Let’s cut to the chase: The Conservative government’s position on the long-form census is wrong-headed, regressive, and willfully ignorant. (Let’s not forget the dissembling part, too – Stastistics Canada recommended eliminating the mandatory long-form? Puh. Leaze.)
This is not based on an ideological bent. In fact, my fear is that, as many wiser commentators than me have noted, the elimination of the long-form is rooted in ideology. It is reflective of what one pundit called the Conservative government’s aversion to fact-based decision-making.
This should be very, very, very alarming to the IT industry in Canada. In fact, to any industry in Canada. But particularly IT.
This is the government that is taking into consideration submissions on strategy for growth in the knowledge economy. Yet it appears to want less accurate data upon which to base decisions. Excuse my French, but WTF?
A knowledge economy is based on better decisions based on better data. A voluntary long-form census is about as accurate as a Web poll because of the phenomenon of self-selection – those who don’t fit into the demographic of self-interest don’t fill out the poll. It introduces not only a bias in the data collected, but a completely unpredictable bias. It can’t be remedied through science.
(Oh, and by the way, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty: You said Canadians would fill out the long-form voluntarily “for the good of the country.” If it’s for the good of the country, why would you eliminate it?)
Or, as another of our readers put it – sarcastically, I hope – just eliminate StasCan and save the money. A Ouija board in every boardroom will do.