About 23 years ago, I advocated for increased daycare. I discovered to my amazement that some right-wing groups were against Statistics Canada. StatsCan was painted as a leftist organization because they showed that more women were working outside the home and they had a poverty line that the right-wing think tanks disagreed with. As a librarian, I have to say that Stats Can had never struck me as a biased organization.
So we should not be surprised that the Harper government wants to stop making the Long Form Census mandatory. The actual lives of Canadians do not match the social conservative agenda. Statistics show that Canadians aren’t made up exclusively of religious white married two parent families with several children; Mom at home and Dad working hard enough to support them all. In fact we are all over the map.
My friend who is unemployed and whose husband is retraining thinks that the next census will show through the employment and income figures that the recession is not ending, that many Canadians are still in dire straits and looking for employment.
Making the long form mandatory is important. I belong to organizations like the Crime Prevention Council who regularly conduct surveys, as does the Region. The most difficult part of voluntary statistics is the response rate. It can be 5% or 54%(a very good rate) but never almost 100% like the census. This means that the data is reflecting those who answer. Wikipedia uses the example of a survey of how hard professionals work that would be incorrect because those working hardest probably don’t have time to answer a voluntary survey. How many of us hang up the phone when Angus Reid comes calling?
The region uses census data to plan transit, bicycle paths, and social programs. How easy it will be for the federal government to cut programs, especially those pesky social and housing programs, when the data is no longer accurate.
Here are some information sheets the planners at the region have created from the last census to give an accurate snapshot of the region. http://bit.ly/9Lzggd