Our coalition partners, Social Planning Toronto, are leaders in the fight to reinstate Canada’s census. Key in the fight to save the census is John Campey, executive director of Social Planning Toronto. You can watch John Campey sing for change online. Below is Social Planning Toronto Executive Director John Campey’s update on the Save the Census campaign. Follow the links to get involved.
Tens of thousands of Canadians, and hundreds of the organizations that represent us, rallied this past summer and early fall to “Save the Census” from the decision by the Federal Conservative government to scrap the mandatory long form census. Who knew how passionate we could be – over the Census, of all things!
As you know, we haven’t won the fight yet – the Conservatives continue to defy logic, public opinion, and the government’s own staff and advisors on this issue, and have so far refused to budge. The casualties in this fight include Canada’s Chief Statistician, Munir Sheikh, morale at Statistics Canada, and, to a disturbing degree, the truth itself.
Still, we’ve made a lot of progress. In the past five months, literally tens of thousands of Canadians have contacted their MP’s to express their concerns – the on-line petition has over 17,000 signatures, and the “Keep the Canada Census Long Form” Facebook Page has attracted over 10,000 members. Over 370 organizations have formally protested this decision. Literally hundreds of print and broadcast articles, editorials, and features have raised the awareness of Canadians not only on this specific issue, but on the role of data in building a healthy, prosperous, and safe Canada. The Canadian Council of Social Development, supported by a dozen other vital community organizations, has launched a legal challenge to defend our “right to be counted.” A clear majority of Canadians want the mandatory form back.
But we need to do more! Here are our three key messages!
1. Canadians Count! The long form census is key to making sure that every Canadian – even those who usually are not heard – have a voice, and a place, in the decisions made by government, business, and communities.
2. The Census can still be saved, and we have time to do it. Despite the Conservative spin that this is a ‘done deal,’ we know that all it will take is a simple note, added to the National Household Survey, indicating that completing it is mandatory. This change could be made right up until days before the Census is conducted. We don’t have time to waste, but we do have time to win!
2. Your help is needed to make this happen. You can help in three key ways:
* Keep in touch. We’ve set up a new Facebook “page” (the existing Facebook page is the victim of its own success – once it reached 10,000 members, it lost the capacity to send messages out to the group, so we’re encouraging all the members of that page to “migrate” to the new one — if we get close to 10,000 again, we will set up a “twin!” You can join the new page Save the Census Campaign). You can also find us on Twitter at @savethecensus. We’re establishing an electronic newsletter list – if you’d like to be added, send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Keep the pressure on. It never hurts to keep contacting your MP to let them know this is still important to you, and is an issue that is not going away. It strengthens the resolve of the MP’s who are working to reverse this decision, and reminds the Conservatives that people continue to care about this.
* Keep it going. If you care about the Census, and want to see ‘evidence based policy making’ defeat ‘policy-based evidence making,’ help us make it happen by making a donation to the campaign. A ten or twenty dollar donation, multiplied by the 17,000 people who signed the petition, would give real ‘legs’ to a campaign that has been running on guts, heart, and goodwill since June. To make a financial contribution to the campaign, go to www.savethecensus.ca and hit the “Donate” button.
A great deal has been accomplished, but there’s a lot more to be done. Over the past few weeks a number of the individuals involved in the “Save the Census Campaign” have registered with Elections Canada as a third party to ensure that the Census is an issue in the November 29 Federal by-elections. In the riding of Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette,a new radio ad will start being played on CKDM in Dauphin on November 22nd. You can hear it at www.youtube.com/longformcensus. In Vaughan, a flyer is being distributed to 15,000 households encouraging them to “Vote for Your Right to be Counted.” The flyer has been posted at this link: http://www.filedropper.com/savethecensusflyer (paste into your browser). Other resources the campaign has developed can be viewed at www.savethecensus.ca.
Please stick with us – sign up, tell your friends, and contribute your time and cash to making sure that all Canadians count. The long form census – 33 million Canadians can’t be wrong! Thanks for your continued interest.
The Save the Census Campaign