Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Who knew the census could lead to the downfall of the Harper government?

For a Teflon government, this issue must seem like a truly annoying sticky spot:

Liberal MP Bob Rae says newly released documents show the Conservative government's claim that a voluntary long-form census survey would be statistically valid is "completely untrue."

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday in Ottawa, Rae lashed out at Industry Minister Tony Clement for his suggestion in interviews last month that Statistics Canada recommended the move to scrap the mandatory long-form census when emails between the agency and his office show the opposite.

... "He wasn't telling the truth," Rae said. "Mr. Clement knew that in fact the method was not statistically valid."

Clement, the minister in charge of Statistics Canada, has been the government's point man on its defence of the move to scrap the mandatory long form. In an appearance at McGill University last month, Clement said the government had "come up with a way that is statistically valid, that StatsCan feels can work."

It may eventually pass over, but the issues behind the kerfuffle - the government's direction, accountability, trust, competence - will not. The Teflon coating has started to become worn in a few spots.

Glad to see the Liberals are open to a compromise on the issue as well:

The Liberals, Rae added, would be supportive of the "very simple solution" to keep a required long-form census and remove the penalties for non-compliance.

"We're quite happy to take it out of the law and have a form people respond to in an informative way," Rae said.

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