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Census spat turns tyrannical Add to ...

After listening to opposition forces spend most of the week bashing the government's decision to scrap the mandatory long-form census, the Conservatives are fighting back in a message to their members.

This time their target is Joyce Murray, the Liberal MP for Vancouver Quadra.

Ms. Murray said this week in a telephone interview with the Georgia Straight: "This is also part of the pattern of trying to control the independent agencies and offices of Parliament that are the oversight to government and are a very important part of our democracy. … Having those neutral agencies and voices to be able to speak to Canadians is a very important [part of] governance. And that is what separates a government from a tyranny."

In a mass e-mail to MPs and key supporters, the Conservatives said the quote suggests Ms. Murray believes that freeing Canadians from the threat of fines and imprisonment for not filling out a government form is a slide towards "tyranny".

"Yes, you read that correctly," the e-mail says. "Michael Ignatieff likes to brag that he is a former professor of human rights. Yet now he and his party actually believe that our human rights are infringed making it VOLUNTARY for citizens to tell the government how many toilets they own, what time they leave for work in the morning, and other personal information."

Unlike the Liberals, the message says, the Conservatives don't want to threaten Canadians with fines and jail time if they won't reveal unnecessary personal information.

And unlike the Liberals, the Tories say they "understand what 'tyranny' means and we are proud that Canada stands up to tyranny worldwide. To label a voluntary census as 'tyranny' is an insult to victims of tyranny around the world."

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