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Harper government backs down on lingusitics questions for Census.

It appears the Harper government was pretty scared after the expedited Federal Court ruling victory by the Francophone and Acadian communities yesterday today. They’ve acted much quicker in 1 day over this court ruling then a full month of criticism in order to try and get the court challenge to be dropped:

Stung by francophone anger, the Harper government is adding questions on French and English skills to the obligatory short-form 2011 census to quell this linguistic minority’s fears that scrapping a longer mandatory survey will make it harder to measure their presence in Canada.

These questions were part of the 40-page long-form census that the Conservatives are making voluntary over the objections of a broad range of economists, statisticians, provincial governments and researchers who warn it will undermine the reliability of Statistics Canada’s data.

Clement also announced he was bringing forth legislation to “decriminalize” all other penalties on other mandatory forms, such as the short form census, the agriculture census, and so on; the threat of jail is gone; only a fine remains in place.

If that’s the case, then as others have asked; if the threat of jail time has gone – THE chief claim by this government – what’s the justification for making the long form voluntary now?

UPDATE/EDIT: I got asked if these changes should appease critics. Nope, it shouldn’t. David Eaves tells you why.

UPDATE 2 @ 7:40 pm: Via Impolitical, The Francophone association (FCFA) has for now declined comment on Clement’s statements “out of respect for the legal procedures currently underway”.

4 comments to Harper government backs down on lingusitics questions for Census.

  • Here’s another delicious tidbit about Stalinist Steve and his thugs’ lying lies that I heard on Radio-Canada.

    The lawyers who showed up to oppose the Francophone organizations claimed that their government would need at least 2 months to prepare an adequate legal response and wanted the court date to be in mid-October.

    Duh.

    So the decision is a very good outcome, and I’m looking forward to more negative fall-out for Stevie Spiteful’s ReformaTories.

  • Redrum

    Well, Clement was just on CBC’s P&P, & his answer was that the other long form q’s are too instrusive to warrant the “criminal prosecution” threat of fines (which remain), so he’s consistent on that.

    But what a weasel: asked about why he made the language q. changes, he tried to throw Munir Sheikh under the bus again, saying it was on the advice of the _new_ Chief Statistician. But that’s total BS: the doc’s Kady posted today clearly showed that Industry was advised well in advance of that Parliamentary Committee that the combination of the mandatory short & vol. long form q’s would _not_ suffice to meet the OLA req’s (esp. given the lousy, non-rep. return rate expected from the NHS). And _at_ that hearing, the French language rep. told them the same thing and that the sol’n would be to migrate the q’s from the long form to the short, but he ignored them. Until the Court signalled today there was a good chance they were going to agree, that is. Then suddenly he wants to honour their obligations.

    Now, I hope the other interested parties mount similar court challenges ASAP for the applicable remaining 34 Federal Acts (spread over 14 dept’s) which are explicitly indexed to Census data to guide program spending (and set old age pension rates etc) & monitor targets. Maybe lots of the long form q’s will have to get migrated, as well; tho’ maybe some will only have to be asked every ten years.

  • They’re just making it up as they go, aren’t they?

    • They’re just making it up as they go, aren’t they?

      That’s exactly what they’re doing. They’re frantic. This decision completely undermines every single argument that the government and their stooges have made. We all knew the arguments were BS, now, with this turn of events and the document dump, we know they knew they were BS too.

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