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I’m one of those Canadians who really, really likes the census. I completed it (alas, the short version) within minutes of receiving my card in the mail.

Apparently, I’m not the only one: This census reportedly had a 98% response rate, higher than the last two censuses. In fact, so many people were excited that the mandatory long-form census, along with evidence-based decision making is back, that they crashed the StatCan website within hours of its release.

Which is why I was so taken aback when a census enumerator rang my buzzer a few weeks later. I wasn’t just flustered that somehow they may have lost my response, but I was actively embarrassed that anyone might think of me as anything less than enthusiastic about completing it.

Turns out they were mistakenly looking for someone living in (nonexistent) apartment 7A. I live in apartment 7. I felt much better once we cleared that up.

Yes, I’m a nerd.


High-ho, high-ho, it’s election time again in Canada. And it sure does feel an awful lot like 2008:

  • 4 out of 5 of the party leaders are unchanged. Only Iggy is new this time around, though his post-election political days are probably as numbered as Stephane Dion’s were.
  • The party positions and platforms are largely unchanged since 2008 as well, at least on the big issues.
  • Elizabeth May is once again angry about being excluded from the debates – and, like last time, I predict she’ll probably get her way.
  • Jack Layton is still sporting his used car salesman ‘stache.
  • The Tories are once again sitting in comfortable minority-government territory, at once unlikely to lose and unlikely to form a majority.

So remind me again why we’re going to all this expense and trouble?

I would love to see the Tories get the boot. Between the long-form census debacle, the convenient-for-Harper prorogation of Parliament, corruption scandals, arts funding cuts, attacking women’s right to choosesocial engineering in the guise of economic policy that punishes anything other than the “traditional” family values, and Harper’s megalomania, the reasons abound. I simply cannot believe I live in a country where we keep electing this party.

Unfortunately, the only hope for replacing the Tories, the Liberal Party of Canada, is still in shambles. Ignatieff’s personal popularity is fairly low (no doubt made worse by those horrible Tory attack ads), the vote-splitting on the left bolsters the NDP and Greens at the Liberals’ expense, and the Bloc is standing at nearly 50% popularity here in La Belle Province.

My vote, which I have no problem saying will be for the Liberals, is a wasted vote, since I live in Gilles Duceppe’s riding and unless he gets morphed into an alien and starts singing Vegas showtunes in the shower, he’s going to run away with it here. But I will still trudge out and cast my ballot – on my birthday, no less – even though I know it won’t do any good at all.

No, I’m not a huge fan of Michael Ignatieff. I liked Stephane Dion a lot better, even though he failed to rally widespread support. But I’d much rather have a party in power that I agree with ideologically on most points, as opposed to one that I believe is steadily taking the country in the wrong direction.

The CBC has launched a short but fairly accurate online tool to help you gauge your political positions vis-a-vis the major parties. Check it out. And make sure you vote, because if we’re paying for this pointless election anyway, you might as well get your voice heard.

(Even if I do sometimes wish I could vote for the onion ring.)


Too little, too late?


The Liberal bill introduced in the House of Commons today to reinstate and entrench the long-form census, after the Tory government callously and summarily ignored an opposition motion on the same subject yesterday. But is it too little, too late? But there is little chance a private member’s bill would be able to get through […]

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Census woes


Statisticians as a group have always kind of flown under the radar, perceived as boring number-crunchers even geekier than accountants who are constantly going on about confidence intervals and accuracy within plus or minus three percentage points. That is, until the Tory government dropped its inexplicable bombshell decision this month to abolish the mandatory long-form […]

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