Not any more

Archive for the ‘From Coast to Coast to Coast’ Category

ParticipACTION + Coca Cola Canada…I’m confused

In Canada, Customer Service, From Coast to Coast to Coast, Government, Gravy, Media, Money, YouTube on June 20, 2012 at 09:59

Just a tad…

Listening to the Metro Morning before heading to work and I hear that ParticipACTION is back!  I’m thinking, pretty cool.  I so remember those old ads about getting up and getting fit.

Damn Swedes

Lazy Bones

Way To Go Canada!

Do It! Do It! Do It!

Raw Deal

Nice that the government is getting this program out to the people.  However it turns out that this is not completely a public funded initiative.  Turns out Coca Cola Canada, with their “Live Positively” social media effort is footing a large amount of cash for the programs relaunch.  Hmm Sugar Water and getting fit.  Probably not the best way to promote an active, healthy lifestyle.  Honourable Bal Gosal Minister of State (Sport) and Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health what is going on under your watch?


I do love my Coke, but this is a stretch, do you think?

Ryder Hesjedal wins Giro d’Italia

In Bikes, Canada, From Coast to Coast to Coast, The CBC, West Coast on May 27, 2012 at 12:13

Just a tad…

“Hesjedal, who overcame a 31 second deficit on Sunday to win by 16, is now a star in the hugely difficult, too-often controversial world of professional cycling where for many years the winners were regularly determined by who had the best chemist…  But he represents a country that, but for the big cycling fans, finds itself asking “Who is this guy?”… Hesh-JAH-dall (keep practising)…” via CBC Sports

It really makes you wonder how Canadian athletes in general (beyond the major leagues) win without much of any backing from the Canadian government.  Tour du France is next, because Hesjedal will probably be over looked from the Canadian Olympic Team.



Gay Marriage Canadian Style

In Canada, From Coast to Coast to Coast, Media on May 23, 2012 at 13:00

Just a tad…

“The first openly gay Marvel comic book character will marry his boyfriend in an upcoming issue of Astonishing X-Men. The character, Northstar, a Canadian superhero who first came out as gay in 1992, is set to propose in an issue of the comic that goes on sale today.”, via Globe and Mail

It’s not so much why.  It’s just that it’s about bloody time.  What took you guys so long.


Section Fifteen of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Under the heading of “Equality Rights” this section states:

15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

(2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.


In Business, Canada, Celeb, Customer Service, From Coast to Coast to Coast, Government, Have to Laugh, Media, The CBC, YouTube on November 30, 2011 at 07:47

Just a tad…

The good people at Friends of Canadian Broadcasting have put out new ads to show a “worst-case scenario arising from the government’s hostile attitude toward the CBC.” Enjoy!

CBC’s The National Redone

CBC has been sold to a US Investor and Wrestler Promoter

CBC Radio Remix 666



Ottawa (29 November 2011) The Conservative Party is gaining the trust of voters when it comes to Canadian culture and the CBC, but that trust could quickly evaporate if forecast cuts to the national public broadcaster’s parliamentary allocation come to pass.

These findings emerge from a national opinion survey sponsored by the watchdog group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.

If Stephen Harper’s criticism of Canadian culture during the 2008 election campaign that many observers believe cost the Conservative Party a majority government was the low point in the public’s estimation of Mr. Harper’s trustworthiness on cultural matters, this survey provides some good news for the Prime Minister.

The survey found that the Conservative Party leads the other two major parties as the most trusted to handle matters of national culture and identity (Conservative Party 27%; NDP 24%; and Liberal Party 14%). 

The Conservative Party is most trusted by 3 in 10 voters (29%) to protect the CBC, second behind the NDP, which enjoys the trust of almost half of voters (46%) and ahead of the Liberal Party (25%).

“The Conservatives promised time and again before and during the election campaign to maintain or increase CBC funding.[1] It would appear Canadians, who in overwhelming numbers support public broadcasting, are responding in a supportive way,” said Friends spokesperson Ian Morrison.

But, the survey also found that the government’s hostility toward the national public broadcaster and its cost-cutting agenda could put the Conservative Party off side with voters, a strong majority of whom want to see the CBC’s budget maintained or enhanced.

  • When asked what advice they would give their MP on how to vote in the House of Commons concerning funding for CBC, 46% would counsel maintaining CBC funding at current levels, while another 23% would advise their MP to vote in favour of an increase. Only 17% favour decreasing CBC funding.
  • 52% believe that Canada’s level of funding of its public broadcaster is insufficient to maintain a unique and vibrant Canadian identity and culture vs. 21% who disagree.

“A ten percent cut to the CBC’s budget, as the Conservatives are contemplating, would have devastating consequences that would be visible and of great concern to the vast majority of Canadians.  In addition, the steady attack on the CBC by various government MPs could change the direction of public support in on this issue,” Morrison said.

