Census straw men

In today’s Globe, William Robson of the C.D. Howe Institute mounts a defence of the census long-form from the right. In doing so, however, he relies almost entirely on a caricature of left-wing long-form defenders.

The partisans denouncing an authoritarian government have no credibility.

Who these partisans are is left to the imagination, the imagination of William Robson’s likely being where they come from. It’s an all-too-common tactic on the interwebs.

Imagine that, rather than dropping the long form, the Harper Conservatives proposed mandatory questions on ethnicity, ability, time-use and dwellings for the first time. Every major city would be overrun with protesters.

Yes, imagine that. Imagine if the Harper government proposed mandatory barcodes tattooed to everyone’s forehead, or we all be injected with RFID, or every family be required to turn over their first born…every city might be overrun with protesters! But not the small towns in Alberta, naturally, being the Tories base. Fortunately for libertarians, no one had proposed that or had plans too do so.

Carrying on, Robson throws lefties a bone of kindness…

Some opponents hurt their case more subtly.

Some of those lefties, while misguided, are clever, you see. But not clever enough, obviously. Who are these subtle ones who fail to acknowledge the onerous weight of the long-form and the large popular movement against it that no one knew existed until the Tories made this decision?

Once again, hell if I know. Was it really necessary to construct your argument in this way?

No census or systems for the collection of statistics is perfect. Statisticians adjust for that. But other countries, including the freedom-loving United States, make taking it mandatory. It’s even written in to the U.S. Constitution.

Update: Quelle supris

When asked how they would ensure even representation across different income and ethnic groups on such surveys without reliable long-form data, Veldhuis questioned why those differences would matter.

Reliable data? Why would that matter! This quote perfectly encapsulates the Fraser Institute.