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NEWS RELEASE · 22nd July 2010
BC NDP Caucus
B.C. Liberals too caught up in their own scandals to pay attention to vital issues

The federal government’s decision to do away with the long-form census is causing a firestorm of controversy across Canada, but the B.C. Liberal government is too caught up in scandal to provide leadership on the issue and advocate for British Columbia, say New Democrats.

“Other provinces immediately recognized that this decision will have a dramatic impact on their budgeting process and could put vital social programs in jeopardy, but the B.C. finance minister is too busy trying to spin angry British Columbians on the HST to provide leadership,” said New Democrat finance critic Bruce Ralston.

“While Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan has said the information collected in the long-form census helps ‘in every spending and tax decision’ the provincial government makes and called on Ottawa to reconsider the decision to replace it with a voluntary survey, the B.C. Liberals have failed to stand up for the public interest.”

Ralston added that economists, CEOs and non-governmental agencies like the United Way and Canadian Public Health Association have come out against the change.

In a dramatic move Wednesday, the head of Statistics Canada resigned over the change, unequivocally saying in a statement that a voluntary survey cannot be a viable substitute for a mandatory census.

"In an ethnically diverse and rapidly changing province like British Columbia, the information gleaned from the census is particularly important. But while the governments of Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec and PEI have already come out against the change, the B.C. Liberals are nowhere to be seen,” said Ralston.

"British Columbians deserve answers to some serious questions. Can the B.C. Liberals offer assurances to British Columbians that scrapping the long-form census won’t affect our ability to provide programs and services to the people that need them? Will we have access to sufficient information to complete the budgeting process?

“This is a government in chaos. British Columbians deserve better.”