Monday, July 05, 2010

Grab Your Pitchforks and Sampling Methodology Textbooks

Further to my post over the weekend, people are starting to take note of self-selection-gate. Yeah, I know it's just because Helena Guergis hasn't said anything lately but still, it's nice to see a mind numbingly boring issue that actually matters get some ink.

Below is a non-random sample of what people are saying:

"Abolishing this reliable source of useful information is little more than official vandalism."
-Montreal Gazette

"Before the federal government embarrasses itself further, it should turn back this loopy ruling."
-Edmonton Journal

"The government’s latest move to curtail the census is just another example of ideology trumping common sense."
-Toronto Star

"The outrageous decision by the federal government to eliminate the long form of the census questionnaire must be reversed immediately."
-Calgary Herald

"The findings from the census data influence everything from government spending priorities to political representation, both federally and provincially."
-Victoria Times Colonist

"Sending it out to more people doesn't solve the problem. The problem is that on a voluntary survey, people respond who feel like responding. The most vulnerable groups are the least likely to respond. So if you're interested in data about aboriginal people, if you're interested in data about recently arrived immigrants, if you're interested about the poor, the disadvantaged ... those are the kind of data that will be threatened."
-Ivan Fellegi, former Chief Statistician at Statistics Canada

"I'm just flabbergasted by the fact that they are taking the greatest source of information for the history of the country away from us."
-Gordon Watts, an amateur genealogist and co-chairman of the Canada Census Committee

"As a practising economist, the census is the single most important piece of information we get. It's absolutely crucial from a public policy point of view."
-Craig Alexander, chief economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank and president of the Canadian Association of Business Economists

"If response rates vary with the income and education levels, then you won't have a random sample of income and education levels. There is a rather large amount of evidence in the sampling design literature documenting the fact that people with lower levels of education and income have lower response rates, and so these groups will be systematically under-sampled."
-Stephen Gordon, professor of economics at l'Université Laval

"The long form is the only national source of information on aboriginal educational achievement. Without the census long form there will be no information about whether aboriginal education results are improving and no data with which objectively to assess policy alternatives."
-Social scientist Michael Mendelson

"As the organization that represents Canada's academic research community, we are deeply concerned about the disastrous consequences this will have for the scientific understanding of Canadian society, and for the ability to make informed decisions about social and economic policies."
-Canadian Association of University Teachers executive director James Turk

"Without robust Census data, it is difficult for local governments, health districts and other community service providers to respond effectively to shifting patterns of need or introduce changes – including cuts – that do the least harm or provide the greatest value for money. Indeed, it is the local level that is most hampered by this federal decision. The issue raised by cutting the Census long-form questionnaire is not just about having good information; it’s about having relevant tools for democracy."
-Armine Yalnizyan, Senior Economist Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

"Municipalities use the census like a GPS to navigate on-the-ground changes in our communities – to see where we need better bus service, to build affordable housing, or set up support programs for new Canadians. There’s a real concern that these changes are going to make it harder for us to meet the needs of Canadians – we need to know the federal government isn’t going to let that happen."
-Brock Carlton, CEO Federation of Canadian Municipalities

"We're not happy. Nobody on either board is happy." -Paul Jacobson, board member of Toronto and Canadian Associations of Business Economists

Hat tips...and more on this - Wherry, Selley, Tribe


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