Census Lost

Statistics Canada chief falls on sword over census – The Globe and Mail.

The headline above suggests the the Chief Statistician resigned because he did something wrong. At least that is my understanding of the phrase “fall on your sword”. In fact he resigned because Minister Clement, and of course Prime Minister Harper in that tightly controlled cabinet, placed him in an untenable position. Clement said that he, Mr. Sheikh supported the government position because he had given them the options. Today Mr. Sheikh said that the suggested voluntary long form cannot replace the mandatory short. He said this in the fewest possible words. “It cannot.” Then he resigned.

I’m no longer sure what this core support group is that the Tories are pandering to. The opposition to this move in the census is drawn from the widest cross-section of citizenry that I can recall, including: powerful business groups; provinces; social, education and welfare planners; and ordinary citizens like me, who think we need to have an OBJECTIVE measure of how we’re  doing as a country. The census tells us who we are, what the health issues are and where they are, what are the educational needs, how much money is being made and who’s making it and how. In short it gives us the facts, without the government spin. If you want to be told only what the government wants you to hear, whatever its political stripe, then you won’t care about this change. If, like me, you want to know what is happening to our country, then object. Write to your MP; write to the paper; consider  with care your vote in the next election.

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