Responding to Paul Wells…

Today Paul Wells wrote a piece in which he supported the thesis of a post I wrote back on July 22. However, he thought he noted a bit of an inconsistency between my post and later tweets,

I’ve been mystified by Stephen Harper’s willingness to squander so much political capital on an issue as trivial as the long-form census. Only slightly less so by the media’s piling on, treating this as a matter of great national importance, and by the level of emotional investment so many apparently attach to census-gathering.

The opposition? They’re just reveling in the unexpected bounty of low-hanging political fruit, and Tory self-inflicted injury.

I don’t get it. It’s just not that big a deal – either way.

— Charles W. Moore, New Brunswick Telegraph Journal, today

Stephen Harper seeks to diminish or destroy the Liberal Party to replace them with the Conservatives as Canada’s default choice for government. His greatest challenge is to dismantle the modern welfare state. If it can’t be measured, future governments can’t pander.

— Blogger Stephen Taylor, July 22.

That’s the choice, I suppose. Either what the Harper government is doing with the long-form census doesn’t matter, or it does. Obviously Moore has a lot more company than Taylor does. Indeed, lately Moore’s company includes Taylor: since July 22 this whole business has gotten too hot for Stephen’s liking and in his blog and on Twitter he’s joined the nobody-cares crowd, arguing that this whole business is an invention of the “push media,” by which he means news organizations that cover a story he doesn’t like for longer than he likes.

There is obviously a bit of confusion because after I wrote that blog post, I took to twitter and wrote this:

When members of Parl ConCensus Gallery aren’t push reporting stories on Census/Prorogation, they’re auditioning for Iggy’s PressSec on #lpcx — @stephen_taylor

I noted a similarity to that earlier sleepy story of the year called prorogation when the Toronto Star breathlessly plastered its front page describing a “fury” of Canadians against prorogation because 20,000 people had joined a Facebook group! Sure enough, while 20,000 people seeded interest in the story, the media took the ball from there and covered it and covered it for the next three weeks and it wasn’t too surprising that the millions of dollars in free media coverage netted that Facebook group over 150,000 members!

To address Wells specifically, he sees a bit of a disconnect between my suggestion that the PM is really using the census issue to dismantle the welfare state and my assertion that “nobody cares” about this story.

However, in my original article I wrote this:

QMI’s David Akin exclaimed surprise that from his cell within the beehive of special interests that is Ottawa, he was shocked to find that a full half — that other half — of Canadians aren’t upset about the changes to the census when it seems that’s the only thing the other bees seem to be buzzing about. The story that “just won’t go away” is a flurry of activity “inside the beehive”, because until you go outside, you can’t see the forest for the trees.

Two things: I still standby my thesis that I believe that chucking mandatory nature of the long-form is a move to dismantle the welfare state (and that this is a move in the right direction). And two, nobody cares outside of the beehive. It’s the media that is pushing the story outside of the beehive walls propelled by the loud buzz of special interests.

If you were to poll typical Canadians and asked them, “what is the biggest issue facing you and your family”, I’d venture a guess that most would not respond that “the changing of the long-form census to a voluntary survey” ranks high on their list.

“Nobody cares” is a simplification; nobody cares outside of the beehive. The swarm of special interests sure does care. Other Canadians? They’re at the cottage, or BBQing on their decks. Does bugspray keep bees away too?

As for my trouble-making behaviour, I make no apologies. Sometimes it’s fun to throw rocks at beehives.



  • Fred from BC

    “But now the story is becoming the deceitfulness of the Conservatives in trying to peddle their idiocy.”

    Didn’t take you long to drop the facade of reasonable, rational debate did it, Ted?

    Thanks for sharing all those Liberal talking points with us, but sadly those polls you were talking about showing public opposition to the changes to the long-form census don’t exist (nice try, LIAR), and no one really cares about the little local newspapers in the Maritimes (although I noticed how smoothly you dodged the qualifier “national media”, it still makes you a LIAR once again). Keep trying, Ted. Sooner or later you’ll win one…

  • Canadiansense

    As a Jedi I have the right to my privacy and will fill out the Census accordingly.

