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Date: Mon, 02 Jul 2001 14:06:05 -0400
From: "Muriel M. Davidson"
Subject: Post 1901 Census - Time to gather signatures.

Greetings All. >> Fwd. for Gordon Watts << >> May be translated <<

I hope that you had a great Canada Day and that all survived with nothing more serious than a sunburn.

With school out and summer vacations imminent opportunities for gathering signatures on Census petitions will be numerous. Family gatherings, reunions, camping trips, vacation trips, etc. are all great places to get people to sign.

To date, since the federal election last fall, we have gathered in excess of 10,000 signatures on petitions for each of the House of Commons, and the Senate. With Parliament recessed until 19 September we have a couple of months in which to greatly increase these numbers.

While in our previous petition blitz British Columbia led the parade for numbers of signatures gathered, this time Alberta has greatly outshone all other provinces. This was accomplished because both the Alberta Genealogical Society and the Alberta Family History Society mailed copies of the petitions to each of their members with a request to gather signatures and return them before a goal date set by each organization. While this entailed a small cost to the societies, even that cost was minimized by including the petitions, which had been printed double sided, with the mailing of their normal newsletters.

Both groups gathered in excess of 2,500 signatures on each of the House of Commons and Senate Petitions. Imagine the numbers of signatures we could present when Parliament resumes in the fall if every genealogical and historical society, in every province, followed the example of the AGS and AFHS. MP Murray Calder and Senator Lorna Milne would need dollies to wheel the petitions into the House of Commons and the Senate.

One of the major problems in our campaign to regain public access to Historic Census Records has been that the vast majority of Canadians are not aware that Census records after 1901 have been closed by Statistics Canada. Most give little or no thought to Census, except when required to complete the forms every five years, and are unaware of the great importance placed on Census by genealogists and historians. Aside from gathering signatures on petitions, each of us must make an effort to inform our friends, neighbours, relatives, and local media regarding the situation, and what is being done to remedy it. We must continue to write our MPs, and now our Senators, seeking their support for public access to Historic Census Records. Occasionally we receive questions about a deadline for receiving petitions. There is NO DEADLINE. We will continue to collect signatures and send them in until such time as we have achieved our goal.

Recently, because of things beyond my control, there has been difficulty in having the Post 1901 Census Project website updated. While many files have been updated they have not yet been loaded on the server. I do not have direct access to the server and must rely on someone else to load the files. I hope that these problems will soon be resolved. New additions to the web pages will be a Scoreboard and Correspondence Logs for Senators, similar to those for Members of Parliament, and a letter sized poster (downloadable in PDF format) for use in gathering petition signatures.

My wish for each of you is for a safe and happy summer, and may your vacations be everything you want them to be. May it also be productive for gathering petition signatures and for informing others about the importance of regaining public access to Post 1901 Census Records. Happy Hunting.

Gordon A. Watts
Co-Chair, Canada Census Committee
Port Coquitlam, BC