Tempest in a census teapot
July 21, 2010 10:24 PM   Subscribe

The Canadian Government created a stir recently by announcing plans to scrap the compulsory long form census and replacing it with a voluntary questionnaire. Today, the Chief Statistician from Statistics Canada resigned in protest.

The big press coverage may be the result of the slow news season in Canadian politics, but public reaction to this plan is vocal. The Government cites the move was driven in part to protect people's privacy, however, some see a more self-serving motive, and others just see this as typical of the Tory Government's MO. Still many more (pdf) see this move as being an incredibly bad idea.

Finally, there are some who simply want to be heard, even if it means they have to make a weird youtube music video.
posted by phyrewerx (47 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Statistics Canada is a great resource for students and businesses alike. Here's a sample of the things you can do with their numbers.
posted by phyrewerx at 10:31 PM on July 21, 2010


I hope this kind of thing leads to Harper's government's downfall...

anyway, in related-ish news,
The UK government is planning to scrap the national census in favour of random sampling from electronic databases - they didn't use the "privacy" argument (obviously their alternative has probably more privacy issues) but ones about the alleged ineffectiveness and excessive cost of the standard census.
posted by Bwithh at 10:35 PM on July 21, 2010


MeFi's own mightygodking posted his thoughts on this a couple of weeks ago.
posted by Caduceus at 10:38 PM on July 21, 2010


They were analyzing this on CBC the other day and I was gobsmacked that a) the feds don't have anything better to do than stir this and b) some people don't seem to be able to see the down side. Especially annoying was the argument on the pro side that self selecting polls are unbiased and then they used telephone polls as an example; despite the significant numbers of Canadians who don't have a phone.
posted by Mitheral at 10:45 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the reason Sheikh (the outgoing Census chief) gave for his resignation is pretty interesting. He said that Tony Clement and the PMO had lied, and had said he recommend as "deputy minister" (he's the chief statistician, which means he's an awful lot more educated and most likely non-partisan than your typical professional bureaucrat DM) that the long census be discarded. He said Clement and the PMO had totally misconstrued what he said. What utter weasels! According to the G/M, it seems as though it's pretty rare for a senior guy like this to go out so publicly:

The rare spectacle of a career bureaucrat falling on his sword so publicly rather than accept a policy he cannot stomach threatens to deal a fatal blow to Conservative efforts to sell their census changes. Deputy-minister-level civil servants who clash with the government traditionally exit quietly instead of walking away from elite posts on principle.

The guy's career in the civil service is over. Hopefull the TD research unit or somebody else still committed to doing real research will hire him.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:47 PM on July 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


They were analyzing this on CBC the other day and I was gobsmacked that a) the feds don't have anything better to do than stir this and b) some people don't seem to be able to see the down side. Especially annoying was the argument on the pro side that self selecting polls are unbiased and then they used telephone polls as an example; despite the significant numbers of Canadians who don't have a phone.

I don't think these guys care about putting up bullet-proof reasons, and besides, you could always argue that the CPC is basically anti-intellectual - they may not even understand what they are doing by screwing around with the census, so how could they possibly provide a coherent rationale for what they are doing? I'm not suggesting the Conservatives are stupid, just unsophisticated, although they are a brutal, nasty, devious bunch. Demographic research is not their strong suit.

Besides, I read somewhere that it's not the Conservative base, with their "right to privacy" principles that are driving this, it's demographic research firms (Fraser Institute?) who want a piece of the pie, and want to charge money for research the Canadian government has traditional provided for free (at taxpayer expense).
posted by KokuRyu at 10:53 PM on July 21, 2010


As a former Canadian census worker who delivered these forms to some of nastier areas of Greater Vancouver, this is a Very Good Thing.

My life was threatened and I admit some level of fear for my safety giving out the long forms. When people said things like "What if I don't want to fill out this damned long form?", the response I was supposed to give was "You could face fines or jailtime under section blah-blah-blah". Since I am not a cop, this meant very little except that I would come across as some petty bureaucrat who just made a dumb threat to mean people.