  • Ted

    Sorry Stephen, you are wrong on both fronts.

    1. People do care about this outside the beehive, as polls have shown, as letters to editors across the country have shown, as phone in shows have shown. A few care very strongly that this should be done, most care that it is going to result in worse government. And it sure isn't limited to special interest groups. The only “special interest” group are those tiny minority supporting this.

    2. The welfare state was created without the census and most of the “welfare” state doesn't rely on the census data; it is a whole host of government services that do. It will actually make the welfare state more entrenched. And more wasteful. And more expensive. The money is going to get spent on programs: Harper is removing the “educated” from the educated guessing that goes into figuring out how many hospital beds, highway lanes, power needs, transit lines, etc. in the future. So what's a government likely to do? Either get it wrong, and then have to spend twice as much to fix getting it wrong. Or spend way more than is needed.

    I'm with the CD Howe Institute on this: accurate census data is vital for citizens to keep their government accountable.

    Dumb. It's just a plain dumb move.

    And anti-democratic and cowardly. If this is really about the welfare state, then why so sneaky and deceitful about it?

  • RunnertheFirst

    Don't stop poking the beehive. They need it now and again to remind them there is a world filled with real people beyond their preceptive boundaries. People who might have another point of view. The media too often feed from each other. You see it often on news programs where a media person interviews another media person for their opinion on the story. Is that lazy reporting or just a need to justify an opinion by quoting another who shares that opinion?

    Personally I feel the media has forgotten how to report news without interjecting their personal beliefs. Media outlets, networks, newspapers are all categorized by their political leanings. Whatever happened to the truth?

  • Duncan Kinney

    Quite frankly you're being intellectually dishonest on this issue. Removing the long form census is an indefensible position and seeing people justify it or trying to explain it away makes me smile.

  • Stephen Taylor

    Dismissing the other side of a debate by calling it “indefensible” is intellectually dishonest.

    I know you disagree with PM Harper on this, but why not debate it instead of using cheap words to claim your intellectual superiority?

  • calgary_junkie

    Darrell Bricker, today on CFRA:

    “… I don't think people are paying a lot of attention right now to federal politics. When there's a bit of a climate change, when you see a lot of discussion, that appears negative on the government, it has somewhat of an impact, of a couple of percentage points in the population, which has caused the numbers you are seeing”

    This census kerfuffle is very much a replay of the prorogation one: The usual suspects gang up on Harper, the media makes a lot of noise, pushes the narrative for as long as possible. And so of course we will take a hit in the polls. If you're not a political junkie, and you hear all this negative press, you probably assume that Harper is screwing up. We have to pretty well grin and bear it. It didn't much matter that it was the census, it could have been any issue that the anti-Harper univers latched on to.

  • hollinm

    Ted….you must be seeing other letters to the editor than in the national media. I see little to nothing in the letters to the editor.
    I suspect Harper is after all the agencies, bureaucracies etc that are a net drain on the Canadian taxpayer. I read Paul Wells article this morning and I believe these are who Harper is after.
    Canadians could care less about the long form census or any other bureacratic exercise. Keep the economy rolling and create jobs. Thats what Canadians want.
    In the meantime you and the rest of the Libs can continue to believe, like the other faux scandals, that this is Harper's death knell. Trust me. It ain't.
    Anti democratic. In case you haven't noticed the Conservative party is the elected government in this country has a right (legally) to enact regulations and policies that it wishes.
    The Canadian people will decide if they agree with those policies; not the pinhead academics, Liberals and the lame street media.

  • wilson

    ''accurate census data is vital for citizens to keep their government accountable''

    Then Canada better start collecting data the 21st century way,
    because there is nothing accurate about StatsCan data.
    Many people lie on the census, or StatsCan reports the data in a misleading way. Like the July employment numbers, where 65,000 keachers on summer break were counted as newly unemployed.

