Opposition MPs slammed Tony Clement at a Commons committee hearing on Tuesday, charging the Conservative Industry Ministry “manufactured” the controversy over the future of the long-form census. Liberal MP Marc Garneau and NDP MP Charlie Angus both pointed out few Canadians had expressed reservations about the mandatory nature of the long-form. Angus added the government is nurturing an “urban myth” that police will apprehend those who fail to complete the form, noting “nobody in 40 years has ever gone to jail.” Clement responded by saying the government is simply looking to find an “appropriate balance” behind the importance of reliable data and Canadians’ rights to privacy. The Ontario MP also backtracked on his claims StatsCan endorsed the change, saying the agency would have been “quite happy” to keep the mandatory long-form.
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