Saturday, October 02, 2010

Saturday Afternoon Links

Some content to help fill your weekend...

- The Chronicle Herald tears into the Cons' continued refusal to listen to reason or anything else when it comes to the long form census:
The government has been advised by its statisticians, by provinces and municipalities and by hundreds of organizations that depend on accurate census data that a voluntary census will not produce reliable, usable results. Former Chief Statistician Munir Sheikh felt it necessary to resign in order to inform us that the government’s plan would degrade the data (and to correct Industry Minister Tony Clement’s misrepresentation that Mr. Sheikh supported the plan).

A government document filed as evidence in a lawsuit that is aimed at stopping the change also acknowledges that switching to a voluntary survey will mean some data "will not be usable for a range of objectives for which the census information would be needed."

To ignore all this and to proceed with killing the detailed census is grossly irresponsible. Real people will suffer when there is poorer information about where services are needed.
But the government had the same response for this expression of Parliament’s will as it had for science, fact and commonsense. It doesn’t care and it isn’t budging.
(O)n it goes in a parade of unbelievably silly, trivial and discredited arguments.

The Conservatives are debating and governing with their fingers in their ears. It makes no sense and it’s not a pretty sight.
- Stephen Maher notes that whatever one's view of ministerial responsibility, the reality is that the Cons' culture of information suppression starts at the top. And that may make for the most important rebuttal to any spin as to whether to blame individual ministers or their subordinates: the Cons have a concerted effort to keep facts away from Canadians in every department under their control, and the real problem is Stephen Harper.

- Meanwhile, Kady O'Malley has posted the definitive Sebastien Togneri document dump.

- Dan Gardner writes a scathing indictment of the lack of action to protect sex workers, and notes that if the judiciary has had to step in it's only because Lib and Con governments alike have chosen to do nothing:
Let me repeat: a judge concluded that the law is helping to butcher women. Sure, it’s fun to argue about the role of the judiciary. Important, even. But isn’t the judge’s conclusion about what the law is doing to women just a little more worrying than the possibility that a judge’s interpretation of her role is excessively expansive?

Place the two issues on a scale and weigh them. On one side: an overstepping judge. On the other: thousands of bruised and bleeding women. And several hundred corpses.

Which matters more?

Now, I want to emphasize that reasonable people can look at the evidence and come to a different conclusion that Justice Himel. But what no reasonable person can do is shrug. The mere possibility that the law is contributing to brutality inflicted on vulnerable women is horrifying. A reasonable person who hears this will want to know more. A reasonable person will demand further investigation. A reasonable person will insist on getting to the bottom of this, now.
- Finally, I'll have plenty to say later on. But for commentary on the Cons' decree that anybody having anything to do with a major Canadian Islamic organization is to be shunned, the posts by Dr. Dawg, Balbulican, pogge, Dave, Greg and Cliff are well worth a look.

(Edit: fixed label.)

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