The Drowning of Tony Clement’s Credibility -

The Drowning of Tony Clement’s Credibility

Spare a thought for the minister in charge of Statistics Canada—or, as it will soon be known, Vague Hunches Canada


Let us pause now and spare a thought for poor Tony Clement. The minister in charge of Statistics Canada – or, as it will soon be known, Vague Hunches Canada – is not that different from you or me. He has a job. He likes his job. He wants to keep his job.

But to keep his job, Tony Clement must now wake up each morning, walk out into the world and say things that make him sound like a wet-lipped halfwit.

In defending the government’s changes to the census, Tony Clement must:

a) …repeatedly say and pretend to believe things that only the profoundly uneducated and our least savvy domestic pets could accept to be true.

Clement: A greater sample size in the long form will make up for the absence of a mandatory component.

My dog: Ruf!

Clement: I sense Senate material!

/ Dog licks self.

Clement: I sense Senate material!

b) …perpetuate a campaign of fear-mongering that even the most dedicated mongers of fear would hesitate to monger: Defenceless grandmothers receive the long form and get a’scared that they will be going to jail! PEOPLE OF CANADA: THE LIBERALS AND NDP ARE FIXIN’ TO SEND YOUR GRANDMAMAS TO JAIL!!!!!!!

(Alas, Clement was ultimately outmongered by Stockwell Day, who in a typically classy move picked out a tasteful Nazi theme and darkly inquired if it’s right that the government can ask your neighbour “whether she is a Jew or not? Don’t you find that one even a little bit chilling?” Honest answer: Not as chilling as the prospect of a foreign guest discovering we’ve handed control of government spending to a guy who believes man and triceratops co-existed.)

c) … make that nice Munir Sheikh fellow cry. Poor Munir Sheikh: He devoted his professional life to statistics and now must endure the sight of Slick Tony Clement fondling the number nine, tongue-kissing the number seven and paying for plastic surgery to turn that frumpy number six into a full-figured eight.

I ask you: Is there no one among us brave enough to leap into the water, swim out, swim back and ultimately leave it to a much older man to rescue Tony Clement’s credibility?

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The Drowning of Tony Clement’s Credibility

  1. best punditting of the silly season about all of this absurdity!!!! awesome job feshchuk! now a caption contest-based on the themes discussed here in is order i think….

  2. I am not sure that you are giving Clement enough credit in the brave rescue.
    1) If he had not distracted the dastardly undertow, what chance would the poor woman have had ?
    2) Do you have any idea how hard it is to swim while thumbing about how hard it is to swim?

    • Let me just make a little point that rivers don't have undertows, the flow of rivers is generally refereed to as current.
      I keep making the point and it seems to be lost on most people.

  3. "Tony Clement must now wake up each morning, walk out into the world and say things that make him sound like a wet-lipped halfwit."

    And we all know what a stretch that is for a member of Harper's Dream Team Cabinet.

    • Clement = "wet-lipped halfwit" Great comment We are still laughing!! Thanks you guys, we need that!

  4. Rescue Tony Clement's credibility?

    Good Lord man! A miracle right off the hop? Couldn't we start with something easy like getting the PM to welcome Helena Geurgis back into caucus with open arms, and work up from there?

    • Too funny!!, nice to get a laugh about our MP's & the government. Not much to smile about lately.

  5. But…but…the left / lib elities…ummm…Iffy….ummm….*must cling to straws*

    • Feschuk is an elite?

      • Also: a terrific kisser!

        • Pets don't count.

          I blame those Taste events you hosted – you gotta get out there and do something *common* to reestablish your street cred. Maybe a Maclean's weenie roast at Coyne's cottage?

    • there was one of the those kind (albeit smelly) free hugs people walking by here a minute ago holinmn, should i send him your way?

    • Yes, I think if readers realized that they weren't responding to you, but a satire of you, the thumbs would have been up, not down.