And all that for $7.25 an hour (early 90s)! Wonderful!
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 11:04 PM on July 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


As a budding historian who has gone through many a census roll, let me emphasize the importance of a thorough census. True, in the short term the census helps the government in determining what areas get what resources, but it is also a crucial source for so many academic fields. The better the data, the better the research. I can certainly say that for historians (as well as genealogists) being able to look up particular individuals is an extraordinary benefit of past censuses.
posted by boubelium at 11:28 PM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


As a former Canadian census worker who delivered these forms to some of nastier areas of Greater Vancouver, this is a Very Good Thing.

My life was threatened and I admit some level of fear for my safety giving out the long forms. When people said things like "What if I don't want to fill out this damned long form?", the response I was supposed to give was "You could face fines or jailtime under section blah-blah-blah". Since I am not a cop, this meant very little except that I would come across as some petty bureaucrat who just made a dumb threat to mean people.


I think this speaks more to a problem in the way the census is carried out, not in its existence. Providing information for the census is one of the few civic duties that citizens should be expected to perform. If people resist, the answer isn't to eliminate the program but to find some other means of carrying it out (whatever the means, I am sure there is a ton of literature on the topic). The equivalent in my mind is jury duty. Just because some people oppose, perhaps violently, to serve on juries, doesn't mean we abandon jury trials. Civilization requires some civic commitments from its citizens and we shouldn't shirk from making our fellow citizens recognize this fact.
posted by boubelium at 11:31 PM on July 21, 2010 [19 favorites]


I don't understand the Canadian system well enough to be confident sounding the alarm about this as loudly as I think it might deserve to be, but doesn't this look like an attempt to steal the next parliamentary election which will be based on this census simply by undercounting the number of non-Conservative households (since greater income means a greater likelihood of returning the form, and greater income also means greater likelihood of being Conservative)?

And since non-Conservatives will end up being undercounted, they will also end up being under-represented in Parliament, and since Parliament chooses the Prime Minister, it's effectively a way to steal close elections for the Conservatives.

Harper evidently learned a lot by watching Bush and Rove operate down here this last decade, but I'm not seeing much sign the rest of you did.
posted by jamjam at 12:35 AM on July 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Harper is just appealing to his libertarian base - the people who say "dammit, it's none of the government's business how many rooms there are in my home!"

jamjam, I don't think this has anything to do with stealing an election. Harper just wants to make the long form census voluntary. There are two versions of the census - the long form which goes out to a random 20% of households, and the short form which goes to the other 80%. Until now, you've been required to fill in whichever of these forms the government sends you.

The short form census (which asks basic questions) would still be mandatory, and would a good enough source of basic population info for electoral redistricting. Also, the census happens every five years and isn't tied to election timing. Elections happen whenever the government feels like it, or (in a minority) also whenever the opposition feels like it.

But getting rid of the mandatory long form is still not good. It would eliminate a valuable source of income and ethnicity information, among other things.
posted by problemspace at 2:12 AM on July 22, 2010


From the pdf link, the people who have signed onto a "this is bad" statement:
(all institutes referenced have the preisdent/ceo signing on unless otherwise noted)

Canadian Association for Business Economics
Canadian Nurses Association
Caledon Institute of Social Policy
Canadian Institute of Planners
Institute for Research on Public Policy
Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants
a Visiting Scholar at Queen's School of Policy Studies
Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada
Canadian Labour Congress
Canada West Foundation
United Way of Canada
Glendon School of Public and International Affairs
National Specialty Society for Community Medicine
Environics Analytics
United Way Toronto
University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management
Nanos Research
Canadian Public Health Association
University of Toronto's School of Public Policy and Governance
Canadian Association of University Teachers
Canadian Council on Social Development
Canadian Economic Association
Toronto Board of Trade


In addition, a number of municipalities have spoken out, and the vast majority of provincial Ministers of Finance (I'm positive of Ontario, PEI, and Quebec).
posted by Lemurrhea at 3:15 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


this is a Very Good Thing

Ignorance is not a Very Good Thing.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:42 AM on July 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


My own perspective on this issue is that while we can legally force people to fill out detailed census forms, we are not able to ensure that they will be filled out accurately (and if we were willing to send independent investigators to verify the information on census forms we wouldn't need to ask the public to fill out census forms, we could just rely on these investigators). If there is something that someone doesn't want the government to know, that information will not appear on the census form anyway, mandatory or otherwise.

