I’ve been away from Canada for four of the past five weeks, and it’s always fun to return and see what’s been missed. A comprehensive review:
1. The dominant domestic news story of the past month hinges on the intricacies of statistical analysis.
2. Finally demonstrating a populist touch, Michael Ignatieff has started production on his own Speed sequel: If his party’s popularity in opinion polls falls below 25 per cent, the Liberal Express explodes! (Subplot: If the bus keeps stopping for Timbits, the occupants of the Liberal Express explode!)
3. Conrad Black has apparently tunneled out of prison and escaped.
4. Upon being informed of No. 3, David Radler has soiled himself.*
* Not reported, but a safe assumption.
Don’t ever change, Canada.
Personally, I don’t understand what all the fuss is about with the census. On one hand, the Harper government’s move to scrap the mandatory long form has been condemned by statisticians, economists, pollsters, provincial and municipal governments, CEOs, labour and charitable groups, dogs and cats, the sentient, everyone who passed sixth-grade math and the small but influential niche of fetishists whose only sexual gratification is derived from obligatory paperwork. But on the other hand, Jim Flaherty thinks census data can be probably collected voluntarily without losing its integrity. Stalemate.
The Globe has reported that Stephen Harper is banishing the mandatory long form out of “deep philosophical conviction.” He’s a libertarian, you see. Hates government in all its forms. And over the past four years, we’ve seen the Prime Minister repeatedly demonstrate his ardent philosophical disdain for government by greatly expanding it, giving it more and more money to spend and celebrating its ever greater intrusion into our economy and social fabric. Because that’ll learn it!
But hey, fine, now he’s a libertarian. And I’m cool with that. After all, with the census rendered useless, we can now look forward to Harper staying true to his deep philosophical convictions and banning the mandatory income tax form. Why does the government want to know how much money I make and how much tax I’ve paid? That’s personal information! Why does government force me to fill out a tax form under threat of fine or jail? Mitts off, Big Brother. Surely a voluntary tax form will result in the exact same amount of money being paid to government.