  • wilson

    And another thing, any organization or government using 5 YEAR OLD data to make critical decisions, should be fired.

  • calgary_junkie

    “Removing the long form census is an indefensible position …”

    More from Darrell Bricker:

    “I've never heard so many smart people say things that are so silly … you hear
    people presenting the long form census as some form of perfection, that everything else is terribly flawed. The reality is there's flaws through ALL of this. And quite frankly,
    the long form census does not represent any form of gold standard for ANYTHING, in my view.

    Lots more negative comments by Bricker–
    how useful is the data really ?,
    underrepresented disadvantaged groups–“guess what, 30 % of the native community doesn't repsond to the census now ANYWAY”–
    StatsCan is “out of time [in it's methods”, the data is “old”, it's “irrelevant” especially for places like Toronto, and where new subdivisions are being built

  • wilson

    Removing the long form census ?

    No one removed the long form census,
    it was DE-CRIMINALIZED and coming out in 2011, as schedualed.

  • Rob Vollman

    Letters to the Editor? Come on.

    If Harper cured cancer, there’d be letters to the editor that he put doctors out of work.

    The notion that other Canadians are serious about wanting fellow Canadians to get fined or go to jail if they refuse to give the government personal information is frightening. It’s a political game. Nothing more.

    That being said, the Tories should know by now that they can’t fart without the media running a front-page story about how it smelled. They should have been ready for this.

  • Ted


    I just got back from the Maritimes. Every day the Chronicle-Herald was full of several letters to the editor, even when there was no article on the subject the day before. Same with the Pictou Advocate and the Moncton and Fredericton and Charlottetown papers I picked up along the way.

    No, it is the Conservative Party and a narrow part of their base (not even all of it) that supports this dumb move which will give us worse government. I'm not saying this is a huge concern for Canadians, but it is a concern. More importantly, Canadians are concerned when a government deliberately lies to them in order to push ideology directions which the recently released emails show clearly.

    As for anti-democratic: I agree the government can set the policies. But I think it is undemocratic when they try to sneak in changes, don't consult with anyone beforehand on important decisions that affect a lot of people, and then lie and distort facts in pushing their position. That to me is anti-democratic.

    And also incredibly cowardly and showing a real lack of leadership. I have much more respect for someone if they take a principled position on an issue instead of, as Harper does here, try to hide the principle and lie about what they are doing and why.

  • Ted

    You are right, Wilson. We should just let Harper and our political betters make all the decisions for us. They are so amazing that they don't need any data at all. And clearly so much smarter than the thousands and thousands of people who use this data every day.

    We little Canadians should know our place. How wrong of us to question our betters.

  • Dirtlane

    Wanna replace your rocks with my new product, I call Libs-be-gone and it's passed it's testing phase with flying colors. Sprays some into the air and her husband is gone, works some good on in-laws to.

    Do people care, well yes hardcore Liberals and Red Tories but neither are fond of returning free will to the people. They like the police powers the Libs gave to the snivel service ala Revenue Canada, CHRC Section 13 and the Census Police.

  • Alberta Girl

    Ted – the ONLY reason people “care” about this is because the media has written about it over and over and over and over and unfortunately, many people think that if something is being written about as being bad, it must be bad.

    Saying something is bad over and over and over and over doesn't make it so Ted! This IS a media driven story – if the media had not covered it for weeks would we even be talking about it.

    Trust me sweetheart – ordinary, normal Canadians are questioning just why we should be giving up information that is then sold to various interest groups – sorry Ted, YOU are wrong.

  • Alberta Girl

    Duncan – please clarify your comment – just how is this an “indefensible position” cause giving up information about my sex life or my deck railings or how many bedrooms in my house just doesn't seem to be needed to make government decisions.

    There, I defended it!

