Over at the CBC the ever resourceful Kady O’Malley has posted documents from Statistics Canada surrounding the decision to make the long form of the census voluntary.
She’s starting to notice some interesting bits, here’s two I saw that she might want to add to the list.
First, there are two lines written by public servants that seems to run counter to Minister Clement’s defense of eliminating the long form last week
There is this statement referring to both the short and long form of the census:
Census information is used in planning schools, community health services, housing needs, daycare and emergency services and other important services for our communities.
Worse still, this next one refers explicitly to the long form (renamed the National Household Survey or NHS in this memo):
The NHS questionnaire will cover topics such as language, immigration, Aboriginal peoples, mobility, ethnicity, education, labour, income and housing.
The information in the NHS will provide data to support government programs directed at target populations. Information from the NHS will also support provincial/territorial and local government planning and program delivery.
So here is an official government memo that appears to run counter to Minister Clement’s argument last week that the only special interests were benefiting (and were thus opposed) to changes in the census. As we see here (and as I argued last week) the biggest users of this data are government who use it to ensure that programs (say for the elderly) are targeted effectively and so tax dollars used efficiently.
More importantly, the document seems to recognize that the provinces/territories and municipalities are huge stakeholders in this process – wouldn’t that suggest they should have been consulted before hand?
Indeed, Kady points this out in her piece by highlighting a comment that vainly tries to raise the flag that “stakeholders” (read other ministries, the provinces/territories, municipal governments, the bank of Canada, the list could go on for about 300+ organizations) should be consulted.
The other interesting piece from the documents that I noted was this hilarious comment (comment number 7) of which I’ve taken a screen shot.
I love the comment! “If this that important why not mandatory?
Ah the lonely voice of reason, hidden in a comment bubble of a MS Word document.
Huge credit to Kady O’Malley for doing the hard work of getting these documents and for being a grade journalist and posting them online. If you do link to this post, please also link to hers (again found here).