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It’s ideology, not concerns over privacy or coerciveness on Census decision.

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 […]

Facts are optional; gut feel is what counts.

So I was reading over at BCL’s the witness list the Conservatives have brought forth for the Census committee meeting this morning includes(d) a couple of radio talkshow hosts – ones that aren’t exactly known for their liberal demeanour or liberal audience.

Without actually having seen the committee (if its in progress), I’m presuming that the strategy behind inviting these guys – above and beyond them ranting about how the mandatory longform census was tyranny in action, Soviet Russia style – was to get them to say, “all my callers support the government’s decision to scrap the mandatory longform census – in fact,they think the WHOLE census should be voluntary”.

[…]

Save the Census Campaign issues press release

Re-quoted in full:

Census War Heats Up – Opponents hit the “300” Mark

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Today, the “Census War” reached another milestone, as the list of organizations opposing the Conservative plan to gut the long form census moved past the 300 mark. The continued growth of this list, comprising religious, professional, business, academic, government and medical organizations – virtually every sector of Canadian society – stands in stark contrast to the lack of support, outside the Conservative caucus, for the government’s position.

“It is revealing that the Conservative MPs found it necessary to force the postponement of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, (INDU). The committee […]

Conservatives need extra time to astroturf the Census hearings

The Conservative government has decided to try and stall more hearings on the Census until they can round up a few people who support ending the mandatory longform:

The Conservatives are proposing a new tack in the debate over the government’s decision to make Canada’s long form census a voluntary exercise. Faced with a list of groups that so far tilts heavily toward the “bad idea” camp, Tory MPs say they will be calling individuals as committee witnesses to speak out in favour of the government’s plans.

…opposition MPs are trying to revive hearings on the census. They called an emergency meeting Monday afternoon to schedule hearings for later this […]

Census headaches continue for the Conservatives.

I presume Tony Clement, Stephen Harper and the rest of the Conservative government were hoping that by lopping off 2 “voluntary questions” on mother tongue from their new voluntary form (formerly the mandatory longform census) and putting it on the still-mandatory short form census would appease the French Language groups who are taking them to court over their census shenanigans. Initially however, their move hasn’t worked:

The concession, however, has not deterred the French group from pursuing its legal action.”We were very pleased that the court saw the urgency of the matter and we are going ahead,” Suzanne Bosse, executive director of the federation, said Thursday. The government did not […]

Harper government backs down on lingusitics questions for Census.

It appears the Harper government was pretty scared after the expedited Federal Court ruling victory by the Francophone and Acadian communities yesterday today. They’ve acted much quicker in 1 day over this court ruling then a full month of criticism in order to try and get the court challenge to be dropped:

Stung by francophone anger, the Harper government is adding questions on French and English skills to the obligatory short-form 2011 census to quell this linguistic minority’s fears that scrapping a longer mandatory survey will make it harder to measure their presence in Canada.

These questions were part of the 40-page long-form census that the Conservatives are making voluntary […]

Census and more census

You know, at the rate this Census story is continuing to have legs and continues to cause the Harper government so much trouble, they’ll probably be glad to get Parliament resumed so that they can try and bury this story under red herrings other issues that they can try and bring up. The opposition parties and the media and the groups/orgs/provinces who oppose this move to ditch the mandatory longform will have something to say about that.

Speaking of the Census, there is some good news today; a Federal Court has partially agreed with the French language groups who have taken the government to court over this issue and whether […]

My (unscientific) theory on why the Census is dragging down Conservative popularity

I’ve seen more then a few people scratching their heads on why Canadians seem to be paying more attention then some thought they would to the normally mundane topic of the Census, and whether or not it should or shouldn’t be mandatory – at least regarding the longform – and why this seems to have caused downward movement on Conservative polling numbers recently.

I think there are a couple reasons. One that I wont deny is that the topic came up during the summer break when Parliament was on holiday, and there wasn’t other issues out there to obscure this topic. When the ensuing protest and uproar started from the […]

The freeloaders/free ride defence of Tony Clement et. al. over the census

So we have a new line of attack by Tony Clement (and I saw Gordon O’Connor use it yesterday as well) over those groups/provinces/cities etc. that oppose the ditching of the mandatory longform census: the organizations/provinces/cities were all freeloaders/getting a free ride from Ottawa in getting this data.

That at first blush doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense; StatsCan charges all groups for access to that census data; and does quite well from it. In fact, it’s where a large portion of the budget for their department comes from. If Clement and company were trying to take that approach as a line of defence, they either could be […]

Maybe there really ARE Canadians who care about the Census.

You might recall that Canadian Press report a few days ago where unnamed Conservative MP’s/sources dismissed the census controversy as an issue that Canadians don’t care about, and that it would fade away.

It may, but before it does, it appears to have caused a big hit in Conservative popularity, at least in the latest Ekos poll: The CBC’s title for this is “Conservative lead dries up, poll suggests”, and it details what it calls the evaporation of the Conservatives lead. The Conservatives have 29.7% support, while the Liberals received 28.5%. This is a 3% drop from the last Ekos poll, and a 3% gain for the Liberals from last […]

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