Long-form census debacle? / by Simmon Li

What's the deal? Conservatives wanted to fix something that wasn't broken, as far as I'm concerned, and for what? They took a lot of heat over it, and now they're backtracking a bit because of pressure from francophones (as far as I can tell). StatsCan's head quit over it, and a lot of people were left scratching their head over it. Data, and more accurate data, means that all our public institutions (health care, social security, education, etc, etc) can accurately gauge where to spend a proportional amount of tax payer money to get the best bang for their buck, no? I mean, we are talking about politics, so you never get the best bang for your buck, but I think it's clear that with more detailed information, you can allocate money (at least in principle) better than without that extra level of detail. What was the whole issue with the long form census in the first place? I see from a few stories on CBC/Toronto Star that at least some of it had to do with privacy issues.

“There are Canadians around this country who were concerned about answering . . . very intrusive questions about their personal lives,” Clement said. ((http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/835932--statscan-recommended-move-to-voluntary-census-clement-says))

Out of this, there seems to be the whole "being jailed for not completing the census" issue that Jack Layton has brought up, which is addressed by Clement. ((http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2010/08/11/census-clement-changes.html)) This whole debacle is hilarious, and sad. I don't know whether it shows how hilariously disorganized our government is, or how hilariously stupid the Conservatives think we all are.

In either case, while the Americans are passing small, but significant reforms in major policy areas, we're trying to fix things that aren't broken (and poorly fixing it, if I may add). While I feel an election in the next month or so would be a huge waste of money, Harper's minority has really shaded itself unable to govern. Now, I do have a bias for the Liberals but they haven't really been doing anything anyway, so there's no sense in having an election.