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Conservative MP says government could make short-form census optional

PMO spokesman quickly shoots down idea


 

This year’s mandatory short-form census could be the last of its kind, Conservative MP Rick Dykstra told a local newspaper in his riding. In an interview with the St. Catharines Standard, Dykstra said the provision requiring Canadians to fill it out could be eliminated. “We’ve already changed the long-form census so that it is not mandatory and that is, frankly, the road we are going with the short-form census as well,” Dykstra said Wednesday. “I frankly don’t think this is the sort of thing a person should be penalized to do.” PMO spokesperson Dimitri Soudas was quick to distance the government from Dykstra’s statements Thursday morning, telling Reuters reporter David Ljunggren, “The short form census will remain as is.”

St. Catharines Standard

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Conservative MP says government could make short-form census optional

  1. Right, so eventually we just won't bother to count anything at all. Then we can be as ignorant as possible about ourselves and our neighbors and the issues Canadians face. You can't call a government out on things you can't see eh?

    Many Conservatives will look at this and say: What's the problem? This is just one guy going off. The PMO has stated it has no intentions of doing such a thing.

    The problem is that a well known member like Dykstra clearly isn't just voicing a personal opinion. He's obviously been given the impression that this is the direction, either from what people say or just the general atmosphere in the caucus.

    It speaks much louder than the carefully parsed words of the PMO spokesman, because it represents the undertone and general leanings of the caucus itself.

    • Dykstra is not just some MP. He's frequently sent out as a spokesman. I'm guessing he's feeling relaxed enough now to reveal the plan.

  2. This is to me very much like Brad Trost's comments concerning the removal of funding from Planned Parenthood. According to the PMO, he was speaking out of turn and no such thing is happening.

    And yet you have to ask yourself, why is it that he felt so comfortable making these strongly worded remarks in public and during an election campaign? I heard the tape, and I got chills up my spine.

    For me it amounts to a government whose caucus thinks one thing but whose cabinet does another, and that's not a paradigm that should make progressive voters the least bit comfortable.

    I'm basically going to spend the next 4 to 8 years wondering when the social conservatism that represents the majority base of this party, is going to leak through into other matters of substance.

    • It will be useful to follow the money rather than what they're saying. Watch what is funded and de-funded. Of course that assumes, they're transparent about it.

  3. He's obviously been given the impression that this is the direction

    Actually, I suspect it's hill running after the party spent a whole lot of time screaming about how wrong it was for long form census refusals to got jail and now there's a short form census package in everyone's mailbox with an order to: "Complete the census – it's the law" stamped on the front.

    • Question: What do you mean by hill running? I can't agree or disagree until I know what that means, beyond the obvious sports reference.

      To clarify my position, I always thought jail time was a ridiculous penalty that never should've been allowed.

      However, since we fine people for jaywalking, not scooping dog poop and parking illegally, I'm good with a $250 – $500 fine for not filling the census forms, long or short.

      • He's being challenged on the reality that the short form census is stamped with the "ominous" – the story's term, not mine – threat that completion is required by law on every single envelope deposited in every single mailbox in his area he represents. Meanwhile, his party just spent a whole lot of time and proverbial capital decrying the threat of punishment for the long form census as unnecessary.

        These two don't go together and, when hit with them on the fly, he's going to dodge, and dodge like mad. In that respect, the easiest dodge is to claim what he did and let someone else sort it out knowing that, as a backbencher, you won't have to deliver anyways.

        Considering he already backtracked to: "we'll just diminish the penalties" within time to make the same article, I'm pretty confident that's what went down.

        • Interesting way of looking at it.

          I'm not sure I agree that's the whole of it, since clearly he had other options and chose the one he was most comfortable with, which brings up questions of why he is so comfortable with that line, but I can't outright disagree that there's truth and possibility in what you're saying.

          Must tick off the upper crust of the party though in either case eh? LOL

          Cheers.

  4. Why couldn't they have just removed the jail-time penalty for the long form?

    Has anyone seen the short form – it's laughable.
    What is your name?
    Do you speak English?

    It's amazing what you can get away with when you promise to lower taxes.

    That's about it. We are the laughing stock of the scientific community that relies on these vital sources of data.

  5. This is awesome! Just three days in and we've already got the restive Conservative base calling for real action, now that the party finally has a mandate. At the same time the new NDP opposition is naturally beginning to look like the amateur politicians that many of them are. It's going to be a funny four or five years. And I actually am beginning to suspect that Ignatieff may have had a point when he said the best prescription for the Liberal party might be a few years of these ideologues from either end of the spectrum bashing away at each other. I predict by the time it's over, we'll all be praying for the peace and quiet of a centrist government.

    • Couldn't agree more.

      The next four years ought to be one hell of a clown show.

      I'm waiting to see what direction the LPC is going to take, but if they get serious about rebuilding, I've got $1K waiting with their name on it.

      • Same.

        Cheers!

  6. Stephen Gordon's head just exploded.

  7. "that is, frankly, the road we are going with the short-form census as well"

    That doesn't sound like a statement of opinion, sounds like a statement of fact.

    Also, if the 'plan' is to make the short-form census optional, just get rid of it altogether and stop wasting time and money. Why pay for bad information when you can get no information for free?

    Dumb with a capital D.

  8. Sounds good to me. After what they pulled off last year, it already is optional. After all, wouldn't it be a little strange if they started getting medieval on us poor taxpayers who don't fill it out, after all the squawking and flapping clement did on our behalf last year?
    So, listen up Canada, you really don't have to worry about it. Otherwise, all you people who voted for the cons are going to have to admit they voted for hypocrites. Which is worse?

    • What about the farm survey – is it still mandatory?

  9. I don't think he endorsed any party, did he?

  10. Incidentally.. I think I finally figured out a plausible reason beyond simple ideologic pandering why Mr. Harper wanted to get rid of the long-form cenus.

    It's well known that Mr. Harper micro-targets during his election campaign. Well, a reliable long-form census allows any party to do similar cheaply. By getting rid of the reliability of the long-form census, Mr. Harper gives advantage to the party with the most money attempting to get an accurate read on the demographics of an area before micro-targetting, and the party with the most money is, by happy coincidence, his.

  11. I filled out my short form online the other day and was 'asked' to do the long form (is everyone getting 'asked', or is it actually just random?). Totally did it. I really didn't think it was intrusive. It's not like someone is publishing my income and number of bedrooms in tomorrow's news paper. I'm also not concerned if they know how long it takes me to get to work. The CRA already knows where I work and live. I can't imagine there's anything malicious about wanting to know if I carpool to work or not.

    Sure, in 92 years from now the data is released, but whatever. I'll be super dead by then.

    • Transportation/road building planning – not something you want to do on guesstimates.

  12. Why am I not surprised?

  13. I'm wondering if I should bother with the long form (I've been selected as well). What's the point of filling it in if the results are going to be imprecise anyway? I'm all for doing my part, but much of the rest of the country (let's guess 24%, just as a random number) is just going to refuse to fill it out, possibly while declaring "Next".

  14. Just filled it out. Wasn't asked to do the long form.

    As to compulsion and penalties: are those prisons for unreported crime comfy?

  15. I'm basically going to spend the next 4 to 8 years wondering when the social conservatism that represents the majority base of this party, is going to leak through into other matters of substance.

    Such as a crime bill that grants law enforcement the ability to inspect your Internet traffic without a warrant?

    The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

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