speaker's RulingPoints of OrderRoutine Proceedings

December 3rd, 2010 / 12:05 p.m.
See context

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I am now prepared to rule on the point of order raised by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons on November 5, 2010, concerning the requirements for a royal recommendation for Bill C-568, An Act to amend the Statistics Act (mandatory long-form census), standing in the name of the hon. member for St. Paul's.

I would like to thank the parliamentary secretary for having drawn this matter to the attention of the House as well as the member for York South—Weston for his comments.

In raising this issue, the parliamentary secretary explained that Bill C-568 would add two requirements to the Statistics Act. First, it would prescribe that in 20% of the cases, the long form census questionnaire be used and second, that the questions in the long form questionnaire be similar in length and scope to the ones contained in the 1971 census. He stated that in his view, this would constitute a new obligation for Statistics Canada given that even though the statutory authority for including a long form census questionnaire already exists, Bill C-568 would make its use mandatory instead of discretionary. He also argued that this requirement would compel the government to spend a minimum of $50 million. He concluded that since Bill C-568 would alter the conditions and qualifications of Statistics Canada's existing mandate in addition to imposing a new statutory obligation, a royal recommendation is required.

In support of his view, the parliamentary secretary made reference to a series of precedents involving bills that were found by the Chair to require a royal recommendation because they were either changing the purpose of a spending authority or adding a new function to an existing mandate.

In his intervention, the member for York South—Weston argued that Bill C-568 does not change the current mandate of Statistics Canada, nor does it add a new responsibility or a new function to the department. He contended that the bill only requires Statistics Canada to fulfill its existing mandate. He also argued that, contrary to the arguments raised by the parliamentary secretary, Bill C-568 would not entail additional expenses; in fact, he claimed that it would actually cost less.

The Chair has examined carefully the provisions of Bill C-568, An Act to amend the Statistics Act (mandatory long-form census) as well as the Statistics Act and the precedents enumerated by the parliamentary secretary.

The precedents cited by the parliamentary secretary involved bills that required a royal recommendation because they were proposing new purposes or new functions not currently authorized. Such is not the case for Bill C-568 since it does not appear to be adding to or expanding the current mandate of Statistics Canada.

This mandate may be found in paragraphs (a) and (c) of section 3 of the Statistics Act, which reads as follows:

3. There shall continue to be a statistics bureau under the Minister, to be known as Statistics Canada, the duties of which are

(a) to collect, compile, analyse, abstract and publish statistical information relating to the commercial, industrial, financial, social, economic and general activities and condition of the people;...

(c) to take the census of population of Canada and the census of agriculture of Canada as provided in this Act;

With regard to the issue of costs associated with the mandatory use of the long form as prescribed by Bill C-568, the key question for the Chair is whether what the bill proposes constitutes a new appropriation of public funds.

Section 19 of the Statistics Act states:

A census of population of Canada shall be taken by Statistics Canada in the month of June in the year 1971, and every fifth year thereafter in a month to be fixed by the Governor in Council.

In my view, this section, along with section 3 cited earlier, constitutes the statutory spending authority for Statistics Canada to conduct the census using either the short or the long form questionnaire.

Bill C-568 would require the Chief Statistician to include a long form questionnaire in 20% of the cases whenever a population census is conducted.

Even though there is now no such requirement in the Statistics Act, the Chief Statistician is currently authorized to include a long form questionnaire.

Therefore, it is my view that this would not constitute a new spending authority, nor would it alter the terms and conditions of Statistic Canada's mandate.

Consequently, from a strictly procedural point of view, the Chair cannot find that Bill C-568 requires the expenditure of public funds for a new and distinct purpose. I therefore rule that there is no requirement that the bill be accompanied by a royal recommendation and that the House may continue to consider it in accordance with the rules governing private members' business.

I thank the hon. members for their attention.

Statistics ActPrivate Members' Business

December 3rd, 2010 / 1:30 p.m.
See context

NDP

John Rafferty NDP Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak about the bill today. Let me say right off the top that the rural parts of this country very much need a long form census. We need to know who lives here. We need to know where they live. We need to ensure that services like health care, education, employment assistance and so on are provided fairly and equally right across this country.

For urban areas of course the long form census is just as important, but I am going to keep my remarks mostly to my riding and to the issues that we face and why the long form census is so important to my part of northern Ontario.

Therefore I am very pleased to speak today on Bill C-568. It is an act to amend the Statistics Act in which we are dealing with the long form census.

The New Democratic Party is generally supportive of the bill because it seeks to reverse the ideologically based decision of the Conservative government to cancel the long form census. The bill also removes the punishment of imprisonment for a person convicted of providing false or misleading information.

While I am supportive of the bill and while my party is supportive of the bill, it is also important to note that I do not think it goes far enough. Bill C-583 introduced by my colleague from Windsor West goes one step further by enshrining into law the primacy of evidence-based decision making over political manoeuvring, the likes of which we have seen with the Conservative government.

To be clear, both elements of Bill C-568 are fully supported. For the record one more time, not a single Canadian has been imprisoned for failing to fill out the long form census. The imprisonment element should be removed right now.

However we need to go further by removing political interference from Statistics Canada's ability to do its job and provide an accurate picture of our country. The Chief Statistician must be able to do his or her job in an environment free of political meddling by an ideological government intent on suppressing evidence and information that contradicts, in this case, the narrow Conservative agenda.

We can just imagine the outrage from the national and international community if the government were to meddle in the independence of the Bank of Canada, for example. It would not be tolerated.

Therefore why should we accept the government's heavy-handedness when it comes to interfering with our Chief Statistician in his or her ability to do the job?

Hundreds of individuals, organizations, businesses and governments coast to coast raised the alarm bells because of the terrible decision to cancel the long form census. Despite the unsubstantiated claims by Conservative MPs about mythical complaints about the intrusiveness of the long form census, we know that the majority of citizens support and understand the need for the long form census.

Losing the long form census will have a detrimental impact on our communities in Thunder Bay—Rainy River. Let us just look at the first nations communities for example. There are 10 first nations in Thunder Bay—Rainy River. While they are connected by the road system, some are very far away from the main road, and it is important to have an accurate picture.

