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Conservatives need extra time to astroturf the Census hearings

The Conservative government has decided to try and stall more hearings on the Census until they can round up a few people who support ending the mandatory longform:

The Conservatives are proposing a new tack in the debate over the government’s decision to make Canada’s long form census a voluntary exercise. Faced with a list of groups that so far tilts heavily toward the “bad idea” camp, Tory MPs say they will be calling individuals as committee witnesses to speak out in favour of the government’s plans.

…opposition MPs are trying to revive hearings on the census. They called an emergency meeting Monday afternoon to schedule hearings for later this week, but the Conservatives in the room talked out the clock to prevent a decision.  The Tories said the opposition was proposing a timeline that was not realistic. They suggested instead that meetings be called a couple of weeks from now to allow witnesses enough time to prepare what they want to say.

Opposition MPs counter that groups opposed to the government move are chomping at the bit to speak before a committee. All three opposition parties accuse the Tories of stalling because they are struggling to find groups that will speak out in their favour.

I don’t see why the government needs to take 2 extra weeks either; after all, how hard can it be to send out an email to their various Conservative riding associations across the country, asking them to look for some of their local Conservative Party members to volunteer to come to Ottawa to speak out against the “tyrannical census”?

That should take just 2 days, shouldn’t it, or even just 2 hours?

By the way, at the “Keep the Canada Census Long Form” page, there are 9481 mostly ordinary citizens (as of this AM) who oppose the government’s decision. Where do they get to sign up to express their opinion to the Committee? There are also over 15 000 people who’ve signed the petition to keep the same longform mandatory. How about those ordinary folks?


26 comments to Conservatives need extra time to astroturf the Census hearings

  • ridenrain

    Canadian jedi are funny but remember they had to post an official warning in 2006 that the data on French speakers outside of Quebec may be false because of false reporting. That was Statistics Canada themselves saying their data was wrong.

    • Jon Pertwee

      @ridofbrain, ah lameassbrain, using the same tired talking point for a month now. Guess the conbots havent sent you anything new lately.

      Well nothing really to boast about from your side these days.

    • Redrum

      @wrongasdrought, Whatever. Like the bewildered deer-in-the-headlights-Clement, you con-bots can’t even keep straight on what point you’re trying to make in service of your Dark Sith Lord Emperor Harpertine.

      This* story wasn’t about “average Canadians” finding the Census too intrusive and so refusing to answer or giving false answers to register their objection, it was a small minority _of_ a small minority (about 2% of all the francophones outside of QC) who were only too happy too participate in the Census to allegedly give a false response to whether they could also understand English, in another Internet-driven campaign, presumably to try to wrest more French-language services and funding from the gov’t.

      So what does this show? That people lie? Ok; wow, alert the media! Oh, they did.

      That the StatCan & Census aren’t reliable? Um, well, it was them who reportedly identified the problem (tho’ I can’t find that notice on their site, so maybe they corrected it), and they’re continually looking for and correcting and/or warning users about the data reliability problems.

      That it’s not worth asking those language q’s? Um, it’s you who’s got a problem there, Con-Bots, since the q’s are required by the Official Languages Act.

      And, guess what, this doesn’t even have anything to do with the voluntary vs. mandatory long form any more, since those q’s are now on the (still mandatory) _short_ form.

      So, run along now, Con-Bot, you’re leaking your acrid battery fluid.


  • ridenrain

    Why can’t you stay on the topic, or is it just too boring for you too?

    Put whatever color lipstick you want on this pig but it’s just never going to look good enough for the voters to buy. It’s as dry as last months communion wafer. You can have twenty dozen pompous government bureaucrats immolate themselves in protest on parliament steps but after the spectacle is done, no one is going to care, and I doubt any Canadian voter would miss them either. Average Canadians simply are not going to get worked up over a mandatory intrusion that they already make into joke.
    21,000 Canadian jedi can’t be wrong.

