Census a 'manufactured' crisis: Opposition - Macleans.ca

Census a ‘manufactured’ crisis: Opposition

Industry minister grilled over changes at Parliamentary committee


Opposition MPs slammed Tony Clement at a Commons committee hearing on Tuesday, charging the Conservative Industry Ministry “manufactured” the controversy over the future of the long-form census. Liberal MP Marc Garneau and NDP MP Charlie Angus both pointed out few Canadians had expressed reservations about the mandatory nature of the long-form. Angus added the government is nurturing an “urban myth” that police will apprehend those who fail to complete the form, noting “nobody in 40 years has ever gone to jail.” Clement responded by saying the government is simply looking to find an “appropriate balance” behind the importance of reliable data and Canadians’ rights to privacy. The Ontario MP also backtracked on his claims StatsCan endorsed the change, saying the agency would have been “quite happy” to keep the mandatory long-form.

Toronto Star

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Census a ‘manufactured’ crisis: Opposition

  1. To all our MPs:
    keep on fiddling while Rome burns…

    • Er.. news flash, Rome ain't burning. This government has guided us through the worst global recession in decades. Recovery is fragile, and if you are without a job, I am truly sorry, but stay positive. The job market is always the last to become whole. This is one fantastic country in very capable hands.

      • Unfortunately, the cons squandered a surplus with their outrageous program spending increases. The fact is we would have suffered even less if the cons had not embarked on one ridiculous policy initiative after another. The cut to the GST benefited a very few Canadians while decreasing revenues. The conservatives are riding on the back of previous liberal governments and the hard work of Canadians who have struggled despite the economic crisis which the conservatives pretended did not exist, did little to avoid and have bungled badly.

        • As I remembered it, the Liberals, NDP, and the bloc were the parties that clamored for stimulus spending and pressured the government even before the car industry ask for help to help them? They were even ready to form a coalition at that time? Boy what short memory we have.

  2. Didn't Angus heard that there are cases brought and pending in court for not complying with the census? They really don't find anything wrong and intrusive in asking the number of roommates and the sex of the said roommate/s. It is so funny for suppose to be intelligent people to argue that you could not get the truth out of innocent people without threatening them. I wonder where these people stand on torturing the truth out of criminals and terrorists…

    • So change the penalty to a fine only, but keep the census compulsory. A fine for not replying to a census is not the same as torture for god's sake. You belittle yourself.

      • You really believe that truth is impossible when there is no threatening involved? Belittling myself or your own intellegence? By your own reason, a fine will only get you half the truth. Will it please you to lengthen the prison sentence, as per your reasoning, the heavier the stick the more truth comes out?

        • I don't know how you turned "change it to a fine only" into "please you to lengthen the prison sentence." Although that's been the typical quality of Tory talking points on this. The reliability of the stats will be less accurate in a self-selected voluntary census. Anyhow, my original contention was that you made an analogy between compulsory form-filling and torture. Which your rebuttal ignored.

          • Well let me think… is it because in both cases, when you get to the bottom of it( root reasoning), people like you believe that there is no truth/accuracy when there is no pressure placed to tell the truth?

          • It's not a matter of pressure to tell the truth– even on the short form compulsory people could still lie– it's a matter of returning the damn filled-out form in the first place, in which the vast majority of people have told the truth.

            *Jedi knight listed as one's religion aside– though even there I know of a longtime friend who genuinely thinks of "the Force" as his religion.

          • With your defense, "even on short form compulsory people could still lie", what is the point of having it mandatory, as the accuracy of answers is not assured as well. Could they think outside the box for once, and instead of a stick, use a carrot to encourage compliance? Why not say for those who love census, give them a free ticket to a lecture in Statistical Math in any of the Canadian Universities, while for those who have no interest in filling out the long form, give themfree ticket to any interesting shows in Canada, or why not an amount that could be applied toward the reduction of their income taxes? And for God's sake, eliminate those questions that intrude on people's bedroom (like roomates and sex of said roomate?, and many silly questions that government should have no business asking?). As for important data, the government already has it available for them in their databases and they are more accurate too, than those that rellies on one's memory. The problem lies only on the data that special interest groups need.

          • And for your information, I had voted Liberals until the first term of Jean Chritien – just got sick of the hypocrisy.

  3. Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, along with Slovenia, have all scrapped their censuses, in favour of simply collating information ALREADY COLLECTED IN VARIOUS GOVERNMENT MINISTRIES. Britain and Germany are following suit. This sort of data is relevant (not bizzare questions about sexual habits, or living arrangements), timely and more accurate (people lie on census forms–duh!). The census is nothing more than a costly make-work project for PSAC and CUPE, and the government should simply scrap it altogether. These intrusive government junk data bureaucracies run the gamut from the Federal Gun Registry, to municipal pet licensing and registration, and do nothing but force taxpayers to pay to be queried about private details under threat of law, in order to keep armies of overpaid public servants in jobs and pensions. And that great, nerdy martyr Munir Sheikh still gets his golden handshake of a severance package and defined-benefits pension.

    • The data "ALREADY COLLECTED" as you say, is linked to CROSS PLATFORM/CROSS MINISTRY DATABASES that keep track of everyone who BY LAW ARE FORCED TO REGISTER WITH THE GOVERNMENT. That is far more Big Brotherish than having 20% of the people fill out a form every 5 years.

      *and when I say "register," I don't just mean a birth certificate and SIN. They have to actually register their address and occupation with the government. In Berlin for instance, you actually have to register this AT THE LOCAL POLICE STATION. Tell me a compulsory census isn't better.

      • Here's a shocker: the city and province (in Alberta, Indo-Canadian gang-run registry agents) already know what kind of house you live in, how much it's worth, etc. The Feds (Canada Revenue) know who you work for, and how much you make. The city knows how many cats and dogs you own. To reiterate–HOW IS THIS 'DIFFERENT' THAN IN GERMANY OR SWEDEN?

    • Adam, perhaps you'd prefer the Scandinavian approach? Of course, these governments don't need a census such as ours, and of course, they prefer an initiative to merely "collate data". Why? Because it is mandatory to make a declaration to government agencies whenever you move house, switch or lose jobs, make significant purchases, upgrade your education and so on. How can you be against the census on the basis that it's an intrusion, and prefer instead a regime which is 100 times more intrusive? Ignorance may be bliss, but it's causing damage to the public good.

      • You are already providing data to Canada Revenue, etc., which LOTS of people have access to (including criminals who work for these agencies). Even collection agents and the like get access to this stuff, sometimes illegally. If you file a tax return for a new job, go on EI, pay property taxes…guess what? IT'S ALREADY RECORDED BY THE GOVERNMENT! Apply for a student loan, or claim education tax credits? IN THE SYSTEM! How is the Scandanavian system different? If it's already collected, why not collate it? Much of the 'data' from the census is pure garbage–stuff like living arrangements and sexual preference.

  4. I also demand that the government scrap the intrusive mandatory census and then amend the privacy act to compile other databases, ensuring our privacy is more thoroughly non-private.

  5. I won't be surprise to see Munir Sheikh running in the next election.

    • Well, I would his integrity over anybody sitting in the PMO.

  6. I would argue that it's the media & the Opposition that are manufacturing the crisis.

    • I whole heartedly agree with you.