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Excellent overview on Pundit's Guide

How the Census is Used in Canadian Elections

I agree that collecting detailed census data is good and useful, but it has infuriated me for years that Stats Canada sells the household income data, in aggregate form, to firms that use it for targeting their direct mail marketing campaigns. Thus if I live in a high income "postal walk" I will be inundated with junk mail. Bring back the long form, but stop selling the data by postal walk!

Unfortunately, that's a whole other story: StatsCan's funding got gutted long, long ago, and it is forced to generate much of its revenues by selling access to its data. Even researchers have to pay (with hard-earned research grants) to get access, as do other government departments.

I don't want to go off-topic in silly tin-foil-hat speculations, but I wonder if some part of the partisan motivation in scrapping the mandatory long-form census is to reduce the access to accurate data for political purposes/groups opposed to the Conservative agenda? Especially as they now have their own extensive, well-funded polling operation. Rather like their intention in December 2008 to scrap per-voter political party subsidies?

The larger part of the motivation is more likely the old trick of tossing a "wedge" issue (in this case, acting against state intrusiveness) identified as particularly energizing for their political base, for motivational purposes... (the Conservatives spend inordinate amounts of time dreaming up similar wedge issue stunts, it seems, so there must be some pay-off for them in general political strategy) but access to good competitive intelligence is always something to be controlled and guarded closely!

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