Yesterday’s House debate on the census starts here. The following is the first government interjection and the response from Liberal Marc Garneau.
Mr. Steven Blaney (Lévis—Bellechasse, CPC): Madam Speaker, I have a question for the member from Westmount—Ville-Marie. I was very interested in what he had to say, and one word in particular struck me, the word “ridiculous” . I am sure that the member opposite will agree with me when I say that it is ridiculous to put honest citizens in jail for refusing to say how many bedrooms they have in their houses or even what kind of cereal they eat in the morning. That is the issue before the House. How can we collect useful data without infringing on individual freedoms? I would like to know whether the hon. member is ready to work with the government, as he has done in the past. Two questions have been added to the short form to collect information for validation purposes, information that will be useful to all Canadians. Is he ready to propose real solutions and to acknowledge that society and individual freedoms have evolved?
Mr. Marc Garneau: Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member from Lévis—Bellechasse. I hardly know where to begin. It makes me laugh to hear the Conservative government keep talking about prison sentences. Was my Conservative Party colleague asleep under a rock all summer long? Did he not hear the opposition parties say that they were ready to get rid of prison sentences? In fact, that is in today’s motion. I do not know why he always has to make it all about prison sentences. On the radio this summer, I remember hearing him say to listeners that the census asked people what kind of cereal they ate for breakfast. That is disinformation. It simply is not true. The 2006 census did not ask people what kind of cereal they ate for breakfast or how many toilets they had in their houses. But that did not stop the government from waging a disinformation campaign to promote its ideology. I would suggest that the member read the census. That way, he will know what questions are in it and will understand that those questions are important for policy-making in our country, and for helping people in Canada, including the residents of Lévis—Bellechasse.