bishops say keep mandatory long-form census
the government’s assertion the mandatory long form is intrusive,
noting the surveys are anonymous. He wrote that, “in order to build
a more harmonious society, it is in our government’s best interest
to inquire into these areas.”
reasonable to ask these questions so as to better meet the needs of Canadians,”
the CCCB president wrote. “No aspect of Canadians’ lifestyles
should be neglected in the effort to strengthen our nation’s identity.”
The Catholic Civil
Rights League (CCRL) also favours keeping at least portions of the long-form
census mandatory, especially questions about religious affiliation that
will now be dropped in the 2011 census. The mandatory long form will be
replaced by a voluntary National Household Survey (NHS) that statisticians
have argued will not provide a true random sample.
about religious affiliation and religious practice are helpful to many
Canadians in their understanding of society and, more specifically for
some faith groups, in planning for the needs of their community,”
said CCRL executive director Joanne McGarry. “Such information is
also extremely useful for historians and sociologists, both now and in
the future, as well as to Canadians researching their own family histories.”
McGarry said she
hopes a compromise can be reached for a shorter mandatory questionnaire.
The CCCB president
pointed out how the bishops rely on the census data to “gain knowledge
of the demographics and identify the geographic areas where our services
ecumenical and inter-faith perspective, for all religions, this information
is vital,” Morissette wrote.
McGarry said the
census provides a “way we have of knowing where we’re at”
so that if someone claims religion is declining in Canada, there’s
a place to check the facts. “We need to ask these questions.”
pollsters, who use voluntary samples rely on Statistics Canada’s
data. Voluntary samples create a “response bias,” said Angus
Reid public affairs vice-president Jaideep Mukerji, who noted that 18-20-year-old
men would be unlikely to fill out a voluntary form. Their lack of representation
would skew the random sample.
rely on random sampling, their samples are usually quite small —
roughly around 1,000 people. Statistics Canada data surveys 20 per cent
of the population, giving a much larger sample size with a smaller margin
of error, particularly when zeroing in on regions of the country, Mukerji
said. A Canada-wide sample of 1,000 looking at women in Quebec may only
include about 125 Quebeckers, making for a large margin of error, he said.
The Census data
provides an anchor for the private polling data, giving them something
to check the reliability of their samples against, he said.
of the bishops seems to have an undercurrent of statism,” said James
Doak, a lay Catholic who has played a leadership role in Ottawa’s
vibrant Theology on Tap movement.
my family, is a sacred institution,” said Doak. “The Government
Department of Statistics and Social Re-engineering is not a holy institution.”
“One wonders what the government will do with information about who disciplines children,” he said. “Will they push for fathers to do more or less discipline in an expensive social re-engineering program?” He noted the census also asks who does what share of housework. How he and his wife determine discipline or housework sharing is a private matter within the family, he said.