This week's dust-up over scrapping the mandatory long form of the census is a bit puzzling.
First of all, I had sort of expected this Conservative government, with its libertarian roots/leanings at the base, to raise a lot more flags about big brother peering into your life. Remember, that was behind a huge streak of opposition to the federal gun registry. So maybe the only surprise is that they're getting around to this now.
But more particularly, let's not forget that this Conservative party, politically, is a huge fan of collecting information about you. Don't take my word for it -- check out this form here, part of what's known as the Constituent Information Management System, or CIMS. It's largely because of CIMS, and the wealth of data it contains, that the Conservatives can send out neat things like greeting cards to cultural communities on various holidays and, more importantly, pick and choose the voters to target in building the base. A couple of years ago, there was a brief flurry of controversy over CIMS, helped by an excellent documentary by Keith Boag on CBC TV in November of 2007. (Sadly, the link is no longer online.) Boag actually got to see how CIMS works and showed it in the documentary. (Senator Finley, if you're reading this, remember you said I could take a look at CIMS in action too?)
Anyway, let's assume that the Conservative government is now playing to the libertarian base with this announcement on the census. Shouldn't that base be more worried about CIMS than Stats Can? Who do you trust more with your information -- a political party or government statisticians?