If we do not have a long form census that asks the kinds of questions that it does, we may not know what is going on in these isolated communities.

For example, without a long form census we would not know that the Couchiching First Nation, as of this past September, had 22 students who had graduated from high school but did not have the ability to go on to post-secondary education because the funding was not there.

We would also not know that in that same community last year it sent its very first student to medical school. It had its first PhD. return to the community.

Here we are making advances right across my riding and I would suggest that is duplicated right across the country.

Just when first nations are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, particularly as far as education is concerned, the taps get turned off. Without a long form census, we do not know and we will not know that is happening. It is important for all of our communities to have the input into the long form census to protect them and to let all Canadians know, to give all Canadians a snapshot of what is going on in those communities.

When we see the importance of the long form census, is it any wonder that the government was taken to court on the issue? It seems as if the government is trying everything, making relentless efforts to shut down any source of credible data that provides any sort of objective evidence necessary for developing good public policy.

A short while ago on Parliament Hill, parliamentarians and members of Canada's very professional public service were invited to a special panel discussion on a very timely topic, evidence versus ideology of Canadian public policy. The event was sponsored by the Canadian Association of Professional Employees, the Association of Canadian Financial Officers and the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada.

The event aimed to launch a public debate regarding the current state and possible future of evidence-based policy making in Canada. There were a number of distinguished speakers on the panel, and the discussion was fascinating because these panellists and participants acknowledged that there has always been a role for ideology in public policy. However, they noted that in the past two years we have seen the emergence of a worrisome pattern.

First, the government gagged public servants and fired others who dared to disagree with it or give it policy recommendations that did not fit into its ideologically driven agenda.

Second, the government cancelled surveys and the long form census to ensure that statisticians, economists, academics and other professionals did not have access to objective data that provided damning evidence of the government's policy failures.

I am just guessing, but I suppose the object is to put it all into the private domain and let private companies do the work of the long form census. They do sometimes. For example earlier this week there was a BDO Dunwoody study about my pension protection bill, Bill C-501. BDO Dunwoody asked CEOs from across Canada what they thought of the bill. More than half of the CEOs who replied said it is a good bill and Parliament should move it ahead. Those are the kinds of things that the government should be finding out about legislation that happens in this place.

I fear that the Conservative government is dragging the country backward, and a clear majority of Canadians are saying, “No, you cannot drag us backward”. A majority of parliamentarians in the House support restoring the long form census, protecting the professional role of Canada's Chief Statistician and removing the threat of imprisonment in the act. Yet the minority continues to thumb its nose at the majority will of Parliament, an insult to democracy, an insult to this place itself.

Bill C-568 is specific to the government's decision to cancel the long form census. I believe the House needs to have a wider debate about the government's treatment of public servants; its setting of public policy based on belief, not public interest; its rejection of evidence-based public policy; its attempt to shut down public access to objective data; and its attempt to stop credible analysis of its failed policies. This will not work. We are on to the Conservatives, and so are Canadians.

I offer my party's support for the bill and urge the House to bring other necessary changes to protect our professional public service from the kind of pervasive political interference by ministers and their political staff. We need to end this trend and we need to do it quickly before we are dragged any—

Statistics ActPrivate Members' Business

December 3rd, 2010 / 1:40 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Madam Speaker, I am very happy to address this matter. I had the pleasure of seconding Bill C-568 when my colleague from St. Paul's introduced it in the House. The bill follows up on a decision that the government first announced in June, and that was we would no longer have a mandatory long form census distributed, that it would become some sort of a survey that would be on a voluntary basis. Even though the decision was announced in June, it had been taken months before.

As soon as the decision was announced, after Parliament had conveniently shut down for the summer, reactions started. We had very strong reaction from Canada's partners in this federation, the provinces and the territories, indicating, in a great majority, that they thought the decision was wrong. Municipalities across the country said that they thought the decision was a wrong one, that we should not scrap the mandatory long form census. We had the same thing from universities and colleges across the country and various departments of universities involved with the science of statistics also decrying the decision, that this was not the way to go.

People representing churches throughout the country have also said that this is not the thing to do. Businesses, starting with the Bank of Canada, said that the decision would affect its ability to deliver programs. When it starts getting like that, we have to wonder what was behind such a decision.

A number of scientists came forward. Even the chief statistician felt that it was best to tender his resignation because of some of the statements from the government, which he could not support.

We have had reactions from across the world from statisticians and from organizations wondering what is going on. This flies in the face of an international agreement on the use of statistics and census that Canada is a party to, yet the government seems intent on not changing its mind.

The industry committee had two full days of hearings this summer, of which I was privileged to be part. An overwhelming number of the witnesses said that they wished the government would rescind the decision and that it would maintain the long form census in a mandatory manner.

Now we even have comments from federal government departments. As of yesterday, in a publication in the Canadian Press, Ms. Jennifer Ditchburn, through access to information, obtained some of the comments given to the government by various departments. The article stated:

Statistics Canada scrambled to assemble research last December on “the prime minister’s decision” and consulted data users across government. A briefing note drafted for the deputy minister at Industry Canada detailed the “specific consequences” of replacing the long questionnaire with a voluntary survey. And with the number of Canadians filling out the forms potentially decreasing by as much as 40 per cent, according to the memo, a number of other federal activities would feel the loss of data.

Here are some specific concerns of the departments. The Human Resources and Skills Development Canada commented:

Less reliable data would “compromise their ability” to determine EI eligibility, assess skills development and retraining, and apply the federal-provincial agreement on labour mobility.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada commented:

Absence of reliable long-form data will not allow them to effectively manage, evaluate, and measure performance of programs in areas of aboriginal health, housing, education, and economic development.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada commented:

A broad range of programs dealing with selecting and settling immigrants, including a pan-Canadian agreement on foreign credentials would be hit. “A question in the long form on country of educational attainment specifically provides information to support this program”.

