In which he walks back some of his previous criticism of the government's policy, but not really that much:
We need some rational debate, maybe even a government task force, on the proper shape of the census in the electronic age. Statistics Canada still relies on 20th-century technology (mailed questionnaires) as well as 19th-century technology (interviewers at the door) to gather information. How about some 21st-century technology? If we can create an electronic voters list, can we not carry out at least part of the census electronically?
Fine. We do need a rational debate. Even maybe a task force. But until we get all that, can we keep an unemasculated version of the long form? Oh, and lets have that task force look at the cost of census products. How come when I visit U.S. statistics sites I encounter data, but at Statscan I immediately start running into price lists?
Several European countries have abolished the traditional census. They have systems of compulsory registration and personal ID cards that can effectively substitute for the census but are politically unacceptable in North America. Yet, Britain’s coalition government plans to abolish its registry and ID cards immediately, and the census in 2021; at the very least, we should be watching to learn from this experiment.
Yeah. Watch the British experiment closely. They were going to a European style system, but rejected a European style ID card. Plans for the new regime were to have been ratified almost a month ago. But so far...nothing. I'm speculating, but the U.K. coalition may be finding it a bit hard to square that circle.