The fact that a long list of organizations supports the continued use of a mandatory long form for the census indicates that lots and lots of people (who agree with or belong to those organizations) value the long form and will still fill it out, whether it is mandatory or optional.

If the census does not yield sufficient information, the government still has the option of creating research teams to make their own observations and to compile information.
posted by grizzled at 5:19 AM on July 22, 2010


This is an awful idea, and a good way to make sure the poor and are even MORE under-represented.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 5:47 AM on July 22, 2010


And since non-Conservatives will end up being undercounted, they will also end up being under-represented in Parliament, and since Parliament chooses the Prime Minister, it's effectively a way to steal close elections for the Conservatives.

Umm... That's not the way things work. Members of Parliament are elected, and that's how representation in parliament is decided. :)

It's funny - I've been an adult, living on my own in Canada for 13, 14 years now, and I have never filled out a census form. I don't even remember ever RECEIVING one. SURELY there must have been a census here since 1996?
posted by antifuse at 5:54 AM on July 22, 2010


Another shameful example of the Harper style of government. Lies, spin, and attacks on all issues and everybody who isn't a card-carrying member of the Conservative party. Munir Sheikh is my hero today.
posted by Paid In Full at 6:27 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


As an occasional sociologist and tracker of my family line, it would've been disastrous on a number of occasions to not have a couple more pieces of differentiating information for people. When you have seven Scott MacArthurs in a generation, it can be a touch frustrating to figure out which one a diary entry, or casual mention refers to.

I'm with phyrewerx (at the top), stats information can be correlated in amazing, and sometimes hilarious ways.

One of my umpteen great-grandfathers claimed on his census that his primary occupation was 'Poet'. Another had Farmer, when it was really Horse Thief. The short forms are just miniature daguerreotypes, compared to the long-form technicolour photo.
posted by LD Feral at 6:46 AM on July 22, 2010


The fact that a long list of organizations supports the continued use of a mandatory long form for the census indicates that lots and lots of people (who agree with or belong to those organizations) value the long form and will still fill it out, whether it is mandatory or optional.

But that makes them almost useless - of course academics and well-educated, well-off people will still fill them out. That's usually the case. But self-selected samples are the least useful kind of sample, practically useless when you're talking about a large and diverse population. A mandatory census is useful because it captures a lot of people who wouldn't fill them out otherwise (young people, people with less education, etc).
posted by Solon and Thanks at 6:52 AM on July 22, 2010


StatsCan is one of the world's most-respected census organizations.

Those of you talking about looking up names are wrong. StatsCan data is aggregate, and privacy/anonymity is of utmost importance. The government claims are absolute bullshit.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:57 AM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is what happens when you make a census voluntary. You get increased costs, decreased accuracy, and you have additional problems counting minorities.

This last part is key, at least in the US. The fights over the US Census have been nakedly partisan, largely because minorities lean Democratic. Republicans fight to keep their numbers down on the census, while Democrats fight to keep their numbers up. (If minorities voted Republican, I'm sure the roles would have been reversed -- this isn't about high-minded values; it's about political advantage.)
posted by cgs06 at 7:33 AM on July 22, 2010


I had to do the census once when I was young and callow. Being young and callow, I filled it out, but also wrote a longish smarmy diatribe about my business being my business, tyvm, and how the census was intrusive, etc. etc. Shortly after, while shooting my mouth off about how I stood up to The Man, someone took me aside and kindly and patiently explained the benefits of participating in the census, and how it is an important part of being a citizen.

Now, ever since this thing started, I've been haunted by the horrible feeling that eventually Tony Clement is going to whip out my letter say, 'For many years, good Canadians like Alvy Ampersand have expressed their disgust and dislike of the long form census, and we are merely responding to their legitimate concerns.'
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:50 AM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ralph Goodale, the Liberal House Leader, is kicking ass and taking names at a press conference this morning. He took a couple of shots at Maxime Bernier's claims that the Conservatives have received many complaints about the long form, because, not for the first time, Bernier is having problems actually locating the relevant documents.

And when he was asked by a reporter whether unwilling people would lie on the long form and they couldn't get reliable data from it, he said that he trusted professional statisticians' ability to analyze and cross-correlate information to get reliable results within a reasonable margin of error.

