The great besmirchment

In an op-ed for the Sun, Tony Clement manages to twice cite the fact that the long form census includes a question about the number of bedrooms in one’s dwelling. It’s not clear if this is more or less an intrusion than the 1871 census (which asked if you could read or write) or the 1881 census (which asked if anyone in the dwelling was blind, deaf or of unsound mind), but here is StatsCan’s official explanation for its questions on housing arrangements.

Questions H1 to H8 provide information for government planners and private developers to develop housing communities and projects. This information contributes to many programs administered under the National Housing Act and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Act.

Information on the number of rooms and bedrooms in homes and on housing costs is combined with data on the number of persons in households to assess the economic situation of families in different regions. Provincial and municipal governments use this information to measure levels of crowding within households and to develop appropriate housing programs.

Information on the age of dwellings and their need for repairs is used by municipalities to develop neighbourhood improvement programs.

Stephen Gordon offers a simple rejoinder.