Mandatory reading on the volunteer census -

Mandatory reading on the volunteer census


Anthony Philbin and I share a coffee shop in St-Henri. His blog, ‘Canadian PM in Waiting’ plays on the fact that, if Stephen Harper ever needed a Saddam-style body double to take a few pies/shoes/bullets for him, Philbin would be a shoe in (ha!). The doppelgänger-ness is downright freaky, right down to the ice blue eyes and mildly uncomfortable smile.

Mind you, after reading this, I doubt Philbin would be interested. Or Harper, for that matter.

By getting rid of the mandatory, long form census and replacing it with a voluntary alternative, conservatives like Stephen Harper are confident that they will be able to leverage the right’s higher degree of volunteerism and political engagement and thereby begin the process of skewing census results to reflect the right’s minority political positions and social attitudes.

Read the whole post here.

Filed under:

Mandatory reading on the volunteer census

  1. Excellent; a non-Wherry posting on the Census.. hopefully that quiets down the conservative supporters' cries on here that Aaron is the only one writing about this on Macleans/obsessed with it.

    • Yes, Martin writing one census related post shows that he's equally obsessed as Wherry, whose into the high triple digits.

      • I've had just about enough of your tendentiousness. I'll have you know that Wherry is only in the low triple digits.

        • I don't think either of you can claim statistical accuracy on it until you've gotten Wherry to respond, under penalty of jail, to a questionnaire on the subject.

        • There you go again. You and your maniacal obsession with "counting stuff correctly" and "saying things that are accurate". It's really getting a bit tiresome.

          • You just can't tolerate my progressive, left-leaning views. As any dogmatic, self-congratulatory leftist like me will tell you, empirical, fact-based evidence and rational arguments are the exclusive province of the left.

            Meanwhile, those on your side of the spectrum favour abstraction, blind appeals to emotion, and irrational certainty. That must be why you refuse to count correctly.

          • Oh, come on! He gets to within plus-or-minus ten percent, nineteen times out of twenty. That not good enough for you, you pinko amphibian?

            Pinko amphibian. Wow, what a cool name for a rock band…

          • Pinko amphibian. Wow, what a cool name for a rock band…

            That might have seemed like a cool name back in 1983… ;-)

          • This thread made my day. You people are hilarious.

  2. This ‘we're better than you' mentality contrasts directly with more left-wing attitudes, which tend to downplay demagogic tendencies of infallibility and black-and-white attitudes towards what's right and what's wrong.

    Then why do they keep telling me what to do? Or what I can say? What I can spend my money on? I don't know how people can utter such simplistic tripe and expect to be taken seriously. Someone please acquaint Philbin with the concept of the "nanny state". Also, Emily. Acquaint him with Emily.

    • Let me see. 40% of the right – voted for Harper and through Harper – telling 60% of those that did not vote for Harper's Govt what to do.
      Maybe you need to be introduced to a little less paranoia. Yeah I know – just because you're paranoid doesn't mean "they" (in your case the socialist hordes apparently) aren't out to get you.

      • That comment made absolutely no sense, and I will not dignify it with a response. Except this response informing you that I will not respond, which doesn't count.

        • hmm something not counting on a thread about the census… is that irony?

    • That comment made no sense whatsoever, and I will not dignify it with a response. Except this response telling you that I won't respond.

      • …and that doesn't count :)

        • Correct. I could have sworn I had responded to the comment already, and then criselis double posted it and I got all flustered and confused and responded again. I'm easily flustered and confused, as you might have noticed by now.

          • Your "please be aware that I'm ignoring you" posts remind me of the Steve Buscemi character in Fargo giving the silent treatment.

    • You sure "they" aren't the voices in your head, Olaf? Or maybe your momma. I've never told you what to do. Frankly, I don't care. And I think this holds for progressives in general.

      As for the Philbin piece, I'm not sure I believe it. Or at least it seems to me that the census refuseniks shew largely Tory and this would serve to counterbalance any gains.

      • And I think this holds for progressives in general.

        No, it doesn't. Progressives tell me I can't buy my own health insurance. Progressives tell me I can't spend my money during elections how I want. Progressives tell me that I can't say mean things about people. Progressives tell me I have to pay union dues if I accept a certain position. Progressives tell me I can't allow smoking in a bar I own.

        The whole concept of social engineering, of saving people from themselves, is about progressives being "right" and imposing that "rightness" on all members of society.

        • Welcome to being an adult in a modern society.

          • I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean.

        • Yeah, and they make me wear pants in public. We all have our cross to carry Olaf. Arguing does not equal whining.

          • And flippant dismissals do not equal a genuine counterpoint.

          • But within the flippancy hides something of an argument.

            Telling people how to live their lives isn't the exclusive domain of 'progressives'; 'conservatives' also participate in social engineering. For example: 'conservatives' advocate against gender neutral clothing requirements (ie women going topless) on the basis of 'traditional values'.

        • Progressives also tell you you cannot have sex with children, or own pictures of them being raped, or drive a loaded tank down the 401, or sell home brew which might cause blindess, or force your employees to give you a blowjob in order to earn a promotion, or pay them less because they're female, or native, or Irish etc …

          You want to live in a stateless utopian paridise? Move to the Congo.

          Seriously. Stop complaining about how obressed you are. There is no shortage of places in the world which lack a functioning state. Go live there. No one in Somalia will stop you from buying health insurance.

          • You've missed my point entirely. Not even just slightly, but comprehensively.

            And I would never claim to be obressed.

          • Right. You are just innocently whinging about these so-called progressives bossing you around, telling you what you can and cannot do. Where you can and cannot smoke, for example. But you are in no way suggesting you are being oppressed. You just don't want to be bossed around.

          • That's actually pretty much it. Second try's the charm!

          • I was being sarcastic.

          • I know, but sarcastic you is more perceptive (and more fun) than serious you.

          • No I'm not.

          • Certainly though, there is room for legitimate disagreement about how large the state is.

            Also, it would be nice if employees of the government would mind their own business, if you are minding yours and not spooking the horses.

          • I'm pretty sure conservatives are opposed to a lot of those things too, jackass.

          • Personally I prefer the choices imposed on us by the corporate structure which, I'm
            told, is based on the natural clan formation of the aardvark … or something. In any case
            it just feels right, doesn't it.

        • Quick! Someone break out the air violins…

      • Oh come now. The only reason the bureaucracy isn't frightening to the left is because they don't run afoul of it as often. Mostly because they don't write intrusive regulations about how they make their living, or how they run their household, or to attack them for what they say.

        If you are a white collar professional you generally don't have to worry about dealing with the government much at all. If you are someone with good liberal values, you don't have to worry about people coming after you for what you say or do. So of course the government isn't that threatening.

        • Are you implying most Conservatives are criminals?

          • No, I'm implying that lefties don't pass laws and set bureaucratic policy that harasses and inconveniences themselves.

          • Like what?

            Lot's of liberals smoke. Or used to. Especially in Toronto. Now they cannot do it in bars.

            Are you implying Liberals are less harrassed by the long-form census than Conservatives?

            What laws are oppressing you? The ones attempting to make society work better?

          • Take two people. One is a conservative small business owner, the other is a liberal white collar wage earning professional. Both will earn about the same amount of income.

            Which ones has to fill out more paperwork? Which one has to follow more regulations to make his livelihood? Which one will be able to afford the higher standard of living? Which one will have to deal with some government agency or another in the course of their working day?