The conclusion that seems to come from the bureaucrats of our federal government service is:

It cannot be anticipated at this time if a successful resolution of these issues is even feasible to provide reasonable quality data at affordable cost.

The question remains, why did we do this if everybody and their brother were arguing that this was the wrong decision?

We initially thought it might be a matter of concern with privacy, so we asked the Privacy Commissioner. The answer was no, that there had never been a leak of any data collected through the long form census. Obviously that is not the concern.

We keep hearing that it was to ensure that Canadians did not go to jail. No Canadian has gone to jail over this in the history of the census taking. Obviously that is not the reason either.

We then started to hear the experts. The experts confirmed that if we were to have a voluntary form, as opposed to a mandatory one, the information collected would be biased and of a lesser quality, especially within small communities. The argument they put forward was that if it were a voluntary format, those earning more money, the very well to do, would seek anonymity and would not fill it out. Also, those who felt more vulnerable in our society would not fill it out for fear or whatever. We now will have a reading of our society that is appropriate, not equal and not accurate. The inequities of our society will no longer be measured appropriately.

By the way, this is not a theory. The U.S. tried scrapping the mandatory long form census, or the equivalent, under the George Bush administration. The U.S. reversed itself because it realized that the information it was gathering was not as accurate or as reliable as before.

One would think the Conservatives are doing this to save money, as that would be in line with their philosophy. However, no, the government is going to spend $30 million more.

We have to wonder why the government is doing this. It has been proven wrong, according to what the U.S. has done. Almost everybody in Canada is saying not to do this. We will be spending $30 million more to get information that is less reliable.

One conclusion that many of us are forced to arrive at, and we have heard it before, is that to facilitate a shift from evidence-based decision making, which has traditionally been the way governments in our country have reached their decisions, the government wants to ensure that it does not have as high-quality information in order to have ideologically driven decision making. That is where the rubber hits the road. We cannot allow that.

This is why we have members of Parliament in the House saying no. We have had a motion in the House where the majority of the elected representatives of the people of the country have said no to this. However, the government has said that it will stick to its guns.

We now have a bill in the House and I suspect and I hope that the government will respect the will of the House when the bill passes, as I believe it will next Wednesday when it will be read in at second reading.

We are doing this because to move from evidence-based decision making to ideologically-based decision making scrambles the ability of government to have accurate information. The impact of this on municipalities, universities, provinces and business is untold. It is a shameful decision. I hope the government accepts the fact that the country wants it to reverse itself on this.

However, if the government does not, then we will have to force it to. If we cannot do it that way, when the Liberal Party forms government, we will ensure the census reverts back to a long form mandatory method to accurately read the snapshot of Canada in order to design programs to address the inequities in our society.

Statistics ActPrivate Members' Business

December 3rd, 2010 / 1:55 p.m.
See context

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased today to speak to Bill C-568, An Act to amend the Statistics Act (mandatory long-form census).

I will read the summary of the bill so that the viewing public can understand it:

This enactment amends the Statistics Act to provide that the census of population taken under section 19 of the Act must be taken using a long-form census questionnaire that conforms substantially, in length and substantive scope, to the 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 of the offence of providing false or misleading information.

I congratulate the member, who is a long-standing member of the House, for introducing this bill.

When the government announced its initiative many months ago, I got the impression that most people, even Conservatives that I talked to among members of the public, felt it was the most boneheaded move the government had made since the killing of the prison farms.

Generally speaking, the public settles down based on ideology and their voting patterns. When the government of their choice introduces something, they try to understand what the government is doing. By and large, they find a way to accept, if they are Conservatives, what their government is doing and work out a rationale for it.

However, these are two issues, which I find from talking to Conservatives, that just leave them puzzled. They cannot explain why the government has done it and they do not agree that the prison farms should have been eliminated. They certainly do not agree that the census should be changed.

That aside, many organizations have the same view on this matter. There are business organizations across the country that require the statistics provided by the census in order to conduct proper business operations.

As the Liberal member mentioned previously, in his attempt to find out why the government was doing this, he looked at the cost of it and said that the government is spending $30 million more to get less reliable data. It does not make sense.

Then I looked back to a question that I asked on September 28. We were looking at best practices. I like to talk about best practices. That is the hallmark of Conservatives. Whatever line of business we are talking about, computers, IT issues, it is always best practices and they are lined up with Conservatives.

Well, the best practices here would seem to be the United States. The Conservatives seem to want to follow where the United States is going, and they are always six months or six years behind. I do not know whether the member has checked this out or not, but back in 2003 when George Bush was the president, the Americans tried this experiment. The U.S. Census Bureau conducted an experiment and found that the data was degraded so much that fixing it would be too expensive and it abandoned the idea.

What sort of planning is the government involved in and what sort of planning did it do to develop this approach?

We know what the approach was. It was a knee-jerk ideological approach to the problem. The Conservatives had a preconceived notion. Their Conservative ideology tells them that this census is an irritant to a certain number of their supporters, and they probably heard from a few of them over the years.

I am sure it is the libertarian part of the party that is flexing its muscles at this point. The libertarians have not had a lot of support from the government over the last four or five years as it races to recoup as much of the centre ground from the Liberals that it could get its hands on. Every once in a while the Conservatives throw some red meat at the libertarians in their group.

That is the only reason the Conservatives would have taken this measure. The public does not support what they are doing.

The Joe Clark government seemed to have suicidal tendencies from day one. That was the government that started sending pension cheques to federal prisoners. We have not seen that suicidal tendency in the Conservative Party over the years, but we are certainly seeing it now.

Practically every business organization in the country is opposed to the government's approach on the census. School boards are opposed to the idea. Pretty much each and every province is opposed to the idea. Members over there might be able to tell me that one province is onside with respect to this issue. My home province of Manitoba is not in favour of this approach to the census. If the government is trying to get allies, if it is trying to build support, then it does not make any sense to torch its relationships.

We support this bill because it seeks to reverse the ideologically-based decision of the Conservative government to cancel the long form census. It would remove imprisonment of a person convicted of providing false and misleading information. That is an issue. Nobody has ever spent time in jail for failing to provide information with respect to the census, but the idea that it was possible may have weighed heavily on some people when they were asked to provide information.