CBC budget cuts could undermine the Conservatives’ new-found trust on matters related to culture and put them at odds with a majority of their own base.  Among Conservative Party supporters:

  • 57% would advise their MP to maintain or increase funding for the CBC.
  • 63% think the CBC plays an important or very important role in protecting Canadian culture and identity.
  • 64% give the CBC high marks for meeting its mandate to inform, enlighten and entertain
  • 70% believe that the federal government should be somewhat or very responsible for ensuring that Canadian programming and content on television and radio is protected.

Voters who identify the Conservatives as their second choice also strongly support public broadcasting:

  • 81% would tell their MP to maintain or increase funding for the CBC.
  • 78% think the CBC plays an important or very important role in protecting Canadian culture and identity.
  • 84% give CBC high marks for meeting its mandate to inform, enlighten and entertain
  • 75% believe that the federal government should be somewhat or very responsible for ensuring that Canadian programming and content on television and radio is protected.

The survey found that Prime Minister Harper and his Conservative government carry a reputation for being hostile to Canadian culture and the CBC:

  • Half (52%) of Canadians think Canada’s level of public broadcaster funding is insufficient to maintain a unique and vibrant Canadian identity and culture, and 55% think Canada’s level of public broadcaster funding is indicative of the federal government’s treatment of the cultural sector overall.
  • Half (50%) think the Harper government is underfunding the CBC so that it can turn it into a private, commercial broadcaster. Only one in four agree that privatizing and commercializing the CBC is the right thing to do.

CBC remains extremely popular with Canadians, who by wide majorities give the CBC high marks for meeting its mandate to present programs that inform, enlighten and entertain (77%) as well as its mandate to serve the broadcasting needs of Canada’s regions (68%)

In defence of our national public broadcaster, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting is launching STOP THE CBC SMACKDOWN, a satiricaonline campaign calling on the Conservative government to keep its election promise to maintain or increase CBC funding.

“This effort dramatizes what is perhaps our greatest fear – one that grows with each passing day’s events on Parliament Hill – that the Conservative government secretly intends to privatize some or all of our national public broadcaster, selling it to the highest bidder.  Two SMACKDOWN videos portray this worst-case scenario arising from the government’s hostile attitude toward the CBC,” says Friends’ spokesperson Ian Morrison.

The videos feature messages from the new CBC’s new owner, Lance Fury.

A personal friend of the Prime Minister and a former professional wrestling promoter from the US, Lance has purchased the CBC for an undisclosed amount.  In his video messages, the new owner-operator of the former public broadcaster outlines a radical overhaul of CBC News and his plans to introduce commercial advertising to CBC Radio.

Fury says, “Canadians are gonna love this.  I mean, let’s be honest.  They’re very unique in that they’re just like Americans, except for the Quebeckians, who are more like the Puerto Ricans.  But now that I’m here, there will be something for everyone.  But don’t worry Canada, I won’t be touchin’ your wheat.”

“As the survey demonstrates, the CBC continues to enjoy high levels of public esteem.  The video campaign is about lifting those numbers off the page to demonstrate that without great care and support for our national public broadcaster, the new found gains in public trust the Conservatives have achieved could be short lived,” Morrison said.

The online survey of 2022 adult Canadians conducted from November 4 to 10 has a margin of error of +/- 2.18%, 19 times out of 20.  The survey was designed and administered by political scientists, Daniel Rubenson, Associate Professor at Ryerson University and Peter Loewen, Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto.  The survey was fielded by the national polling firm Angus Reid/Vision Critical.

125,000 songs… listen to CBC Radio 3… oh and read the LA Times!!

In Canada, From Coast to Coast to Coast, Me Myself & I, Media, Music, The CBC on November 22, 2011 at 14:34

Just a tad…

I know this infographic was a while ago but its one of the many reasons why I love the CBC, CBC Radio and CBC Radio3 in general.  Oh and the LA Times like them too.

“Reporting from Toronto — — It’s 1928, and the Canadian government is in a panic. It’s issued radio licenses to Canadian stations since 1922, but most Canadians are turning their dials to American programming. What to do? A royal commission on the future of broadcasting was convened, and eight years later, after a brief incarnation as a state-owned national broadcasting network, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. was born.

 Its mandate: to reflect Canada to Canadians.”


Jack Layton 1950-2011

In Canada, Cancer, From Coast to Coast to Coast, Government, Loss of Life, Medical, Toronto on August 22, 2011 at 09:43

A statement issued this morning by the family of NDP leader Jack Layton.

