The government wants to make the long form part of the census optional – an important enough issue that I sat down and wrote a letter to my MP, despite being at work late again. I’ll let the letter speak for itself:
Dear Mr. Obhrai,
As a voter in the riding of Calgary East, I wanted to drop you a line regarding the current government’s plan to make the long form census optional. I do not support the optional aspect. I work as a data analyst, working with statistics and having a good knowledge of general statistical theory. I agree with those statisticians who have come out saying that results from the proposed census changes would result in bias data. The results coming from this proposal would not be as accurate – in fact I believe that the results would for the most part be ignored by most groups outside the government – leaving the government using flawed data to make important decisions about where to allocate our money. I feel this is an important decision – I rarely have offered anyone in any government my opinion on anything, yet I do so today because I feel the government is about to make a mistake that will affect pretty much every program the government rolls out to help its citizens.
I don’t buy the government’s argument that there have been many complaints – if so, please provide evidence to back this up.
What I would like to see is a review of the questions being asked on the long form census – if we need to remove some questions deemed objectionable by the public, removal is a better option than making the whole long form optional. I feel an open debate where statisticians, policy makers and politicians among others can argue the merits of the questions against the privacy of the citizens of this country would be more productive by far than what seems like an arbitrary move by the government to change the requirements for answering the long form census.
Thank you for your time,
Past Conservative voter, Calgary East.