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Friday, August 13, 2010

Fraser Institute: We're getting pilloried over support for making long-form census voluntary

The Fraser Institute sent out the following letter today:

In recent weeks, the Fraser Institute has been pilloried and criticized in both the mainstream media and among the country's political and academic elites for our support for making the 2011 long-form census voluntary, rather than mandatory.

Our rationale for opposing the mandatory long-form census comes down to a core belief that Canadians should not be forced to disclose private and non-essential personal information to the government.

In its current format, the long-form census requires Canadians to complete 40 burdensome pages of intrusive personal questions. Canadians are forced to disclose this information without good cause. The census has simply become a cheap way for academics, economists, and social scientists to get information that should be acquired using market surveys of the kind that are routinely conducted on a voluntary basis.

Having census data collected by a central government agency does not serve Canada's interests, and it does not serve your interests.

We've been called "media shills" by Globe and Mail's Jeffrey Simpson for also siding with voluntariness over mandatoriness. You can read why by scanning our WS on the census page.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on August 13, 2010 in Census, Libertarianism | Permalink


Hmmm...still angry I called his "triumph of ideology over reason" argument bullshit, I suppose (see http://westernstandard.blogs.com/shotgun/2010/07/bullshit-and-the-ironic-invalidity-of-the-census-debate.html#comments )

He repeats that bullshit (specifically, Bullshit Submission No. 7) in his "media shill" article of three days ago: "Canadian democracy, in this long-term sense, has triumphed by rejecting ideology over reason."

Posted by: Paul McKeever | 2010-08-13 12:39:24 PM

In my case, I have to say, that I am amused by the propensity for the ostensibly highly-educated, such as Canadian economist Stephen Gordon, to accuse even someone like myself of being a shill for the Conservatives, despite what I thought was a fairly valiant effort on my part, to turn the whole interview on CBC around into a slam on Harper and the Conservatives.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-08-13 2:07:17 PM

Funny how the meaning of labels changes over time. It used to be a basic tenet of liberalism to support individual freedom over government force, which is why I tend to reject labels in general. Whatever the label one wishes to use it boils down to those in favour of individual freedom of choice vs those in favour of granting full power to big government.

I have yet to find a single individual who does not favour the voluntary approach, and I have asked a lot of people about it. This is the opposite to what the media shills would have us believe.

Posted by: Alain | 2010-08-13 3:52:41 PM

This whole census affair is a sad commentary of just how out of touch the elite are with the rest of the country. Frankly I think most if not all of this outrage is manufactured; had the Liberals implemented this policy, I doubt we'd be hearing a murmur of protest. Academics and the media employed similar tactics against George Bush.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-08-13 7:18:45 PM

Shane, there is every reason to suspect that you are correct.

Posted by: Alain | 2010-08-13 8:27:49 PM

Its telling that a nation will become so mired in the trivial and see this mere morsel of freedom as a potentially pivotal, existential threat to statist hegemony. The ruling class is warning Harper: "no more fun for you, you are only allowed to rule as a centre-left wimp". The Liberals could get away with it because everyone knows they are part of the ruling class and wouldn't get carried away with that kind of behavior. Canada's fractured leftist majority has resulted, from their perspective, in an "illegitimate" presence in the PMO and everything he proposes is seen as the work of Satan.

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