      • Speaking for myself, I thumbs-down-ed because I'm not a fan of handle-nabbing. There's no need for that on comment boards like this.

    • In spite of the poor thumb rating, Hollinm, I laughed out loud. Good on you!

  6. His mom says he's cool.

  7. I just looked at Wherry's photo of Clement – is he wearing lipstick and has he had a girly manicure with pinky/coral nail polish?

    • In an effort to save taxper monies, harper is sharing his Mary Kay kit with cabinet. You should see Baird in that nude "pillowtalk" shade of lip gloss — PLUS it's flavoured.

      • Harper is sharing his Mary Kay kit with cabinet.

        Do they get chakra readings from his psyhcic hairdresser too?

      • Brilliant – You guys should have your own show!

  8. Thanks for breathing some fun new life into this tedious scandal. A statistics scandal, how typically Canadian.

  9. Scott Feschuk wrote:
    "Also: a terrific kisser! "

    Sorry Scott…..Liberal ass doesn't count, though I'm sure Mr. Reid appreciates the attention.

    Keep hoping though….if Iggy ever becomes the PM, you can be sure your association with the Libs will pay off handsomely.

    • why shouldn't it count?

    • Yes, hopefully Scott is smart enough to delete all his over the top praise of the Liberals of late. It is EVERYWHERE on his blog. Take screen shots for the War room stat.

  10. Remember folks while all of this stuff about the census is capturing the media's attention Ignatieff is riding the bus and is not getting much airtime. Could it be the dastardly Conservatives have plotted this whole thing so the media would ignore Ignatieff?

    • Which one of you is this?

      • Stewart_Smith………..I did write this one under my handle hollinm. However, the other one was written as hollimn. I know I upset the lefties on this board but it is sad when someone has to resort this kind of juvenile tactic.

        • Glad to have the authentic version back.

    • Wasn't that Apps' whole strategic intent?

    • I was thinking that perhaps Stephen Harper has been out shoplifting these past few weeks.

    • That's like burning down your house so nobody notices the new wallpaper in the neighbor's spare room. Good job.

    • Hardly a Conservative ploy…in general, the more Ignatieff coverage, the better for the Conservatives!

      • Perhaps it time for a well educated PM with experienced cabinet ministers. The present cabinet is too full of screw-ups. Thats why they can only speak with permission from above.

    • I've been too busy with work and spending between times trying to enjoy the summer, but this scandal is so preposterous that I'll bet it's a decoy for something else the Cons are doing. Not sure what, but Harper and his bright assistant Ray Novak seem too bright to press this asinine policy this far without a motive.

      • McC says below that he thinks its about the fighter plane purchase. Hmmm.

        • just a guess.

      • TRUE!!

    • We don't elect new PMs in this country, we toss bad ones out of office. Don't slam the door on your way out Mr Harper!

      • I might just hold the door for him as he leaves so that it doesn't hit him in the behind. Would hate for him to have to stand all the way home.

  11. A bit confusing, but nevertheless wittier than James Halifax's contribution.

    • Incidentally, that's the first comment I've ever seen get removed by an administrator. Did it really manage to outdo J. Halifax, Jarrid et al. in the vulgar purveyance of blind, paranoid rage? Zounds…

      • Nah, it was advertising spam.

        I once had a comment deleted due to multiple reporting flags – strictly due to unpopularity of the position – there was nothing venemous, profane, or nasty about it.

        • Can't remember the specific comment, but one I saw months ago was particularly hateful and abusive. I clicked the Report link and the comment was taken care of. Impressive and timely work by the staff here.

          • I griped about having mine deleted, as it was honestly benign. Apparently, it's an automic feature – the comment gets removed for review by the software if some number of reports are clicked, but can be reinstated by administration.

  12. Vague Hunches Canada! LOL

    • Soon to be staffed entirely by a 12 year old with an internet connection.

      • will we have to pay for his/her internet connection?

        long-suffering taxpayer

        • Only in the sense that he can write it off as a business expense.

