Critique of CensusShorts

Bonne question ! : Recensement…

Bonne question ! : Recensement : qui doit décider, le gouvernement ou les scientifiques?

Critique of CensusShorts

Après le recensement: Statist…

Après le recensement: Statistique Canada mis au régime: Cinq sondages seront supprimés

Critique of CensusDebatesLiving between the linesNotesObservations

Questions for Statisticians and Specialists in Quantitative Methods regarding the Reliability of a Voluntary Census

In the wake of the decision on a application for judicial review form the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada

ObservationsFederal Court’s Justice Richard Boivin heard evidence and testimonies presented in support of and in opposition to the National Household Survey (NHS) which, being voluntary, replaces the old census long form, which was mandatory under fine and even imprisonment. The judge ruled this week that “there is uncertainty about the reliability of the data that will come from the NHS” … except that the Court is “not convinced that the data of the NHS will be so unreliable as to be unusable.”

Let’s recall that the Conservative government decided to remove the long form from the mandatory status of the Canadian census to make it voluntary instead. To offset a possible decline in participation, it provided an increase of around 50% of the number of long questionnaires (from 3 to 4.5 million households at an additional cost of $ 30 million) plus an advertising campaign to spur participation.

Many statisticians, demographers and researchers have criticized this decision. According to them, a voluntary survey would lead to a significant decrease in participation, particularly in certain portions of the population (the poorest, the least educated, of certain ethnic backgrounds). The result would be less representative and thus biased data which would distort the demographic profiles of country, regions and local communities. However, beyond these general statements, public interventions in the media so far have provided no statistical demonstration in support to this claim. Justice Boivin’s finding seems to confirm this perception.

So I make an appeal to statisticians and specialists in quantitative methods in order to clarify certain key elements of the debate. (more…)

Critique of CensusShorts

Beyond census debate, StatsCan…

Beyond census debate, StatsCan also faces $7M in cuts, thus chopping at least five surveys

Critique of CensusShorts

CALL FOR PAPERS: Canadian Jour…

CALL FOR PAPERS: Canadian Journal of Sociology: Census: Counting and Contemporary Governance

Critique of CensusShorts

Census: Court acknowledges (no…

Census: Court acknowledges (non fatal) uncertainty about accuracy of voluntary survey

Critique of CensusShorts

Recensement: Cour pas convainc…

Recensement: Cour pas convaincue que données du questionnaire volontaire ne seront pas fiables

Critique of CensusShorts

Census: Bernier’s 1000 complai…

Census: Bernier’s 1000 complaints/day was in fact 22 for whole 2006 census

Critique of CensusShorts

Ministre de l’Éducation et sy…

Ministre de l’Éducation et syndicats de l’enseignement du Québec préoccupés par recensement

Critique of CensusShorts

Industry Canada queried Bernie…

Industry Canada queried Bernier census claims: Not nearly that much complaints against it

Critique of CensusShorts

Création d’une Coalition qué…

Création d’une Coalition québécoise pour l’avenir du recensement /via @TraceyLauriault

Critique of CensusShorts

Must read book: Politics of Po…

Must read book: Politics of Population: State Formation, Statistics, and Census of

Critique of CensusLiving between the linesNotesObservations

Canadian conservatives battling over the census… in USA

ObservationsI wrote in July that the Conservative government’s decision to abolish the compulsory nature of the census’ long form probably originated from an observation of the recent controversies surrounding U.S. Census as well as of the potential political risks and opportunities in their import in Canada.

Subsequent conservatives’ statements have amply demonstrated that the rationality of their decision was more one of partisan calculation than of administrative rationality or respect for the rights of citizens. Today, the Liberal Opposition tabled a bill to make the long form mandatory, still along with fines, but no more imprisonment. As if the opposition in the Commons blindly followed to the letter their role in one of the possible scenarios envisioned by the Conservatives.

However, the American inspiration for the strategy and the discourse in support has never been so clearly brought to light than by the statements of Minister Tony Clement on Tuesday. Jennifer Ditchburn of The Canadian Press reports that according to Clement, the enumerators could beat the system and make off with the personal information of Canadians. Although Statistics Canada has clear policies, “some enumerators are recruited in the same neighbourhood as respondents. This means, says Clement, “your neighbour may know some of your most personal and more intimate information.”

The minister described the situation here in the U.S. where, constitution requires, the census must be conducted by enumerators.

In Canada, the census is self-administered … since 1971. One reason for the abandonment of enumerators was specifically related to a matter of respect for privacy. It was less to avoid the risk of espionage, but to reduce the intrusiveness and the intimidating presence of a visit by a possible neighbour and therefore the bias resulting from the reluctance to answer questions honestly, even to answer at all. Indeed Statistics Canada’s policy for telephone follow-up reminders is to rely on enumerators who should not be from the area of citizen contacted.

In short, the cat is out of the bag. Latest Clement’s arguments are clearly American import copy and paste that have no relevance in the Canadian context. So gross an error would have not occurred if the conservative decision had been taken on the basis of some needs analysis to improve the Canadian census. Moreover, if one had wanted to improve the census, one would have amended the long form rather than spend the summer denigrating the questions it contains, and even those he does not…

Critique of CensusShorts

Exactly where Conservatives wa…

Exactly where Conservatives wanted them to be: “Liberals initiate bill to make census mandatory”

Critique of CensusShorts

Surréaliste: “Recensement: Cl…

Surréaliste: “Recensement: Clement a peur de l’espionnage”

Critique of CensusShorts

Tories admitted voluntary cens…

Tories admitted voluntary census flaws: internal documents

Critique of CensusShorts

Quebec Bar asks impact assessm…

Quebec Bar asks impact assessment of census (including human rights reports to UN) GTranslate:

Critique of CensusShorts


BARREAU DU QUÉBEC DEMANDE ÉTUDE D’IMPACT du recensement notamment à l’égard des rapports à l’ONU

Critique of CensusShorts

MT @TraceyLauriault: #census W…

Critique of CensusShorts

RT @TraceyLauriault: INDU Cmte…

RT @TraceyLauriault: INDU Cmtee: #census Transcripts & Submissions and Minutes Aug 27

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