            If you're a social conservative and the other is a social liberal, which one is going to be more likely to be hauled into a human rights commission for what one said about the other, even if it is exactly the same insult or discriminatory action?

            If you raise your kids the way your dad raised you like a conservative, or if you raise your kids like a helicopter parent with all the latest fads on parenting like a liberal, which one is more likely to be harassed by social services?

          • Depending on the profession, the professional in question probably had to spend years jumping through academic hoops in order to be certified. Medical professionals are heavily regulated and most professions like the law, or accounting, have professional bodies which require periodic skills updates and which also mandate professional standards for its members, censuring them when appropriate.

            Are you implying that small business owners, because you believe they lack the education obtained by professionals like accountants, lawyers and doctors, small business owners are more likely to find conservatism attractive?

            Are you implying there something about conservatism which appeals to the relatively uneducated?

            I don't understand the social services question. Are you asking whether Conservatives or Liberals are more likely to hurt their kids?

            Does your hypothetical Conservative small business owner beat his kids, his wife? Does the Liberal doctor? Does either strip naked in the back garden and read the bible (or Finnegans Wake) aloud to his family? Is he drunk all the time?

            Finally. Are all Dad's Conservative?

          • Assuming that nobody is breaking the law, and assuming that you are just using the blank archetypes.

            Also, I don't believe that people who own their own businesses are less educated than office white collars professionals, which includes bureaucrats and corporate drones rather than highly skilled people like engineers, lawyers or doctors. I also think that while the left might statistically be more educated than the right, I don't believe that you have a very impressive education, so you should try a little humility.

            As for the social services question, I'm assuming there has been no abuse or charges being laid, but rather they feel the need to intrude into your home to dig around for something to implicate you with.

          • My education is very impressive. Awesomely so, actually.

            Most child welfare agencies in Canada operate on a complaint based system. So, if you are asking whether Conservatives or Liberals are more likely to have child services pay a visit, you are asking which political group is likely to have neighbours, pediatricians, teachers, etc … complain about how that group is treating their children.

            You were the one who implied professionals are more likely to vote Liberal. Professionals are, by definition educated, at least in a formal sense.

            Are you implying a preference for Conservative-type policies stems from feelings of inadequacy? A resentment maybe, of highly educated, more successful, foreign language speaking, well-travelled, better looking, faster, stronger, genetically over-endowed Liberals.

            Sort of sums up Iggy versus Harper.

            Also. Are all Dad's Conservative?

          • You are obviously not that educated, otherwise you'd argue with my words, rather than making a huge leap of logic with what I am implying (which you've done twice now) and then running with it. Is there anything in my words that would even hint that I think Conservatives are more resentful of my genetic, social and cultural superiors on the left wing of the political spectrum. Certainly you've got to see the logical fallacy there, or you've never taken a critical thinking course.

            Which group is likely to complain more about their children? Which are the government more likely to investigate, even if the complaint has nothing to do with whether the kid will grow up happy and healthy? That is exactly what I'm asking.

            No, all Dad's are not conservative. However, Liberals take a certain point of pride in not raising their kids like their parents did. I do admit I made a bit of a grammatical mess.

      • Now, admittedly, you could produce a similar list regarding conservatives (regarding things like abortion, gay marriage, pot smoking, or what have you). The point is that both the right and the left think that they're equally "right" about these things. There's nothing about conservatism that engenders a sense of infallibility, and there's nothing about progressivism that leads an adherent to be more reasonable and less demagogic when it comes to those beliefs they hold dearly.

        • Right now, the difference between the right and the left is the left prefers to employ empirical, fact-based evidence to bolster its arguments. In contrast to this liberal, reality-based approach to policy making, the conservative right bases its arguments on appeals to abstract nouns like freedom and liberty.

          Liberals are seeking concrete measurable ways to make government work better.

          Conservatives are trying to make themselves feel better.

          • So where is the empirical evidence that Philbin used that makes it mandatory reading? I must have missed it.

          • I haven't read the Philbin article.

            I was making a general statement regarding the present state of Conservativism.

          • If you haven't read the article, you obviously have no interest in discussing it, and therefore are trolling. Read the article and come back.

          • What is the empirical, reality-based argument against the long-form census?

            How will scrappingcontribute to a better Canada?

          • Have you read the article yet?

          • I got it tatooed on my face.

            What is the empirical, reality-based argument against the long-form census?

          • Watch out folks, we have a nuanced, empirical thinker on our hands here! All bow to his use of facts and logic (helpfully contextualized by "reality") in producing his sweeping generalizations about the state of today's society, and humbly absorb his exhaustive analysis of the mental processes of all of its inhabitants.

          • What is the empirical, reality-based argument against the long-form census?

          • I never said there was one.

          • … Because Conservatives are the way described in Philbin's article?

          • The left is no more likely to use empirical, fact-based evidence as the right. The social-engineering Olaf disdains was a product of leftist ideas around society being a social organism. The result being the no one is responsible for their actions because they are entirely a product of society. Although this sounds interesting in research papers (and to a generation of Liberal politicians searching for policy ideas), it has been demolished by Steven Pinker and others. Our better understanding of cognitive science, neuroscience, behavioral genetics and evolutionary psychology, based on actual empirical data, has shown that we are not captives of society, but are greatly shaped by our genes. So now Conservatives in Canada are asking if these policies make sense given that their theoretical basis is left in tatters.

            What does empirical data tell us about minimum wages, unionization, and generous welfare? They all lead to fewer jobs and stubbornly high unemployment.

      • I'm not sure I understand the uproar. The police officer told the protester to stop blowing bubbles in their faces, and the person continued to do it.

        I mean, are you not supposed to respect the uniform anymore? I could understand the uproar if they just arrested the person for blowing bubbles, and didn't give her a warning that it was inappropriate.

        The only problem seems to be that she wasn't charged properly. Wouldn't this fall under harassment of a police officer?

        • No, I'm supposed to respect the law, and so are the police officers. Tell me what law was broken here (other than the illegal arrest).

          • So I'm just allowed to go blow bubbles in the face of a police officer on duty? Really?

            How about covering them with silly string? Any lawyers want to weigh in here? I assume punching or threatening would be covered by assault, but what are you allowed to get away with in terms of harassment?

          • Yes. You can also sing annoying songs directly at them or put your finger thiiis close to their nose. The outrage. It's helpful to remember who's actually in charge in society – it's the civilians, not the uniforms.

          • Seems rather dangerous to me. If you don't presume that the officers should be granted respect a priori, then it seems they have to use force to ensure it. Frankly, those guys tend to reach for the sticks and tasers too quickly already.

            I don't mind that people should have the right to protest the police, and out of uniform I don't think they should be given and undue deference. I also think there should be strong civilian oversight to police activities. But the idea that individual police officers shouldn't have some means of deference due to their need to enforce laws and public compliance seems a recipe for disaster to me.

          • So, we should make it illegal not to respect police officers because otherwise police officers would attack people who show insufficient respect…whereas, if there's a law, they will be able to attack and arrest these people. Do you think we should have the same law to ensure respect for other dangerously violent individuals?

          • No, but private citizens can generally avoid each other. Police generally have to be where they are.

            I mean take your example. A cop is walking down the street and someone is singing annoying songs at them, putting their hands "near" their face, and generally making a nuisance of themselves.

