Monday, July 19, 2010

truthiness outweighs data:

The Conservative government of Canada has decided to do away with the long form census form. It claims that Industry Minister Tony Clement and his predecessor Maxim Bernier were inundated with complaints about the form invading the privacy of constituents. They claim that a voluntary long form will serve to replace it. They also claim that Statistics canada, the government department mandated to collect, analyze and disseminate information in the public interest recommended this.

As a researcher myself, this is crazy- suddenly switching horses mean that you will be comparing apples and oranges when analyzing subsequent data. More over, it means that subsequent data will be of lower quality, because you are no longer polling random Canadians, but those who choose to fill out the form.

At the bottom of this is Canada's New Government's desire to not let facts get in the way. From the sacking of the head of the CNSC because she said that her engineers said the Chalk River reactor was operating unsafely(it was close for repairs shortly after her departure) to pressuring the Tory-appointed head of Elections Canada to break election regulations this government, that of Stephen Harper only cares about facts that support the policies they have already chosen. They have mistaken honesty for "truthiness".

"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster