Toronto judge to rule today in case of 89-year-old census refusenik

TORONTO – A Toronto judge is set to rule today in the case of an 89-year-old peace activist who refused to fill out the census because of its link to a U.S. military contractor.

Audrey Tobias says she didn’t file her 2011 census because it is processed using software from Lockheed Martin.

The Crown says Tobias had no lawful excuse for her refusal, which led to a charge against her under the Statistics Act.

But the defence has maintained that forcing her to complete the census would violate her freedoms of conscience and free expression.

Tobias has said she isn’t concerned about the consequences of a conviction, which carries a maximum three months in prison.

The Second World War veteran has also insisted she will not pay a fine.

“I’m not worried; we’ll take it as it comes,” she said during a break in the proceedings last Thursday.

“Of course, I would not pay (a) fine — that would be an admission of guilt.”

She said she would not do any community service for the same reason.

The Crown called one witness, Yves Beland, operations director at Statistics Canada, who outlined the importance of the census to, among other things, intergovernmental equalization and transfer payments.

“It is the only detailed and coherent source of information,” Beland testified.

In 2011, StatsCan received 13 million completed census forms, a 98 per cent response rate. Overall, it referred 54 people for prosecution for failing to complete the mandatory census form.

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