Monday, 19 July 2010

So That's What Stephen Harper Wants to Do: Privatize What StatsCan Does

Maxime Bernier, that great upholder of morals and correctness, gave a new (and maybe the most important) reason for the Conservatives decision not to make 20 per cent of Canadians fill out a long census form. Speaking to the Canadian Press, he told researchers to go do the research themselves.

"If some special interest group wants data on Canadians, they can do that, they can pay for that and they can do it," Bernier was quoted as saying . "But we're not there to please special interest groups. We're there for the silent majority of Canadians." Who, it should be noted, have not complained very loudly about having to fill out the form, no matter what the Tories say: there have been a total of three formal complaints in the last two census cycles.

In other words, what Stephen Harper and his friends want to do is privatize data collection. That's completely in keeping with Conservative ideology: the only things worth spending public money on are shows of force. Things like fighter jets ($9 billion for purchase, plus several billion over the next few years for maintenance), security for G8 and G20 meetings ($2 billion in 2010) and prisons ($650 million in 2009-2011.)

Who will benefit from the decision to axe the compulsary aspect of the long form? Why, maybe the government's friends in the polling industry. Seems Harper doesn't do much without paying for a poll. That includes, I imagine, slashing budgets for a wide variety of groups concerned about civil society and those very research funds that might pay for universities to fill the data gap in the future.

1 comment:

ck said...

It's a red herring for the most part. Eventually, he will relent.