While we support the bill, it really does not go far enough. Bill C-583 put forward by our colleague from Windsor West goes one step further. It would enshrine in law the primacy of evidence-based decision making over political manoeuvring of the likes we have seen with the government. We have seen political manoeuvring by the government not only with respect to this issue but with respect to a whole range of other areas. The Conservatives have fired people, sometimes people that they hired, who do not see things their way. They hired the victims' advocate three years ago and when he did not act the way he promised on victims' support, they simply fired him. They will get somebody who sees things their way.

As I have indicated, no Canadian has been imprisoned for failing to fill out the long form census. That would be removed if this bill were to pass. We have to remove political interference in the process. The chief statistician has to be able to do his or her job in an environment free of political meddling by an ideological government, certainly one like the Conservative government which is intent on suppressing evidence and information that contradicts its own narrow agenda.

Imagine the outrage from Canadians and the international community if the finance minister had interfered with the independence of the Governor of the Bank of Canada to set monetary policy. Why should we accept the government's heavy-handedness by interfering with our chief statistician's capacity to do his or her job?

As I have indicated, hundreds of individuals, organizations, businesses, governments from coast to coast, certainly an apolitical group of people have raised alarm bells about the terrible decision to cancel the long form census--

Royal Recommendation--Bill C-568Points of Order

November 5th, 2010 / 10 a.m.
See context

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order regarding Bill C-568, An Act to amend the Statistics Act (mandatory long-form census).

Without commenting on the merits of the bill, it is my submission that the bill alters the conditions and qualifications for appropriations for Statistics Canada. The bill therefore requires a royal recommendation under Standing Order 79.

The Statistics Act sets out the duties and functions of Statistics Canada and the Chief Statistician of Canada. While this mandate is broad with respect to statistical matters, much of the activities are discretionary in nature and the act prescribes very few statutory obligations.

In fact, there are only two specific surveys or censuses required by the Statistics Act, a census of population as required by subsection 19(1), and a census of agriculture as required by section 20.

Further, the act provides few requirements for these censuses. The only requirement is set out in subsection 19(2) which requires the census of population to include the population counts for each electoral district.

What is more, all of the activities contemplated by the Statistics Act are under the direction of either the minister or the Governor in Council.

For example, under subsection 21(1), the Governor in Council is authorized to prescribe the questions to be asked in the census of population or agriculture. Section 22 of the act states that the Chief Statistician shall collect and compile statistics under the direction of the minister.

Section 8 of the act states that the minister may, by order, authorize a voluntary survey. Section 7 of the act states that:

The Minister may, by order, prescribe such rules, instructions, schedules and forms as the Minister deems requisite for conducting the work and business of Statistics Canada, the collecting, compiling and publishing of statistics and other information and the taking of any census authorized by this Act.

To sum up, the Statistics Act requires two censuses and says next to nothing about the nature of the questions to be asked in these censuses. The Governor in Council establishes the questions and the minister is responsible for the taking of the census.

I now turn to clause 1 of Bill C-568, which would amend the Statistics Act to provide two new requirements.

First, each population census must include a long form census questionnaire distributed to at least 20% of all households, or to whatever percentage the Chief Statistician has determined to be appropriate.

Second, the long form census questionnaire must conform substantially, in length and substantive scope, to the questions in the 1971 census.

This is a new obligation. While there has always been statutory authority to include a long form census, it has always been discretionary on the part of the Governor in Council. This is therefore a new obligation that alters the conditions and qualifications for the mandate of Statistics Canada.

This new obligation also requires expenditures. For example, Statistics Canada estimates that a long form census in 2011 would cost a minimum of $50 million. Under the current legal framework, the government has the discretion to decide whether or not to spend this $50 million. Under Bill C-568, the government would be obliged to appropriate the necessary funds to carry out its legal duties.

My point is not simply that Bill C-568 would require the expenditure of funds, but also that it does so in a way that alters the conditions and qualifications of Statistics Canada's existing mandate.

On page 834 of the second edition of the House of Commons Procedure and Practice states:

A royal recommendation not only fixes the allowable charge, but also its objects, purposes, conditions and qualifications. For this reason, a royal recommendation is required not only in the case where money is being appropriated, but also in the case where the authorization to spend for a specific purpose is significantly altered. Without a royal recommendation, a bill that either increases the amount of an appropriation, or extends its objects, purposes, conditions and qualifications is inadmissible on the grounds that it infringes on the Crown's financial initiative.

On February 11, 2008, the Speaker ruled on Bill C-474, Federal Sustainable Development Act, that:

...clause 13...would impose additional functions on the commissioner that are substantially different from those foreseen in the current mandate. In the Chair's view, clause 13 thus alters the conditions set out in the original bill to which a royal recommendation was attached.

Other precedents clearly establish that a change in purpose requiring new expenditures must be accompanied by a royal recommendation.

On October 20, 2006, the Speaker ruled on Bill C-286, the witness protection bill, that:

...the bill proposes to carry out an entirely new function. As a new function, such an activity is not covered by the terms of any existing appropriation. As the House knows, funds are approved by Parliament only for purposes covered by the accompanying royal recommendation, as explicitly stated in Standing Order 79(1). New functions or activities must be accompanied by a new royal recommendation.

On November 8, 2006, the Speaker ruled on Bill C-279, the DNA identification bill, that:

...clause 2 amends the purpose clause of the DNA Identification Act to include the identifying of missing persons as one of the purposes for maintaining the data bank...the addition of this new purpose to the act would require significant new expenditures by the government.

I recognize that not all changes to an organization's mandate will always require a royal recommendation and that departments have the ability to reallocate funds in order to meet their legislative requirements.

As you recently noted, Mr. Speaker, on October 26, 2010, in your ruling on Bill C-300:

Bill C-300 does require the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to examine bona fide complaints concerning possible contraventions of the guidelines to be established under clause 5, but the bill is silent with respect to the manner in which such examinations are to be conducted. The respective ministers appear to have entire discretion in this regard.