        • Yes. And you'll be required to provide fingerprints and bathroom counts to RevCan while have a provincially sponsored, federally funded proctology exam in the process…

      • Does Pierre Poilievre have broadband?

        • Maxime Bernier may have a broad band. Not sure if he's still allowed near university campuses though.

        • Yeah, but he's an 8bit computer on a Megabit pipe.

  13. That is such a good column. I might just print it, and frame it.

    We need more people to be that savage in the media and in the HoC. Canada lies upon the sacrificial altar, tied up like a goat.

    Who knows, Harper and Day just might see it that way – sacrificing the old Canada for the New Canada. Don't they call themselves The New Canadian Government?

    They're definitely cutting Canada's throat right now, and the rest of the country seems either powerless or indifferent. Makes me wonder what was the point of my father joining the Navy at 18 and going to war for. Apparently, it meant nothing.

    • do you really mean that comment about the navy? that seems a little strong comparing fighting murderous nazis to statistics issues (wait, you stole that from toews)

  14. Clement looks like a goofy creep.

    • Now, now Margaret. That is not nice or necessary.

      If he was only capable of delivering sound judgement and a convincing argument, I couldn't care if he looked like John Wayne Gacy

      • With or without the clown suit?

  15. I'm adding "capable of anything up to and including anything" to my c.v., that's just gold!

    • I agree. That's just priceless. I might tweak mine to say "Capable of anything, up to and including everything", in case we apply for the same position.

      • your amended version would also be helpful if 'writing skills' are among the essential qualifications.

  16. Ironic that the only man to have fouled his files up so obviously and undeniably that he actually got the boot from Harper's cabinet is the one guy who has more influence than sitting cabinet ministers.

    Maxime Bernier: not trusted with the nation's secrets, yet permitted to run the government from his hideout in the Beauce.

  17. While I also dislike Stephen Harper and his band of scary men, let's not overreact here.
    This is bad government, not the apocalypse.

    • Yeah, the apocalypse will come with the majority government.

      • LOL!

      • LMAO!!

      • ROFLMAO!

  18. Haha, I like when Russell shows up once a week or so to say what everyone's thinking.

    • spot on

    • I enjoyed the part where he opined that people like Stockwell Day shouldn't be allowed to vote, let alone run for office. Then he warns: "Be be very f**kin' afraid!" Satiric gold.

    • Tell me, what did he say? I missed it, the moderator was quicker on the trigger.

      • Imagine all the ruthless, unfiltered truth you can handle in a single comment, times that by a million, and you come somewhere close to understanding.

        • wow, i guess i really missed out

          • as will our children's children.

        • Until now, my life goal was to live a life worthy of being eulogized by As It Happens, now it's to write a comment on a MacLeans blog post that gets eulogized by Olaf.

    • Why did Barth's comment get deleted? He didn't say anything terribly unusual for this site (other than the part about how Stockwell Day shouldn't be allowed to vote…but what's so offensive about that?).

      • Good question. I don't remember anything particularly offensive either.

        • Sean's comment above may explain

          • If it was deleted for point of view, that would be ridiculous.
            But anyway that can't be it: this is a Feschuk thread – any anti-Harper sentiment will be met with general approval. There's a comment up above claiming that Harper is "cutting Canada's throat" with at least 14 upratings – Barth's comment had at least 9. And anyway, Barth was only expressing the kind of paranoia that many commenters (and one columnist) have expressed repeatedly on these boards over the past week.

            So I don't get it. Was it the use of the (edited) f-word? That seems bizarre; people do that fairly frequently too. Someone directed one at me just yesterday.

          • Barth was only expressing the kind of paranoia that many commenters (and one columnist) have expressed repeatedly…

            Heh. The government abolishes the mandatory long form over fears that non-respondents shall be hauled off in chains to dank oubliettes—with one minister critiquing the census by way of the obligatory Nazi reference—but it's the government's critics who are paranoid. Naturally.

