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.


I’ve been away from the blog for a few days–a combination of a vicious cold and retirement planning. Before we started this retiring process, I had little idea of the complications, or the number of phone calls I would have to make.
We started with the managers of our RRSP’s and were reassured(we think) that there is enough money to last– always assuming we don’t live to be a hundred.
But that was only the beginning. Then came the decision about license to practice. To keep or not to keep? And so another round of calls to organizations known by their initials– the OMA, RCPSC, CMA, CPSO and so on.
What to do about the office charts, and referrals to other specialists? And then talking to the patients. Conversation after conversation. How to get followup care? Where will the charts be? What about the medications? And what are you going to do in your retirement, Doctor?
Reviewing the charts, writing or dictating letters to other doctors, deciding what to keep and what to shred. that last led to another round of calls. How long must we keep the charts? The answer to that is ten years, unless the patient is a child, and then until the child is twenty-eight years old. I have seen babies this year, so those charts will be in the facility in Toronto until 2038. I will be eighty-two years old in 2038, and still paying someone to provide access to those charts. Amazing.
Some days I think it would be easier to just carry on.