Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Taking Leave of Their Census



Well, the latest group to come out against the government's decision to scrap the mandatory participation in the long form census is none other than the Premiers. While every group that has come out is important, this development puts a bit of a new spin on it.

You see until now, the government has insisted that those who oppose the decision are liberal flacks, which is asinine, and when that doesn't work, they default to loons who answer the religion question as 'Jedi'. For the uninitiated, there actually is a church of Jedi, and one that has encouraged their members to fill out their census forms claiming as much, in an effort to have the government recognise them as a church. Crazy? Well, yes of course! A massive movement that should derail scientific data collection, aggregation and dissemination? Obviously not.

The question that is being asked at the moment is why the government went in this direction. Most seem to suggest that they were appealing to a portion of their base that they hadn't spoken to in a while. Specifically the Libertarians. While I understand why you'd make that argument, it seems to me that Hoeppner's private member bill to get rid of the long gun registry did that in spades. So at this point, I'm not buying.

More likely for me, is what data the 2011 census would be accumulating. Of course it would be used, in a sense, to examine/dissect the policies that Harper has or has not, brought to bear. Given that we see most policy driven by populist notions, this could present a problem. Further, most if not all, policy has flown in the face of evidence and fact. The government, specifically on Environment and Crime, has ignored all the data.

Oh they have done it elsewhere too, but all of that to say, if you have to keep fighting stat's to get your policies through, why not eliminate or distort the data beyond use? Wouldn't that make life easier?

Harper won't be in power by the time this data is collected and sorted, but I suspect that he and his advisers are covering their bases here. Should he be in power, no data is good for him. If he is gone, his legacy will not be tainted by facts that prove all his theories wrong.

Clever, but not very smart.

8 comments:

ottlib said...

I find people give Stephen Harper way too much credit for being clever.

His government took this decision because he wanted to throw his base another bone and he believed he could get away with it, particularly when you consider they released it just days before the July long weekend.

It really is that simple.

There is no other long-term scheme here or another clever motive.

If he was really clever he would have realized the the data from the long-form Census is used by governments, NGOs, businesses and researchers and that all of them would make noise once this decision was made, potentially damaging his short-term electoral prospects.

And we all know that if Stephen Harper has a choice to make between his immediate political fortunes and the long-term needs of the country or his party, he will make the short-term choice every time.

Stephen Harper just made another in a long list of political blunders and you really have to wonder how many times he will be able to do that without paying the ultimate political price.

Annie... said...

This was a distraction, so we would not think about the 16 billion dollars we don't have. for some 65 stupid jet planes

Fred from BC said...

ottlib said...

I find people give Stephen Harper way too much credit for being clever.


Perhaps, but this decision has nothing to do with cleverness.


His government took this decision because he wanted to throw his base another bone and he believed he could get away with it, particularly when you consider they released it just days before the July long weekend.


Wrong. I realize that the Liberal Party is desperate for something (ANYTHING) to use against the government, but that is no excuse for a complete lack of fact-checking on this issue; if you guys want to be taken seriously as a potential Canadian government, you're going to have to do much better.

First of all, the Canadian public doesn't give a rat's ass about this, like the last two or three issues you tried to make a big deal of (and don't think that they don't notice the failed attempts...they do). Secondly, as stated above, if you had bothered to check you would have discovered that one of the people currently being prosecuted for refusing to fill out the long-form census is a Green Party candidate who is poised to *win* her case against the Government of Canada on the basis of a violation of her Charter rights; it seems that yes, the long-form census *is* too intrusive, and therefore it *is* a violation of the Charter of Rights.

(or so the judges believe)


Warren Kinsella and one or two other bloggers have reported this, but the vast majority of Liberal bloggers just posted the usual anti-Harper conspiracy theories like yours. Sad, really.


It really is that simple.


Not quite.

Gayle said...

Hi Fred.

I see you are still spreading that line about how this woman is poised to win her case.

You ignored my question at BCL, so I will ask here: just how is it you know she is about to win her case? Can you please share with us all the clever legal arguments she is relying on to establish her case, and the legal principles at stake?

Thanks

rockfish said...

It's Harper's second-most clever and devious tactic of the year. No. 1 of course was the devious 'Let's change the national anthem' machavellian dance-step that so caught the nation by surprise...
Yes, clever like roadkill, that so-called leader is.

wilson said...

'His government took this decision because he wanted to throw his base another bone'

Ottlib, strange, never figured Quebec and young Canadians as our base (Organizations don't vote,
people do)
:

''...Canadians are evenly divided — 49 per cent in favour and 51 per cent against — on whether the Conservatives' move is "good" or "bad," according to the results of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted exclusively for canada.com.
...
Quebecers showed the strongest support for abolishing the long-form census in 2011, with 62 per cent saying the move is "good," the poll suggested.
...


56 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 say it's a good decision to make the long form voluntary, compared to 48 per cent of those 35 to 54 and 44 per cent of the 55-plus crowd....''

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/canada/consensus+census+debate+Poll/3302580/story.html

Fred from BC said...

Gayle said...

Hi Fred.

I see you are still spreading that line about how this woman is poised to win her case.



Yes. I find it fascinating how many people have missed the obvious connection between this case and the government action making the long-form census voluntary.


You ignored my question at BCL, so I will ask here:


What question? Haven't been back there, but if you're suggesting that I was avoiding you, don't make me laugh. YOU, Gayle? Of all the potential posters I might have reason to run from, you are right there near the bottom of the list, sorry. Don't flatter yourself...you have nowhere near the required IQ.


just how is it you know she is about to win her case?


See above. The government doesn't make moves like this without reason; they know the judges and their records (yes, provincial ones too), and government lawyers know the Constitution. What would lead you to believe that the Conservatives would take the actions they have if they didn't already know what was going to happen? The public doesn't care about this issue, it's not a burning social concern, so why do it now?

You always underestimate the Prime Minister, and it almost always backfires on you.


Can you please share with us all the clever legal arguments she is relying on to establish her case, and the legal principles at stake?



You mean other than the fact that there are always laws on the books that won't survive the first legal challenge? No. Do your own research....and before you get into the "clever legal arguments", investigate the role of public opinion and common sense on judicial rulings.


Thanks


You're welcome. Care to wager on the outcome?

Tomm said...

KNB,

Interesting set of drop-ins today.

I kind of think that Harper is looking forward a little here. He clearly wants to force Ignatieff to pull the pin on his government. The CPC must feel that it would be devastating to the LPC. Given the mood of the elctorate, a Liberal induced election in the fall may be very damaging to them. Dropping 25% to 20% with the promise of pulling access to their public teat would pretty much gut them. But I digress.

So Harper begins laying out his liberatian platform. You may have noticed that affirmative action is now sticking its head on the block, and long knives are being sharpened over there as well.

Perhaps Harper is just opening the box on his libertarian agenda and hoping the Liberal's stand up for big intrusive government and bring the CPC government down.

If so, expect more of these outrageous announcements as the summer goes on. I, of course, having read Animal Farm, hope the PM succeeds in either gutting these fish or forcing the Liberal's to grow a pair.