            As for Barth's comment, I did not find it offensive. I did find it a bore, however. Moreover, its style was execrable. Good riddance, and plaudits to Scott for enforcing some aesthetic standards on these boards. I wish more columnists did likewise, and not merely only out of the swinishly self-interested desire to see a certain set of prolific yet semi-literate Pleistocene throwbacks consigned to a richly earned oblivion.

          • Speaking of us prolific yet semi-literate Pleistocene throwbacks, I think you included a redundancy there in the form of "merely only". Do they have Quill-Check available for purchase in Elizabethan England?

          • Thanks for sharing your editorial acumen. Shame about the deeply inaccurate self-identification.

            Do they have Quill-Check available for purchase in Elizabethan England?

            I must visit the Carp branch of the OPL and check whether they have a copy available for loan.

          • I actually laughed out loud about the quill-check.
            Sir Francis shouldn't be such an insufferable bore. Although, we should thank him for taking a moment to stop powdering his wig and help teach the lower classes a thing or two. I hope he didn't get his gloves dirty.

  19. “I ask you: Is there no one among us brave enough to leap into the water, swim out, swim back and ultimately leave it to a much older man to rescue Tony Clement’s credibility?”

    Nice ;-)

    • "… a much older man to resue Tony Clement's credibility". Hmm, he wouldn't accept a rescue from anyone but a Con, and likely a man; hmm, an old Con man……. Hey what's Mulroney been up to lately and what does he think of this issue? Oh, I missed the "credibility" word.

  20. My goodness Scott, even the Globe is quoting you! You've gone viral

    • Not to worry though; some penicillin should clear that right up.

      • penicillin only good for bacterial, not viral…

        • Way to let the facts get in the way of doubtful joke.

  21. Great closer!

  22. seriously. The census 'change' is a media management tool to limit coverage and discussion of the HST.

    Then again, managing the 'media' is one of the few things this gang can do right.

    That, and nationalize car companies. They can do that too.

    • I thought it was media management about the fighter planes purchase? (PS when is Michael Petrou or someone going to write about the JSF order? I have lots of questions: too expensive? too few planes? the right/wrong plane for our needs? can it patrol the arctic? is single engine versatile/safe enough? do piloted planes even matter in the 21st C? etc.)

  23. I'd like to nominate Scott's dog for an award, to recognize his charming and eerily realistic portrayal of 'dog talking to Tony Clement'.

    • kinda like that SNL skit with Mark Wahlberg: "hey donkey…"

    • It struck me as a rather cynical ploy to get a Senate appointment.

  24. I couldn't give two hoots about the census. Let it die.

    • and I thought owls were supposed to be wise….

    • Are you an educated statistician? An expert on the relationship between governmnet being properly informed and effective governing? No? Ah, now I see where your opinion comes from… you pulled it out of your ass! Well, there's an opinion worth hanging on to! Brilliant!

  25. I'm pro mandatory census.

    But isn't this just another thing that the Government will successfully wait out? Like prorogation? Like detailed geographic stimulus data?

    I regret that these issues simply aren't meaningful enough to convince the government to compromise. Why should they change? There will be no fallout.

    I guess I've finally become cynical. Thanks Steve.

    • Agreed. What's interesting to think about is: while each of these ill-informed decisions seems to blow over with a little time, is it registering with the public that it's one-more-piled-on-one-more-piled-on-one-more? Will there be a last straw? I think Harper counts on there being no last straw. Sadly, he's probably right.

      • No Derek! We can't give up hope! Damn; I'm almost there too. I gave Bob Rae a weak handshake at a conference last week.

    • Where were you when Chretien was in charge? Don't be a weenie . . .

      • I was 12 when he was first elected, so presumably, I had youthful optimism.

        But at least he balanced the books.

  26. I wanna know what Russ said!

    • All you need to know: Anything. Anything! ANYTHING!!!!!!