            Is the cop supposed to be still and take it like some parody of the Beefeaters, or should he demand or enforce respect? If he has to demand and enforce respect, should it be a felony charge for somebody who is just drunk or young and stupid?

          • Why can a Beefeater endure it but a Canadian cop either has to taser you or charge you? Being annoying, even to a police officer, is not a crime. Showing a lack of respect is even less of an offence.

          • Yeah, you know what would actually happen if you did those things to a Beefeater right?

          • Officer Bubbles walked over into the danger zone. I'm sure the police officer who was already there was perfectly capable of taking care of herself. But maybe she didn't have any 'roid rage to burn off.

          • What you bleeding-heart, hug-a-thug lefties don't realise is that blowing bubbles simply emboldens our enemies and endangers the lives of our troops.

          • Silly sting is okay as long as the police officer is of Polish heritage.

          • I'm pretty sure that it is technically assault (in the broadest possible sense of the term). Like if you spit in someone's face, or throw a rock at them. You don't physically have to touch the person, and the degree of force applied is irrelevent. Although it may be the most benign example of assault that I can think of.

          • Especially since

            a) The officer directly in front of her was amused
            b) The "perpetrator" desisted in her bubble blowing at the angry officer's "request"
            c) There's no record of any charge being laid

            It's also technically assault to put someone in handcuffs without cause, so the degree of force is at least relevant to the response.

          • Although it may be the most benign example of assault that I can think of.

            How about blowing a cop a kiss? The breeze wafting from one's fingers as they unseal from one's lips may, as it softly ebbs upon the cop's dermis, be faintly perceptible or at least seem perceptible to the constable in question.

            So, let me understand here: the Crown is overbearing when it forces you to have your triple bypass without making it necessary for you to re-finance your house or when it allows non-smokers (i.e. sane people) to enjoy restaurant fare without having to self-administer poisonous fumes, but it keeps inviolate a commitment to liberty even Thomas Paine would admire when it hauls off an 18-year-old to jail for blowing bubbles in the relatively intimate vicinity of a body-armoured police officer packing a Glock and standing not too far away from colleagues with tear-gas stored in their vehicles and within hailing distance of Emergency Task Force teams with Heckler and Koch assault rifles.

            That Olaf—always joshin'…

          • I'm not sure about the blowing of a kiss, although I'm not sure you could go around blowing in peoples faces. To the extent that you can apply "force" in a very broad sense with air, I think it could constitute assault.

            And I have no idea what you're talking about in the second paragraph. I was merely saying that blowing bubbles that hit someone can, in a technical sense, constitute assault. And I was saying that the 'left', as much as the 'right', can be quite arrogant and unflinching in their chosen viewpoints, and quite certain that anyone who disagrees with them is flat-out wrong, mad, morally corrupt and/or dangerous. I can't see how either of those points could have possibly combined in your head in such a way as to seemingly justify the particular response you provided.

          • You seemed to describe reasonable state restrictions on freedom as being unreasonable shortly before describing a patently unreasonable state restriction upon freedom as reasonable.

            For the record, you are correct, of course, to point out that the "nanny state" is not a creature either of the left or the right; it's a consequence of the demands all Western societies make upon the resources of their advanced post-industrial capitalist democracies—which is why a relatively libertarian province like Alberta is not mounting a huge push to re-privatize health care: they want their freedoms, but they want their state-provided goodies too, as do we all.

          • You seemed to describe reasonable state restrictions on freedom as being unreasonable shortly before describing a patently unreasonable state restriction upon freedom as reasonable.

            That's a reading that my comments simply don't support. I made no comment as to whether preventing me from purchasing my own health insurance, or making me join a union against my will, is a good or bad thing, reasonable or unreasonable. I was simply saying that the right and the left, generally, are both perfectly happy to tell their fellow citizens what to do on the basis that their preferred ideology is "right" and others "wrong", they just disagree on what mandatory measures to impose on the population. In short, Philbin's rant on this topic was risible and premised on the firm belief that he and like minded individuals must save Canada from people that disagree with them.

            And, for the record, I think it's fair to say that most Albertans agree that we should have universal health care (including myself), but many also believe that the government shouldn't prevent you from purchasing whatever health insurance you want.

          • I was simply saying that the right and the left…are both perfectly happy to tell their fellow citizens what to do on the basis that their preferred ideology is "right"…

            Fair enough.

            …many also believe that the government shouldn't prevent you from purchasing whatever health insurance you want.

            Also fair enough. I would add that this view is arguably even more prevalent in Québéc.

            Now, onto the really important question. Have you had a chance to use "tendentious" in conversation? ;)

          • I tried Sir Francis, oh how I tried. But when I finally summoned the courage, I pronounced it TEND-en-shus. And then everyone laughed at me. And then I got embarrassed and said "you can't fire me, I QUIT!" And then they said "Quit what? This is a 7-11. You were just buying a hot dog." And then one thing led to another and I was escorted out. At least that's how the police described it to me the next morning.

            In short, losing my tendentious-virginity wasn't quite the gratifying experience I had so hoped it would be.

          • And Olaf wins the thread! ;)

          • Don't let the facts blow bubbles in your face Olaf!
            As we all well know – you can buy health insurance anywhere in Canada – to cover any services NOT provided by the basic service provided under the Canada Health Act.
            Buying health insurance FOR SERVICEs ALREADY COVERED under the CHA would be silly – and just throwing money at insurance companies. Me – I'm inclined to let you do it – but that's me!

        • In think what he really objected to was the women's existence.

          Which is really what this whole thing is about. The police not tolerating any level of dissent.

    • Harper is unleashing a 'ninny state' as the Chronicle Herald called it this week.

      • Making the long form voluntary seems to me to be an extreme 'nanny state' move. Canadians' fear of the intrusive nature of the questions has been dealt with before we even knew we were upset. This is an ultimate parenting technique to protect tender charges from having to deal with anything unpleasant.

        • Aw mom you never let us have any fun!


    • That bit would certainly be in line with various studies showing that, on average, one of the big cognitive differences between liberals and conservatives is that liberals are much more likely to tolerate ambiguity, and are more open to new and different ideas.

      • I think centrists are much more willing to tolerate ambiguity (or be indifferent to the issues) than either 'conservatives' or 'progressives'. Really depends how you define the various groups, which is why these types of arguments pitting 'right' against 'left' as if it were an exhaustive list of possible political opinions are rarely fruitful.

        • That may be; I can't recall seeing a similar study that tried to group and test centrists as well. The point remains though that the part of the post that you are complaining about actually probably has some merit. It isn't that people who aren't conservative don't think they are right; it is just that, on average, they are more likely to have a certain John Kerry-esque tortured nuance to their views rather than the Bush/Palin certainty of a Sith lord.

          • And a more moderate conservative, as I consider myself, is more likely to express nuanced opinions than the a Sid Ryan or a Maude Barlow or a Rick Salutin. Centrists are more likely to be pragmatists than ideologues, I'll grant you. Whether that's more often a virtue or a vice, I can't say. But to premise an argument on "the right wing is made up of simple minded, arrogant, fact-allergic absolutists while the left wing is made up of humble, thoughtful, reasonable philosopher kings" doesn't exactly demonstrate the type of nuanced thought one would expect in a piece extolling the virtues of nuanced thought.

          • To be fair to the author, he did specifically reference the far-right, so the point probably still stands.

            Also, you're not so much a moderate conservative, as you are someone who would have been a liberal had he not had the misfortune to be raised in Alberta.