In contrast, Bill C-568 removes all discretion from the minister and Governor in Council in deciding whether to include a long form census questionnaire with each census.

For this reason, Bill C-568 would add a new statutory obligation to the Statistics Act and would alter the mandate of Statistics Canada, thereby changing the conditions and qualifications of the royal recommendation that accompanied that act.

I submit, therefore, Mr. Speaker, that the bill requires a royal recommendation.

Statistics ActPrivate Members' Business

November 5th, 2010 / 1:05 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

moved that Bill C-568, An Act to amend the Statistics Act (mandatory long-form census), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to move second reading of Bill C-568. Because this bill would save the government $30 million, we on this side of the House do not believe it would require a royal recommendation. We hope that the Speaker will see it that way.

This bill would enshrine the taking of the mandatory long form census every five years, as well as remove the possibility of prison penalties for any violations.

The census goes back a long time. In fact, there is a phrase in the Bible that comes to me at this time:

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.

I have to submit as a family doctor that if this had been a voluntary census, Jesus would have been born in Nazareth.

The mandatory nature of the census has been going on for 2,010 years. The government is a little remiss to try to change it at this point.

Canada's first census was initiated by Intendant Jean Talon in 1666. The census counted the colony's 3,215 inhabitants and recorded their age, sex, marital status and occupation.

The first national census of Canada was taken in 1871. According to the Census Act of May 12, 1870, census-taking was to take place no later than May 1. Under section 8 of the Constitution Act, 1867, formerly the British North America Act, a census was to be taken in 1871 and every tenth year thereafter. This first census of the Dominion following Confederation in 1867 counted the population of the four original provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. Its main goal was to determine appropriate representation by population in the new Parliament. Since 1871, decennial census data have provided the cornerstone for representative government.

In 1871 the questionnaire covered a variety of subjects, and asked 211 questions on area, land holdings, vital statistics, religion, education, administration, the military, justice, agriculture, commerce, industry and finance. Information was collected in tabular form on population, houses and other buildings, lands, industries and institutions. The population field included the age, sex, religion, education, race and occupation of each person. Not every household answered all 211 questions.

In 1971, the Federal Bureau of Statistics became Statistics Canada.

That year also marked the 100th anniversary of the first national census of Canada. Under the new Statistics Act, it became a statutory requirement to hold censuses of population and agriculture every five years.

Two questionnaires were used in 1971. The short form, distributed to two-thirds of Canadian households, covered the basic population questions and nine housing questions. The long form, distributed to the remaining third, contained the same questions as the short form with the addition of 20 housing questions and 30 socio-economic population questions. The Census of Agriculture questionnaire contained 199 questions, down from 251 in 1961.

What has been problematic in the debate is the misinformation by the government that it was in 1971 that the long form census began. In fact, the long form census was the norm before 1971, and only in 1971 did the short form census begin. Before that, all of the information was collected from all of the citizens.

On July 24, before the industry committee, Dr. Ivan Fellagi, a former chief statistician, said that the government had misinterpreted the imposition of this long form census in 1971, when before 1971 there was only a long form census. The short form census was introduced in 1971. It is clear that the government understand that both were mandatory and both are important.

In fact, it was also the testimony of the former chief statistician, Munir Sheikh, and the Conservatives misrepresented the chief statistician as though he had given this advice. I will quote from Munir Sheikh's statement:

I want to take this opportunity to comment on a technical statistical issue which has become the subject of media discussion. This relates to the question of whether a voluntary survey can become a substitute for a mandatory census. It cannot.

It was very clear from a lot of the testimony that a lot of people have rallied in favour of the long form census.

Dr. David Mowat, the former deputy chief public health officer for Canada and now the medical officer of health for Peel, said this with respect to the problems of voluntary census:

As for trying to elicit this detailed information from a voluntary rather than mandatory census form, we know from our own experience with voluntary research surveys, and we know from the experience of other countries, that certain categories of people will not respond proportionately to a voluntary census survey. In particular, we know that those least willing to provide information voluntarily will be those who tend to belong to socially and economically disadvantaged groups. We can debate why this is so, but the reality is this: if we go to a voluntary census, the groups whose health and living conditions are most in jeopardy will be underrepresented in the data.

In fact, if we look at the short form census, it is quite clear that it would plunge Canada back into the dark ages and indeed, worse off than the days of Jesus Christ. It is impossible for the government to attack proper data. As Mel Cappe has said:

For the last 35 years, people have been filling out this long-form of the census in one form or another. And we have been doing this for over 130 years. And now from 2011 forward, we will not have a data point. That means that all those people who filled out the form in the last 35 years did so for nought. Because we won’t have the next point on the series.

There has never been a case, in the history of Canada, in the history of Statistic Canada where someone’s personal census data has been released. All that is released are the aggregation by census track so they add them up. [...] Statistic Canada has an unblemished record of keeping to themselves – private – all of the returns of the census.

How much time would filling the mandatory census long-form questionnaire take? Cappe explained, “20 percent of the population get asked every five years to fill out this form. […] That means once every 25 years, you got to spend about 30 minutes in answering 41 questions.”

We think it is egregious that the government has misrepresented this. Indeed, by the continuous use of words like “intrusive” and “coercive” it is has created fear, such that people think the government will know what religion they follow, and how many bedrooms they have in their homes. When people say they do not want the government to know, it is imperative that a government of any substance admit that the government will never know what religion one is or how many bedrooms are in one's house. It will only know the average number of bedrooms in the community and the number of people who live in that community. It will not know whether a person is a Roman Catholic or how many Roman Catholics live in the neighbourhood.

The most poignant testimony on July 21 was from Elisapee Sheutiapik, a board member of ITK:

You have to remember that in the long form there are questions such as how many bedrooms are in the house. In Arctic communities it's too cold to be homeless. There's hidden homelessness. We'll never get that data if that long form is not filled out.

Mr. Speaker, I think the member for Peterborough should not think this is funny and should be listening.

