Premiers of Canada’s three westernmost provinces, who often speak with one voice on economic and trade issues, all said the census is not a priority for them. Virtually every premier east of Manitoba urged the Harper government to rethink its plans.
“I don’t know what motivates them not to do the census,” Quebec Premier Jean Charest told reporters on Friday. “Getting the information is essential for us to make good decisions.”
Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter said the proposal leads people to question the Harper government’s motivation. “It kind of defines who they are as a government,” he said in an interview. “I’m not sure it’s particularly flattering.”
New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham lashed out at the Harper government for attacking the provinces over the census.
“I have to admit, I was a bit shocked this morning to see the federal government out criticizing the premiers on this, saying it’s a free ride for the provinces,” Mr. Graham told reporters. “It’s safe to say they’re a bit on the defensive on this issue and that’s unfortunate.”
He was responding to Industry Minister Tony Clement, who said critics are upset because they enjoyed a free ride all the years that Ottawa forced Canadians to provide detailed demographic data. Continued...