Census changes bad for democracy: CAJ

OTTAWA, July 15 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists is joining the chorus of Canadians calling on the Harper government to scrap plans to weaken the census.

The mandatory long form census produces a wealth of independent, reliable, in-depth data for journalists and for the public. It allows journalists to follow immigration, poverty and housing trends, cover local elections more effectively, test the effectiveness of government programs and uncover stories Canadians might not otherwise see.

"Journalists use census data every single day to give context to news stories and help Canadians understand their communities," CAJ president Mary Agnes Welch said. "Doing away with the mandatory long form will effectively kill a source of information that makes governments more accountable and citizens better informed. This will be a blow to democracy."

The CAJ is calling on Industry Minister Tony Clement to reverse his decision to make the long form census voluntary.

The Canadian Association of Journalists is Canada's largest professional organization for journalists from all media, with more than 900 members across the country. The CAJ's main roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.

SOURCE Canadian Association of Journalists

For further information: For further information: Mary Agnes Welch, CAJ President, 204-470-8862; John Dickins, CAJ Executive Director, 613-868-5442

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