|Update on CCSD's Census Challenge|
We filed our written legal arguments in Federal Court on Friday.
Again, we did not challenge the decision to drop the mandatory long form. It was our legal opinion that this sort of challenge would have legal and evidentiary obstacles. Unfortunately, our views were borne out by the judgment of the Federal Court in Native Council of Nova Scotia case. I hope you see that our theory has a better chance of success as our challenge is much more narrow. We contend that there is an equal right to be counted, and the protected groups we represent have a right to be enumerated under the census.
You will also see that we are only seeking declaratory relief. It was really the only reasonable approach in the circumstances. In a sense, the government created this problem by suddenly announcing this new approach with very little time to really get to Court. It is true that the Francophones and the Native Council cases made it to Court swiftly. However, the government argued in each on that it was already too late to stop the census. The Courts did not have to deal with that argument because the applications were dismissed, but our case was later in the queue and we did not believe the evidence was solid that it could be stopped in the circumstances.
Procedurally speaking, there are also many advantages to us seeking only declaratory relief under the Federal Courts Act.
The whole point of the challenge was to provide another vehicle to highlight the unlawful and improper handling of the census by the current government. Since we were not aiming to restore the majority of long form questions in any event, this was the best approach in the circumstances.