...the majority of successful Tamil refugees travel back to Sri Lanka, raising questions about the legitimacy of their refugee status.
Of course, it turned out the number of people interviewed for the survey was a whopping 50. Furthermore, as CBC's Kady O'Malley soon discovered, the secret goverment survey was not a secret government survey at all,
...but a review of a sampling of files from Sri Lankan nationals, some of whom were formerly found to be Convention refugees, who now want to sponsor family members to come to Canada.
...and the government agency behind it, the The Canada Border Services Agency's (CBSA), was quick to point out that
...[we have] no ability to state that this sample is statistically representative of any pattern that may or may not exist beyond this sample. Rather, these numbers are solely indicative of an observed pattern within the small sample reviewed.
Ah , but while the actual stats people who conducted this "file review" cautioned against generalizing beyond their sample, this hasn't stopped Mr. Lilley from generalizing beyond their sample. Employing special math techniques taught to him by Kory Teneycke, he continues to cast aspersions upon Tamil immigrants:
While the government survey of files in their Colombo office was only 50, that same office approved only 611 visas last year. So 50 out of that (8% of the total) is indeed significant.
Last year only 392 people from Sri Lanka arrived at a Canadian port of entry and claimed refugee status. When dealing with numbers in the hundreds a sampling of 50 is significant number.
But, of course, Lilley has no way of knowing that any of the 50 Tamils in the sample were among the 611/392 that came over "last year". As the CBSA email suggests, many of them could have been in Canada for considerably longer. All of which makes Lilley's percentages in the above far less "significant" than advertised.
Worse than Lilley's foray into bullshit mathematics, however, is his totally gratuitous shot at Kady O'Malley for calling him out on the matter:
The left in Canada, it seems, would rather ignore the issue than take the government to task. Over at the CBC, blogger in residence Kady O’Malley took issue with our numbers for not being statistically valid.
But of course we know they weren't statisically valid and, as I pointed out above, they still aren't. So: two displays of innumeracy sandwiching a cheap shot. The nerve of this man.
Frankly, I would travel to Ottawa and box his ears myself, but its really a long drive, and I've had a bum knee since 'Nam. And there's my trick elbow. Luckily, Kady is more than able to protect her own honour. I've met her and, while really very tiny, she's got a nasty bite.