Who’s on first?

Maxime Bernier maintains he received a thousand e-mails per day when he was Industry Minister, but he can’t say for sure how many of those pertained to the long-form census. But that’s besides the point anyway because the change to the census was about the principle.

Statistics Canada says it received 138 complaints about the content of the 2006 census, but if that seems a small number, Industry Minister Tony Clement reminds that anyone worried about state coercion obviously wouldn’t take their complaint to the state. But that’s beside the point anyway because even one complaint can be enough.

And indeed, on that count, Mr. Clement has a record of one such complaint: a letter sent by a Liberal MP in 2006 registering the concerns of a few of his constituents. But then that Liberal MP has a copy of Mr. Bernier’s response, in which the former industry minister assures that “information collected by the census is needed and is used only for statistical purposes,” that “questions are designed to meet important information requirements that would be extremely difficult to satisfy efficiently from other sources” and that “these questions continue to be essential for providing the information needed by governments, businesses, researchers and individual Canadians to shed light on issues of concern to all of us—employment, education, training, transportation, housing, immigration, income support, pensions for seniors, transfer payments, aboriginal issues and many more.”

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