“Yeah, there are groups that are upset. … Hey, listen, they had a good deal going,” Mr. Clement said Thursday following a meeting with fellow MPs in Ottawa.
“They got good, quality data and the government of Canada was the heavy. We were the ones who were coercing Canadians on behalf of these private businesses, or other social institutions, or other governments and provinces, for this data. We were the ones threatening Canadians with jail times or with large fines.”
Yes, Clement’s story about the census has changed again (here are the previous stories).
So which “groups” are we talking about. Yes, you’re mind may go to the hundreds of charities and non-profits, religious organizations, businesses that have spoken out. That is certainly who Minister Clement wants you to think about.
But, as I’ve said repeatedly, the biggest user of census data is not these groups (although Canadians will miss their services too).
The biggest user is… Government. And the group that will suffer the most will be Government (and by proxy, Canadians, who can expect a less effective government as a result).
So, think of the biggest user is groups like Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (the kind of people you want to be effective when your country is still shedding jobs from a recession), Environment Canada, Health Canada, etc…
And of course, the biggest second users of this data are the Provinces.
The third? The cities!
Also note that in each of these cases the Federal Government charges for this data so no one is getting a free ride financially. This is in contrast to many other governments, like the United States federal government, which makes its census data available for free.
So let’s be clear, this isn’t about the minister taking on every religious organization in the country, most of the non-profits and many, many businesses. It’s about blinding government.