Lindsay Lohan goes to jail. Another example of state coercion?
Although Tony Clement was quiet in his initial decision to defile the Census, he has defended the move over Twitter, showing the eloquence and reason we've come to expect from the man who found a way to lose 4 elections within a 2 year span. Via Wherry, here's a selection of Tony's tweets:
TonyClement_MP @wicary Actually the Long Form is still around & will be going to more Cdns–minus the state coercion.
Harbles @TonyClement_MP However the statistical randomness is gone making the data skewed.
TonyClement_MP @Harbles Wrong. Statisticians can ensure validity w larger sample size
stephenfgordon @TonyClement_MP Wrong. Large samples can’t fix sample selection biases.
TonyClement_MP @stephenfgordon Which is why proper weighting will be used, as always the case
stephenfgordon @TonyClement_MP Where will the weights come from? Other voluntary surveys get their weights from the census.
c_9 @TonyClement_MP But weighting is done based on CENSUS DATA. Can’t weight the original data. Answers to these concerns somewhere?
TonyClement_MP @c_9 Folks! There is STILL a mandatory Census!
stephenfgordon @TonyClement_MP How can we reweight for education and income using short form data?
I know if I pointed out that the Minister of Industry shows a glaring lack of understanding of how the Census and statistics in general work, I'd come across sounding like one of those elitists he hates so much. So I'll refrain from pointing that out.
Besides, Clement made this decision despite the objections of the experts at Stats Canada so I don't think he really cares about the science behind it (Tony Clement motto: "Science is for elites"). This isn't too surprising from the guy who thinks he knows more about safe injection sites than Canadian doctors.
No, Tony makes it clear he's making this move to spare Canadians from "state coercion".
Now, to the best of my knowledge, there aren't any documented instances of Census workers using Jack Bauer style interrogation techniques, holding a knife to someone's eye and screaming "Who...do...you...work...for?". So I'll presume Tony is referring to the threat of a $500 fine or 3 months in jail for not completing the Census.
Let's put aside the fact that no one ever actually goes to jail for not filling out the Census and look at Clement's claim. His argument is that threatening to send someone to jail for breaking the law is coercion. This, from the "tough on crime" party.
Equally perplexing is that the short form will remain mandatory. So presumably, Canadians will still be "coerced" into completing their short form. I'd really like an explanation from Tony why short form coercion is acceptable when long form coercion isn't.
In fairness to Clement, he did also raise the issue of "intrusiveness" in another tweet. Personally, I don't think asking 1/5th of Canadians to fill out a form every 5 years is overly intrusive when the information remains 100% confidential. I'm not aware of a single instance where the anonymity of Census data has been compromised but, if this has occured, I invite the Minister of Industry to tweet about it.
Given the backlash we've seen to this move, Clement owes us more than a 140 character explanation.