  • Alberta Girl

    Exactly Wilson – the media are lying by twisting facts – and obviously they have done a good job because non-thinkers like Ted and Duncan are actually falling for it!

  • Ted

    In fact, come to think of it, you are claiming that you are even smarter than Harper and Flaherty. And that is some dangerous territory. They claim that the information is good, valuable, even critical to decision making.

    So I agree with you. They should be fired!

  • Ted

    What a high regard you have for the intelligence of Canadians AG. No wonder Canadians think the Conservatives are arrogant and untrustworthy.

    The media did not start this story, AG. The media is not driving this story. You have governments – provincial, municipal, federal – all up in arms because they will not be able to do their job as well without the numbers.

    But now the story is becoming the deceitfulness of the Conservatives in trying to peddle their idiocy.

    Fortunately, we are smarter than you and Harper assume we are. We won't bow down and defer to “our betters” and let them sneak in their agenda without consulting us, their bosses. You don't know how wrong you are on this, AG.

  • wilson

    ”The media did not start this story, AG. The media is not driving this story.”

    Shiekh quit because of a G&M article, on page 4.
    And the media and all the organizations milking the taxpayer are whining that the government will no longer consider not filling in a form with highly personal information, a criminal offence.

    Now we all know you Liberals like to jail regular citizens, like duck hunters and farmers that want to sell their grain to a buyer of their choice, so as to suck up to special interest groups,
    but you no longer run the show.
    Your Liberals got turfed from office 4 1/5 years ago.

  • Ted

    Um, no, not technically.

    It is not a “long form census” per se any more. It is a National Household Survey.

    A difference without a distinction? Perhaps. But the government thought it was important enough to change the name in order to distinguish.

  • Ted

    I certainly don't want to know anything about your sex life or your deck railings. Good thing the government doesn't either.

  • Sharon Wilson

    Well it isn’t hard to figure out why the govt renamed it!
    Canadians recognize ‘census’ as mandatory,
    and to avoid any confusion, the de-criminalized census gets a new, non-threatening name.

  • Donnaleahanson

    Then why is it on the “long form census” Ted?

  • Mary T

    Have you ever got the long form, if so, did you answer every question truthfully. I have, and was threatened with fines or jail. Never filed a formal complaint, but you can be sure, if I get it again, and get threatened for not doing the short form I will file a complaint.
    Another change for the next time is, no census taker will be allowed to open and inspect it, and it will be mailed to a central location where a specially hired staff will open them . They must have a criminal record check and a few other things before being hired. From, a head honcho at stats can, via my MP, after 4 days of trying to get to a real person on the phone.
    Right now I am debating what my race will be, but am leaning to the 100 yard dash.

  • Liz J

    Letters to the Editor in the Maritimes against CHANGES to the long form census? What a surprise!

    Isn’t that where Wafergate took fire?

  • batb

    Ted: “Every day the Chronicle-Herald was full of several letters to the editor … ”

    What a laugh! The Maritimes is so in the pocket of the Liberal$, it’s (not) funny.

    I lived there for years and though I love Maritimers, it really bothers/ed me that they’ve/d drunk the Librano Kool-Aid. Liberal$ everywhere: in the wood shed, under the bed, on the rooftops, messing with your head.

    This is a purely bureaucrat/media thang that’s going on and they’re not too bright, because the rest of us can see the pattern here, the never-ending hounding of PMSH and his government whenever they make a move to wrest control of things in Ottawa from the UNELECTED (and largely Liberal-appointed) bureaucracy. No wonder the jackals and hyenas are howling: The bureaucracy (apparently paid twice what their counterparts are in the ROC) and the media are in bed together and have been for years. Trudeaupia created an incestuous mess which the CPC are trying to unravel, but it’s a rat’s nest and the rats have sharp teeth and beady eyes.

