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It's not visible to the people that are objecting to the census. You are expecting rationality on this subject. Don't.

What Jim said. This ain't rational.

If the western crazies work themselves into a froth about and a conspiracy cult builds-up around the LFS, then they'll turf it too. The census decision is all about a politically low risk move to placate the wingnuts who believe the long form is the first step on the road to serfdom, or a plot to take away their guns or to ban Anthem or whatever they're on about this week. They just spin it as a 'privacy' concern or as taking pity on the poor who are too stupid to fill it out or as a way to save money and stick it to those pointed headed professors in their ivory towers who clearly do no work for exorbitant pay.

As someone who analyzes census data to make investment strategy recommendations to clients, I'm frightened at the possibility that they will change it.

However, I'm also wondering if this is an issue like the National Anthem after the Olympics -- something to raise that will gain points with one group, but ultimately will generate enough opposition to pull back. The minority government can tell it's "wingnuts" (as Patrick calls them) that they tried and the other parties stopped it. I suspect the Conservative policy makers and an economist like Harper finds the census long form just as valuable as the rest of us, and I wonder, if they were in a majority situation, if they'd even be proposing this.

"if they were in a majority situation, if they'd even be proposing this"

Probably not. They'd be too busy trying to criminalize abortion.

Yep, Minority government at work. Ugly sausage making in progress.

The other three parties will likely make a stink over this, the regional cheating and misappropriation arguments based on bad information write themselves.

Actually, Patrick, I had seen much more concern from left-wing 'crazies' than right-wing ones on this issue, prior to last week anyway. All that stuff about the Patriot Act and US defence contractors making off with sensitive census data and taking it to Gitmo, or whatever.

See this, or this. That's leftwing loonie toon stuff, not right wing nutters. Kingston isn't exactly very 'west'.

So, I would be more cautious about blaming such agitation on 'western crazies.'

The interesting question is why Minister Clement thought it would pay off to placate any of the crazies.

Kevin - Well, one brand of nut is pretty much like another. There certainly is an element of the Canadian opposition to the census that comes from the brain dead left, but I doubt Harper cares much about the left wing nuts. in the US the census conspiracy thing seems to be a tea partier thing, and the equivalent nuts here in AB (where I live) hold similar views. It's them I was referring to because Harper does care about them; they're in his party.

  • Participation is mandatory coercive.
  • The questionnaire is long and intrusive.
  • Are these supposed to be bad things? They sound reasonable to me.

    I live in a rural area, and I can tell you that my opposition to completing the long form rises from the fact that one of my neighbours checks the form. She is hired by Census Canada and sworn to secrecy, but she is still my neighbour, whom I am not much fond of, and she checks the form for completeness and reasonableness.

    I called Census Canada about the privacy issue and was told that I could return the form to the regional office, but it turns out that they just send it back to my neighbour to be checked.

    So I do what one does. I complete the form with all of the answers reflecting how I would like to live, not necessarily how I am living. For example, I feel that I should have three bathrooms in my house - an en suite, a full bath for overnight guests, and a powder room for dinner guests. And when my neighbour suggests that my small house is not large enough to have so many bathrooms, I innocently ask "Are you calling me a liar?"

    I wish that I actually earned the income that I report . . .

    I hope that anyone who relies on long form census data understands the quality of the data.

    How did you find out that's what happens?

    Statistics Canada no longer uses neighbours to conduct the census, by the way.

    Also, Minister Clement yesterday reaffirmed the government's intention to proceed, and said the decision would not be revisited.

    I suggest getting a cross-party group of academics from Queen's University and Royal Military College (where the Conservatives are trying to win Peter Milliken's seat away from the Liberals) to visit with the Conservative candidate there and make their concerns known as strongly as possible.

    @ Winston: yeah, I am calling you a liar, inasmuch as you spoke of fabricating your answer on the # of bathrooms & your ref. to how your neigbour "checks the form" suggests this was recent history, but the Census only asked about
    that once: in 1981.


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