Memos show Conservatives twisted census findings - Macleans.ca
 

Memos show Conservatives twisted census findings

Tony Clement knew StatsCan had little use for voluntary census, emails show


 

Newly released internal government documents show Industry Minister Tony Clement was well aware Statistics Canada had little use for a voluntary census when he was telling Canadians StatsCan was onside with his decision to scrap the mandatory, long-form survey. In an email to the minister’s advisers last March, a StatsCan official wrote that a self-administered survey would provide a low response rate. Clement subsequently gave the impression the respected federal data collecting agency supported the Conservatives’ move to scrap the mandatory nature of the 40-page, long-form survey. The new information comes from confidential government documents that detail the federal government’s effort to manage the messaging and political fallout arising from the census decision, which prompted former StatsCan head Munir Sheikh to resign. Previously secret emails, memos and communications plans were compiled by the government at the request of the House of Commons industry committee, which has been holding hearings on Clement’s decision to rearrange StatsCan’s census-taking. The newly released documents also show the media messaging prepared by the government to handle questions on the new voluntary survey entirely skirted the issue of the quality of the data. Large sections of the documents were blacked out, which Liberal MP Dan McTeague, who requested the documents, called “a serious affront to democracy.”

Toronto Star


 
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Memos show Conservatives twisted census findings

  1. So the end of the previous Liberal government was fraught with misappropriation of funds and now we have a Conservative government that is proving all the "hidden agendas" nutjobs right.

  2. "Large sentences of the documents were blacked out,"

    National security?

    Solicitor-Client Privilege?

    Remembering that these documents were requested by a parliamentary committee–this wasn't ATI redacting–what's the excuse this time?

    • McTeague has clearly been sniffin some of those gas fumes that he likes to track so closely.

      THE DOCUMENTS WERE NOT BLACKED OUT!

      That would be a slimy way to avoid oversight and hinder the transparency which is the cornerstone of this government.
      The documents were REDACTED which is a process that is essential to maintaining the security of our country and the safety of our troops.

      Why would documents concerning the census have such sensitive information on them? Clearly Tony Clement is able to MULTI-TASK. This hero of a Minister not only is saving Canadians from StatsCan, he is working with our troops AND he jumped in the water, then got out, just before his wife and an old guy SAVED someone from DROWNING! ALSO PRINTING DOCUMENTS ON THE SAME PAPER IS GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT.

      When you lefties attack Clement you are attacking the troops, the environment and an almost hero!

      • If you're trying to save jarrid/wilson et. al. time from typing a variation of this, I admire your efforts.

        • Plus they never would have caught the environmental angle.

      • Stewart_Smith,

        Using the troops is a strategy for right-wing scoundrels.

      • THE DOCUMENTS WERE BLACKED OUT, AND ALMOST SURELY CONCEAL INFORMATION PERTAINING TO THE TORTURE OF CANADIANS IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE AND STATSCAN IN PARTICULAR!!!! IN FACT, IT IS PLAINLY OBVIOUS THAT THE GOVERNMENT CONDONED AND EVEN ENCOURAGED THIS TORTURE ALL THE WAY UP TO THE HIGHEST LEVELS, INCLUDING HARPER HIMSELF!!!!

        Also, it is plainly clear that the blacked out portions of the documents indicate that Harper really did pocket the wafer. Other redacted portions of the documents reveal a coordinated effort on the part of the government to detain or stop individuals entering Canada in a racist manner, SYSTEMATICALLY!!! They also reveal Cadman's bribe, a conspiracy to spread swine flu, extreme systematic campaign financing scandals by evil Conservatives, the location of conservative logos on millions of government cheques, extreme disparities in stimulus pork nationwide based on Conservative ridings, a conspiracy to make Dion look ridiculous really unfairly, Conservative staffers and ministers leaving REALLY TOP-SECRET STUFF on coffee tables everywhere, Conservatives calling all kinds of important issues SEXY and lots of CONSERVATIVE TASTELESS REMARKS about gays and people imprisoned in Mexico and lots of other SERIOUS stuff, and any number of other INCREDIBLE HORRIBLE scandals I can't remember right now.

        BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, WE KNOW THERE WAS TORTURE IN STATSCAN AND WE NEED AN INQUIRY! WE KNOW THIS BECAUSE OTHERWISE THERE WOULD BE NO BLACKED_OUT PORTIONS! ALSO, IF WE COULD GET MULRONEY ON THE STAND AGAIN THAT WOULD BE GOOD TOO!

  3. Clement's remarks are LIES, not just "distortions of the truth".
    Obfuscation appears to be a prime element of this government's policy.
    Of course, that could be attributed to the result of his political experience as a minister in Mike Harris' unfortunate term in office ! ! !

    • He's continuing the same lies even today. He is without shame.

  4. It's not the job of any government to twist the census data around, that's the responsibility of StatsCan alone

    • What's *your* job?

  5. The biggest story here is that portions of these documents were redacted. What excuse could they be possibly using to justify this? Any national security argument would be absolutely ludicrous. This is the clearest indication yet that national security is a flabby cover for their abuse of redaction to hide embarassing information, contrary to the national interest.

    • It's called STA. Save Tony's ass.