    • Adults who are prone to primitive thinking have other characteristics. Many are ill educated and proud of it. Many are adherents to fundamentalist religions and proud of it. Many are in favor of the death penalty and proud of it. Many are patriotic in the extreme. Many are drawn to conspiracy theories. These characteristics may suggest that they are fearful “little people” projecting false bravado, who got stuck in childhood black and white thinking, and who have failed to develop empathy and compassion for their own “self” and for others as adults.

  27. Stockwell day does indeed take the fearmongering cake – "Who's a Joooooo? Whoooo's a Jooooo?"

    "Eeeek! The census people are nazis!"

    They are going to try and turn us into the same ignorant rabble we see south of the border and we should not allow it to happen.

    The 30% (or so) of Canadians who support these ignorant ideologues ought to have their heads examined.

  28. I think Scott should bring back his Kirsti Alley fat jokes because this article is just plain unfunny .

    • You should get your funny bone looked at, it might be fractured.

      • Some people consider Corner Gas and Dan for Mayor funny.Are you part of that group as well.

    • Don't encourage him.

  29. Sadly, given Clement's credibility, I wonder if there is any verification of his version of events at the river.

  30. And you call this journalism. It reads more like a little girl having a nasty fit.

    • An *elite* little girl, if you don't mind.

    • And you call this commenting, it reads more like a little Con trying to be clever.

      • Sorry to disappoint you little guy, but I have no appetite to be a member of any party.

        • Nor clever.

          • Thank you! Coming from you, I consider that a vast improvement.

          • So you're a non-partisan wet-lipped half-wit?

          • Holly asked:
            "So you're a non-partisan wet-lipped half-wit? "

            Well, Holly, it beats the alternative. Would you prefer he take a page from your book and become a humourless hyper-partisan Liberal who spends most of their day drooling over non-events you perceive to provide some semblance of positive coverage for the Russian nobleman?

          • JamesHalifax accusing someone of being a humourless hyper-partisan – now that is funny.

          • I think anyone who does not agree with you is a wet-lipped half-wit in your book, and I will gladly carry that badge with pride, thank you! Must be a burden to have such a big head.

      • perfect response.

  31. That is quite wicked, if a little unkind to the wet-lipped half-wits among us.

    To add to the mix if I may, here's a piece on the Backwoods influence on King Stephen's Court and Sun Media.

  32. Picture Clement in Dominatrix costume, with some willing Canadians kneeling down before him. Everytime he raises his whip for Canadian to fill out the census form, people cried Alleluhja! Mandatory census anyone!

    • "Picture …"
      why on earth would I want to do that?!

    • Really, Ariadne, there are websites out there for this kind of thing. Macleans isn't one of them. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

    • I can't picture it because Clement is so obviously a submissive.

  33. Census change is about smaller government.

    A GOOD idea unless your lunch ticket is the taxpayer's dollar.

    Canada should be a country of individual initiative, not one of collective dependence “justified” through the collection of data for a daily bombardment of cooked-up statistical justifications of predetermined conclusions for the benefit of well co-ordinated activist/advocacy campaigns.

    Ultimately, Canadians form two groups: those that receive from the government and those that pay to the government.
    Those who form — or are constituent to — organizations dependent on government policy (and spending) are firmly against the changes to the census.
    Those on the other side are largely ambivalent because they are the large, unorganized and unsubsidized net taxpaying masses.

    All the rest is partisan political posturing by a leftish MSM and a discredited and idea-less liberal party who, like Dickens' Miss Havisham, is trapped in her decaying mansion, fixated on the past, where nothing ever changes and the clock stopped 30 or 40 years ago.

    • Hear, hear!

      • Brought to you by the same people who appoint creationists and orther ignoramuses to cabinet. They haven't evolved to the level of having clocks yet.

        • Wow! A self proclaimed " intelligencia" who is willing to blindedly hand a signed privacy blank cheque without knowing the details. Yeah, If that's what it means to be intelligent, you are very welcome to it.

        • There are dinosaurs amongst us.

