Disturbing Censusgate News
July 26, 2010
Two disturbing articles on the census today:
- The first collects together a few comments from people who know Harper and his people well about how they hope to use prolonged presence in government to change the public ethic, the culture of Canada towards a Libertarian philosophy. I don’t think this is always as conscious as they say but I also don’t think its paranoid. Any minority ideological group with strong aspirations, such as libertarian conservatives in a liberal country like Canada, will try to find a way to maximize their influence in the long run. Harper’s gang have struck upon a strategy to maintain a veneer of reasonableness while ever so slowly trying to undermine and change the institutions and structure that make this country what it is. You can say Canada is its people and our history and that’s fine too. But what scares me is a small group of ideologues who represent a minority view of perhaps 20% of the country are shifting policies and norms that have held in place for many decades and no one elected them to do this and they haven’t explained what their direction is. The Liberals and the NDP need to really get serious and do something to break the deadlock, we simply cannot have another 3 years of this government.
- The second at the Globe and Mail, Neil Reynolds explains to us that the census isn’t necessary at all. In fact, European states, where the Conservatives get ALL their good ideas from, are generally ending the practice of collecting a census directly. Instead, they simply link together other data the government has to get what they need. He wonders why the Conservatives didn’t use this approach to explaining the census, that its actually progressive? Well, there’s a simple reason, because they didn’t think of it and don’t believe it. They actually want to collect less data. The European approach is not to collect more data, but to collect more, privately, automatically without going through the citizen directly at all. I’m still not sure this would get at all the information that StatsCan collects right now and that so many organizations and researchers find so useful. But this automatic data collection approach clearly doesn’t fit with the Conservative argument for collecting less data. They probably find the whole idea abhorent and it may take them days to take your advice and try it out on the idea merry-go-round of explanations they are currently on.