Sunday, July 11, 2010

Destroying the evidence

Haroon Siddiqui is the latest to excoriate the Harper Cons for gutting Canada's census. But he rightly notes that this is just one more in a series of steps carried out by the Cons to prevent Canadians from having accurate information about what's being done to their country:
The decision is widely seen as part of a pattern — Harper’s penchant for secrecy, obfuscation and controlling information. He’s also said to dislike StatsCan, especially its analytical work, which is what’s being squeezed out. Several other surveys have been cut or compromised:

* The annual Workplace and Employee Survey. It was the only source of information from employers about health-, pay- and pension-related benefits to full-time and part-time employees. It was cut back at the same time as growing concerns about the sustainability of retirement incomes.
* The annual Survey of Household Spending. It charted the spending patterns of Canadian households (savings rates and debt levels of rich, poor and middle class families). “This is precisely the information needed to monitor how households are faring in the wake of the Great Recession,” says Yalnizyan.
* The Survey of Financial Security. It measured the net worth of Canadians across all income and age groups and regions.
* The Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants. It measured how well, or badly, newcomers are doing.
* Participation and Activity Limitation Survey. It surveyed the number of people coping with physical and mental disabilities.

“These have all been political decisions,” says Yalnizyan. Instead of evidence-based decision-making, the Tories think “decision-based evidence-making is preferable.”

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