Ms. Sheutiapik went on to say:

Actually, there is an amazing partnership that has been developed between Arctic communities and the government when it comes to Statistics Canada. There is a partnership there where they have trained bilingual Inuit people who can work with unilinguals on filling out these forms. It took a lot of time to educate people about how important this data is, because after all, we use those data to help us plan into the future.

Language is an issue in Arctic communities. Those are the kinds of information that are asked about as well in the long form. Moving forward, language and the use of it is a concern, so moving forward we need to know about and continue to keep tabs on where our language is at, not just housing but language as well.

[I]n northern communities, they're still very much intimidated by forms, especially the elders, because some of them still can't read English, so they're intimidated. But if you have someone who has been trained through Stats Canada going house to house, they would be very comfortable having the person come and help to fill out those forms.

In northern communities we wear many different hats. Today I can answer for all of the different hats I wear, be they as president of Pauktuutit, which automatically makes me a member of ITK; and as mayor of Iqaluit and president of our association, which also automatically makes me a member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. So it has an impact on all of the organizations I work with.

Firstly, I just want to state that to keep Canada strong, we need to know how the country is changing, where people live, work, and raise their families. This census helps us do that.

As Inuit, because of our small numbers within our great nation, sometimes we fall through the cracks, but this data brings real information that's needed in all levels of government and non-government organizations.

She went on to say:

I think it really is unreasonable to suggest that Inuit bear the cost of collecting data to measure the size and scope of their inequality.

Last week the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories had a motion which began with, “WHEREAS the Government of Canada intends to eliminate the Statistics Canada 'long-form census'”, and further on states:

AND WHEREAS It is estimated that it would cost the Government of the Northwest Territories approximately $500,000 to increase its data collection to replace the data no longer available from Statistics Canada;

NOW, THEREFORE I move, seconded by the Honourable Member for Thebacha, that this Legislative Assembly urges the Government of Canada to reverse its decision to eliminate the mandatory “long-form” census questionnaire.

In his letter, Ivan Fellagi has been very clear. I hope the government will read the UN fundamental principles of official statistics. We need to make sure that all of those principles are followed. As a physician, I will use the analogy that having the chief statistician explain that a voluntary census would be adequate is like asking the chief medical officer of health to go out and tell the people of Canada that smoking does not cause cancer. This is appalling. Even Andrew Coyne has said what was once the normal attack on elite experts is now an attack on the knowledge of this country. “The loss”, said Peggy Taillon, president and CEO of CCSD, “of the long form census is equal to the government actually shutting off Canada's navigation system”.

We are calling on the government to change the questions, if it will, change the punishment, if it will, but to retain the long form census. This bill would put it into the Statistics Act so that no future government would ever be able to fool with this completely important essential data.

Statistics ActPrivate Members' Business

November 5th, 2010 / 1:35 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak on behalf of the Bloc Québécois to Bill C-568, An Act to amend the Statistics Act (mandatory long-form census).

This bill is a direct response to the government's desire to abolish the mandatory long form for the 2011 Census. Recently, Quebeckers and Canadians were very surprised to learn that the government had decided to change the long form questionnaire. In fact, it had been used for 35 years and, as a member, I had never received any complaints from my constituents. I have held office since 2000 and 20% of the population receives this form at some point according to the statistical requirements. People do not find it to be a problem. Otherwise, as they do in other circumstances, they would complain to their MP. Thus, it was very surprising. I asked my Bloc Québécois colleagues and none have received complaints about the mandatory long form questionnaire. It was a surprise.

When the Conservatives surprise us like this, we have to look at what is behind it all. I was listening to the Conservative member read the text prepared for him. It was all right. He concluded by stating that we must encourage Canadians to fill out the new short form. That is a fine idea. It has not gone well for them. People are unhappy that the Conservatives are making these changes. What the member did not talk about was the political strategy behind it. In fact, when the Conservatives announce this kind of surprise it is because there is a political strategy that masks the Conservative ideology. That is the reality. Once again, the Conservatives dare not openly state the reasons for this decision. That is the Conservative way: they always try to hide the reality and are never transparent.

I was very surprised by another fact as well. First of all, we are no longer hearing anything from the hon. member for Beauce, who spoke out saying that he had received thousands of emails, although that was not true. He is so embarrassed that he has not said another word about this issue since. That is true. We might try to understand what is behind this policy, which no one asked for. It was quite something to see. The Chief Statistician of Statistics Canada resigned because the minister had the nerve to say, during his first speech on the issue, that it was at the request of Statistics Canada. It has since been clearly proven that Statistics Canada definitely did not ask for the change.

Thus, it was a political decision based on Conservative ideology. The Conservatives probably realize that certain categories of people would rather not answer the questionnaire. This is even more serious. Indeed, the accuracy of the information requested, provided and compiled by Statistics Canada was recognized around the world.

In addition, some people might still believe that possible jail time was a problem, since jail time was included in the legislation. The Conservatives say they want to eliminate such sentences. So be it. We can agree easily, simply because no criminal charges have ever been brought against someone who did not fill out the form.

Quebeckers, Canadians and members of Parliament have to live with a government that pulls rabbits out of its political hat and thinks it will win votes by allowing people not to fill out the long form. That is what the government bill comes down to. The form is now shorter, but it is not mandatory. In keeping with its ideology, the government is telling people that it will not force them to fill out a form, despite the fact that many organizations want it.

I do not have much time, so I will list just a few of the organizations that have asked the government to keep the long form. First, the Province of Quebec needs these statistics, which are a very important tool with respect to language of work and language used at home, for example. The government shortened the five questions on the mandatory form and added others. The Government of Quebec, the homeland of francophones in North America, needs statistics about the language used by the people who live in Quebec.

Other provinces have opposed this move for other reasons. Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Manitoba have all asked Ottawa to maintain the mandatory long form. They are all important members of what my Conservative colleagues call the Canadian federation. Once again, the federation is not based on negotiation, particularly not with the current Conservative government, which negotiates nothing.

A number of major stakeholders have reacted. These include the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Association francophone pour le savoir, the Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d'université, the Canadian Association of University Teachers, the Association francophone des municipalités du Nouveau-Brunswick, the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women and the Canadian Association for Business Economics.