We deeply regret to inform you that The Honourable Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, passed away at 4:45 am today, Monday August 22. He passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by family and loved ones. Details of Mr. Layton’s funeral arrangements will be forthcoming.

A statement from the Prime Minister.

“I was deeply saddened to learn this morning of the death of Jack Layton.

“When I last spoke with Jack following his announcement in July, I wished him well and he told me he’d be seeing me in the House of Commons in the Fall.

“This, sadly, will no longer come to pass.

“On behalf of all Canadians, I salute Jack’s contribution to public life, a contribution that will be sorely missed.

“I know one thing: Jack gave his fight against cancer everything he had. Indeed, Jack never backed down from any fight.

“To his wife Olivia, his family, and to his colleagues and friends, Laureen and I offer our heartfelt condolences. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this most difficult time.” 

A statement from interim NDP leader Nycole Turmel.

New Democrats today are mourning the loss of a great Canadian.

Jack was a courageous man. It was his leadership that inspired me, and so many others, to run for office. We – Members of Parliament, New Democrats and Canadians – need to pull together now and carry on his fight to make this country a better place.

On behalf of New Democrats from coast to coast to coast, our thoughts and prayers are with our colleague Olivia Chow, Jack’s children Sarah and Mike and the rest of Jack’s family.

And we remember the Tommy Douglas quote Jack included in every email he sent: “Courage my friends, ‘tis never too late to build a better world.”

An official statement from Liberal leader Bob Rae.

“Like all Canadians, Arlene and I are deeply saddened by the death of Jack Layton.  He was a friend of ours for many years, and despite our political differences his decency, good humour and extraordinary resilience earned our deep admiration.  We remained friends throughout our political lives. 

On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada and our Parliamentary Caucus, I express our deep condolences to Olivia and Jack’s family, as well as to his colleagues and friends in the New Democratic Party.  He leaves a powerful legacy of a commitment to social justice in his work in Toronto as a city councillor and as a national leader.

Peace and comfort to all.  When David Lewis passed away Stanley Knowles ended his eulogy with the words “shalom chaver, shalom”.  Peace, brother, peace.”

NDP deputy leader Libby Davies talks to reporters in St. John’s.

“He was a great Canadian. He gave his life to this country. His commitment to social justice and equality and a better Canada in the world and at home and I think that’s how people saw him,” Davies told reporters. “They saw him as someone who deeply, deeply cared for people. And they saw that in the campaign and all his work. They saw the courage that he had. He faced cancer and he kept on working, doing his job, because he felt so strongly about what he believed in, so I think people think of him as a great Canadian and we think of him as a great leader, in a political sense but (also) in a personal sense.”

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May offers her sympathies: “Such terribly sad news. Deepest sympathy to @jacklayton’s family and to all in the #NDP for whom he worked so long and hard.”A statement from the Green party.

The Green Party of Canada offers deep sympathy and sadness at the news of the death of one of Canada’s leading political figures.  The party, its members, candidates, staff and leader send sincere condolences to the entire NDP family, Jack’s family and most especially to Jack’s wife Olivia Chow. “I am deeply saddened by the untimely death of Jack Layton.  Collectively, Canadian hearts are breaking,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May. “Jack will always be remembered for his unfailing love of Canada and his dedication to this country and its citizens.”

@bobraeMPBob Rae

Deeply saddened by news about Jack Layton, Arlene and I send deepest condolences to Olivia and family. He is a loss to a grieving Canada
@Carolyn_BennettCarolyn Bennett
Canada has suffered a terrible loss… We will miss him terribly. Our deepest sympathies to Olivia and Michael and his families #cdnpoli
@GGDavidJohnstonDavid Johnston
I learned with great sadness we just lost Jack Layton. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

An official statement from Governor General David Johnston.

My wife, Sharon, and I join all Canadians in deeply mourning the loss of Jack Layton today.

As leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, Mr. Layton was held in great esteem by Canadians for his passionate dedication to the public good. Throughout his career as a community leader and politician, he constantly strived to bring people together in the common cause of building a better Canada, and he did so with so with great energy and commitment. His fundamental decency and his love of our country serve as examples to us all, and he will be greatly missed.

We wish to extend our sincerest condolences to Mr. Layton’s wife, Ms. Olivia Chow, and their family, friends and colleagues in this most difficult time. Our thoughts are with you.

@JohnMcCallumMPJohn McCallum

Deeply saddened by today’s news. Our thoughts are with Jack Layton’s family today. He will be remembered for his dedication to Canadians.

statement from American ambassador David Jacobson.

I just received the sad news that Jack Layton has passed away.  On behalf of my family as well as the American people I want to express our sorrow to Jack’s wife Olivia Chow, his family, and his friends and supporters across Canada.  I will never forget the image of Jack campaigning as the happy warrior.  His energy, enthusiasm and passion for politics and for the Canadian people were undeniable.  Something I will never forget. A standard for all of us.