    As someone else has pointed out, the CPC is the duly elected government of Canada — so sorry, l/Liberal$, we know you don’t like it. The left libtards aren’t used to the way a democracy is run, and just want to get their way by any means possible, including nefarious collusion with their entrenched bureaucracy and the lamestream media. For those of us who believe in fairness in government — and that the government serves the people, not the other way around — the Liberal$’ old tricks are repugnant.

    Prime Minister Harper will continue to walk straight ahead when he comes to a media-constructed fork in the road, and anyone with eyes to see with and ears to hear with will get it. As for the hell-no-we-won’t-go Liberal$ and their hackers in the media: Suck it up and shut up. Democracy in Canada is on the move, small step by small step, like it or not and with no help from you.

    (Tea Party anyone?)

  • batb

    In the Maritimes, the Halifax Chronicle Herald is universally known as The Chronically Horrid.

  • Ted

    Various Christian and Jewish groups, conservative think tanks, a former Harper chief-of-staff and campaign manager, boards of trade across the country, charities, to say nothing of the many municipalities (including Harper’s own Calgary) and provinces.

    It is not just the media. This dumb decision will have consequences to the effectiveness and efficiency of government and the effectiveness of how thousands and thousands of people do their work.

    The “threat” is a made up excuse. No one was worried about that before Harper started telling sycophants what to think on this. But Papa Harper knows best. The political elites and betters in Ottawa once again telling us what is good for us without even a charade of consulting us.

  • Ted

    Except, funnily enough, most of the CH letters were for Harper’s changes.

    Like I said, Canadians do care about this issue. A tiny tiny minority want the change and most don’t want or like the change.

  • Ted

    It’s not AG. Can you show me where there is any question relating in any way to your sex life?

  • batb

    Well, then, answer me this, Ted:

    Seeing as all that the govt has done, with regard to the long-form census, is remove it from being mandatory to optional, why is the media saying they’re scrapping it?

    Why, seeing as the government is removing the threat of jail or a fine if you don’t return the form, is the media saying they’re scrapping it?

    Why are the critics insisting that the long form won’t be used? It will be sent to a certain ratio of households and will be voluntary rather than mandatory, which is much more likely to produce honest answers than a mandatory one.

    I would have some respect for honest criticism of what the CPC is doing vis a vis the long-form census form if there wasn’t so much of the usual Opposition/media diseembling and jiggery pokery going on.

    Please answer my questions. Thanks.

  • batb

    Oh, and one more thing, Ted:

    You say in one post that “Every day the Chronicle-Herald was full of several letters to the editor, even when there was no article on the subject the day before” to defend your thesis that most Canadians DO care about this census issue, and then you say, ” … funnily enough, most of the CH letters were for Harper’s changes … [and] A tiny tiny minority want the change and most don’t want or like the change.”

    So, which is it? First you use “several letters to the editor” as proof that most Canadians don’t want the change and care about this issue and then you use the same “proof” to say that “a tiny tiny minority want the change.”

    Whew! You Liberals sure like to twist our brains into pretzels. I’m not buying.

  • Ted

    I think you need another cup of coffee Batb.

    If Canadians didn’t care, then they wouldn’t write. Canadians care about this: some feel very strongly that it should be removed (if they didn’t care, they wouldn’t write); the vast majority of those who care think it is one of the dumbest things Harper has done (that will make government more wasteful and provide worse governance). As Taylor points out in his July 22 post, he cares quite a bit about getting rid of the longform census.

    I didn’t use the number of letters to the editor as proof that Canadians don’t like this more. I used the surprisingly large number of letters to the editor that people care about this issue, on one side or the other.

    I’ve said over and over, I don’t think this is a huge deal for many, but that doesn’t mean Canadians don’t care.

  • Ted

    I can’t answer for the media batb. I think 50% of the Vast Leftwing Media Conspiracy myth can be explained by sloppy journalism that goes for the easy to understand simple one liners even if it is a shade inaccurate (sort of like the Conservatives actually). (40% of the myth would come from a general antagonism to government.)

