1686Post 1901 Census - Another Court Action
- Jun 7, 2003Hi Again:
This is another e-mail just received from Gordon A. Watts and again I am
copying it in full for your information.
Special thanks to Lois Sparling for initiating another court action. I
recall her plea some time ago for someone other than herself to
spearhead any new action that was needed, perhaps someone from Ontario
or Quebec. Apparently, this plea has gone unheaded.
Congratulations to Mertie Beatty for once again allowing her name to be
put forward as a plaintiff in this new legal action.
I propose to send one more e-mail to dist-gen listers. This one will
describe the amendments that are being sought to Bill S-13. As I don't
want to burden you tonight with yet another e-mail from me I shall
probably send it sometime tomorrow.
Thanks to all for patiently (I hope) reading my e-mails!
* * *
With all our petitions, letters and email seeking to regain public
access to Historic Census records it is felt that the greatest factor in
the eventual release, on 24 January 2003, of the 1906 Census of the
North-Western Provinces was our Legal Action instituted on behalf of
eleven plaintiffs from across Canada. Even though that Action did not
actually make it before a Judge, the effect was that we won our case and
the Courts awarded costs to our lawyer.
It is obvious from the testimony of the Chief Statistician, the Privacy
Commissioner and the comments of Senators opposing the amendments we
seek to Bill S-13, that their greatest fear is the Courts would give us
what we seek -- unrestricted access to all Census records -- past,
present and future.
On Thursday 5 June 2003 our lawyer, Lois Sparling, submitted a second
Action in Federal Court relating to access to Census records. This new
Action, like the previous one, deals with the failure of the Chief
Statistician to turn over control of the Census to the National
Archivist. Unlike the previous Action, this one has only one
plaintif -- Merle Beatty of Calgary. She has submitted an ATI request
but Lois has not waited for it to be refused before starting the current
We believe the ATI requests we suggest supporters of access make are a
very powerful, meaningful way of sending a message to the government.
The greater the number of requests made, the stronger the message. ATI
request forms were distributed at last weeks AFHS meeting -- it is
thought about 50 requests will result from this. It is my intention to
distribute request forms at the BCGS meeting this coming Wednesday.
Perhaps other genealogical and historical organizations will see fit to
Complaints regarding the refusal of Statistics Canada to release records
of the 1911 Census must be submitted to the Information Commissioner.
We believe he will be prepared, as he was prepared to do for the 1906
Census, to proceed himself to the Courts on behalf of the complainants.
Perhaps he can do so in time to join with Lois in her Action.
Gordon A. Watts gordon_watts@...
Co-Chair, Canada Census Committee
Port Coquitlam, BC