          • And then proceeds to conflate the two ("a direct result of this attitudinal divide between right and left…") thereby abolishing the distinction. And if he's only talking about the attitudes of the "far-right", why did he compare them to those on the left, instead of to everyone who's not "far-right"? The only reason he used the term "far right" is because he was refering specifically to Harpers base, and the term is more pejorative than simply "right".

            As for the impact of my upbringing on my political viewpoints, I think I'll leave that up to my team of psychiatrists, thank you very much.

          • Yeah, fair point. When I read it, I still thought he was talking about those who are firmly within the right/far-right camp, rather than also including moderate conservatives, such as yourself. He definitely could have been more precise with his language. However, I thought it was fairly clear that he was talking about the base, rather than anyone who could be considered moderate. I suppose we could always comment on the blog itself and ask him.

          • I mean, if you want to pretend he was making some general point about those one extreme of the political spectrum (conveniently ignoring the other extreme) as compared to those in the more moderate camp, that's fine. I think Guanilon sums up his motivation a bit more accurately: "In other words, we (the Left) are better than the Right because we don't have the sense of superiority that they do. Well played, Philbin!"

          • I'm not pretending anything. It seemed clear to me that he was talking about the base, which he clearly referenced. And, I think the general point he was making in regard to those people is in line with the studies showing that a main cognitive difference between conservatives and liberals is that liberals are much more likely to tolerate ambiguity, and are more open to new and different ideas. It has nothing to do with a sense of superiority; it has to do with the level of certainty in one's political positions. It's not that liberals, on average, are necessarily uncertain, they just, on average, don't have the level of certainty that Conservatives have.

          • So, just for clarity: both sides have a sense of superiority; it is just that conservatives, on average, have been shown to have a much higher level of certainty in this position.

          • Then obviously the Liberals should bother doing some outreach to Alberta.

          • They do, but it's mostly in Edmonton. Which, as most Albertans will tell you, isn't really part of Alberta (except for the mall).

          • Did any sort of empirical evidence, or rational decisio-making, or the kind one would expect repsonsible politicians to engage in, inform the Conservative decision to scrap the long-form census?

            The reason people are labelling our current crop of Conservatives 'simple minded, arrogant, fact-allergic absolutists' is because that is how they are acting.

          • What is the empirical, reality-based argument against the long-form census?

          • You lost them at "empirical." Didn't you hear? We aren't allowed to use big words in political discussions anymore. That's just soooo elitist, ya know…

          • Yep, your accusations about the motivations for Harper to corrupt the data were strictly evidence based.


          • "Suck it up, commies."

          • We've hashed that all out over the last few weeks. Pretty much the conclusion is that it isn't a scientific reason, but rather a matter because we don't trust the government with our private information. Also, we largely see the need of the government to collect all this data on us as evidence that the government is too large, while the left views it as essential for shaping government government policy of a government that is, if anything, too small.

            The actual motives of Clement and Harper about why they decided to scrap the census are unknown, despite the laughable attempts by some (such as Philbin, PolJunkie and others) to play psychoanalyst without any evidence to go by. Ironically, most of the conservatives you are sniping and trolling at (aside from myself, but I'm an admitted paranoid nutjub on government data collection) are pro-census.

            Now really, what we are supposed to be talking about is whether this premise:

            "By getting rid of the mandatory, long form census and replacing it with a voluntary alternative, conservatives like Stephen Harper are confident that they will be able to leverage the right's higher degree of volunteerism and political engagement and thereby begin the process of skewing census results to reflect the right's minority political positions and social attitudes."

            and whether that argument is worth a rabbit raisin.

          • It may have been worth a raisin a month ago, but after a month of carpet-bombing us with the fear of toilet inspectors throwing us in jail, I'd thought the official politically engaged thing to do is to NOT fill it out.

          • "… because we don't trust the government with our private information."

            Which proves the point: the far-right does not base their policy preferences on objective reality. They base it on an ideological thought cloud which tells them they are right and that those who disagree are flat-out wrong. The hard right has decided the long-form census is too intrusive and that's it. They've decided it is too intrusive so it is, by definition apparently, too intrusive.

            This is the real problem. Critics of scrapping the long-form census talk about how Canadians of all stripes and interests need that information to make sound decisions. They make arguments about the censuses' utility. The positive and necessary role it plays in Canadian decision-making. Supporters of scrapping the long-form census ignore those arguments, relying instead on their ideological certainty. Any and all intrusions into the private sphere are by definition bad and, therefore, the census is bad. I don't think you will find the same degree of tautological thinking on the left.

            How will not having the information contained in the long-form census make Canada a better place?

          • How? A few reasons. If the government collects less information, it will be a sign that they are being modest in their goals to create a state apparatus. There is no empirical reason why a large, more centrally planned state, is inherently superior to a smaller one that only concerns itself with essential services. It all depends on what the citizens want and how they want to organize themselves. Obviously, we would prefer a state that is much smaller. In other words, is all the information that is being collected strictly necessary?

            Then if you want to get to the paranoid part of brain, I'm worried that the census could be used against me if the government wanted to use it in ways that are not in my best interests. Far fetched? Perhaps, but it was once far fetched that someone could be locked away in legal limbo in Guatanamo Bay and other secret prisons for almost 10 years based on an accusation. (Not a big fan of either Bush or Obama on that file)

            Hence my desire to have my census data collected without my identifying information, even by people who process the data. There should really be no debate about this frankly, because I fail to see how having my identifying data collected along with my statistical data is necessary.

            Now, the Harper government should probably not have forced the issue, did more compromising, and listened more to its statisticians. However, this crap about claiming that any violation of the census is just more proof of our anti-intellectual knuckle dragging, or casting prophetic pronouncements that it is a plan by a Sith Lord to lead us to ignorance and despair for the sake of power. All that stuff by you wsam, Philbin, PolJunkie, etc. is about as helpful to setting public mood toward the right path as what the Harper government is doing.

          • Party of No(rth).

          • I really don't understand that insult. Saying no is sometimes very, very necessary.

            There are a bunch of people saying "no" to the government's agenda on altering the census. Also, what is the point of having a party in opposition if they don't say "No"? It is kind of implied by the term "opposition party" that they will be the party of No.

            Frankly, both sides of the political spectrum need people saying "no". Imagine where we'd be now if some people didn't stand before the tide of history and hollered "no".

          • Your point is correct. It was simply a cheap, glib play on words intended to tie Team Harper to the Teabaggers for humor-type amusement purposes.

          • But Liberals do not necessarily want a bigger state. What they want is for the state to do the things it does better. In order to make the state more efficient and better serve its citizens, the state needs accurate information. To that end, the long-form census is a valuable tool.

            There is no correlation between the amount of information a state collects and its size. None. To believe so is lazy thinking. A minimal state can collect just as much information as a large state.

            Secondly. It is apparent the current crop of conservatives did not consult anyone knowledgeable. The decision to scrap the long-form census has nothing to do with making the state run better; it resulted from ideological imperatives. It is the same with the Conservative's proposed tough on crime legislation. Neither decision resulted from an encounter with reality. Both decisions were informed by ideology. Not observed reality.

            Our government consists of the kind of conservatives who live in a right-wing thought cloud, whose certainties make them dismissive of anyone who does not share their preconceptions.

          • See the first three paragraphs are all right. The last paragraph is not helpful, or particularly true. Or at least, no more true than it was when the opposition was in power.