    The long form is not being scrapped, exactly. It is being renamed and by making it voluntary you are in fact making it very very different from a the mandatory long form in terms of results, usefulness and reliability; so it is not a huge stretch to say the long form is being scrapped. And certainly the government is very careful to refer to the long form only as the thing that is now in the past and refer to the National Household Survey when talking about what we now have, so they certainly feed the perception that it has been entirely scrapped.

    It hasn’t been entirely scrapped, though its usefulness has almost been.

  • Ted

    I’m confused Batb.

    What is the talking point: no one cares outside of Ottawa or those who care don’t count?

    I’m not surprised when Harper arrogantly dismisses Canadians and imposes decisions on us sneakily, in a way that Tom Flanagan described as “bad for democracy”, but I don’t usually see such arrogant dismissal of entire regions of the country from bloggers like that.

  • batb

    Ted: “It is being renamed and by making it voluntary you are in fact making it very very different from a the mandatory long form in terms of results, usefulness and reliability; so it is not a huge stretch to say the long form is being scrapped.”

    It’s enough of a stretch that I’m not pleased and regard its being labelled “scrapped” as lazy — yes — and sloppy journalism, so lazy and sloppy, in fact, that it plays into the Opposition’s script on the issue. Hmmm. Coincidence?

    I still maintain that you’re going to get more accurate answers to a voluntary completion of the form than if you impose a mandatory completion of it. Please enlighten us as to how results, usefulness, and reliability will be compromised by voluntary completion. Why is a census form which is voluntarily filled out “almost useless”?

    (And, BTW, I’d be happier with the l/Liberal toadies’ in the MSM if they’d made THAT point rather than lying about the form being “scrapped.”)

  • batb

    Ted: “I think you need another cup of coffee Batb.”

    Methinks a shot of really strong, dark rum might better do the trick.

    What Canadians care about, Ted, is the Opposition’s and their UNELECTED MSM lapdogs’ shrill, never-ending pile-on of the duly elected government of our country — most often over non-issues they insist on making into “scandals.” Frankly, I’m well and truly pi**ed off with the lack of respect shown for our government and for those of us who voted for the CPC.

    It’s one thing to offer principled criticism — that’s on and required from an effective Opposition. It’s quite another thing, however, to savage, day after day, the duly elected government from a privileged position and expect Canadians not to feel contempt for the below-the-belt tactics.

    Like Peter Finch, I’m mad as hell. How’s that going to help the Liberal$ in the next election? And, I’m not alone.

  • ttom

    Its good to see some logic and great analysis in a journalist. well done Stephen. its rare to hear a more centre right journalist as most are left or extreme left.

  • Liz J

    Ah the Maritimes, forever Liberal, it’s their mutual security blanket.

    Yeah, Tea Party sounds inviting.

  • batb

    Touché, Wilson, touché!

  • batb

    OMG, Ted. I’m not confused by your being confused. What are you talking about?

    ‘You want to talk “arrogance”? It’s name is the Liberal$.

    For over 30 years, they used the Zeitgeist — you know?, no God, punish families with a stay-at-home-mom, who cares if you get married but by all means have lots of sex and, don’t worry, we’ll abort the babies if you get pregnant, PAID FOR, btw, BY THE STATE, we’re OK and, frankly, we don’t care if you’re OK, everything’s working for us — to push an agenda that’s been a total disaster for civil society in Canada. (Liberal$ don’t think in terms of what works for communities, only in terms of what works for them and their friends.)

    Did Trudeau care? Did Chretien care? Did Martin care? ARE YOU KIDDING?

    They laughed all the way to the bank, Trudeau and Martin having already inherited big bucks and Chretien, with the help of stashes of cash in brown paper bags, etc., acquiring big bucks, while the rest of us Canadian plebs worked hard to do everything we could to make ends meet, often working two or three jobs to put our kids through university and pay the mortgage. BTW, my husband and I rent, we don’t own a house.

