Why are we threatening this nice old lady with prison?

’Should the federal government face the same courts for killing the long-form census?’
An employee make his way to work at Statistics Canada in Ottawa on July 21, 2010. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says public service spending cuts have mostly focused on service delivery, contradicting the Harper government’s assurances that cuts would spare front-line resources. Statistics Canada will take the largest proportional loss, losing a third of its staff according to the study. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Audrey Tobias, 89, doesn’t want to fill out the census because Lockheed Martin is providing the software used by Statistics Canada to process data and so on Thursday she will go to court to face a charge for refusing. In theory, she could be sent to prison, but no one’s ever actually been sent to prison, so chances are she will remain a free woman.

Back in the summer of 2010, Tony Clement actually promised to remove the threat of prison from all mandatory government surveys, but apparently the government never got around to doing that. According to the a spokesman for Industry Minister James Moore, the government does still plan on “moving forward on our commitment.”

Mind you, whatever her complaint with Lockheed Martin, Ms. Tobias also seems kind of upset that the Harper government cancelled the long-form census.

“What, are they going to put a little 89-year-old in jail? Well, let them,” Tobias said, defiant and livid that it has come to this. “Shouldn’t the federal government face the same courts for killing the long-form census?”

The charges could conceivably include making parts of Hamilton, Winnipeg and Saskatchewan disappear.

Mr. Moore and the cabinet will soon have to make a decision about what to do for 2016.