Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tony Clement: Non-mandatory with the truth

Tony Clement, on July 16th:

“I asked [Statistics Canada] specifically, ‘Are you confident you can do your job?’ They said ‘If you do these extra things: the extra advertising and the extra sample size, then yes, we can do our job.’ ”

[...]

Mr. Clement said the medical journal and other critics should trust Statistics Canada.

“I feel I’ve relied on the experts I should rely on – which is Statistics Canada. If I can rely on their expertise, then these groups should as well.”



But here's what the experts were saying four months earlier:

On a voluntary Census we can get up to a 65-70% response rate, which is still not an acceptable outcome for a census (although it is for some social surveys of a recuring nature) and will require a substantial amount of additional funding.

6 Comments:

  • I'm repeating a comment I made elsewhere, but the more I read from these emails, the more disgusted I get with our government.

    Culture of deceit, indeed.

    But it is not merely the outright lying and trying to force civil servants to say things they know are not true just to cover your own butt.

    It is that they have made a policy decision based upon a perceived principle, but know that their principles are so out of whack with Canadians that they have to hide it and bury it and lie about the real reasons they are doing it.

    It's beyond not having the courage of your convictions but deceitful to the core and to the point of being anti-democratic. Once again.

    They would have gained the respect of Canadians if they could state their principles and stick to them. Look at how Mike Harris won back to back victories in Ontario, with a greater majority (both seats and popular vote) because he said what he was going to do, he told us why and then he did it. He did a lot of things wrong and left a lot of carnage we are still recovering from, but in that he was the ideal politician. Or Cameron in the UK. It is possible to be a conservative and stick to your principles in government and be honest about it.

    By contrast, we have federally Mr. Say Anything Steve, Mr. Deceivin' Stephen and his coterie of lying bobbleheads who arrogantly think they know better and are better than the rest of us and are doing us favours by imposing their values without consulting us.

    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 11:48 PM  

  • Dunno.

    It kinda sounds like we're only getting one side of the story here: we know that StatsCan was asked to provide viable alternatives to a mandatory long form, and we know that some alternative was chosen.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:44 AM  

  • You have all of the email exchanges. You can see right there the civil servants are (a) willing to implement what their political masters have told them to implement but (b) unwilling to say what the Conservatives want them to say when they know it is not true. It is all laid bare for us to see.

    The Conservatives made an ideological decisions - which, frankly is their right as government - but are seen to be making great effort to hide the fact that it was an ideological decision, hide the fact that it was even their decision (note the long back-and-forth over the words "The government has decided" that they insisted be deleted), and distort/lie about the support of their decision from civil servants and the effectiveness of their policy change.

    I'd have much more respect for them if they said simply: we agree that it won't be effective, but there is a bigger principle at stake.

    Instead they lie and distort and hide and try to sneak changes in.

    Our political betters seem to think they can impose their beliefs on us without telling us or consulting us.

    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 10:52 AM  

  • I could accept it, grudingly, if their principles were merely out of wack with Canadians.

    But they are out of wack with REALITY.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:23 AM  

  • Insightful comments from Ted Betts. It would be better if they just conceded that this and other policies (like building more prisons) are purely ideological. What I hate is how "conservative" has come to be synonymous with "capitalist" or "frugal" because the evidence from the last 30 years shows that "conservatives" in North America are anything but.

    Whether it's changing the way we collect information, building more prisons, unchecked expansion of the military*, intrusive security laws, stupid tax cuts**, etc, the CPC has shown that they are actually more concerned with changing the face of Canada rather than being responsible money managers, which is what they portray themselves to be.

    By Blogger John, at 3:08 PM  

  • As I said before, Harper's crowd lie as a matter of standard operating procedure.

    Tories lied about census change: Opposition
    By The Canadian Press

    OTTAWA - Opposition parties say newly released documents prove the Conservative government lied to Canadians about controversial changes to the census.

    Liberals and New Democrats say the documents show Statistics Canada feared unreliable data would result from the government's decision to replace the mandatory long-form census with a voluntary survey.

    That's contrary to Industry Minister Tony Clement's claim that StatsCan was comfortable with the change...

    Papers released Tuesday revealed that the former head of StatsCan, Munir Sheikh, advised that a voluntary survey would not be as useful as the current mandatory form.

    In a draft text of a planned July 21 speech to staff, Sheikh said a voluntary survey would meet the needs of many users "but will not provide useful data to meet the needs of other users of the mandatory long-form census."

    Sheikh resigned before delivering the speech.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 4:06 PM  

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