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Will the longform census create a backlash like prorogation did for the Conservatives?

That seems silly, doesn’t it? Why would anyone get worked up over changing part of the census that 20% of the population are required to answer so that it’s voluntary, rather then mandatory?

I’m sure the Conservatives thought the same over prorogation. Who cares if the Christmas break gets extended, and all the House business gets dropped?  It isn’t quite to that stage yet, but it’s getting there, and it sounds like Prime Minister Harper is the man chiefly responsible for both the axing of the long form census being mandatory, and also the resulting flack because of it:

“Harper does not like StatsCan, that’s what we kept hearing,” according to a longtime employee of the agency. “In particular, he does not like the analytical work we’ve done for years.” The Prime Minister thinks of it as fodder for critics… Another source said that Clement had, in fact, advised against the decision, as had Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. Both were overruled. “It was a one-man decision,” Harper’s.

“The PMO thought nobody would care,” added the source. But now, it’s said to be stunned by the range and depth of the backlash, from right across the political spectrum.

More tunnel vision problems for this Prime Minister.. trying to subtly change how Canada works as much as he can while he is in power. I must say I’m pleased as anyone to see the reaction this seemingly innocent change (for these folks anyhow) has cost them.

As the Ottawa Citizen’s editorial says today (yet another newspaper condemning the move), there still is time for Harper to make the correct decision (both politically for him and for the country) and reverse the decision – Admit the mistake, as the title of the editorial says.

By the way, the online petition is still going strong for people to sign asking the Conservatives to reverse this stupid boneheaded ideological decision.

UPDATE @ 4:51 pm: Some folks in the PMO might be getting a little antsier then they already reportedly are, as we now have some organizations representing voters targeted by Harper and the Conservatives speaking out against this dumb move:

The main Jewish and Evangelical Christian organizations in Canada are urging the Conservative government to reverse its decision to scrap the long census. The Canadian Jewish Congress and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada have both written letters to underline their opposition to the elimination of the compulsory long census. The Jewish congress and the Evangelical fellowship say they rely on the census data to help target services and charitable activities in their religious communities… The organizations say that some of the most needy members of their synagogues and churches might not fill out a voluntary form, and will therefore not be represented in the data.

Are you against the needy and the poor, Conservative Party? (That’s a bit of a rhetorical question, but that’s how I’d be framing it).

UPDATE 2 @ 6:20 pm: David Eaves is compiling a list of organizations that have publicly opposed the Conservative government’s attempts to kill the mandatory long-form census sheet. He calls it the “Save The Census” Coalition. His list is getting long and impressive.

8 comments to Will the longform census create a backlash like prorogation did for the Conservatives?

  • @Ned, Fortunately, 94% of Canadians are more responsible citizens then you.

  • Ned

    Who cares? Last time I had to fill one out I submitted garbage answers. Serves them right for wasting my time.

  • No protest over this one, but its one of those things people earmark.

  • You’re kidding right? There’s no way this will resonate with ordinary Canadians like prorogation did. The two aren’t even comparable. I’ll eat my microphone if this has the same affect on Conservative support as prorogation did!

    • I’m aware of your opinion on the census (in which you ignore our own party’s position/opposition to this in trying to pour contempt on your fellow Liberal bloggers, if you’re really a Liberal).

      The fact of the matter is; public opposition may never get mobilized to get out on the streets with this issue, but it is substantial and growing.

  • Think of the protest signs “This is noncensus!”

  • Volkov

    In all honesty, I really don’t know if there will be the same backlash. You’re right in pointing out the audacity of the Conservatives over the prorogation issue, but there were different ideas involved with it as well. Prorogation was pictured as arrogant on Harper’s part, and people were angry that no one was working for their country and that the “recalibration” was a sham, and done only for political gain in the Senate.

    Can the census bring up the same “arrogant” line for Harper? I don’t see how such a line could develop over it, do you?

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