Monday, July 05, 2010

Time to be counted

The Star Phoenix editorial board slams the Cons for their short-sighted view of the long form census:
It's hard to imagine Industry Minister Tony Clement thought much beyond short-term politics when he unilaterally decided to axe from next year's census the mandatory long form Statistics Canada has used for 35 years to gather detailed information about Canadians.

Mr. Clement conceded he hadn't consulted any of the groups that will be affected -- among them municipal governments that had been working with Statistics Canada to increase accessibility to local data -- before deciding to placate some Canadians who'd complained that the census form was coercive and intrusive.
As anyone with a modicum of knowledge about surveys could have told the minister had he stopped to think things through, he's dead wrong to claim such a self-selecting response system "is a sound method that would beat the issue of concern of degradation of data."

This is little more than anti-intellectualism and political pandering that proves right those critics who have suggested the Conservative government's goal seems to be to discourage Statistics Canada from conducting analytical pieces that may prove politically embarrassing.
Had Mr. Clement consulted with others, he might have been able to come up with a workable solution. But it's apparent that he doesn't care about the long-term ramifications his decision poses for intelligent and informed public policy analysis across Canada as long as it buys the Conservatives a few votes on the fringes.
Fortunately, there's an easy step that Canadians can take to express their own concern about the Cons' push to gut the census. So take a moment to sign the petition calling on the Cons to reverse course.

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