Common census returns
By Chad Ingram
It’s far too early to make any judgment about how newly minted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is doing, although that of course isn’t stopping detractors.
There have been a few Minden murmurings that this is, well, maybe the end of the world, and certainly many social media pundits are already posting plenty of scorn for our new leader.
The reality is that Trudeau’s leadership is still in a zygote stage, with Parliament set to resume Dec. 3, followed by the Throne Speech the following day.
Already though, a few major changes have been announced, some of which are direct reversals of policies enacted under the previous government.
One such announcement, and one that is good news for the country, is that the mandatory long-form census, scrapped by Harper in 2011, will return in 2016.
The scrapping of the census – a valuable source of statistical data used in virtually every vein of society – was a stupid move.
What’s that saying? Knowledge is power?
It was decision made under an anti-intellectual regime preferring ideology to fact in decision-making.
Even Tony Clement, who was the industry minister who oversaw the cancellation of the census, recently told the Globe and Mail that perhaps the situation wasn’t handled ideally.
“I think I would have done it differently,” he told the paper.
The Harper government cited concerns about the mandatory long-form census violating Canadians’ privacy when it sent the census to the trash bin and then, in a contradiction of logic that can only be described as astonishing, passed a bill permitting widespread spying on its citizens.
(Making amendments to Bill C-31, which Trudeau supported, was one of the 130-some-odd campaign promises made by the now-Prime Minister).
The rich statistical information derived from the census is used not just in academic circles, but by government and non-government organizations dealing with everything from social services to environmental protection to health care.
Locally, at the health unit, where officials are thrilled at the return of the census, the stats are used to assist its program planning and allocation of resources.
Canada is an advanced society where advanced decision-making should be taking place.
Now that Harper has left the building (apparently through the same doorway as the garbage and recycling), perhaps we can return to a decision-making atmosphere where fact trumps fiction.