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Thursday, August 05, 2010

How Accurate is the Census?

One more time:

QUESTION: If the mandatory Canadian census form contained questions that you considered to be very personal and embarrassing, what would you be most likely to do?

54% - I would tell the truth even if it was embarrassing to ensure that statistics are accurate for future planning purposes.

24% - I would leave that question blank. I don't think the government would come after me about it.

5% - I would lie and provide an answer that wasn't embarrassing. Nobody could prove it and I don't think it will make a difference anyway.

So the mandatory long-form Census is not only invasive, it also largely useless. Even with the threat of fines and jail time, people are not necessarily providing accurate data, or any data at all. They are just filling out the form. But advocates of the mandatory long-form insist that coercion is necessary to maintain accuracy. What accuracy? Are Stats Canada bureaucrats interested in obtaining the truth, or just going through the motions?

Posted by Richard Anderson on August 5, 2010 | Permalink


Stats Canada obviously views this issue as a turf war with the government of the day. Like any entrenched bureaucracy, they're doing everything they can to prove that they are indispensable to the health of the nation.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, they and their enablers in the MSM and academia have also managed to panic plenty of average Canadians into thinking that their welfare state benefits may be threatened because now the central planners may lack the "correct" information.

I've got news for these twits: there is no "correct" information that can make central planning work.

The fact that a phony issue such as this can gain so much traction highlights the stranglehold that collectivist ideas have on this nation.

Posted by: Dennis | 2010-08-05 9:12:28 AM

I'd also add that if anyone feels that their welfare state benefits are under attack from a voluntary census, all you need to do is ask a Greek what happens to the welfare state when you adopt a free-spending, deficit-be-damned path to "prosperity", which is exactly what Harper is doing. The state of the census is probably the last thing on any Greek's mind these days.

Posted by: Dennis | 2010-08-05 9:25:04 AM

I find it interesting that Alberta had the lowest willingness to fill out the form honestly of any province.

Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 2010-08-05 11:19:16 AM

The claim that 54% will provide honest answers due to their concern for the state getting accurate data is right up there with the Eiffel Tower being for sale. Even the Soviets were more refined in their propaganda.

Posted by: Alain | 2010-08-05 11:29:25 AM

They pretty well force people to lie. I was harassed by a woman with a strong Paki accent, for not being comfortable about designating my "country of origin". According to her, there's no such thing as a Canadian. My family arrived here in 1778. The fact I know where they came from is irrelevent. After 230 years, I consider myself an aboriginal.

Now, I just tell them I'm white. That's what they really want to know. They're keeping track of our numbers, waiting for the tipping point. I don't even have the option of "going back to where I came from". Great Britain is now an Islamic state. My options are; become a second class citizen, and eventually a slave, or show the world why we dominated the planet for so many centuries. That would be the ability to produce weapons of mass destruction, and the willingness to use them.

Go ahead. delete it.

Posted by: dp | 2010-08-05 11:48:55 AM

The salient point is likely that even if somebody is given fines or jailtime for failing to complete the census, at the end of the day they...don't complete the census.

A couple of weeks ago I had a discussion with a few friends about the census issue: none of them could even see why this was an issue. For two of them, it was especially salient since they themselves lied in the census. What's the point of collecting bull***t information?

Posted by: FACLC | 2010-08-05 9:43:22 PM

What "very personal and embarrassing" information are we talking about? The only question on the latest version of the long form whose answer I wouldn't give to a stranger is my income, and even for that you had the option of asking Statistics Canada to get the information from the Canada Revenue Agency.

Or is it a sin or an offense to have more than one bathroom in your house?

Posted by: Richard Slater | 2010-08-05 11:21:42 PM

Richard Slater, some people have no problem giving some personal information. Should they decide that others should therefore be forced to give it also? The point is not that you think the questions are intrusive, but that some people do. Another is that the state should have not right to collect such information by force.

Posted by: TM | 2010-08-06 9:17:02 AM

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