A Senate question on language issues has resulted in
Official Languages Commissioner Graham Fraser say[ing] he wants to see whether the government respected its legal obligations when it made the decision.
Graham Fraser, commissaire aux langues officielles, a annoncé aujourd’hui qu’il allait procéder à une enquête sur la décision d’Industrie Canada d’éliminer le questionnaire complet du Recensement de 2011.
Phew! Some are taking their offices seriously to ensure that Ministers follow law. The Census has many legislative obligations and one can’t just change it. Those laws are there for a reason, and even the Industry Minister can’t change that. Fortunately for us, there are many dedicated former Statistics Canada employees and Chief Statisticians who stand up for what is right. There are also numerous other organizations working on this issue:
The Canadian Economics Association, the Canada Census Committee, the Canadian Association of University Teachers, the Statistical Society of Canada, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and multiple newspaper editorial boards are among those that have spoken out against the decision.
While others such as
representatives from business and finance, health and social services and other levels of government say the long form is vital to the country’s health and well-being
are forming coalitions to call on government to reverse the census decision. Even the cartographers, archivists and librarians are on the case with the Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives (ACMLA) and have written a letter to Mr. Clement on this issue. Data pundits, experts, academics, associations, cities, and business people have spoken loud and clear – do not politically interfere with the Canadian Census.
And so, what does the minister do when his smartest citizens provide him with advice on what not to do? On his own public consultation, he removes the #2 most popular submission and relegates it to outcast status as his Media Relations personnel claims that:
changes to the Census are important, [but] they are not directly related to the development of a digital economy strategy for Canada
So there we have it. The nations smart people speak and the nation’s leaders play hide and seek with consultations, make up evidence to make decisions and forget to check and see if they might have broken any laws. This is the state of our democracy folks. Media relations people are the new spokespeople. Democracies are fragile indeed.
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