Thursday, October 21, 2010

More census litigation on the way

On the heels of the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne's decision not to appeal their census case loss at the Federal Court, we have a new effort that's sprung up. The Canadian Council on Social Development is "...joined in its challenge by a dozen social, community and legal organizations." The cause of action is not explicitly stated in the report but it sounds like a Charter equality challenge:
The Canadian Council on Social Development is spearheading the case in Federal Court to defend what it calls “the equal right of all Canadians to be counted.”
You can see the theoretical equality argument. That the move from the mandatory long-form census to a voluntary one undermines the ability of the government to make policy decisions with a legitimate statistical underpinning. The data that will now be collected will skew to certain demographics over others, meaning that government decisions made on the basis of that information would also be unequally skewed.

They're claiming there's time to still halt the axing:
“While the decision remains unchanged, this battle is far from over,” the group said, adding that despite “misinformation” from the Conservative government, the decision can be changed well into 2011. “It's not over until the surveys hit our mail boxes.”
Any effort to maintain the long-form census should be applauded, best of luck to them.