    • Yup, saving that ole taxpayer dollar sure makes sense when it's going to cost an extra 30 million now.

    • So you receive nothing from the government and are only a payer of taxes?

      Does this mean you don't drive on highways, get defended by the military, use medical services, fly on air-traffic-controlled planes or otherwise use any services paid for by government? Does your non-use of government services extend to provincial and municipal services like traffic lights, purified water, public transit, schools, parks and sewers or is it restricted to federal services?

      Does this include all the bridges which have been repaired under the stimulus program – or will you cross them when you come to them?

      Just out of curiosity, where do you place members of Canada's military? Are they members of "organizations dependent on government policy (and spending)" or are they part of the "unorganized and unsubsidized net taxpaying masses"? Certainly, you will agree their "lunch ticket is the taxpayer's dollar". What about members of the medical profession?

    • Even a stopped clock tells the right time, twice a day. Unlike the results of the census long form, now.

  34. There was a Conservative named Tony,
    All that he said was baloney,
    He's downplayed the census,
    He's lost all his senses,
    That phony baloney named Tony.

    • A lost art form.


    • Get a last line that adds a final wicked punch, rather than just repeating what you've said before, and you'll have yourself a real winner.

      • It's a limerick – it's supposed to repeat in the last line!

    • How about this as an ending, "That phony Harper crony named Tony."

  35. What will happen if it's Harper's actual plan to make this long form mandatory and way longer, but knowing the penchant of the opposition to automatically oppose anything without thinking, he pre-empt them by taking the opposite side and let them do the defending of his actual plan? Quite genius! Now we are stuck with longer census and with more invasive questions. Of all the howling from self declared "highly thinking" people, none ever ask what questions are in the future census, and how long is actually long? Morons!

    • Harper's Conservatives have a CIMS database;

      "…Garth Turner, a former Tory Member of Parliament who now sits as a Liberal, has now said that when he sat as a Tory, Conservatives were required to use the system to not only track a constituent's allegiance to the party, but also to collect personal information about constituents that might come to light when the constituent contacted the parliamentarian.
      "Any time a constituent is engaged with a member of Parliament, they get zapped into the database," Turner said. "It's unethical and it's a shocking misuse of data."…"

      No doubt every Conbot pontificating about pricacy here is already fully exposed on the Conservatives' private database. It's just that Harper doesn't want anyone else to have such information.

      • Garth is worse than a partisan hack – he's just a self-absorbed hack who thinks everything who he has to say is important. I think he actually believes the stuff he makes up.

        • I once attended a seminar where Garth was a speaker, it was about RRSP Investing. Had I listened to him, I would have lost an arm and a leg. To use him as a fountain of truth and reference, from self proclaimed above us the common masses in intelligence, is just so laughable.

    • Adriadne – are you suggesting Harper has a very sinister hidden agenda? I know your anti-thinking but you may want to give it a try.

  36. This is the worst article of an author's rant…just as bad as he claims his subject is.

  37. Time for Minister Clement to feel the love…

    Thankfully, there's still more than one way to be counted in this country. If you're opposed to the Harper government's move to abolish the mandatory long form census, it's time to do something concrete about it:

    1.Contact the opposition riding association of your choice in Minister Clement's riding of Parry Sound – Muskoka and make a donation and/or volunteer for the next federal election campaign. Websites below:

    Parry Sound – Muskoka Federal Liberal Association

    Parry Sound – Muskoka NDP Riding Association

    Parry Sound – Muskoka Green Party

    2.Send an email message to Minister Clement's riding association ( ) expressing your opposition to the government's decision to abolish the mandatory long form census, and telling them that you are donating funds and/or your time to help ensure Minister Clement does not return to Ottawa.

    Maybe they can talk some sense into him…

    • Now the true reasons for the howling comes about. What an oily sneaky opportunist. Oh how we will remember those sites and parties, believe me..

  38. If I remember correctly Clement, Baird and Flaherty were all members of the Mike Harris A team and now are the bright lights of Team Harper–and they still lead in the polls? Astounding I say! Another great column Scott!

