A major battle has been waged in Canada for several years now. Some government bureaucrats want to lock up the 1901 census and never allow the records to be examined by anyone. Genealogists, historians, social scientists and just plain concerned citizens have been fighting to allow the records to become public, as dictated by law.
A lengthy battle has been underway for more than five years. Details are available in English at http://www.globalgenealogy.com/Census and in French at http://www.globalgenealogy.com/Census/Index_f.htm.
Major news was released today: the Senate has passed bill the bill to allow public access. It is now headed to the House of Commons, where it must pass 3 readings before it becomes law. This where you, the concerned genealogists, come in. Your letters of support for bill S-18 are needed now.
The following message from is from Jeff Paul, Policy Advisor in the office of the Hon. Lorna Milne, one of the sponsors of the original bill:
I am very pleased to inform all of you that by a vote of 51-16, the Senate has passed bill S-18 at third reading. It is now headed to the House of Commons where it must pass 3 readings before it becomes law.
As you all know, it is a minority parliament in Ottawa these days, and as a result, there could be an election at any time. This bill will die if an election is called, and we will have to start again. We need to let Members of the House of Commons know that we want this bill passed before the next election. We also need to urge all parties to get together to pass this bill in one day.
So I'd like each and every one of you to write an email AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, and no later than Friday afternoon, to all of the following people:
Tony Valeri - Government House Leader - Valeri.T@parl.gc.ca
David Emerson - Minister of Industry - Emerson.D@parl.gc.ca
Jay Hill - Opposition House Leader (Conservative) - Hill.J@parl.gc.ca
Stephen Harper - Leader of Opposition (Conservative) - Harper.S@parl.gc.ca
Libbie Davies - NDP House Leader - Davies.L@parl.gc.ca
Jack Layton - NDP Leader - Layton.J@parl.gc.ca
Michel Gauthier - Bloc Quebecios House Leader - Gauthier.M@parl.gc.ca
Gilles Duceppe - Bloc Quebecios Leader - Gauthier.M@parl.gc.caGauthier.M@parl.gc.ca
You should write one email to all of them collectively. You should write a brief note in your own words.
Every email must request that all parties get together to agree to pass S-18 in one day.
Some of the points you may want to make in the email would include:
- 209 current MPs are on public record as supporting the release of historic census records
- Why the release of the records is important to you.
- The Information Commissioner, Privacy Commissioner, Chief Statistician, National Archivist, Canada Census Campaign, and Canadian Historical Association all support the bill
- Acknowledge that this is a tough time for the house but that this is a non-partisan bill
- State that you do not take any side on whether or not there should be an election, your only concern is getting this bill through
- ALL 4 HOUSE LEADERS HAVE GOLD TICKS
- Jack Layton, Stephen Harper and David Emerson ALL HAVE GOLD TICKS
- Statistics Canada needs a decision on this bill right away so final preparations can be made on the 2006 Census.
If you are concerned about writing to a Bloc Quebecois member in English, you may start your email by stating "Je suis désolé, mais je n'écrit pas en Français. J'espérais que vous preniez le temps de considerer cette lettre."
PLEASE do not forward this email directly to parliamentarians. It is a million times more effective when it comes in your own words.
If you have EVER written a letter in support of this campaign, I ask that you take this one additional step for us. THIS IS WITHOUT A DOUBT THE MOST IMPORTANT EMAIL REQUEST WE'VE EVER MADE. We need all hands on deck for this one.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY AND MAKE SURE THAT YOUR EMAIL IS SENT OUT BY FRIDAY IF AT ALL POSSIBLE. The House is not sitting next week, and we need to keep up the momentum.
Thank you so much for all of your help, and we hope that we can count on you one more time.
Office of the Hon. Lorna Milne
My thanks to Gordon A, Watts for this information. For those of you interested in this bill, I will point out that Gordon has expended hundreds of hours publicizing this issue, tracking its progress and talking with and writing to everyone concerned.