          • Actually, I'll go even further. I'll agree with the first three paragraphs.

          • All or nothing! You closed-minded trogolyte!!

          • There seems to be this assumption that government programs emerge from census data – that is just laughable. Government programs emerge from multiple sources of information and I would bet about 90% of it is not census data.

            Census data was originally used to identify if new ridings were needed as the population expanded or shifted. But it is now seen as this wonderful set of pristine data that, like the Oracle, provides us with all answers.

            I develop programs for clients – usually in the non profit sector – the census data is the last place I would look for anything as it doesn't provide the specifics required for program development and it is out of date.

          • Generally speaking, one rarely sees tortured nuance on these boards from either the self-identified "left" or the self-identified "right". Untortured nuance is also in short supply.

          • New entry in the oxymoron list: "Nuanced blog comment"

          • Agreed. You get the big Robin_E thumbs up.

          • "Generally speaking, one rarely sees tortured nuance on these boards…"

            Well, not deliberate tortured nuance anyway.

          • Compared to the Globe or the Post's boards, this here is nuance paradise.

          • Reluctantly, I have to agree.

        • I went looking for this middle ground one time and nearly got run over by a shopping cart.

    • "…Then why do they keep telling me what to do? Or what I can say?"

      …or what the woman down the street can do with her own body, or who I can marry, etc.

  3. Ahhh yes, it all comes down to the "hidden agenda".

    Complete with confidence that conservative thought is in the "minority".

    Here's a shocker: many of the Liberal votes are conservative (or were – we'll see the results of the Liberal lurch to the left in the next election, though some right leaning Libs will stay because they simply historically vote that way) the same goes for the Bloc to a lesser extent.

    All of Canada is "progressive" left? Not even close.

    • Let me get this straight. Most liberals are actually conservatives but they vote liberal out of habit.

      Furthermore, despite repeatedly failing to achieve electoral success, Conservative values and ideas dominate Canada. A majority of Canadians hold conservative ideas. The problem being: Canadians insist on voting for parties which do not promote Conservative ideas. This is because they have become habituated to voting Liberal (and to a lesser extent the Bloc Quebecois). Therefore, repeated Conservative Party electoral failure proves Conservative ideas are held by the majority of Canadians. The fact a majority of Canadians do not vote for parties which seek to promote conservative ideas and values only serves to reinforce this thesis.

      Did I miss anything?

      • You didn't explicitly hate the troops.

        • I thought I'd keep the troop hating implicit. Sorry. My bad.

  4. As Olaf alludes, there's an inherent irony in that posting: while that right wing's responses would, generally speaking, skew the longform data toward that group's demographic and sociographic norms (voluntarism is on a separate survey, so I'm not sure how that one applies) this is the same right-wing that lambasts even the tiniest request from the state as some commie-fascist conspiracy against their perssonal security.

    So…would they fill it out at all? Would it really be them skewing the data, or the political centre and the political nomads, who would fill things out if given what sounds like a good reason to do so?

    • This is a good point.

      As I recall, mainstream Republican politicians/leaders were actually begging the Tea Party'ers to stop with their "boycott the census" movement, on the fear that demographic wouldnt show up properly in US society.

    • For what its worth, my wife filled out the census for me without my consent, because the idea of the government having any information about me gives me the heebee jeebies. I don't even like updating the address on my driver's license.

      So if the government made it voluntary, I doubt if I'd be interested in filling it out. I would probably change my mind if there was an assurance that the data I was submitting was anonymous not only to the public at large (which I accept) but from those processing the data.

      If the mandatory census isn't scrapped, I would be more comfortable submitting it online, with one area to put in a code that shows that I filled out the census, and a completely different area which sends the data to be processed which does not contain any personal identification.

      • Assuming honesty on the part of the poster, this places the number of sincere, verified nutjob concerns at : one

        • The data being processed by people who think like you Mike is why I worry.

        • Presuming that I'm not just the only nutjob though, wouldn't it make sense to make these changes anyway? Just to encourage some who are reluctant to fill out the census, or who might be tempted to fill in the census incorrectly?

          It isn't like it would be more expensive than processing paper versions of the census, as long as you don't get the same people who were designing the gun registry database to do it.

          • You have serious problems and should seek professional help.

          • Perhaps, but presuming I'm not the only nutjob….

          • Ted, I don't think you're out of line to want a complete and thorough review of what the government does to ensure your privacy and the security of your personal information. I think that StatsCan has a privacy policy posted on its website (under a section of "for people who take our surveys" or something like that) but additionally, see the value in having a senior StatsCan official explain those policies, if only to assuage the concerns of individuals such as yourself.

            And I say this even being in favour of a mandatory long form: With the collection of personal information comes the responsibility to ensure that information is protected.

          • Thanks, that's actually very helpful.

          • The StatsCan site also has a summary of the Privacy Impact Assessment – an independent review of the privacy of both the questions and the manner and level of security in which StatsCan collects uses and discloses the data. First and foremost – the information you provide is not linked with you personally – your name, address etc. is stripped and the data made anonymous through complex programs – so all this concern with privacy is a crock anyway!

          • Considering how many privacy breeches there have been in an organization like the CRA, I don't think that it is unreasonable to suspect the government's ability to keep your information private.

            On a related note;

    • Sadly, evidence suggests that many would respond exactly as the pertinent "Alerte Info Alert" suggested they ought.

  5. Scott,

    I'll have to dissagree with you that this is a Wherry issue. In fact, judging from the number of news stories on this I'd say Wherry is right in the middle of the media bell curve in terms of order of importance.

    Which, of course is a testament to how the left leaning media in this country attempts to gin up a non issue in order to create some controversy against the gastly (non progressive) CPC.

    Ahh, remember the good old days when a scandal meant stealing tens of millions of taxpayer dollars and putting them into the party coffers via money laundering and under-the-table brown bags full of money. The days when the Liberals were in power.

    Now its, prorogue (the 105th time is the killer!), eating a communion wafer (or not!) and the short form census (it's gotta stay long!).

    • Um.. it isnt just the left-leaning media, Chet. Michael Den Tandt has a column in the Sun this AM saying this is one of the dumbest things Harper has ever done as PM. The National Post's editorial board said the same thing, and a couple of its more right-wing columnists have also come to that conclusion. It's rather universal actually amongst all the media, not just the "left-leaning" media.

      The other thing is the overwhelming amount of organizations that have rejected this move. The media didnt spur them to reject it; they came to their conclusions on their own.

      • commie lover.

      • don't you get it? it's all left-leaning in the media

      • Sorry, but you'll get no admission from me when someone from the left trots out one or two members of the "right" in the media.

        As for the various groups, I prefer to go with the general public mood, the polls (to an extent) and good common sense. For instance, that the "Anglican church" comes out against this makes me laugh. As if it's some unified body where all the congregation accross the country can now be counted on as being against it.

        If one were to guage the public's mood by the select groups cherry picked by the press who've spoken out against it (or members of those groups with positions of power) one would think that 99% of the public is not only against this, but is up in arms. All of us.

        Once again this is media trying to drive the news. And once again a media proving itself to be out of touch.

        Long form vs. short form census….earth shattering!

        • You might be shocked to learn that some people consider the effect of government decisions past the next election.

      • There is no left-leaning media. That's the problem in this country. Even the CBC now has developed a horrible right-wing bias.