From the Globe & Mail: Long-form census? Nah, we'll ask Paul the octopus
One almost has to admire the Conservatives for fighting so hard for that elusive too-lazy-to-mark-an-X vote.

And, in standing by their position that the long form of the census will no longer be mandatory, the Conservatives have also opened up a debate with statisticians, something the more fragile of us would avoid. ...

We have a prime minister who insists that we cannot have a serious discussion about decriminalizing marijuana, because he can “predict with a lot of confidence” that marijuana will never be produced and sold by “respectable businesses run by respectable people.” And so, based apparently on the psychic powers of our leader, we continue at enormous public expense to make criminals out of many Canadians, most of whom wouldn't dream of breaking any other laws. Case closed.

And yet cabinet minister John Baird reserves an almost profound compassion for citizens who don't want to tell “how many bathrooms they have” – a disclosure we're required to make for property-tax purposes (without anonymity), but not in fact on the census long form. The Conservative logic at the moment is that it's better to disable an exemplary system rather than to risk penalizing a small number of people for not answering imaginary questions. ...

However the point is that while the census isn't a new idea – that's why Mary and Joseph were on their way to Bethlehem – and there are far less secure places for personal information to pool (in fact, Canada's privacy watchdog has received only three complaints about the census in the last decade), anti-census sentiment has grown because it's bred of anti-government sentiment.

By caving to the anti-census fringe and validating their paranoia, the Conservatives are feeding public cynicism and mistrust instead of reassuring people that the system is secure.

When Mr. Baird defended the changes to the census against the onslaught of criticism it has wrought (the list of diverse groups that are protesting this change could fill my entire column) by saying, “We will respect people's right to privacy,” he likely created more non-filers by disregarding the fact that census doesn't violate individual privacy. It's between you and your pencil.

He undermined confidence in government, in all corners, to no one's benefit.
posted by maudlin at 7:51 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


The CCPA's letter pointed out something I hadn't gotten from the media coverage - that eliminating the mandatory long form is the latest in a recent gutting of Statistics Canada surveys.

The Workplace and Employee Survey is gone, the Survey of Household Spending is aggregated, and the Survey of Financial Security is gone.
posted by anthill at 7:57 AM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


It doesn't seem very plausible to me that the Conservatives are doing this just for political grandstanding. Are they perhaps trying to hide some damaging data in the next census?
posted by parudox at 8:16 AM on July 22, 2010


Umm... That's not the way things work. Members of Parliament are elected, and that's how representation in parliament is decided. :)

I don't know if the happy face means you're joking, but are you familiar with gerrymandering? Less info gives more freedom to get creative with boundaries, and less basis for the opposition's criticism.

I've been a Census taker and worked in data quality control and record checking for the Census, and I really can't understand the objection to the long form. And I've had to fill it out. Sure it's a pain in the ass, but how fucking lazy are you? 1 in 5 households, every 5 years? So the average household fills out a long form, what, every 25 years? It shouldn't be shocking considering our voter turnout, but ferchrissakes.
posted by Kirk Grim at 8:20 AM on July 22, 2010


Never argue with a statistician. They have FACTS on their side. Also, do not confuse them with estheticians, they don't like that.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:22 AM on July 22, 2010


fff -- historians and others do use names on very old censuses. I don't know what the hold time for Canada is, but the names from the 1901 census in the UK were released recently, after a blackout for 100 years. It has been heavily used, primarily by geneologists. (Historians occasionally use the individual level data, but most of the time we're only interested in the aggregate, so we're happy to have it be predigested. Me, I didn't even look at the names when entering the 1674 Hearth Tax for analysis -- I only cared what town and how many fireplaces).

That said, in 1901 there weren't any detailed questions. I don't know what the decision will be on releasing those.
posted by jb at 8:35 AM on July 22, 2010


I do know people who have worked with anonymous (ie no-names) but still individualized (by number) Canadian census data -- they were doing a longitudinal study and thus had to be able to link individuals between censuses.

They went through more security clearance than most military people do, all to be allowed to look at anonymized data which, with quite a bit of work, could maybe have been linked back to the individual. They knew way less about private medical stuff than the receptionist at your doctor's office, but were held to much higher privacy standards.

