Thursday, October 7, 2010

If Just One Person Complaining Will Cause This Government to Act, I Have a Complaint

In a continuation of the Harper government's weak arguments for scrapping the long form census, Tony Clement is now saying that even if there is only one dissenting voice, that's reason enough to make the change.

But it's been a journey for poor Tony to reach that level of enlightenment.

At first he simply lied, suggesting that this was all StatCanada's idea:
The Harper government asserted that the voluntary long form option was an idea put forth by Statistics Canada, when in reality the department was in favour of the mandatory long form option (which is supported by virtually all of Canada’s leading business, academic, government, and civil society groups). Also advocating for the mandatory long form option were Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of Canada, and the governments of Ontario and Quebec, which have decades of experience using the data provided by the census. In a letter dated September 11, 2010, the minister of industry, Tony Clement stated, “The chief statistician has indicated that this new approach will provide useful and usable data that can meet the needs of many users.”
Then he, with the help of the hapless Maxime Bernier, just started making stuff up.
An Industry Canada employee questioned Conservative MP Maxime Bernier's claims in July that as minister he received about 1,000 complaints a day about the mandatory long-form census, internal documents obtained by CBC News show. Maxime Bernier said in July his office received about 1,000 complaints a day about the mandatory long-form census when he oversaw it in 2006 as industry minister. (Tom Hanson/Canadian Press)The former industry minister, now a Conservative backbencher, said in July of this year that he was blitzed by complaints when he oversaw the 2006 census as minister.

However, in a July 18 email found among documents obtained by CBC News through an access-to-information request, ministry employee Paul Halucha asked a high-ranking official at Statistics Canada whether the agency had any numbers to back up Bernier's statement. Industry Canada's "internal survey of correspondence did not show anything close to a thousand a day," he wrote to Statistics Canada's Connie Graziadei, adding in brackets "we got a standard 25-30 a year."
And the majority of those complaints were because our census forms are now being processed by the arms dealer Lockheed-Martin.

The blogger Vanity Press has invited her readers to issue their 'one complaint'. But maybe we should create a scroll. Everyone write down their 'one complaint', sign it and we'll send it to the government. That way we'll be able to set the agenda.

But let's not kid ourselves. We all know whose 'one' voice this really was. The only voice now allowed in this country.