Former Toronto mayor David Miller spoke of his long-time colleague: “I am extremely saddened to receive the news of Jack Layton’s passing and want to extend my condolences to Olivia and to Jack’s entire family.

I had the privilege of knowing Jack for 25 years, proudly serving with him at the City of Toronto before he was elected as a Member of Parliament.

Whether as a city councillor or as an MP, Jack always fought hard, and successfully, to make a better world for all Torontonians and Canadians.

As a councillor, his leadership in fighting against homelessness and for our environment both resulted in permanent change for the better.

He has left a national legacy not just as the most successful leader of the New Democratic Party, but as the former President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) where he built a strong national consensus between urban and rural Canada, and between municipal politicians of all political parties resulting in national investment in Canada’s cities and towns.

His progressive leadership – and his personal courage and relentless optimism – are going to be very much missed.”

Dave Sidaway/Montreal Gazette

From Peter Tabuns, New Democrat MPP for Toronto-Danforth, the riding Layton represented as a federal MP:
“He showed us how to do it, how to connect with people.”
Tabuns says he visited Layton 10 days ago.
“He was in really good humour….his voice was a lot better than in that last press conference….he was the most optimistic man I ever met in my life.”
“If you ever campaigned with him, the man was a ball of fire.”

Former NDP leader Ed Broadbent spoke at his home in Ottawa:

“This is a tragic loss taking down a politically extraordinary man at the height of his powers and his accomplishments for Canada.
I am deeply saddened but like many other Canadians I expected news any time now. I am quite overcome by it as a consequence.”

 A statement from House Speaker Andrew Scheer.

On behalf of the Members of the House of Commons, I would like to express my deepest condolences to Olivia Chow and the friends and family of the Honourable Jack Layton at this difficult time. Jack was a man of remarkable courage and conviction, who leaves behind a tremendous legacy both as a devoted family man and a passionate politician who fought fearlessly for what he believed in. His contribution to Canada’s political life and landscape will be greatly missed.

Former Progressive Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney called Layton the “heart and soul” of the New Democratic Party.

“It was a huge achievement,” he told the Star’s Richard Brennan.

Mulroney said he had a long telephone chat with Layton after the NDP captured 59 seats in Quebec.

He said Layton wanted some tips on how to handle such a large and, for the most part, inexperienced Quebec caucus, knowing that Mulroney faced a similar situation in 1984 when the Tories won 59 seats.

“We had a very good conversation,” he said.

Mulroney said Layton always reminded him of Robert Layton, Jack’s father, who served in Mulroney’s cabinet and was national caucus chair.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief on Passing of Jack Layton

OTTAWA, Aug. 22, 2011 /CNW/ – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today responded to the news of the passing of the Leader of the Official Opposition, Jack Layton:

“I and my family are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Jack Layton.  Jack was a friend to me and to so many leaders across Canada.  Jack understood the challenges of poverty and was determined to give voice to all struggles including our struggle for fairness, equity and justice.”

“Jack had such a unique ability to connect with and listen to people.  Jack was accessible to everyone.  We all grew to quickly appreciate his deep sincerity in supporting our issues in the best way possible. Jack will be greatly missed by First Nation leaders across this country and by so many Canadians. He was a remarkable and inspirational  leader for all peoples. ”

“On behalf of the Assembly of First Nations and the national executive, I offer my heartfelt thoughts and prayers to Olivia Chow and the entire Layton family at this difficult time.  As I reflect today, I know that Jack’s fearless determination to advance a better day for everyone  is a powerful and instructive legacy for all leaders and for Canadians.”

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.

TORONTO, Aug. 22, 2011 /CNW/ – Ryerson President Sheldon Levy says the university community is saddened to learn of the death of Jack Layton, who taught at Ryerson before launching his political career.

“Jack was a true friend to Ryerson. Our deepest condolences go out to Olivia and Jack’s family,” said President Levy. “His political legacy and commitment to social justice will inspire students for years to come. As a teacher, his passion for knowledge and his enthusiasm for politics had an impact on a generation of Ryerson students.”

The Opposition Leader passed away early this morning. He is survived by his wife, MP Olivia Chow, and children Mike and Sarah.

Layton became a Ryerson professor in 1974 and taught politics before being elected to Toronto city council in 1982. He was elected federal NDP leader in 2003 and led the party to unprecedented success in the May 2, 2011 election, earning the party official Opposition status for the first time.

“To lose a party leader of such integrity is a profound loss for Canadian politics,” said Colin Mooers, interim chair of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson. “Equally sad, having led the federal NDP to its first-ever official Opposition status, is that Jack Layton will not be able to take his seat as leader. Jack’s loss will be felt acutely by all his former colleagues.”

