Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Legal date for Harper's census decision

Further to Scott's post tonight, "The legal fight begins on the Census," noting the CP report on the francophone lawsuit against the Harper government...
A French-Canadian group has launched a legal attack on multiple fronts against the federal government's move to scrap the mandatory long-form census.

The group has not only asked Federal Court to void the Harper government's new policy, but also wants an injunction that would keep the new type of census from being distributed this year.

It is also asking the court to fast-track its case so that it can be heard by mid-October, before the government distributes the 2011 census.
It should be noted that while Tony Clement had expressed some willingness to include questions on the mandatory short form to accommodate francophone concerns, apparently he and his government have not responded at all to the group now litigating, the Federation des communautes francophones et acadienne (FCFA). The government has demonstrated nothing in the way of follow through on those words. They're making an appeal to the premiers today as well:
In the leadup to the Council of the Federation meeting tomorrow and Friday in Winnipeg, the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne (FCFA) du Canada is asking the provincial and territorial premiers to intercede with the federal government for a reversal of its decision to eliminate the mandatory long form for the 2011 Census. The FCFA sent letters to this effect today to the 13 premiers and their ministers responsible for Francophone affairs.
...
The FCFA also wishes to note that it has still not received any official response to the letters it sent starting in early July to the Minister of Industry, the Hon. Tony Clement, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Hon. James Moore, and the President of the Treasury Board, the Hon. Stockwell Day, to share with them the disastrous impact the elimination of the mandatory long form may have on the vitality of Canada’s Francophone and Acadian communities.
Your compassionate Conservative government at work!

Bring on the lawsuit. National publicity of how the commitment to preservation of official languages across the country will be weakened by the government's move will be a good thing. Recall that the Official Languages Commissioner has an investigation open on this issue as well.

Wondering if there are any other groups or governments who could tag along with this challenge, on an intervener basis or with standing.