    ‘You want to talk “arrogance”? PLEASE. Dééon’t talk to me about Prime Minister Harper and his party. They’re trying to clean up the stinking mess the Liberal$ left for the ROC. They’re not perfect, they’ve got their own problems but, at least, they’re trying to govern for the “average Canadian,” not for the elites, the chattering classes, that the Liberal$ have favoured.

    Don’t even get me started on Power Corporation and their labyrinthine connections to the Liberal Party of Canada, including the fact that France Chretien, Jean and Aline’s daughter, is married to André Desmarais, son of the founder of Power Corporation, and that Bob Rae’s brother is a CEO of Power Corporation.

    PMSH and his party are a minority government, which I’m sure hasn’t escaped your notice. They are walking a political tight rope without much of a safety net, especially with the jackals in the MSM, who are also, for the most part, closely connected to the LPC, lurking on the floor of the Big Top.

    What they’re doing is “arrogant” if you don’t like the fact that they’re trying to provide ballast for what’s been going on, on the left side of the political spectrum — which BTW has benefited a very small and elite group — for the past 40 years. They’re being “arrogant” if you don’t like the fact that the hard-working taxpayers of Canada need a political party to speak for them.

    The CPC was democratically elected to govern Canada and it’s just too darned bad if the chattering classes in our country, whose favoured party is the LPC, don’t like it. Get your folks out to vote, Ted. Get your folks to financially support the LPC, Ted. But stop piling on the duly elected government of Canada and expecting the ROC to applaud you.

  • batb

    You go, girl! And, I’ll join you … ;-)

  • Mark

    Every time I saw a letter to the editor concerning the census and denouncing the Government for its actions, I did a quick search on the name of the person who submitted it (this is my local paper). It appears that most of them (most being roughly 80%+) can be traced back to the local Liberal association.

    For me, this raised the question “how valid are these letters to the editor?”

    I soon became apparent that the majority of letters in the paper were from what seemed to be, career letter writers or special interest fanatics whom in the majority of cases had some sort of agenda. The letters from your average concerned citizen were few and far between.

  • Liz J

    Keep smiling Dunc, your condescension is shining through.

  • Anonymous

    I still maintain that you’re going to get more accurate answers to a voluntary completion of the form than if you impose a mandatory completion of it. Please enlighten us as to how results, usefulness, and reliability will be compromised by voluntary completion. Why is a census form which is voluntarily filled out “almost useless”?

    You are so wrong.

    1) a mathematically random distribution and equal compliance (thru making it compulsory) is necessary for the highest accuracy of the long-form census

    2) if the long-form census is voluntary then only those who are motivated will complete it. What’s likely to be a strong motivation? A special interest that would benefit from being over-represented in the long-form results. Do you not think that all special interests that would benefit from census results would make sure all their members know this and complete their form, while the paranoid right boycott the form?

    Why have conservatives missed this? Unless of course it is a deliberate move to enable distortion of census results so that they can subsequently downplay 2011 census results by pointing out to sources of skewing.

    Messing with the census carries far more risk than benefit for this government. It’s one more example of how they they continually drift out of touch with the job of governing.

  • Anonymous

    Frankly, I’m well and truly pi**ed off with the lack of respect shown for our government and for those of us who voted for the CPC.

    Respect isn’t owed, it’s earned.

    It’s not the Opposition’s fault that the Harper government is an autocratic, opaque, ideologically-blinded fortress. Harper’s his own worst enemy in this regard.

    In order to stay in power, the CPC has made a devil’s bargain with the far right, including not a few loons, and the loons are overrepresented (and tolerated by the CPC) when it comes to the public discussion. The CPC has made their bed, they get to sleep in it.

  • Anonymous

    You haven’t exactly defended it, you’ve just said you like it because you see it as one more way to dismantle the “welfare state” (whatever that is…).

    You’ve seen my arguments for why making the long-form census voluntary will damage the data; how is this a good thing?