Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Another census theory to ponder

Below is a slightly different take on the reasons behind the Conservatives long-form census decision then any I've seen written, courtesy of a friend who prefers to remain nameless, but has given me permission to post here. The upshot is that the census decision was a way of distorting the picture of Canadian society for electoral benefit (rather than a more fundamental ideological reason, as others have posited).

Below is his thinking. Please note this is only an idea so hasn't been researched, but I'd be curious for others' POVs.

As has been well-reported, a voluntary survey tends to under-represent certain groups, often those who "most need society's help." According to the former head of StatsCan, this includes groups such as "aboriginals, low-income earners and immigrants."

My friend wondered if the Conservatives, in thinking they were making a small change no one would notice, were in fact looking to then use the 2011 census data to prove that social and possibly economic conditions were improving under their watch. This may be short term - i.e., in anticipation of a 2012 election (October 15, 2012 is the date set by the Canada Elections Act, assuming the GG doesn't dissolve the House before) - or longer term in anticipation of prolonged period of minority or majority Conservative government rule.

The short term application of course presumes that the collection and analysis of the data would be completed in time for a fall 2012 election (which the timing of the 2006 census analysis suggests is possible), and that the Conservatives could hold the support of the House until then as well.


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