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Liberals urge action after Tories ignore order to produce census docs

Opposition Liberals are calling for the Commons industry committee to reconvene over the Tory government's refusal to produce documents related to its decision to drop the long-form census.

Liberal MP Mark Holland says the Conservatives are ignoring a committee order to release the documents.

By a 6-5 vote, the industry committee passed a motion July 27 calling on Industry Minister Tony Clement to provide "all documents and emails between Statistics Canada, the Privy Council Office and the Minister of Industry’s office on changes to the 2011 census."

The committee also requested the analysis given to cabinet before it made what the Liberals are calling a "secret decision without consultation."

It gave the government five days to comply.

Now the Liberals want the committee to start hearings as soon as possible to hear from individuals and organizations that have strongly condemned the elimination of the mandatory census.

Holland said the decision to replace the mandatory process with a single-page, voluntary questionnaire "isn’t about the threat of jail time."

He said no one has been jailed for refusing to fill out the census and all parties could agree to "simply get rid of the jail penalties."

"What this is really about is launching a full scale attack on the ability of governments, charities, religious groups, medical associations and many more organizations to make fact-based decisions that help Canadians in their day-to-day lives."

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