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Toronto woman refuses to fill out census due to Lockheed connection

Oct. 4, 2013 at 2:55 PM

TORONTO, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- An 89-year-old Toronto woman on trial for refusing to fill out her census form said she objects to its connection to weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

Audrey Tobias, who argued that her refusal should be seen as an exercise of her Charter rights to freedom of expression and freedom of conscience rather than a violation of the Statistics Act, said she did not want to fill out the census because the software used to process the forms was given to Statistics Canada by U.S. weapon maker Lockheed Martin, the Toronto Star reported Friday.

"I would like our country to be peaceful," Tobias told court. "Giving (the contract) to a military company sends a message that we support military solutions."

Tobias and her lawyer, Peter Rosenthal, also questioned the security of the software in light of how Edward Snowden recently revealed the U.S. National Security Agency used "back doors" to access telecommunications information for U.S. citizens.

Tobias said she does not expect to win the case.

"There isn't much case law supporting Mr. Rosenthal's client," said Justice Ramez Khawly, who is scheduled to give a ruling Oct. 9.

However, Tobias said she feels she made her point.

"I think it went quite well and everyone listened to everyone nicely," Tobias said.

Tobias could face a fine if convicted under the Statistics Act.

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