In a visit to campus several years ago, Layton had expressed how much he enjoyed his time at Ryerson.

“Teaching at Ryerson is among the happiest times of my life,” said Layton in October 2007 at a campus event to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Ryerson Public Administration program. “I’m a big believer in Ryerson. I love the connection teachers have with students, who are connected to the community. This promotes learning because they learn from the community.”

TORONTO, Aug. 22, 2011 /CNW/ – The news of federal NDP leader Jack Layton’s passing has deeply saddened CAW leaders, members and staff right across the country, as we mourn the loss of an inspiring political leader and a friend to working people and all those fighting for justice.

Jack Layton had a broad and truly inclusive vision for the country, which he pursued wholeheartedly with enthusiasm and optimism that was infectious. There can be no greater example than the party’s success across Canada in the last election, particularly in the province of Quebec.

Jack’s steadfast belief in equality and fairness made him an outspoken advocate for the poor, Canadian families, students, seniors and children. What people saw in Jack was a person who cared sincerely about their lives and would articulately speak up in their defence, on Parliament Hill or wherever the situation found him.

He captured our imaginations and encapsulated our hope that indeed as a country, we could do better. He inspired us to believe more was possible.

To NDP Members of Parliament:

Our hearts go out to you as you grapple with the death of a mentor and dear friend. The country is mourning along with you. On behalf of the CAW, we send to you our collective condolences for the untimely loss of Jack Layton.

Jack was an inspiring and unifying political leader, unparalleled in Ottawa in recent memory. Surely he must have ignited in each of you a passion for your community and country.

To be certain, Jack had great momentum through out the last federal election, but his appeal and strength were also rooted in the ideas he espoused. The hope that Jack Layton drew on in the last election is still with you and your party. The NDP is a crucial voice of conscience for Canada.  At Jack’s passing, your voice of conscience is needed more than ever. Your efforts can and will make a difference in the direction of our country.

The union looks forward to working with whoever replaces Jack as the leader of the Official Opposition.

To All Canadians:

The country has suffered a terrible loss with the death of Jack Layton. Even many of those who never voted for Jack or a member of his party admired his ideas, his tenacity and conviction. He represented the best of Canadian values – fairness, equality, balance, courage and concern for one’s neighbour.  He was but one human, but his persona was much larger.  We saw the best of ourselves in Jack and in his vision what was possible for the country.

Through out Canadian history, the NDP and progressives have made important advances for all citizens, regardless of their political leanings. As we mourn the loss of Jack Layton, we must also reflect on his vision for Canada and how we can endeavour to make some of his cherished ideas a reality.

Among the lessons Jack Layton gave us is the necessity of courage to dream bigger than what others believe to be possible and to pursue these dreams with great determination and passion.

Jack’s memory will live on through the tireless work of all Canadians who choose to build a stronger, more equal and just society.

Sincerely, Ken Lewenza
National President

A statement from former governor general Michaelle Jean.

“It is with profound sadness that my husband Jean-Daniel Lafond, our daughter Marie-Eden and I, learnt of the death of Jack Layton,” said the former governor general of Canada. “Our country is losing a man of courage and great integrity.

“He embodied, and knew how to defend with vigor and conviction, the values ​​closest to the hearts of Canadians. His determination, his love of the country, his optimism, his great compassion, his ability to listen, his personal warmth, and his open-mindedness, are all qualities that will be missed. Our thoughts are with his wife, Olivia Chow, children and grand-daughter as well as with all his extended family, friends and fellow travelers now afflicted by grief. From him, we will keep the best memories.”

Jack Layton took over the New Democratic Party in 2003.

A statement from Jeff Turnbull, president of the Canadian Medical Association.

On behalf of the doctors of Canada, the Canadian Medical Association extends its sincere condolences to Olivia Chow and the family, friends and colleagues of Jack Layton. Mr. Layton was a tireless defender of medicare and a principled voice for the disadvantaged in our society. He was a decent man, deeply committed to social justice, who stayed true to his values. On a personal note, he and I shared a similar perspective on the need to respect the rights of the homeless and other vulnerable people in our society. I thought he was a wonderful man and we have suffered a great loss.


statement from former prime minister Paul Martin.

Jack Layton’s contribution to Canada was cut short most unfairly. His dedication to our country, to public life and to his party was vividly apparent in everything he did and all that he achieved.

John Ward, The Canadian Press OTTAWA – Like some political Moses, Jack Layton led his people out of the wilderness, only to die within sight of his own Promised Land.

In the preface to his 2006 book, “Speaking Out Louder,” Layton wrote a passage that turned out to be eerily prescient:

“Oftentimes, life’s highs and lows are inextricably linked. That has certainly happened to me and, occasionally, the ups and downs were virtually simultaneous.”