    • Redrum

      @writhinginpain, the punkass 0.07% of respondents whose silly answers didn’t even make it into the official stat’s strike you as “Average Canadians”? Good: keep gearing the Con’s policies to that focus group, and let’s watch those “on the right track” poll no’s grow. And, sure, Mike from Canmore’s right: all of govt & the civil service is self-serving, wasteful & worthless. So let’s fire – or, if you insist, flambé — them all: starting with the PMO & the Cons. MPs & Senators, just to show your sincerity. After you.

      • Jon Pertwee

        @Redrum, we’re talking about ridofbrain here. As far as he’s concerned Canada ends at the border of his carehome.

  • ridenrain

    The fact is that if a Liberal like Kinsella thinks the questions are none of the governments business, then we can be sure many other Canadians feel the same way.

    • Redrum

      @putridrain, ah, but we already knew that from Teenie Tiny Tony’s Twitterverse; no need to drag Kinsella into it.

      But, hey, we also know a lot of people are opposed to progroguing; and to an armed camp being established in our biggest city to host a fruitless meeting and arrest nearly 1,000 people at a cost of over $1-B; and to blowing $16-B on useless jets just to suck up to the Americans; and to refusing to fund Third World abortions, and… and…. Can we get a promise to all those decisions reversed or cancelled in the future as long as we Tweet Tony, too?

  • ridenrain

    TofKW : Just making sure you get your money’s worth.

    • TofKW

      @ridenrain, my point is why should we even entertain posts from Haperbots like yourself when there is a very good chance its all just astroturf from the PMO’s office?

      No go back like the nice little lemming you are to Party Central to receive your next set of talking point.

    • Jon Pertwee

      @ridofbrain, how? on a per letter basis? Because the comments you put out are pure tripe. Despite what Kmartin thinks.

  • ridenrain

    Keep in mind that that retraction was only when WK was found offside on your latest manufactured scandal. Go back to the original (if he didn’t erase it by now) and you can see how he spoke like many Canadians who simply thought that it was none of the government’s damned business.

    • Redrum

      @ridenrain, re: it’s being “none of the government’s damned business”: yeah, well, why did Tony sign off on those q’s before getting cold feet, then? And why is it still mandatory (on the short form) to have to specify what the relationship is among the various household members, incl the “bedroom q.” of whether they’re, gasp, a same sex common-law partners. Stinkin’ hypocrites.

      As for it being a “manufactured crisis,” it is, if that means man-made (as opposed to through forces of nature) — it was wholly of Steve’s doing; but it’s not, if it means “of no real consequence,” since literally billions of potentially misappropriated transfer payments and social programs are at stake, not to mention the $100-M or so that are going to be blown on producing that nearless worthless NHS and in salvaging the short form census which is now facing a 70% response rate instead of the 99+% rate that, yes, even Herr Harper still wants & needs to divide up the new electoral boundaries & allocate the transfer payments with.

      So what national treasures do you lot propose to royally screw up next? Turn our waterworks into vinegar, perchance? Transform wheat into weeds? Inject our cattle with Mad Con Disease? A plague on you all before you ruin us for good — begone.

    • Redrum

      @acridrain, p.s., since you insisted on reprising this, your attempt to rewrite the history of WK’s posts on this & to overplay their importance shouldn’t go unchallenged, either. (Which is to say, I’m calling on on all that BS, again).

      First, WK didn’t make his first posts in this in advance of all the media attention on this, but because of it. His first post was on July 16th, whereas a news release from (“Need a source? responds to Statistics Canada’s sparse new Census”) and a CP article by Jennifer Ditchburn (“Former StatsCan head slams census decision by Tories”)both broke the story on June 30, and that was carried in lots of papers & blogs starting on July 1, and it snowballed from there. And in that first post and ensuing discussion, Kinsella wasn’t setting out to protest the census as a matter of principle (that came later), he was making fun of the idea that the story had legs or that an election could possibly be fought on it. (And not that he’d admit it now, but he may turn out to be wrong on both scores; he certainly is on the first.)

      Second, he was hardly cowed into submission or forced into a retraction, as you suggest. He’s not the type. He permitted & even encouraged discussion on it, but didn’t change his mind on it one bit. (Or on the advisability or need for some sort of coalition or accord, for that matter, no matter how much piling on there was from the leadership or other bloggers. He marches to his own tune, unlike you Con-Bots.)

