'You try to limit the amount of state coercion that you have'

While Tony Clement continues to try to defend his department’s census changes, Stephen Gordon tallies the potential damage done.

But 2011 will be different. Unless the federal government reverses its decision, researchers will be obliged to put an asterisk next to numbers from the 2011 census, with a footnote explaining that because these data were not calculated using the same methodology, they are not strictly comparable to previous numbers.

And since we’re talking about using the census to look at long-run trends, here’s a summary of the history of questions that have been asked since the first census in 1871. It’s an awful lot of history to flush away.