Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Against Knowledge

A door to Canada's past has slammed shut, leaving future Canadians with little information about their own families and the country's history, in a move the government says was prompted by privacy concerns.

Statistics Canada has quietly made major changes to the country's census in time for the forthcoming round of national sampling in 2011. The long census questionnaire that provided information on a broad range of topics such as ethnicity, education, employment, income, housing and disability has been eliminated. Instead, those questions will be asked on a new, voluntary National Household Survey (NHS) and the results will never be released, in contrast with the treasure trove of census data that become public after 92 years.


Everyone hates filling out the long form, and the only reason you do it is because its illegal not to. So expect to see the response rate to StatsCan's new voluntary survey fall towards nil, which in effect means that the nation has taken a scalpel to its own brain and removed that part devoted to memory.

A truly stupid decision, probably the dumbest since Brian Mulroney decided to try turn Stats Canada's publications into revenue generators back in the 1980s. If you wondering why so much U.S. data is floating free about the Internet to be played with in interesting ways, whereas in Canada you have to pay $1 for every digit, blame him.

16 comments:

double nickel said...

I agree that this is a shortsighted decision. However, nobody cares. Big government is bad, remember? Ask anyone at Tim's.

sharonapple88 said...

The reason -- privacy concerns -- sounds a lot like the reasons cited by the Conservatives in the U.S. in opposition to the census. Bleh.

bigcitylib said...

Ask anyone at Tim's....
--

The guy that owns the franchise should be worried. Census data is how you figure out where to put your stores.

Shiner said...

This really annoys me. What on earth even prompted this?

sharonapple88 said...

This really annoys me. What on earth even prompted this?

Well, Harper never put much stock in statistics. How better to go by the gut if you don't know the result of your policies.

Blair said...

My roommate is a die-hard libertarian. He loves this move because he doesn't like the idea of government taking away the right to privacy (which isn't actually in the Charter explicitly).

Personally, I think this is one of the dumbest moves this government has ever made. In my research I use Statistics Canada more than any other source.

How do you understand the geographical, ethnic and class-based nuances of Canada if you have no information on it? We all just got a lot stupider. BCL put it best when he said we put a scalpel to our own brain.

sassy said...

harperlotomy

Paul S said...

More lefty paranoia.

Hell, look at the Globe and Mail:

http://tiny.cc/zhb6o

The reporter(?) manages to work in the words 'Republicans', 'Lockheed Martin', and even 'new world order' on the subject of the Canadian census, even though they are irrelevant to the subject.

Libs and Dippers have done more to dumb down citizens in Canada about our history and heritage then any other source so why the faux outrage from these sidelined socialists now?

sharonapple88 said...

The reporter(?) manages to work in the words 'Republicans', 'Lockheed Martin', and even 'new world order' on the subject of the Canadian census, even though they are irrelevant to the subject.

Use of Republicans in the article: "Similar opposition has been raised in the United States by some Republicans opposed to Washington collecting and analyzing data."

True. Republicans are whipping up paranoia about the census in the United States.

Use of Lockheed Martin in the article: "Some Canadians also criticized Statistics Canada for purchasing data software from U.S. defence corporation Lockheed Martin, although the agency has insisted the firm does not have access to personal data."

This is true. Some Canadians believe Stats Can uses Lockheed Martin sofeware.

Use of New World Order in the article: "Insiders who spoke to The Canadian Press on condition of anonymity decry a new world order within the agency since the Conservatives came to power in 2006 and legendary chief statistician Ivan Fellegi retired."

I suppose he could have said something else... regime change, coup d'etat. ;)

Libs and Dippers have done more to dumb down citizens in Canada about our history and heritage then any other source so why the faux outrage from these sidelined socialists now?

Hey, the Conservative's the party of the gut . We're the guys in the Ivory tower. Get your slurs right. ;)

Fred from BC said...

sharonapple88 said...

This really annoys me. What on earth even prompted this?

Well, Harper never put much stock in statistics. How better to go by the gut if you don't know the result of your policies.


Gee, that might have been mildly amusing if you hadn't already admitted just three posts up that you knew the real reason (privacy).

Since this wasn't funny, made little sense and added nothing to the conversation, you must therefore be one of those annoying people who simply love to hear their own voice and see their own words in print, and will inflict your 'wisdom' on the rest of the world every chance you get. I can see why you're a Liberal...

Paul S said...

We're the guys in the Ivory tower. - sharonapple88

You're the guys out of power. And if you continue remaining out of touch with real world Canadians, that is where you'll stay.

Irregardless, Happy Canada Day to all.

bigcitylib said...

Paul S,

Blow me.

sharonapple88 said...
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sharonapple88 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sharonapple88 said...

Gee, that might have been mildly amusing if you hadn't already admitted just three posts up that you knew the real reason (privacy).

Now that's the reason they gave. How much stock you put in it is your choice. I don't. (Note the "Bleh" at the end of my previous comment.)

As for my response to Shiner, I was trying to flippantly imply that Harper wouldn't mind seeing Stats Can killed. One of the articles cited there (click on the blue underlined text) showed Stephen Harper, who was trying to argue about a position from the gut, being undercut by a statistic from Stats Can.

sharonapple88 said...

You're the guys out of power. And if you continue remaining out of touch with real world Canadians, that is where you'll stay.

Yeah, but for how long? The Conservatives appear to be losing seats.