Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Why the Census Matters

Speaking to a young lady this morning at a breakfast meeting, I realized that there are lots of people who haven't realized what could be lost by losing the mandatory long form census.

Undoubtedly, Mr. Harper knows that making the long form census a voluntary measure will cause self selection of respondents. Most likely to not complete the admittedly daunting task of answering 63 questions will be the under educated, lower income, immigrants, and small business owners.

The loss we mourn isn't simply the loss of data, its what the data does for us as Canadians. Despite Harper's best efforts to frame the issue as a 'special interest' one, we will all feel the effects of having inaccurate biased data.

Under Harper's watch with self selected voluntary surveys, you can bet on an increase of median household income (as we will lose data points from lower income people). Suddenly, there will be no more need to fund subsidizing housing projects, and various other social programs as those people will no longer be reflected in our data.

The data gathered from the census is so much more than simply candy to a statistician. It is the facts and figures we need in order to see how demographics are changing, know where we need schools and places of worship, and ultimately, make fiscally and socially sound decisions.

As Mr. Day highlighted with his phantom 'unreported crimes' yesterday, having no data allows the government of the day to make it up as they go. Mr. Harper promised us accountability.... Let's hold him to it.

Come tell him how you feel at Queen's Park, Thursday Aug 5, at 7pm. We will assemble in hope that this terrible decision will be reversed.



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