MPs to debate bill that would bring back long census Conservatives axed

The Commons will debate a private member’s bill to bring back the long-form census, the mandatory questionnaire axed by the Conservative government in 2010.

OTTAWA — The Commons will debate a private member’s bill to bring back the long-form census, the mandatory questionnaire axed by the Conservative government in 2010.

Liberal MP Ted Hsu’s proposal would amend the Statistics Act to make the long-form census a permanent feature of the census process every five years.

The legislation would also change the way the chief statistician is appointed, requiring the government to first consult a selection committee.

Hsu has written an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, calling the census a civic duty that helps give the government reliable information before policy decisions are made.

The Conservatives replaced the mandatory long-form with the voluntary National Household Survey, a switch that was widely panned by voices as diverse as religious groups and provincial governments.

When the results of the 2011 survey were released, data on more than 1,000 Canadian communities was withheld because of the lower response rates.

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