Briefly, that’s what it looks more and more is the motivation behind the Conservative government to ditch the mandatory long-form census:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has acknowledged that switching to a voluntary census would make some data unusable for federal institutions, documents submitted Monday in Federal Court show…The government eliminated the mandatory long questionnaire in late June, arguing it was intrusive and the threat of jail was overly coercive. The decision resulted in the resignation of chief statistician Munir Sheikh, though Sheikh did draw up an order for the new, voluntary form of the survey before he quit his job in July. The order, obtained by the federation for the court case, describes the resulting impact on the data collected by Statistics Canada.“It is recognized that the quality of the data collected by the voluntary (survey) will be lower than that of a mandatory survey,” the order reads. It lists 39 federal institutions that use census data and goes on to warn that some information will simply be lost.
This government could have easily kept the mandatory longform census and removed any privacy concerns and alleged coerciveness by adjusting the questions and removing the potential jail sentence (which hadnt been used in Canada’s history in 400 years) but it chose to kill the LFC.
My conclusion? The Conservative government doesn’t care a whit about coerciveness or privacy, & more about hobbling govt services by hobbling data, because of its ideological hatred towards government and any involvement it may want to take in the economy or service or so forth. The best way to do that? Destroy or hobble the statistics and data that help to make informed decisions.