Conservatives slammed by science journal over census scrapping

'Nature' says move is part of global attack on census-taking

An editorial in the Aug. 26 issue of the science journal ‘Nature’ says the Conservatives’ decision to scrap the mandatory long-form census is plain wrong, and part of a global attack on census-taking. “Census-taking around the world is under assault, thanks to concerns about privacy, cost and response rates,” write Stephen Fienberg and Kenneth Prewitt, the latter the former director of the U.S. Census Bureau. “Most scientists and policy-makers worldwide fail to appreciate what is at stake until it is too late to repair the damage of short-sighted decisions.” The authors of the article say government statistics are the backbone of many policy decisions and research studies, adding: “This decision will lower the quality and raise the cost of information on nearly every issue before Canada’s government.” The Conservatives have defended their decision by saying no one should face jail for refusing to answer intrusive questions. But many others—including provinces, municipalities, charities, and social scientists which rely on census data for planning—have come out against the move.


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