The fiscal conservative case for statistics


Lamenting for cuts at Statistics Canada, Vass Bednar and Mark Stabile suggest a fiscal conservative case for evidence-based policy.

These reductions have been masked under the compelling veil of “efficiency.” In reality, the cuts promise considerable future costs because they compromise the tools used to understand the state. This, in turn, has a high probability of leading to decisions that are no longer based on evidence, and therefore are likely to be ineffective uses of public money … Evidence-based policy-making requires just that — evidence — standard, reliable metrics whose quantification and legitimacy is widely agreed upon. In their absence, policy-making at all levels and in every sector will be as expensive as it is hopeful, while policy actors are forced to gingerly “guess and check” over time.


The fiscal conservative case for statistics

  1. Evidence and facts have a Liberal bias.

  2. Far more broad than just fiscal conservatism. It’s the non-stupid case for statistics.

  3. I noticed that one of the reports that was discontinued regarded healthcare statistics, namely those regarding residential care facilities. Does this not fall under the responsibiltiy of provincial governments? Were these statistics not duplicted? Also, many of the reports are now produced bi-yearly rather than quarterly. How can Bednar and Stabile suggest that because the reports are produced less often but provide more information, they somehow will lead to decisons that aren’t evidence-based?

    • “Does this not fall under the responsibiltiy of provincial governments?”

      The broader the sample, the more accurate the results.
      “Were these statistics not duplicated?”
      Redundancy acts as a check yielding more accurate results.
      “Also, many of the reports are now produced bi-yearly rather than quarterly.”

      Frequent sampling yields more accurate results

  4. PMO sponsored public opinion polls are a lot cheaper and provide all the measure of effectiveness our government of the day requires.

  5. The fact that anyone, anywhere, needs to “make a case” of ANY kind in favour of evidence-based policy is profoundly depressing.

    I just can’t believe that we’re actually having a discussion in this country about whether or not “knowing stuff” about issue X ought to be a precursor to developing policy around issue X. It’s like debating whether or not it’s important for a doctor to know where your appendix is before starting your appendectomy!!!

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