In eight years as leader of the NDP he took his party to heady heights, but fell himself to a tragic disease at the age of 61.

The end came with a terse announcement.

“We deeply regret to inform you that the honourable Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, passed away at 4:45 am today, Monday August 22,” said the statement from his wife, Olivia Chow, and children, Sarah and Michael.

“He passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by family and loved ones.”

Funeral details have not yet been announced.

Layton rebuilt his party, muted its internal squabbles, united its fractious factions and weaned it from old-style dogma to present a face more palatable to middle-class voters.

He starred in the most successful election in the history of his party and won the title of Opposition Leader, which had eluded his more storied predecessors.

Layton hobbled across the hustings last spring, leaning on a cane against the pain of a surgically repaired broken hip. He shrugged off the effects of treatment for prostate cancer. His dogged campaigning as Le Bon Jack won him a majority of the seats in Quebec, a cherished but illusory goal for New Democrats for decades.

He slew the Bloc Quebecois and saw the long-dominant Liberal party reduced to a battered hulk.

Layton was ready for a new Canadian political alignment that would pit left against right across the moribund Liberal middle.

But the victory cup was dashed from his lips by the onslaught of another, more brutal cancer that wasted him to skin and bones — and killed him just 16 weeks after election day.

Layton went, in one short summer, from triumph to tragedy and left behind less a political legacy than a political question: What if?

He was a man who carried politics in his genes. A great-grandfather was a Father of Confederation. His grandfather, a Quebec provincial cabinet minister in a Union Nationale government. His father, a Tory cabinet minister under Brian Mulroney.

He was a believer. He made that clear in the first sentences of “Speaking Out Louder:”

“Politics matters. Ideas matter. Democracy matters, because all of us need to be able to make a difference.”

Layton was born in Montreal on July 18, 1950. He grew up in Hudson, Que., an Anglo community complete with a celebrated yacht club. It was a small town, but hardly typical of small-town Quebec.

He was a child of the placid Fifties in a well-off family in a well-to-do town. He was a teen and university student of the Sixties, with all that went with a decade that has claimed the word “turbulent” as its singular descriptive.

Layton took his BA at Montreal’s McGill University in the late 1960s, when radicalism blew through campuses like a stiff gale. The rebellious vigour of the times led him to political activism. He doffed the conservativism of his family and embraced socialism.

“Events in the Sixties and Seventies were formative for me,” he wrote in “Speaking Out Louder.”

“My path grew out of the tumultuous days of the October Crisis.”

He became an activist, canvasser and organizer for a community movement in Montreal as a student.

By the time he earned his master’s degree at Toronto’s York University in 1972, his political genes had clearly activated. He had studied under Jim Laxer, a key figure in the Waffle movement that rocked the NDP at the time.

Layton taught at Ryerson University in Toronto. But by the time he received his PhD in 1984, he had already largely abandoned academic theory for community activism and then the practicalities of municipal politics.

“I was hooked on local politics and neighbourhood engagement,” he wrote.

First elected in 1982, he served on Toronto and Metropolitan Toronto councils for 20 years, honing his instincts and skills at the level of retail politics. He was a politician in the mould of a people’s tribune, with rolled-up sleeves, 14-hour days and seven-day weeks. Every hand was there to be shaken, every story was there to be heard, every windmill was there to be charged.

His politics were those of the poor, the homeless, the alienated, the disenfranchised. He served as vice-chair of Toronto Hydro, chair of the Toronto Board of Health and president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. He twice ran federally and lost.

Layton’s first marriage to high-school sweetheart Sally Halford, which had produced two children, ended in 1983.

He would eventually team up with Olivia Chow, another municipal power-broker. Together they would become the go-to couple of the left in Toronto politics. They rode a tandem bicycle along the waterfront, entertained, led rallies, marched in parades, ran for office and won.

Chow would follow Layton into the House of Commons in 2006. And she would be beside him in the dark summer of 2011.

In his rise, Layton gained a reputation as a brash, aggressive, even abrasive figure.

On a trip to Calgary for a meeting of the federation of municipalities, he raised local hackles with dismissive comments about the city, its appetite for new buildings at the cost of older properties and even its ritzy new city hall. There was an outcry in the local media and Art Eggleton, then mayor of Toronto, dispatched his own apology for Layton’s comments.

He also gained a reputation as a master of the political stunt and the over-the-top comment. Some joked that the most dangerous place to be around city hall was between Layton and a microphone, where one might get trampled.

Rightly or wrongly, the image of a loud lout shouting into the mike from the left side of any issue clung to him after he won the NDP leadership in 2003.

