11 August 2008

Deeply Rooted

Thousands of genealogists and historians played bit parts in the drama of securing the release of historic Canadian censuses. For most of us it was by signing petitions, sending emails and letters to MPs and ministers, and perhaps participating in a consultation.

We now have the opportunity to see the development through the eyes of one of the major players, Senator Lorna Milne, who championed the cause for the historian and genealogist. Posted on Senator Milne's web site is her pdf format book titled "Deeply Rooted - The story of one Senator's battle to preserve the Historic Census results."

Reading through the 183 pages, double spaced, throws light on what was happening behind the scenes during those long gaps that we endured on the road to passage of bill S-18 on 28 June 2005.

It has been said that the making of laws is like the making of sausages—the less you know about the process the more you respect the result. The census release issue is a good case study. Reading the book you see how the combination of ego, personal blind spots, inexperience and political expediency played into transforming what should have been basic government housekeeping to facilitate our understanding our history into such an extended saga.

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