Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Census Complaints

Rosemary Barton, Carole MacNeil, and Evan Soloman all had a jolly good time on CBC Newsworld today laughing and joking about Statistics Canada's report that they only received 22 census complaints, and that this proves that the Tories lied about their reason to change the census law. So I decided to ask Tony Clement via the magic of Twitter:

"@TonyClement_MP How many census complaints came in e-mails from constituents to their MPs versus those sent directly to Stats Can?"

To which he responded:

"@pragmatictory Most census complaints would go to the MP. Like Lib MP I cited in the House, complaining about privacy & coercion."

And there you have it Rosie, this decision was not made because of the number of complaints being sent to Statistics Canada, they were being sent MPs and the Minister in charge of the census. It makes sense that people being harassed for information they deemed too personal were not complaining to the organization trying to force it out of them, but rather the people elected to run the government. Thank you CBC journalists for jumping to incorrect conclusions. I guess that's what happens when you hire Rosemary Barton to run these investigations. Better luck next time!


  1. I received the long form twice in a row and both times I made clear my views in the space provided. I hardly think only 20 of us did so. They are either lying or deceiving.

  2. Lots of people do not complain. I really resented all the money questions, but did not complain.

  3. When we were in business we were fed up with these forms (and rude, bullying conversations)- only after we contacted our MP did they stop

  4. MacNeil, Barton and Solomon should apologise for their outragous performance today - am done complaining to the CBC ombudsman

  5. I received the long form also, I did not complain either. What i did do was use a universal translator and converted every nonsensical answer I could dream of into Klingon and mailed it off.

    I wonder if my form of complaint or lack of compliance is among those 22, i doubt it.

    Also there are currently some 68 people headed to trial for blank refusal to fill it out. So how could there only be 22 complaints?

  6. I wouldn't complain to anyone. If some StatsCan clown was harassing me I'd punch his lights out if it were a man or turn the garden hose on them if it were a woman. As far as removing the jail term but keeping the fine for failure to fill out this nonsense (which will be all over the web for anyone to see within 5 minutes)I say no dice. Keep the jail time. I'd rather let the intrusive state feed and shelter me for six months while my pension checks pile up. (Besides, I'd be associating with a better class of people!)

  7. The lieberals and dippers want to KEEP the census and the long gun registry with modifications. The point in keeping this bullshit on the books will allow the them (Should they ever get back into power) to change the contents to whatever they choose with "orders in council" as they did with the Firearms Registry. The majority if not all the "Changes" in Bill C68 were done by order in council.

    Rob C

  8. One thing that we complain loudly and often about is the media- they are not worth a penny to do the job for canada.
    If yo really counted the 'real' reporters; you would find that there are only a handful.

    But most definetly not CBC CTV etc.
    So, antfrm, do not expect any excuses or apologies from any of them.

  9. you know, those working in the gun registry office also probably said that they have received no complaints sooooooo it must be true and the coalition did its job right? right?
    i mean if we cant trust our vaunted bureaucracy then what can we trust?


  10. I do not understand why the government doesn't use all the anti-census material available to them. The Conservatives need a good Marketing Executive to co-ordinate an effective response to misplaced criticism or even to effectively respond to valid criticism.

    For example I haven't heard anyone from government comment on the fact that many Western European governments are discontinuing the census altogether or cutting back much further than our government has proposed.

  11. Hoarfrost...while you may be right, it is my opinion that many things the government says that refute the inaccuracies never make it to air....after all, it is the media who are in control of what get out there....

    Don't get me wrong though...the CPC could stand with some better marketing - given the broad use of the internet, they should create a page on their website where they challenge the inaccuracies in the media.

  12. Hoarfrost: "For example I haven't heard anyone from government comment on the fact that many Western European governments are discontinuing the census altogether or cutting back much further than our government has proposed."

    They did actually. For a while. Until it was pointed out to them that this fundamentally undermined their case. In fact, we now know from the email exchanges, that after the census started blowing up in their faces, only then did the government try to find out what other countries did.

    What those European countries do is have no census at all pretty much. Instead, what they have is a centralized mandatory data collection on ALL your personal information. Go to the doctor, the information is sent to the government on what treatment you had. Pay some taxes, it is sent by the tax authority to the central database. Enroll your kid in school, move, start a new job, new birth/death... it's all in the database. So there is no need for a census. But there is a lot more intrusion on your privacy so pointing to European examples undermined their case and they dropped it.

    The long form census, the one we've had since the creation of the country in 1867 without any problems, the one that helps make the government more efficient and less wasteful, is not nearly as intrusive. No surprise the Cons dropped this defence of their stupid policy.

    They've scrambled and tried to make up other arguments for it. The voluntary survey is just as good (it is not nearly as good). People have gone to jail (none ever have). The government doesn't need to know your religion or how many toilets you have (the census doesn't ask for this information). The US dropped the long form (true, and almost immediately re-instated it because they realized what a stupid move that was and how useless the data became). It is a cost saving measure (except it is going to cost at least $40 million MORE than the mandatory census).

    None of these after-the-fact excuses drummed up by Cons have worked to convince Canadians. Canadians know this was a stupid ideologically driven decision and we don't like it. So now the Cons are resorting to outright lies in Parliament to defend their stupid decision.

    They would be better off reversing their stupid decision and trying to re-build the trust they lost with Canadians over this.

  13. And lookee here.

    - 50% of Canadians want the long form census back and that number goes up to 54% with the proposed Liberal changes.

    - Only 29% think the Conservatives are right - that's less than their total voter support so even Conservatives think they screwed up on this.

    - Even fewer than that buy the crap Harper selling that "the long form census is intrusive and Canadians should not be forced to answer it"

    - By contrast, 53% "think the long form census yields data that is important to make policy decisions in all areas of public service, and should remain mandatory".

  14. Answer our questions or go to jail! or Answer our question or get waterboarded! Really, is there a difference?

  15. So Ted, the MPs should have been forwarding their thousands of complaints about the census to Statistics Canada, and that they did not is proof they lied? They acted on the complaints by taking away the mandatory tag. Isn't that what MPs are supposed to do? Listen to their constituents and act accordingly?

    I actually support the long form being mandatory, and the point of this post is to point out that because people were complaining to MPs instead of Stats Can is not evidence the Conservatives lied.