      Third, as mentioned before, it really doesn’t matter what he thinks: he’s just an individidual and does not represent the Liberal Party’s official view on this (any more, than, say, Tom Flanagan does the CPC’s, eh, wot). If he’s more of a wingnut libertarian than a Liberal on this particular issue and doesn’t want to do his civic duty, so what: that doesn’t mean the rest of us should shut up or follow suit any more than the discovery that some past or present Conservative MPs are adulterers, drug abusers, impaired drivers or other types of malefactors should mean that all other Conservatives should abandon their considered opinion on some issue. That would be a type of guilt by association argument that does not stand up to scrutiny. But then, very little that comes from you does.

      • Jon Pertwee

        @Redrum, by many Canadians, Ridofbrain was citing the ten first names that Clement mentioned on Twitter.

        Ah Ridofbrain, those talking points must really suck these days

  • Margaret

    So, are these Witnesses going to have their air fare paid to Ottawa? Put up in hotels at taxpayers’ expense? Details.
    This is beginning to acquire tinges of the Biblical.

    The announcement in front of the whales in the Vancouver Aquarium – Jonah has been in the belly of the beast for 3 days, struggling with God, and now he needs help with the census from “average Alliance Evangelical Church” Canadians.

    Sinister Stevie is now calling upon The Faithful. Anyone invited from Quebec?

  • TofKW

    Ridofbrain, I’m tired of my tax dollars going to paid CPofC blog trolls like you…

    Bureaucrats monitor online forums

    Get a real job!

  • ridenrain

    Get Warren Kinsella. He was calling the questions intrusive far before this became another manufactured scandal.

    • Redrum

      @acridrain, So suddenly WK is the ReformaTory’s new BFF, eh? How the world turns!

      Sure, call him as a witness, since his final word on this was that he would put aside his objections about the intrusiveness if he could be assured that his personal info would be safeguarded.

      But be sure to call someone well-versed in StatCan census protocols, too, to be on the same panel with him, to show & explain to him first how:

      the personal id’s are immediately detached from the forms before the data is input, & won’t be reunited w. it again for 92 years (& now only if he’s explicitly consented to it being given to the National Archives), & how the last digits of a variety of diff. data are randomly re-input as 1, 5, or 0 to prevent people looking at the small area data from being able to guess at who gave what response. And how the staff face fines & jail time if they violate any of that. And how there’s _never_ been a breach of any personal data once it’s in StatCan’s hands.

      And _then_ ask him if he’s still on-side with this bone-headed move. (And if he is, well, you can have him.)

    • Redrum

      @ridenrain, another reply’s coming re: WK, but, say, as long as we’re wheeling out Ghosts of War Rooms Past to condemn their Party’s stance, let’s enter Tom Flanagan’s testimony, too: who appeared _twice_ on national TV (on Power & Politics) and disowned this as an ill-considered decision that came out of nowhere and ought to be reversed. (see for summary of first appearance and the Aug. 11 Podcast available at )

  • I’m worried that this will end up being the new norm at committees, Conservatives calling on every yahoo from the sticks to come give their Tim Hortons’ opinion on the issue.

    It does, however, open the door to a new reality show. Ever party invites their partisans on to debate the issue and the public gets to vote for whoever has the cutest supporters. The upshot is better government than we have now.

  • Gayle

    If the opposition parties want an ordinary Canadian to testify that she has no problem filling out the long form census because she understands that is a small sacrifice to make for the good of her country, and she knows all the information will be kept completely confidential, they can give me a call.

    And then the hearings can go on for months with lines of “ordinary Canadians” telling the committee what they already know – that some people support the government on this and others don’t.

  • TofKW

    How hard can it be to get Ezra, Stephen Taylor and a few assorted nuts from the National Citizens Coalition & the Fraser Institute to show up and support the government? They crawl out from under their rocks for lesser occasions when called upon.

  • Maybe Tony Clement can get the 10 people on Twitter who spoke in favour of it to show up.

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