Many organizations do not understand the government's decision and are asking it to reconsider and not go ahead with this bad idea, which would change a good way of doing things. People respected the mandatory long form and filled it out. No charges were ever laid against anyone for failing to comply. The long form provided information of great importance to society.

The Conservatives have made a big deal in the House about asking why it would be necessary to know the number of rooms in a house. For a furniture retailer or a company selling renovation materials, it is important to know future trends in these areas. Do homes have fewer or more rooms?

The Conservatives do not get it. That is why we always come back to the question: what is the political reason behind the Conservatives' decision to change the census form? Again, they are trying to please a segment of the population that is not in Quebec. Quebeckers did not complain about having to fill out this form. If we ask, perhaps the Conservatives will tell us what category of people they were targeting when they decided to remove the mandatory nature of the long form.

I agree with them on replacing criminal sentences with a simple fine, given that such sentences have never been handed down. The Bloc Québécois would have gladly supported the government on that.

Because of all the important information that was being used by both Quebec's and Canada's civil society and corporations, we are supporting the bill before us to reinstate the mandatory long form census, as Quebec, Ontario and other provinces are calling for.

Statistics ActPrivate Members' Business

November 5th, 2010 / 1:45 p.m.
See context

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today to Bill C-568, An Act to amend the Statistics Act (mandatory long-form census).

The New Democratic Party is supportive of the bill because it seeks to reverse the ideological-based decision of the Conservative government to cancel the long form census. The bill would also removes the punishment of imprisonment for a person convicted of providing false or misleading information.

While we are supportive of this bill, it is important to note that it does not go far enough.

Bill C-583, introduced by my colleague from Windsor West, goes one step further by enshrining into law the primacy of evidence-based decision-making over political maneuvering of the likes we have seen with the government.

To be clear, both elements of Bill C-568 are fully supported. For the record one more time: not a single Canadian has been imprisoned for failing to fill out the long form census. The imprisonment element should be removed right now.

However, we need to go further by removing political interference from Statistics Canada's ability to do its job and provide an accurate picture of our country. The Chief Statistician must be able to do his job in an environment free of political meddling by an ideological government intent on suppressing evidence and information that contradicts its narrow conservative agenda.

We can just imagine the outrage from the national and international community if the finance minister were to interfere with the independence of the Bank of Canada's governor to set monetary policy. Therefore, why should we accept the government's heavy-handedness in interfering with our Chief Statistician's capacity to do his or her job?

Hundreds of individuals, organizations, businesses and governments from coast to coast to coast raised the alarm bells because of the terrible decision to cancel the long form census. Despite the unsubstantiated claims by Conservative MPs about mythical complaints of the intrusiveness of the long form census, we know that the majority of citizens support and understand the need for the long form census.

As a francophone living in a predominantly English-speaking region in northern Ontario, I know that my community's capacity to access necessary federal services and funding for French cultural and educational initiatives is dependent on the availability of credible data on the size of our community in northern Ontario.

Losing the long form census will have a detrimental impact on our community and every other francophone community outside of Quebec.

Is it any wonder the government was taken to court on this issue? Our community is outraged by the government's relentless efforts to shut down any source of credible data that provides objective evidence necessary for developing good public policy.

Last night, right here on Parliament Hill, parliamentarians and members of Canada's very professional public service were invited to a special panel discussion on a timely topic: evidence versus ideology of Canadian public policy. This event was sponsored by the Canadian Association of Professional Employees, the Association of Canadian Financial Officers and the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada.

The event aimed to launch a public debate regarding the current state and possible future of evidence-based policy making in Canada. A panel discussion featured three distinguished speakers: Dan Gardner, Ottawa Citizen columnist and author; Lawrence Martin, The Globe and Mail columnist and author; and Armine Yalnizyan, an economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

The discussion was fascinating because panellists and participants acknowledged that there has always been a role for ideology in public policy. However, they noted that in the past two years we have seen the emergence of a worrisome pattern.

First, the government gagged public servants and fired others who dared to disagree with it or gave it policy recommendations that did not fit into its ideologically driven agenda.

Second, the government has cancelled surveys and the long form census to ensure statisticians, economists, academics and other professionals did not have access to objective data that provided damning evidence of the Conservative government's policy failures.

The Conservatives are dragging this country backward with their ideological agenda even though a clear majority of Canadians are saying no. The majority of parliamentarians in this House support restoring the long form census, protecting the professional role of Canada's Chief Statistician and removing the threat of imprisonment from the act. Yet, the minority government continues to thumb its nose at the majority will of Parliament. What an insult to this historic institution. What an insult to democracy itself.

Bill C-568 is specific to the government's decision to cancel the long form census.

I believe this House needs to have a wider debate about the government's treatment of public servants. It is setting a public policy based on belief, not public interest; its rejection of evidence-based public policy; its attempt to shut down public access to objective data; and its attempt to stop credible analysis of its failed policies.

This will not work. We are on to the Conservatives and Canadians are on to them. When the next election is called, the Conservatives can be sure that we will remind them of every bad decision they have made.

This is unsubstantiated, but I have been told that the government tried to cancel the long form census when the outgoing Minister of the Environment was the industry minister, but he said no to the PMO. Unfortunately, the current Minister of Industry did not have that fortitude when the PMO came calling again demanding the cancellation of the long form census. There he was this past summer having to make a terrible decision, but he tried to blame the professional public servants of Statistics Canada.

The government keeps saying that the buck stops with the ministers, except, of course, when they make a bad decision, and then it wants to blame the public servants because it cannot defend itself.

This reminds me of when the current President of the Treasury Board was the Sea-Doo leader of the Canadian Alliance and did not know in which direction the Niagara River flowed. He blamed his staff. For the record, it flows north. The Conservatives have been blaming everybody but themselves ever since. It is a shame.

I offer my party's support for this bill and urge the House to bring other necessary changes to protect our professional public service from the kind of pervasive political interference by ministers and their political staff who have been known to interfere in every aspect of departmental decision-making, even stopping the flow of information through the Access to Information Act. We need to end this trend and we need to do it quickly before the Conservatives drag us decades backward.

