The federal government’s decision to scrap the long-form census constitutes a violation of Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a lawyer representing a coalition of Atlantic aboriginals told Federal Court on Monday. Anne Smith said the shorter replacement for the mandatory, long-form census — the voluntary national household survey — will produce skewed data.We also learned that the promised 30 million in ads, was misrepresented by Tony Clement.
“It’s not a representative survey if it’s not mandatory,” Smith told the court. As a result, it will be difficult for the government to discharge its constitutional duties to aboriginal peoples, she said. The lawyer said about 98 per cent of the long forms are filled out and returned, but only about 40 to 50 per cent of voluntary surveys are ever returned. She said the data resulting from a smaller sample size could prompt the government to conclude that services are no longer required for aboriginal people.
Industry Minister Tony Clement said that $30 million in spending had been earmarked to encourage Canadians to fill out the survey and the short census. But Statistics Canada told The Canadian Press that $5 million of that money will cover extra printing costs, since more households will get the voluntary survey. And another $10 million of the pot is now going toward adding two extra questions on language into the short census.The plot thickens.