Saturday, August 7, 2010

New Support Group For Those Jailed Because of Census

While Stockwell Day is building prisons for imaginary prisoners, Tony Clement is trying to bust out all of those Canadians who have jailed because they refused to fill out the mandatory long form census.

A group of concerned citizens held a concert and raised enough money to ... well actually they raised no money, but they raised a lot of spirits.

And Stephen Harper was so concerned about these poor census felons that he actually held a press conference .... well not exactly a press conference, more of a staged affair but we learned how he felt about some play that he probably won't go to, mainly because he's just so gosh darned worried about all those census felons.

The Globe’s Steve Chase wrote this piece to explain how Stephen Harper, instead of being asked about changes to the census, wound up being asked today about a play that few people will see and even fewer will give a shit about.

But the article is interesting for a different reason. Read it and marvel at what has become of our national press gallery – reduced to milling about in cliques and engaging in whispered debate over how to obediently divvy up the meager allotment of questions they’ve been granted by a Prime Minister too arrogant to expose himself to scrutiny, too fragile to agree to anything so risky as a follow-up query and — someone has to say it — too gray now to use Just For Men without us all totally noticing.

I know I'm quite marvelled at what has become of our press gallery. Maybe they should just stay home and phone in their columns. They're always the same anyway. "Harper refused to answer questions". "RCMP threatened me with a big stick".

But back to those poor census felons. I'm still worried about them, and I don't think that Dr. Sylvia Ostr gets it. These poor people are being threatened.

Canada’s former chief statistician and one of its internationally renowned economists Saturday described as “shocking” and “ridiculous” the federal government’s decision to scrap the mandatory census long form. “I think it’s ridiculous the government would intervene and tell Statistics Canada how to collect its information,” Dr. Sylvia Ostry told the Couchiching Conference on public affairs after being presented with an award for public policy leadership.

The Conservative government’s action, she said, undermined the global stature of Statistics Canada which has been praised consistently as one of the leading statistics agencies in the world. “The whole thing is shocking,” she said.

When Stephen Harper was asked why he was scrapping the census ... oh, yeah. He wasn't asked. But he may be taking in a play.

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