  39. Funny as a fight over stats may be, the truly frightening thing is the fact that Clement, Day and other Harper friends are running the government and changing the way we live. What I want to know is who the heck keeps voting for these people?

  40. Another bloody Liberal or possibly even farther off the scale …rant.
    The long census form is invasive , asks questions that are totally delving into areas of privacy.
    The Government neither needs or wants this information.
    I for 1 say BRAVO for having the balls to omit the long form as mandatory for those unfortunate enough to have been chosen to complete it.

  41. What I don't understand is why Tony didn't just walk on water to save the poor woman.

    That's gotta be easier than defending the voluntary long form. LOL

  42. Merle H: "Census change is about smaller government. "

    No, it's about obfuscatig the facts so people can't compare this government's performance to previous governments.

    The last census was 2006.

    The CPC took power in 2006, so this census would be ammo in the opposition's pocket.

    The Auditor General's report on the stimulus spending is just around the corner.

    I wonder how they'll dodge that? LOL

  43. Tony Clement keeps referring to questions that are NOT on the census, but on the Survey of Household Spending, which is voluntary.
    The long form census questions are not invasive –all personal information is stripped.
    Last census, each person counted in BC meant a transfer payment from the federal government of $1200/year for 5 years, while every person counted in the Yukon meant a transfer payment of $23,000/year for 5 years. If people knew how important census information is to them personally, they would be more than willing to fill in the long form census.
    Aboriginals fill out the Aboriginal People's Survey (again, voluntary) knowing that their responses are likely to get them additional monies.
    If all Canadians knew why they should be filling out the census (i.e. for their own good), there would be little resistance to the long form. There will always be unwilling persons … fine them $100 don't waste money prosecuting. There are few things that are mandatory for Canadian citizens to do … surely, answering 52 questions isn't too much to ask.

  44. I resent your crude socialist attack on Mr. Clement, the only Canadian minister capable of saving drowning victims from the unmitigated outrage of having to fill out The Stat Form (a well-known Communist plot promoted by both Stalin and Jack Layton!). Surely you have better things to do with your time, Scott, than to cast doubt on the competence of a man who cares more about his constituents (in dollar figures) than any other minister in our blessed government. Is YOUR MP spending millions to build portable toilets, streams, rivers, and auditoriums in your miserable socialist riding, eh?

    And as for your insulting Mr. Day, why, Sotckwell never claimed that man walked with triceratops. God forbid! But he was indeed sighted there on the Hill, by some Amway representatives, walking with other Neanderthals from his own cabinet. Honest, Scott!

  45. Well actually, if I recall from my stats training, volunteers tend to tell more on surveys than those who are filling it out as a "must do" to avoid whatever… So, technically "A greater sample size in the long form will make up for the absence of a mandatory component."

    A POSSIBLE SOLUTION: Simply give everyone the same form, and allow all questions to be optional. Then when they go back, key in what you get.

    But all of this hoolaballah leaves out some interesting questions:

    1) Do we even need a census?
    2) Assuming we need one, exactly what questions need to be asked?
    3) When would be best to ask them?
    4) How often?
    5) Should we allow people to opt out for moral, religious, cultural, or philosophical reasons?
    6) If we do not allow people to opt out of answering, wouldn't it just be simpler to use the death penalty on these people? Then we would not have to waste any more resources on them. That would guarantee answers, no?
    7) Who should ask the questions, and what authority should they have?
    8) Who should get the answers, and what should we do with them?
    9) Do we actually use or need any of the theoretical information generated, which in itself, due to the way we do it now, is still a mere approximation of the whole?
    10) How do we know that any of the information gathered is accurate?

    There are other questions, but for this kind of essay and thinking, I have to be paid.
    When Macleans sends its good cheque, I guarantee that I will produce an essay even better than such a one that either Feschuck, or Amiel could produce, either alone, or working together…..