Monday, August 09, 2010

Once more: an appeal to reverse course on the census

A Globe editorial, again, focussing on Tony Clement's latest inanity in defending his government's virtually universally condemned census dial back, the notion that privileged users of government data have been getting a free ride. The bottom line of the editorial:
This decision's political merits are opaque, and its policy merits are lacking. Rather than offer up any other pretexts, the federal government should acknowledge the emptiness of its own arguments, reverse course, and bring back the mandatory long-form census.
How many Globe editorials is this now calling for a reconsideration of the decision? Good to see the pressure continuing to be applied.

How long will Mr. Harper hold out on this one? It's hard to imagine he doesn't see that this is not subsiding as an issue. This is not prorogation, a temporally limited decision whose immediate consequences will end after a finite period. This one is likely to keep going, and going, and going....

Along those lines, notice that the Conservatives seem to have embarked upon an aggressive posture with a view to that francophone court challenge over the census that received a lot of attention this past week. Recall that the claim being made there is that francophone speakers would fall through the cracks and not be counted with the new voluntary long form. Remember too that an injunction is being sought, to halt the new voluntary form from proceeding.

So we saw James Moore, the Heritage Minister spending part of his weekend doing a re-announcement tour of sorts on official languages. This was Friday's effort:"Government of Canada Announces its Support for Official Languages in New Brunswick." Then Saturday's: "Government of Canada Announces its Support for Official Languages in Prince Edward Island." Course, if you read these things, the funding all seems to be for programmes and agreements that began starting in 2009 yet are being announced now. And they're not responsive to the central problem that is complained of in the lawsuit, that francophone speakers won't be counted fully without the mandatory long form. They smack of money being thrown around to cover for the present census debacle and stave off that injunction.

Needless to say, it would be preferable to reverse course on the census instead of digging in and fighting lawsuits.