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Opposition Parties Will Vote For Long-Form Census

Industry Minister Tony Clement at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 18, 2009.

The three federal opposition parties are poised to vote in favour of a motion to revive the mandatory long-form census.

The Liberal motion would eliminate the threat of jail time, but keep a $500 penalty for Canadians who refuse.

Industry Minister Tony Clement had indicated the government will ignore the motion.

Clement is accusing the opposition of supporting the continued harassment of people who simply don’t want to divulge their personal information.

The Conservative government quietly scrapped the mandatory long-form census in late June, and replaced it with a voluntary survey to be distributed to more households.

But Statistics Canada has acknowledged the data will not be as reliable, and some of it unusable.

Clement says his government was striking a balance between the privacy rights of Canadians and the government’s need for information.

Liberal Industry critic Marc Garneau says if the government really believed in their position, they should have first consulted with Canadians and their own advisory council on the move.