  6. A diabolical but unlikely theory.

  7. Well, as I recall, it's the Left that gets criticized for its lack of principles, not the right. So, yes, there certainly is an argument to be made that the Right looks upon the left with a holier-than-thou attitude.

    With that being said, the converse is also true: the Left criticizes the Right for holding its principles so tightly it cannot see another way. So, really, both poles are holier-than-thou.

    And then we have the Centre, which likes the position of "can't we just strike a balance between the two?" and laments both poles as being too headstrong to ever see eye-to-eye. So the political Centre, therefore, also becomes holier-than-thou.

    Lesson? We're all (at least) a little self-righteous. And, surprisingly, many of us lack the self-awareness to recognize it.

    • Well I basically agree with your conclusion, I just want to point out that my post doesn't actually get into whose attitudes are like what, or who deserves to feel this or that way about themselves or others. I was strictly writing an "immanent critique", i.e., not stepping outside of the precise terms and terminology laid out in the original blog post, in order to show why it was internally incoherent.

    • Well put, Lynn.

  8. indeed — but I believe that I could have put it better ;-)

  9. Actually, the best response to Mr. Philbin's ridiculously condescending post comes from the first person to comment on his site.

    Basically, the poster took Mr. Philbin down ALL the pegs…not just one of them. In effect, he's shown Mr. Philbin to be what we all know the Lefties truly are…..self-absorbed folks with the inability to see any point of view beyond their own limited vision.

    Well done to whomever he or she is.

    • Ahh yes. That famous Liberal hatred of opposing viewpoints. As opposed to the Conservatives renowned reputation for open-mindless and love of good argument. Sort of like how Conservatives scoured academic studies and consulted reams of experts when they decided to revamp Canada's criminal justice system. Or the plethora of opposing viewpoints they considered when they were tentatively deciding to scrap the long-form census.

      • Maybe, just maybe, both Conservative and Liberal partisans have a ‘we're better than you' mentality …

    • I believe he/she posts here as Egghead.

  10. let's face it folks – the last time I did the form my residence went into the datacrunch as having 11 bedrooms – and I know for a fact that I am not the only one who is a contrarian by nature and if it's mandatory it gets data that is skewed … hoever if it is voluntary it will get very accurate data .. welcome to the real world folks! .. and I will glady volunteer whenever the opportunity presents itself as I volunteer a lot especially for the local CPC party :) – I have an award for driving more people to the polls than anyone else and don't even charge for gas. Trade secret for a successful party in canada someone should tell the lib's .. on second thought

    • I have never understood the need, in an urban context, for anyone to drive to the polls. In big city or small town, I've never been further than an easy walk from my assigned polling station. I'm sure there are some elderly or disabled people who could use a ride, but that's not who I see getting out of cars on Election Day. Are your voters so uncommitted they need to be press ganged to get there Wayne?

      • In the last election, I did drive people to the polls. Most had some disabilities or were elderly or there was not a direct bus route in our urban area. I'm most definitely not a CRAP supporter.

  11. Your post headline: "Mandatory reading on the volunteer census"

    If it's voluntary it's not a census. Stop helping to promulgate Harper spin!

    • Unless it goes to ALL of the population it is NOT a census, but only a survey – just like all the other surveys conducted by every organization, government etc which are voluntary. And that is a small fact that our esteems journalists (who never saw a survey they couldn't make a big headline out of) fail to continuing mention. In fact most of the MSM keep talking about how the long form is being scrapped when it is not.

      The only census is what is known as the short form which asked your age, where you live, and how many people live in your household.

  12. I knew it! Emperor Harper is using the dark side of the force to control people's minds through the voluntary census!

    Wait…isn't it voluntary.

    I want it to be mandatory! How else will we discover how many Jedi are secretly hiding from Emperor Harper!

    Also…I'd like to know how many toilets are on my neighbors' moisture farm.

    • You could have had a Talking Point Troika if you added a "what time you leave for work in the morning" joke.

      • I know…but I feel the need to further the toilet misconception…it's funny!

        Besides, everyone knows that moisture farmers start work when the secondary star is perpendicular to the primary star….duh

  13. And to think that I thought the "Harper is a scary guy" campaign had died in 2006. It's like Frankenstein's monster, for crying out loud.

    • He could stop being scary. That would be an awesome first step toward rehabilitation.

  14. I might be stating the obvious but it somehow needs to be repeated…

    The privacy argument that Harperites are brandishing is a red herring. This is all meant to distract from their real intent.

    The real goal is the need to do away with census data, an essential tool in policy-making.

    In order to be able to credibly push for their policy changes, they need to do away with scientifically acquired data.

    If one accepts that Harper actually has a brain and understands that a voluntary census will corrupt the data, one has to accept that Harper's intent is indeed to corrupt the said data.

    So the debate should be centered around this question:

    Why would a Prime Minister want to wilfully corrupt the data used to develop policy?

    • Oh, please don't stop there. Keep up the speculating. Let us know why Harper wants to wilfully corrupt data used to develop policy.

      • Simple…to become the Galactic Emperor!

      • Already answered that. Read the post again, Mike.

        • I meant, please continue, to let us know what policies Harper wishes to implement, that the census data prevents him from implementing.

          • It doesn't prevent him from doing anything.

          • The census data doesn't prevent Harper from pushing his policy changes? Wasn't that your original argument? Corrupt the data to (presumably) implement conservative policies?

          • No. That's not what I wrote up there.

            "In order to be able to credibly push for their policy changes, they need to do away with scientifically acquired data."

            That's what I wrote.

            Harper will push his policies no matter what. His problem is when his announcements are followed by news articles quoting data which clearly show that the said policies (environment, crime, health and more) have no basis in fact.

            At some point, credibility (or lack thereof in Harper's case) becomes an issue. How do you argue against scientifically obtained data? You can't. So what do you do? If you are Harper, you do the unthinkable. You corrupt the data.

          • As of the end of August (a deadline that is apparently set to save the next cencus if we are to reverse Harper's new volunteer policy), census data will be useless as it will have lost all credibility. More importantly, the minute Shiekh is replaced, Stats Can will have lost all credibility.

            It would really help the discussion along if you actually read what I wrote, Mike.

          • Alright, well, thanks for indulging me. I understand your points, although I don't quite buy your "The sky is falling!" argument, where all census data is rendered useless (I assume you're excluding the short form?), and StatsCan's credibility will go up in smoke with Shiekh's replacement.

            I don't disagree that a voluntary form would make the information less useful; I simply don't understand how questions about my previous address, planned renovations to my home, etc., can seriously impede any government's decision making.

            Have you seen some of those questions? Does the government really need my exact work address? It's a bit creepy telling them the exact address of my workplace, right down to the suite number. Wouldn't a postal code be close enough?

            If you were willing to accept a middle ground, where a lot of the questions were scrubbed of such specificity, and some of them deleted altogether, then I think you and I could arrive at a compromise about the long form. But to suggest that StatsCan's credibility will be zero, and knowing the number of toilets in a home is essential if we want to Stop! Harper! Now! from his incredible campaign of fact-less policies (now going on almost 5 years? Wow, he must really have the opposition fooled)… well, sorry, but you lost me.

          • Mike, you need to ask yourself why those questions are being asked. The question itself is not what is important in this privacy discussion. The purpose of the question is what you should concern yourself with.

            If I'm told that the reason why StatsCan is asking me about my AM departure time from home to go to work is so that municipalities are better able to plan public transit for off-peak hours, then I don't mind the question.