It was a leadership contest that pitted Layton and the trendy new left against Bill Blaikie and the traditional, Prairie populist wing. Blaikie was a United Church minister in the best traditions of NDP and CCF champions of old. Layton was an academic and a firebrand. Blaikie was a Manitoban, Layton was from Toronto, font of all evil for many Canadians, especially westerners.

Layton won on the first ballot and went into renovation mode. He began to rebuild and re-brand his party. He was a people person whose BlackBerry kept him linked to hundreds of organizers, fund-raisers, recruiters and policy wonks. He worked through meals and vacations, pushing himself and his goals.

He toned down the wild rhetoric, although he raised an uproar in the 2004 election campaign by accusing then-prime minister Paul Martin of responsibility for the deaths of homeless people because he failed to produce affordable housing.

Despite that, Layton won his Toronto-Danforth seat in Parliament in 2004, an election that left Martin’s Liberals with a minority government. The NDP raised its seat total to 19 from 13.

It was a start. Layton criss-crossed the country to raise the party profile and in doing so, became the public face of the NDP. The trademark grin, the brush moustache, the earnest optimism, the trademark head tilt were the tools of his trade. The hellfire rhetoric cooled. This was reasonable Jack, optimistic Jack, the Jack of the kitchen table, not the street corner.

The approach seemed to strike a chord with regular folk.

In 2006, Layton’s campaign produced 29 seats, but boosted its vote to 2.59 million. Momentum was building.

In 2008, Layton campaigned not as a third-party leader, but as a prime minister-in-waiting. The vote total slipped slightly, but his campaign won 37 seats, just six short of its then all-time high under Ed Broadbent.

By 2011, Layton was ready for a breakthrough. Despite the prostate cancer diagnosed in early 2010, despite the mysterious hip fracture, he was everywhere. In Quebec, his working-class French and his call to action on behalf of the ordinary family struck a note with voters grown weary of the Bloc and leery of the Liberals.

On May 2, about 4.5 million people cast ballots for the NDP, giving the party 103 seats — 59 from Quebec — and making Layton leader of the Official Opposition.

Just over two months later, looking pale and gaunt, he called a news conference to say he was suffering from another, unspecified cancer and he would temporarily step down as party leader. Nycole Turmel, rookie MP and veteran labour leader, took over in the interim.

Deuteronomy 34 says God took Moses up to a high place and showed him the Promised Land in the distance.

“I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither. So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.”

Nine myths about Canadian culture by Kate Taylor

In Canada, From Coast to Coast to Coast, Government, Media on September 24, 2010 at 14:57

Nine myths about Canadian culture

1. Fiction: Canada is a small country and a small market.

Fact: Canada is the 14th largest economy in the world, and English Canada is home to an estimated 26 million people. The cultural firmament is full of examples — Danish film, Quebec TV — where smaller populations sustain local content. English Canada’s challenges have to do with the cultural and physical proximity of the U.S., and with the country’s geographic spread.

2. Fiction: Canadians just don’t want to watch Canadian TV shows.

Fact: If that were true, Canadians would be the only people in the industrialized world who preferred American shows to domestic shows of comparable quality. U.S. shows do consistently outrank Canadian shows in ratings, but they have significant advantages over Canadian shows. Simulcasting means American shows appear twice on the dial. Canadian shows tend to be relegated to times when fewer people are watching, and they usually offer half the number of episodes, making it more difficult to build audiences. Nonetheless, Canadian shows do score with audiences: CTV’s Flashpoint, the highest-rated Canadian drama last season, drew an average of 1.5 million viewers.

3. Fiction: Canadian shows would get the ratings if they were any good.

Fact: After the U.S. and the U.K., Canada is one of the most significant exporters of TV programming in the world. Canadian shows regularly appear on U.S. specialty channels and European networks. CBC’s Being Erica is seen in 21 countries including Turkey, Poland and the U.S.

4. Fiction: They are shoving Cancon down our throats.

Fact: Canadian content regulations in radio and television have ensured there are Canadian choices that would not otherwise exist, but Canadians also have easy access to most American television, as well as all U.S. movies, music, books and magazines.

5. Fiction: Canadian movies are just bad.

Fact: How would you know? When have you ever seen one? It is estimated that Canadian films account for only 3 per cent of screen time in Canadian cinemas.

6. Fiction: The CBC is lavishly funded by the taxpayer. . .

Fact: At $33 per citizen per year, the CBC is one of the worst funded public broadcasters in the industrialized world. Only the United States and New Zealand pay less per capita for public broadcasting. Routinely cut and seldom increased, the CBC’s parliamentary appropriation, in today’s dollars, is worth $500 million less than it was in 1991.