Statistics ActPrivate Members' Business

November 5th, 2010 / 1:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure and a privilege today to rise to contribute to the debate on Bill C-568. I want to begin by thanking the hon. member for St. Paul's for taking the time and using her expertise to draft this legislation for our consideration.

It is not just a noble exercise, however. This is an exercise in actually saving taxpayer money. This will not require a royal recommendation because it will not cost more money. In fact, we estimate it will save $30 million for the Canadian taxpayers. That is a noble gesture in this time of wasteful government, wasteful spending, that we are not only going to get better information, but we are going to get it more cheaply. That needs to be said in the House.

The particular concern I raise today has to do with the multicultural communities of Canada, the ethnic, national, religious and cultural communities of Canada, which have expressed a great deal of concern about future programs, future government spending and the way we will live together as a country if we do not have accurate data that looks at population trends, ethnic trends and the way language will be develop in many parts of the country.

I raised this concern particularly after a meeting with government officials. I met with government officials when I was named multiculturalism critic. I had a number of senior officials from the Department of Citizenship and Immigration come to help me in understanding the multicultural fabric of Canada. They presented a deck, as they call it these days, with information about all the cultural communities both in rural and urban Canada. We went through pages and pages of information about the nature and the changing nature of the ethnic communities of Canada.

Toward the end of the presentation, I paused and I asked these officials where the information had come from. They said that information was collected in the census. I asked if the information was garnered from the short form census or from the long form of the census. They said that it came from the long form census. I asked them how they would get that information in the next census if we did not have a long form census. There was a long pause and finally, the officials acknowledged that they would not have the information to do the kind of programming they wanted to do. The director who was there stopped and said that they would have the information, but the officials corrected him and said that they would get information, but it would not be accurate.

Information that is not accurate is not information. In fact, it is dangerous because the wrong decisions can be made if we do not have the right information that we can look at the veracity of the information. It is more dangerous to have wrong information than no information.

Luckily the minister had a special assistant in the meeting who was monitoring the officials and the information they would give the critic for the official opposition. I asked the minister's staff member how the minister felt about this. Again there was a pause, and the minister's staff person said that I would have to ask the Minister of Industry that question.

This indicates to me that there is concern among cabinet members about this decision as well. Not only do the officials worry about it, not only do over 350 community groups worry about it, not only does every provincial government and municipal government in the country worry about it, not only do school boards worry about it, not only do service agencies worry about it and the United Way and the various other organizations across the country, but there seems to be concern in the government itself about this.

When a political staffer is worried that we might actually ask his minister about this and ensures that we talk to the minister responsible for this one program, there has been some dissension. I am glad there is some dissension because that shows there might actually be a spark of life on that side. There might actually be a spark of somebody thinking that what is happening is wrong. It is narrowly defined. It is ideologically based and it is just plain stupid.

We need the census data. We need the data that will inform Canadians about our future. Census is not about the past. It is not even really about the present. However, when it is scientifically gathered and scientifically analyzed, it is about the future. We extrapolate and we interpolate from that information so we can do planning.

In my riding of Don Valley West there is a neighbourhood called Thorncliffe Park, which is one of the largest areas for newcomers who come to this city. Thirty-five thousand people live in Thorncliffe Park. Right now Thorncliffe Park Public School has 1,900 children in kindergarten to grade 5. It is the largest elementary school in North America with 54 languages and kids from every part of the world. We want to know where those kids live, the languages spoken in their homes and how many live in apartments.

The Toronto Community House Corporation is responsible for ensuring we have appropriate housing for people in the city of Toronto. TCHC wants to know the information that is on the long form census. It has appealed to us. The Toronto District School Board has appealed to us. We are trying to decide if it is better to have a school that will be split into two or into three or whether we should build one in another area. The decision is probably firm that we will have a kindergarten school with 800 children in kindergarten in one school.

We would not know that if it were not for the 2006 census that gave us a projection so we can start to track. We do not build a new school unless we have the right information. We do not get the right information unless we have a long form census.

One of the reasons this is critical for newer Canadians is because some of them have come from regimes where they are nervous about giving information. They are nervous about government interference. We respect that, but they also know that if it is mandatory they will fill it out.

Newer Canadians will be grossly under represented in the government's planning if there is no mandatory long form census. They will not be counted.

In previous governments, Statistics Canada had the motto, “Count Yourself In”. The present government is saying “Count Yourself Out”. No Canadian deserves to hear that from their government. We cannot count ourselves out. We will be spending more money but getting less information. We will be spending more but every statistician around the world has said that it will not be valuable information.

I cannot believe that members opposite are not hearing from their constituents the same thing I am hearing from mine. I am not convinced at all that they have not heard from their school boards, their city and municipal councils and their provincial governments about the folly that is going on in this decision.

This is critical to the people of Don Valley West and to the people of Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park where newcomers live. These people want to participate in this country and they want to know that schools will be built for their kids and hospitals will be built. Everything that government money is spent on needs to be spent wisely, carefully and effectively. It is based on information.

The plural of anecdote is not information. We cannot just take anecdotes and decide government policy. We cannot take information that is unreliable and think that it will actually have an effect. What we need to do is stop.

We need to support this private member's bill and we need to thank the member forSt. Paul's. We need to press the pause button on this. It is never too late to do the right thing. It is never too late to honour the commitment to the future. It is never too late to build a government program that will actually work and save taxpayer money.

Statistics ActRoutine Proceedings

September 30th, 2010 / 10:10 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-568, An Act to amend the Statistics Act (mandatory long-form census).

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to present this bill in view of the motion in the House last night. Both the Minister of Industry and the Prime Minister have clearly stated that they will not abide by the will of this House. I am pleased to table this bill.

The groups that were not consulted on this want this mandatory long form census to be placed into the Statistics Act of Canada such that any future government cannot go forward with the census without the mandatory long form census.

I am very pleased to present this bill this morning and pleased to have the support of the member for Ottawa—Vanier, the member for Windsor West and the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, the industry critic.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)