  6. Hey, Tony is on my TV right now. He's still telling lies.

  7. Tony Smumony
    you're so full of buloney,
    give us all a break
    jump in the Tory fake lake
    you're giving us a headache!
    By forbiddng Statscan
    to ask woman and man
    to help us all plan.
    The info we request
    is all for the best
    it's been put to the test!
    So Tony Spumony,
    quit being phoney,
    with your neo-con cacaphony!

    Other challengers to the MacLeans summer pundit poem contest?

  8. Word, a word-processing software application, created by Microsoft, a company based out of the U.S., has never heard of "redacting"

    WordPerfect, a word-processing software application, created by Corel, a Canadian company based out of Ottawa, has a specific button to click that allows you to block text and instantly "redact" that text.

    I think that says all that needs to be said.

      • Dammit all! I knew "created" was the wrong word. I just couldn't think of the right word (the one that means they didn't create it from scratch but they're the ones making small changes to it now) I decided nobody would notice.

        Foiled again!

        I searched my version(s) of Word for 'redact' and nothing came up. Funny that they have a tool, but it wasn't included in the software updates.

        • No worries, as the Aussies say. Most tech companies generally try to stay out of politics, but lately with Google in China and RIM in Saudi Arabia it's been getting more difficult for them to do so.

  9. This is the same government that invoked the "national security redaction bogeyman" when redacting documents relating to their calculations that showed tax leakage from income trusts. Why should secrecy regarding this or any other item that relates to the Harper government be surprising to any of us?

    I would have thought that we'd know better by now. If this government isn't all about hidden agendas, why don't they come clean on their discussions about issues that clearly do not relate to national security in any way.

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/

    • Surely, surely this spells an end to Clement's political career.

      If nothing else, the Liberals had better be shooting about a hundred campaign ads right now, featuring this liar and the evidence against him.

      • Surely, surely this spells an end to Clement's political career.

        Why? Clement was not forthcoming about the position of a civil service department that answers to the government. So what? The government runs the civil service, not the other way around.

        Bill Clinton was not honest about getting sexual favours from an intern in the oval office and that did not end his political career. Chretien and his ministers were in charge when a money-funneling scheme was funneling taxpayer money to Liberal party bank accounts and that did not end their political career.

        Tony Clement misrepresents the position of people who work for him and that is supposed to be career ending? You're in fantasy land.

        • "Tony Clement misrepresents the position of people who work for him and that is supposed to be career ending? "

          It should be, yes. But you're right, it won't be.

          And please, let's not use Chretien or Clinton as any kind of standard for how an honourable politician would act.

          • Well, I suppose I should at least concede that misrepresenting others is not good behaviour, but at the same time Clement was describing the position of a government organization, and not individuals working within the organization.

          • Insofar as he was describing the organization's position, he was describing the positions of the representatives within the organization who had formulated responses to his questions. Looks like he misrepresented those.

            Big caveat: the above stands only if this report is correct. It's (a) the Need-to-Know writer, and (b) the TorStar, so the report is dubious. But if it's correct, then Clement merits a demotion in my opinion.

  10. Statistics Canada had little use for a voluntary census

    This misrepresentation, which is commonly peddled by the media, is annoying, but not surprising with the current state of Canadian medla.

    The long form will become voluntary. The short form remains mandatory. The census as a whole is not voluntary.

  11. Sigh! More census bullsh!t. Get a life Liberals. How long you going to flog this!

  12. The less government intrusion and social engineering into our lives the better. That's one thing everyone can agree with because it always creates more problems than it solves.

  13. It's interesting to watch all of the media outlets use different ways to say that Clement was not being truthful, without saying he intentionally lied. The Globe says he was “giving bad information” and “misrepresenting” advice from Statistics Canada. Macleans says the Conservatives “twisted” census findings. So I guess, these days, you can tell “untruths,” give “bad information,” and “misrepresent” actual facts, and still not be telling a lie? I need to remember this next time I am late for dinner because of too many beers after work! In fact, I wonder what the legal standard is for being able to say someone lied, without being accused of defamation.

  14. Tony Clement: The Shaggy Defense

    Tony: Boss, every paper and news report says I was trying to manipulate Munir Sheikh and get Statscan to do our bidding. They've got emails and everything. What should I do?

    Steve: Tony, Tony. Has Shaggy taught you nothing?

    Tony: Pardon?

    Steve: Tell them it wasn't you. Ask me a question, one of those questions we won't let a journalist ask.

    Tony: Uhm, did you spend a billion on a photo op?

    Steve: Wasn't me.

    Tony: Why'd you cancel national child care?

    Steve: Wasn't me.

    Tony: Deny funding to all those women's groups?

    Steve: Wasn't me.

    Tony: I see what you mean. Simple and effective.

    Steve: My poll numbers always improve with a song. Now you try. Did you doctor Sheik's comments?

    Tony: Wasn't me.

    Steve: Tell Canadians Statscan supported us?

    Tony: Wasn't me.

    Steve: Call Canadians free riders?

    Tony: Wasn't me.

    Steve. Perfect. And if that doesn't work, tell them you've lived in Canada all your life, Ignatieff hates Quebec and he wants a coalition. Works every time.

  15. Ah politicians. Overpaid and useless. And might add. two hundred and fifty to many in office running our country. The biggest problem. They all fight for the one and only smart brain cell!