So it appears that the Vancouver Province Editorial Page Editor Gordon Clark is not a fan of either the census or me. In a piece the other day (which someone kindly forwarded on to me) he become the lone person in the country to defend Industry Minister Clement’s decision to end the Long Form Census.
His reason? In his own words:
Clement is right when he says the data from a voluntary form may be more accurate than under the current forced scheme, which resulted, for example, in 55,000 Canadians listing “Jedi” as their religion in the last census. It makes you wonder how accurate the rest of it was despite its $567-million cost. For that kind of money shouldn’t those StatsCan folks be curing cancer or something?
Actually, Clement is not right. There isn’t a statistician in the country who would agree with this opinion. Indeed, I dare Gordon Clark to produce a single statistician at a university, or even a polling firm, who will agree with this statement. I’ve got about a 1000, and indeed, their professional organization, who feel otherwise. So Clark’s defense is built on a lie. But then, since this whole debate is about replacing facts with opinions, should we be surprised?
But that’s reasoned fact part of this blog post, there’s a juicier little tidbit…
Over at Gordon Clark’s twitter page, take a look at his bio:
See that line that proudly states “The Province, the best-read newspaper in Canada west of Toronto.”
Interesting that, isn’t it?
So how does Gordon know that The Province newspaper is the best read paper west of Toronto? Well, he relies on NADbank, which produces regular reports about newspaper readership. But dig a little deeper. In the technical report that outlines the survey’s methodology I’ll give you one guess on how NADbank ensures it has an accurate cross section of Canadians so that Gordon Clark can accurately and proudly claim his paper is the best-read in Western Canada.
Again… one chance…
How about… the census! Yes, the census – including references to data collected by the long form – is mentioned no less than 20 times in the report and is essential to enabling NADbank to do its survey.
So not only does Gordon Clark wish to replace fact with opinion, he has no idea how the census – especially the long form – impacts almost every aspect of his life, including his ability to brag. Of course, if he wants to he could change his bio to say:
I’m in charge of the editorial pages and write a weekly column for The Province, a newspaper in western Canada that we aren’t really sure how many people read.
But somehow that doesn’t have the same punch, does it?
As an aside, it is worth noting that while NADbank has The Province as the most-read newspaper in western Canada the Canadian Newspaper Association survey shows the Vancouver Sun has a bigger paid circulation (by quite a margin). I suppose if you give away enough free copies, you too can boost your readership…