            Again, you are deluding yourself if you think that this is about preserving your privacy. Harper supported the anti-terrorism bill which gave CSIS the right to listen in on your phone conversation without a warrant.

            Privacy is not the issue.

            The issue is the ability to put forth policies that he knows run counter to the reality on the ground but will satisfy his gullible base (that would be you) and maintain his government.

          • Sorry, but I don't accept your argument that my privacy is less important than planning transit schedules.

            I believe privacy is a part of this discussion, and to suggest I ignore it, and throw privacy concerns under the bus to… er… plan bus routes… then you've lost me.

            I suggest not completely disregarding the privacy concerns, as you've done. My post before your last one still stands: I don't like to see the mandatory long-form scrapped, because a voluntary one would be less valuable, and I think there are compromises that can be made, that can assuage peoples' privacy concerns, people like me — you know, the gullible ones.

          • sigh

            Let me try this another way.

            So Mike… As a taxpayer, I'm sure you care how your hard earned dollars currently being spent on property tax are allocated, yes? I'm also going to assume that you wouldn't want your city to squander your cash on improper transit planning, yes? I don't know where you live but, like most cities in Canada, transit policy takes up an enormous piece of the municipal budget.

            So I ask you… How is your municipal government supposed to plan a city bus route (mainly used by "the average canadian" not the "elite" which have become pariahs in Harper's society) if they don't know what the peak times are or where the bulk of the users are going to be located?

          • There are valid privacy concerns with the census. By scrubbing some questions, and removing others, we can still reach the same conclusions without making people squeamish when answering. Instead of telling a faceless bureaucrat that I leave home at 7:25am every morning, I can let them know that I leave home between 6 and 9am. I think there's plenty of possible solutions.

            I'm not saying a voluntary form is better than a mandatory one (I think it's worse), but I don't appreciate the extremes of this debate. All of StatsCan's credibility will evaporate? We mustn't modify the current system in the least? My privacy concerns should be set aside and disregarded? Sorry, but I disagree.

          • Have you ever filled out the long form?

          • Stats Canada data has shown how ridiculous his tough on crime agenda is.

    • I assure you that I am quite squeamish about the government collecting data.

      It shouldn't be that hard to understand. Just think about how you feel about corporations collecting information about you, how you feel threatened by corporations, and approximate.

    • It is not my job as a Canadian citizen to provide the government with anything more than basic census data (age, where I live and how many people in the household), and pay my taxes. I'm not even required to vote.

      Anything else I provide to any government needs my express permission. And they get that permission in multiple ways – if I want to buy a house, I agree to pay property taxes and therefore the municipality will demand that I provide them with information on the size of the house – if I don't want them to know that I don't have to buy a house.

      If I want health services – then the provincial government will need personal information for my health records – if I don't want to use provincial health services – I don't need to get a card OR provide them with the information.

      And on and on and on.

      Governments, as a rule, collect far more information than they need to and the long form is a perfect example. Because it is a survey (not a census), the data is only applicable at a national level. Local information is too sparse to have any real meaning to it (and too out of date as well). The guiding principle of any privacy concerns is simple – what is the absolute minimum amount of information that is needed. I was consulting with an organization not long ago – they provided a variety of social services to low income people – I pointed out that about half of the information they collected was not needed to provide their services, but they 'wanted to collect it just in case it was needed at some time in the future'. So in fact they were collecting it for no purpose, but to make their jobs easier 'at sometime in the future'. And they were collecting it from people in vulnerable positions – they were seeking help and to get that help they had to provide a lot of information that was not central to providing that help.

      Privacy is a slippery slope and it is far too easy for government and organizations to collect information for ill-defined purposes, but that it might help in the future. But it is not my job to make public employees jobs easier.

    • Because after the data that contradicts his firmly held prejudices has been corrupted, the next plan is to create fake data that compliments his firmly held prejudices. Thus there will be no future arguments about the requirement for more prisons, less welfare, less unemployment benefits, less child care, etc, etc.

  15. "This ‘we're better than you' mentality contrasts directly with more left-wing attitudes, which tend to downplay demagogic tendencies of infallibility and black-and-white attitudes towards what's right and what's wrong."

    I can't tell exactly, but it seems Philbin is arguing that right wing has black/white attitudes which makes us demagogic but libs and progressives focus on right/wrong, which makes them all about kittens, rainbows and lollipops. That is distinction without difference, black/white and deciding what's right/wrong for anyone other than yourself are exactly the same.

    Wherry has listed, exhaustively, all the churches and other right-leaning orgs that are against census decision and so Philbin needs more than his feverish imagination to convince others that this is ploy to please so-cons. Look at the polls, it is close to 50/50 on what people think of census decision and Con supporters are not united either. Census is not political issue, it is something more visceral and crosses ideological lines.

  16. b) Really? I saw backtalk about it, and there seems to two different warnings that if she kept doing it she would be taken into custody. I'm inclined to believe because of my prejudices that she didn't let it drop.

    I'm completely in agreement that the charge itself was bogus though, and if there was no record of the charge being laid then that is something that should be investigated.

    I also don't like the implication that the only appropriate charge is assault. A misdemeanor offense called "harassment of an officer" would be more appropriate. No criminal record or jail time like a felony of assault, and it provides a decent way to enforce respect when the due respect isn't given. I did a cursory look over a few sources such as CanLii or the Criminal Code, and I can't find anything similar.

    I am also going to disagree on whether the girl should have known better. Obviously she should have known better than to provoke the police.

    • Here you witness actual apprehension of liberty, actual, physical removal of liberty by armed agents of the state and you make excuses for it, but compelling you to send in a form every four years, well that's a dangerous step towards state control.

      • Oh, I'm not making excuses for the false charges and procedural irregularities, and you'll note that I called for an investigation over it.

        But I don't think the person blowing the bubbles was in the right.

  17. Sorry, I thought you meant that even if a bubble had hit (landed on? touched?) an officer (or anyone, for that matter) it wouldn't be a crime.

  18. At the risk of piling on, this paragraph was just too awesome to pass up:

    "This ‘we're better than you' mentality contrasts directly with more left-wing attitudes, which tend to downplay demagogic tendencies of infallibility and black-and-white attitudes towards what's right and what's wrong."

    In other words, we (the Left) are better than the Right because we don't have the sense of superiority that they do. Well played, Philbin!

    "The left generally favours acknowledging and accommodating greater cultural, social and ideological diversity, choosing debate over demagogues and collective decision making over centrally-controlled power. "

    Eh, the Left favours ideological diversity and debate over demagogues and centrally-controlled power? Hullo? I'd like to meet that Left. I might even join it!

    • "Eh, the Left favours ideological diversity and debate ….. "

      That made me laugh as well. The vitriol people receive here for writing something libs and progressives don't agree with makes me think that Philbin does not know his comrades very well.

      Ideological diversity and debate are not tolerated, the Left have adopted Ford's quip.

      "Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black" ~ Henry Ford

      • Even the term "progressive" is dripping with condescension in its clear implication that all who don't concur are "regressive" and that "progressive" policies and those who favour them are implicitly superior. It would be funny if it wasn't so widespread and consequently so sad.

        • Name five accomplishments of the Harper government that aren't examples of undoing, cutting, eliminating, or reducing. And yes, it's a trick question, but the principle is hard to deny.