------

on a completely different topic: how many rooms your house has is really important because it will save so architectural historians so much work in 300 years from now.
posted by jb at 8:42 AM on July 22, 2010


I filled it out, but also wrote a longish smarmy diatribe about my business being my business, tyvm, and how the census was intrusive, etc. etc

When going through returned Census forms, on the comments section this was not at all uncommon. But one comment stuck with me all these years. They suggested a question on the Census where Canadians all have to guess at how many people are in Canada, and the person who guesses closest wins. Like those "guess how many jellybeans are in the jar" contests. I LOLed. Maybe if there was some kind of prize people would just stfu.
posted by Kirk Grim at 8:50 AM on July 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


I gotta say, I really didn't think plug-dumb myopic micromanaging and obsessive short-term pointscoring (i.e. Harperism) could ever trump the brazen criminality and viciousness of the Mulroney years.

I stand corrected.

This is the worst Canadian government in my lifetime. These self-absorbed, poll-driven shits can't even do routine statistics right. I grow more disappointed by the day in Canadians as a whole that we are not screaming from the rooftops to remove this tumour from Ottawa and get on with the moderate, reasonable approach to peace, order and good government that has defined the country since the furtrading days.
posted by gompa at 9:19 AM on July 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


Besides, I read somewhere that it's not the Conservative base, with their "right to privacy" principles that are driving this, it's demographic research firms (Fraser Institute?) who want a piece of the pie, and want to charge money for research the Canadian government has traditional provided for free (at taxpayer expense).

Maybe not all firms. That pdf letter of protest included Evironics and Nanos.
posted by Kabanos at 9:39 AM on July 22, 2010


Conservatives OUT. God damn it, hurry up and call an election so I can vote for which ever left of centre lesser evil has the closest chance of making a majority.

I was already pretty pissed with the smear campaign leaflets they send out with biased poll questions suggesting that liberals wanted a bunch of child molesters and criminals to run free in the country and pretending to be a grass roots protest campaign.
posted by Phalene at 9:44 AM on July 22, 2010


I think this is also just another attempt by the Conservatives to politicize (and defang) the bureaucracy. Decision-making is highly centralized now, compared to the Liberal years. Even relatively small projects need to go to the minister's office to be approved. The centralization and the resulting discipline and ability to stay "on message" may be crucial to survival for a minority government, but it is killing excellence in Canada.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:03 AM on July 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


I've accused the Canadian public (and media) of not having its eye on the ball many times now. This is not one of those times.

What KokyRyu said.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:23 AM on July 22, 2010


A libertarian opion
posted by KokuRyu at 10:38 AM on July 22, 2010


I can't really comment on this and remain coherent, but I'll try. I'm a transportation engineer, and we're dependent on census data for long term planning of transportation projects. The thing that baffles me is that I can understand less government being a conservative principle, but I can't see how it's a conservative principle to make government less effective (by blinding everything from infrastructure development, policing, the Bank of Canada and other macroeconomic planners, health boards, ...). I've never been more ashamed of my government, which sadly seems to be a statement I can make on a near-weekly basis.

As the poster in my old office says, without data, you're just another asshole with an opinion.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:51 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


A libertarian opion

Oh dear. That op-ed was tongue-in-cheek, right? Please tell me there aren't a lot of voters who actually think this way.
posted by Kirk Grim at 10:54 AM on July 22, 2010


Please tell me there aren't a lot of voters who actually think this way.

Unfortunately, there's enough who can be persuaded to be unthinkingly sympathetic for a moment that the impression of accord sticks long enough to pick the conservative [X].

All part of the game for North American conservatives.
posted by Artful Codger at 11:03 AM on July 22, 2010


As someone who works in nonprofits / charities, this is going to be brutal both administratively and for our services.

Nonprofits and charities use this information to assess community priorities and target / expand needed programs. It's also useful for tracking long-term progress with programs, especially the indirect or knock-on effects of programs on people who are not directly clients of the charity.

Without this information, charities will need to be conducting their own surveys more frequently (which is expensive), and national organizations especially will not be able to reach every community in a cost-effective way (so forget about tracking the progress of programs in rural Canada beyond a specific township).