          • Which principle is that, the one that says that "undoing, cutting, eliminating, or reducing" are inherently bad?

            For the record, here are two: Own the Podium and replacing the CF-18 Hornet.

            For the rest, I'm generally disappointed by how little he undoes, cuts, eliminates, and reduces. When something is bloated, overbearing, and in debt, those verbs are exactly the ones that should be employed.

          • I could have done without the first of your two, and I agree completely on the inadequacy of the undoing, the cutting, the eliminating…

          • Yes yes MYL, but that's just because you haven't attained the dizzying heights of progressiveness, warmness, and fuzziness that I have. Also I'm incredibly humble.

          • Which principle is that, the one that says that "undoing, cutting, eliminating, or reducing" are inherently bad?

            You were the one complaining about the reputation for regression instead of progression. And implicit in your position I detect an assumption that regression is always negative, with which I would not concur.

            Own the Podium I'll give you. Replacing the CF-18's would seem to be necessary, as far as I understand the issue, which isn't very far. But I've read some testimony here and elsewhere that maybe the particular aircraft chosen is not ideally suited to Canada's future needs; I'll let others hash that one out.

          • I see: you're equating "progress" with "spending more on expanded government programs", whereas I take "progress" to mean "moving in the right direction". For this reason, "progressive" strikes me as a singularly poor choice of descriptors for the Left, although it perfectly encapsulates that pious sense of superiority.

          • When you are going the wrong way, you need to turn around. The person who turns around first is therefore the most progressive.

            – C.S. Lewis

          • Clearly Lewis had no idea what he was talking about. The person who turns around first is a right-wing nut who is stuck in the Middle Ages, homophobic, probably racist, certainly uneducated, lacking in compassion, and scary. Also they have a "we're better than you" mentality.

          • According to Phillp Pullman anyway.

          • You see what's convenient for your argument then.

            Sometimes expansion/invention is good, sometimes not. Sometimes restriction/retraction is good, sometimes not.

            Gay rights: progressive left issue. Conservatives want to go backwards to times when they were swept under the rug and marginalized, liberals want more openness and equal rights.

            Free trade: progressive right issue. Opening up the world for freer communication — including economic communication — is an expansive principle. Liberals can complain (rightly in my view) that there are negative local consequences, especially as domestic workforces see their jobs go to cheaper centers, but if those consequences are severe enough you can address them with focused regulation that doesn't annihilate the core progressive principle.

            There's a good argument to be made — though you didn't bother to make it — that the census is one of these topsy-turvy cases where the spectrum-liberals are on the dictionary-conservative side of the issue. Generally, however, the left is where "move forward and try something new" lives, while the right is the home of "we're losing the valuable old ways, let's slow down the ship here".

            But keep tossing out that superiority line if faux-populism makes you feel better!

          • "Name five accomplishments of the Harper government that aren't examples of undoing, cutting, eliminating, or reducing."

            I am economic conservative, so I don't think this is trick question nor is it difficult to answer. The whole Harper era has been about expanding State/budget.

          • Because eliminating the right to have sex with fourteen and fifteen year old children was such a bad thing.

        • Just as donning the "Cloak of Protection" gives the wearer a +5 Armour Bonus, and +25% Magic Resistance, donning the "Mantle of Progressivism" automatically confers a +20 Intelligence boost, and a +50% Empathy boost.

          With numbers like these, players can hardly be blamed for their sense of superiority. The mere fact that the mantle is being worn is enough to conclude that its wearer is much more intelligent, and in all other respects superior to the beastly humanoids on the other side.

          • You haven't played D&D in a while, have you Crit? Those stats look 2e to me.

          • I pretty much have no clue what you guys are talking about. I wish I could say this was unusual. Sigh.

          • It's like World of Warcraft, only with dice, paper, and probability based math.

          • And people in a room together.

          • Take away the math part, replace the paper with a napkin from Milestone's and you've perfectly described the Harper government's approach to policy.

          • Busted. Not since my early teens.

          • That's okay. It's probably one reason why you and Gaunilon are more broadly and impressively educated than I am. ;)

          • Was Empathy actually a stat in 2nd Ed? (I've only ever played 3.5 and 4th)…

        • I've started using the term oppressive left because 99 times out of 100 the left is interested in you doing it their way with no disagreement because the left knows best. What you personally want is totally irrelevant.

  19. I just attempted to read Egg's entire post. I am now sure I am better than him.

  20. What is interesting is the acknowledgment of "the higher degree of volunteerism and political engagement" and the coincident attempt to portray that as something evil. Letfies can do some funny things with words, sometimes.

    Let me see if I understand this guy: Wah! No fair! You evil Tories are making it voluntary because we superior lefties are too thick to volunteer to be counted, so all you lesser people, you volunteering engaged-type folks, will get over-sampled. You stupid people are playing an evil trick on us smart people! Or something like that.

    What a piece of work that guy Philbin is.

    • Your Jedi mind trick won't work on me…my skull is much too thick!

      Only the evil Sith believe in volunteering anything! We reasonable types have to be forced by penalty of carbonite freezing to take any actions.

    • You have some interesting fans, MYL.

    • Isn't it just a statement of fact? The CPC's 'Get out the vote',machinery, for example, is awesome. How did this Philbin guy impugn that? You seem to read in some Yeats-ian lament that the Conservative voting base is…erm.. 'full of passionate intensity'.

      It could also be read as 'The parties that aren't the CPC do a lousy job of engaging people and are therefore lame'.

  21. Yeah in my opinion this was done in part to skew the census in favour of fundamentalist Evangelicals and other religions, but somehow the CPC did not take into account that many other churches would be aghast.

    I could be wrong – any word from McVety or his organizations on the census?

  22. A 'census' is, by definition, not voluntary, hence the Harper government's introduction of a voluntary 'household survey'. The results from a census would, by definition, be reliable; the results from a survey not so much. And the Harper government is counting on their assumption that Canadians are too dumb to know the difference and wouldn't care if they did.

    • And the long form census is NOT a census as it does not go to the entire population but only a select number – you know, just like a survey that the MSM seems to be in love with when they can get a big headline from it.

      The only census is the short form.

      The long form is a survey (it is a big survey on a national level, but at a provincial/municipal survey it is actually quite small. For example in a community of 5,000 with an average of four people per household, there would be 1,250 households – the long form is currently sent to only 250 of those (1 in 5) – under the voluntary long form it would be sent to 1 in 3 (or 312 hourseholds). I know that the basic demographic information (age, gender) can be taken from covered population data that every provincial health department keeps and most publish on the internet. The number of households (including size, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc) can be gained from property tax data that every municipality maintains. The long form collects information that will be out of date when the results are published and is unclear why it is being collected to begin with (why DOES the government need to know how much time everyone in the household spend on various household chores??? Answer please??)

      As a survey the question of reliability relates to if the responses received profile the general population – this is an implementation question. A possible solution would be distribute the short form census in 2011 as planned, collect and analyze the results by 2012 and publish the results. That would provide the baseline profile for a long form survey in, say 2013, and the results form the long form survey can then be compared to the profile defined in the short form from 2011. And if Stats Canada can't figure the methodology problem out then I think they just don't want to because it would mean that they would have to do something different – which most public employees don't want to do.

      • And BTW show me any survey that is not voluntary!!!

  23. * Golf clap *

  24. I suspect that Mr Philbin wrote this article with a tongue in cheek attitude. The scary part is that he could be absolutely right.