Lacking the detailed information about specific FSAs and communities guts our advocacy programs by denying us the information we need to put together specific positions on issues and policies put forward by the various levels of government.

We also use information on forward sortation areas (FSA, the first three digits of your postal code, and also a particularly useful area whose aggregate characteristics are analysed by StatsCan) to target our mailings to audiences most likely to respond to them (it's not the only technique we use, but it's very useful in acquisition mailings for new donors).

It also helps us tailor specific mailings to specific communities - so that I can mail material in Tamil and Cantonese to FSAs where a plurality or majority of people speak those languages, which is a big concern for charities who do fundraising in Toronto (i.e. almost all of them) where there are about 72 significant language communities to deal with.

Long-format data is used by Environics Analytics and Nanos and Angus-Reid (or whatever other analysis firm I hire) to analyse my database and tell me useful information about my donors so I can write pieces for them in way that will appeal to them. The Prizm2 system (and the other comparable proprietary systems) is built on long-form data, and as flawed as it is, its information about the 66 different demographic profiles of Canadians, their values, preferred brands, etc. is incredibly valuable to a charity looking to find a group of people likely to care about their mission. Without long-form data though, it's basically impossible to cross-tabulate survey results about values with detailed demographic information to make sure that I'm not mailing appeals for settlement agencies to the racist postal codes in Canada.

With only short form data, I'm mostly firing blind, relying on some crude indicators like average household income, and guessing. Do you make more than $50,000 a year? Maybe you'd be interested in stopping the war in Outer Nambutistan? I don't really know, but get ready to get a mailing in Punjabi showing how your children are affected by it!
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 11:24 AM on July 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


Wouldn't it be great if this, of all things, wound up being the straw that broke the Harper government's back*? If they've got groups like the Canadian Association for Business Economics (not exactly a bunch of left-wing hippies, I'm guessing) and centre-right dudes like Jeffery Simpson up in arms about this, I can't imagine they have much support. I hope this issue doesn't fade away, because it's about so much more than just the census.

I can't believe these Reform assholes are still running my country. "These are not Conservatives. These are the true anarchists in our midst, willing to destroy order just because they can."

* I'd take pretty much anything at this point, though.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:32 AM on July 22, 2010


The unfortunate thing is that even if they reverse their decision (or the opposition reverses it for them), the damage is probably already done. The issue has become so politicized that you can expect the number of people refusing a mandatory long-form to skyrocket. And it's not like the penalties are actually enforced on refuseniks.
posted by ileum at 4:59 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Didn't that "resigned in protest" link in the FPP go to his resignation announcement? It doesn't anymore. The replacement(?) post is implausibly dated July 16.
posted by Songdog at 8:19 PM on July 22, 2010


I hope this kind of thing leads to Harper's government's downfall...

I grow more disappointed by the day in Canadians as a whole that we are not screaming from the rooftops to remove this tumour from Ottawa and get on with the moderate, reasonable approach to peace, order and good government that has defined the country since the furtrading days.

I can't believe these Reform assholes are still running my country.


Looks like I'm not the only Canadian who can now empathize with what it must have been like to be an American non-supporter under Bush. It is so frustrating to have story after scandal and yet the polls continue to give the Conservatives the same numbers. I now understand the disconnect that comes from looking at my fellow citizens and wondering "WTF?!"

I hope we have an election soon, and if recent past history is any guide, the introduction of a copyright amendment bill will correlate with dissolving Parliament.
posted by birdsquared at 8:43 PM on July 22, 2010


Songdog: the gov't removed his resignation letter. It's the next best thing to proroguing the issue away. Harper is a gutless fuck.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:10 AM on July 23, 2010


Paul Wells has been pretty good on this one: Stephen Harper engages in a little cowardly vandalism, If we’re cutting useless things in Ottawa . . .

I have my doubts as to what sort of impact this will have since most Canadians' primary concern seems to be that someone, somewhere, wants to add a cent or possibly more back to the GST. The bovines have household debt to accrue, consarn it!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:17 AM on July 23, 2010


Canadians and Americans alike should read this article on why the Conservatives would destroy their country's ability to gather accurate statistics:

http://www.themarknews.com/articles/1907-when-smart-parties-make-stupid-decisions?page=1
posted by five fresh fish at 4:15 PM on July 23, 2010


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