7. Fiction: . . . unlike the commercial broadcasters, who have to survive without any government money.

Fact: There is no such thing as a free market in Canadian broadcasting. The commercial broadcasters are protected from competing American signals by regulation and also receive government subsidies for their Canadian programming in the form of tax credits and grants provided to TV producers.

8. Fiction: You can’t regulate the Internet; the CRTC might as well close up shop.

Fact: It’s not just the censors in Beijing who are looking at a national government’s ability to exercise some control over the Internet. In the United States, the broadcast regulator is attempting to establish rules for net neutrality; the Australian government upholds obscenity laws it created for the Internet in 1999. The question for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is whether any kind of Canadian content regime on the Internet would be fair or effective.

9. Fiction: Canadian ownership is key to providing Canadian content.

Fact: The link between domestic ownership and domestic content is weak, depending more on producers’ business models than their patriotism. For a Canadian-owned broadcaster, it is easier to make money airing U.S. shows than producing Canadian ones. On the other hand, it is possible to make money on Canadian books and music, two areas where foreign companies do produce Canadian content.

I did not know that.

Letters From: and To:Tony

In Business, Canada, Customer Service, From Coast to Coast to Coast, Government, Law & Order, People that Matter, Politico, This Means WAR on July 22, 2010 at 16:44

Just a tad…

It’s letter writing week.  I guess a few people had to let of some steam.


This the statement sent out by Tony last night

I acknowledge with regret the resignation of Munir A. Sheikh the Chief Statistician of Canada.

There has been considerable commentary about the federal government’s decision to replace the 2011 mandatory census long form with the voluntary National Household Survey.

The Government took this decision because we do not believe Canadians should be forced, under threat of fines, jail, or both, to divulge extensive private and personal information. We believe it is not appropriate to compel citizens to divulge how many bedrooms they have in their houses, or what time they leave for work in the morning. The Government’s approach is about finding a better balance between collecting necessary data and protecting the privacy rights of Canadians.

As I have noted previously, Statistics Canada’s preferred approach would have been to maintain the mandatory long form census. However, after the Government’s decision to replace the mandatory long form census Statistics Canada was asked to provide options for conducting a voluntary survey of households. One of the options provided – the voluntary National Household Survey – was chosen.

A voluntary long form survey offers challenges that do not exist in the case of a census that uses coercion to compel completion. Nonetheless, by working together with the professionals at Statistics Canada I believe we can compensate for these challenges and offer data-users high quality and accurate information.

I have relied throughout this process on the frank and open advice of Statistics Canada and the Chief Statistician. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all employees of Statistics Canada for the hard work and dedication that has made Statistics Canada one of the best national statistical organizations in the world.

Until a permanent successor can be found Wayne Smith, Assistant Chief Statistician, Business and Trade Statistics, will act on an interim basis.

Now from the PMO’s office

From: “Alerte-Info-Alert” <>

Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2010

To: Alerte-Info-Alert<>


Resignation of the Chief Statisti cian / Démission d u statisticien en chef

Resignation of the Chief Statistician

Today, Minister Clement acknowledged, with regret, the resignation of Munir Sheikh, the Chief Statistician of Canada.

Our reasons for replacing the mandatory census long form with a voluntary national survey are clear:

We do not believe Canadians should be forced, under threat of fines, jail, or both, to divulge extensive private and personal information. It is not appropriate to compel citizens to divulge how many bedrooms they have in their houses, or what time they leave for work in the morning.

Our approach is about finding a better balance between collecting necessary data and protecting the privacy rights of Canadians. It is unfortunate that Mr. Sheikh did not share these objectives.

Until a permanent successor to Mr. Sheikh is chosen, Wayne Smith, Assistant Chief Statistician, Business and Trade Statistics, will act on an interim basis.

We are confident that Statistics Canada’s employees will continue the hard work and dedication that has made Statistics Canada one of the best national statistical organizations in the world.

And finally a statement from National Statistics Council


ACMLA Letter to Tony Clement concerning the 2011 decision to cancel the mandatory Long-Form Questionnaire

(with permission from Andrew Nicholson, president ACMLA)

The Honorable Tony Clement, MP Minister of Industry House of Commons Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6

Dear Minister Clement

As President of the Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives (ACMLA) (, I am writing to you to express the surprise and disappointment of our membership in the Government’s decision to cancel the mandatory Long-Form Questionnaire for the 2011 Census. The information gathered from the Long-Form census has contributed greatly to the education and research activities of Canadians over many decades. Its replacement by a voluntary National Household Survey raises many concerns from our membership.

We are an active Association with over 70 members from across Canada who play a pivotal role as geographical information providers and educators. We find the information provided by the Long-Form census is vital for providing a greater understanding of Canada and its diverse regions to our users. For example, determining accurate levels of income or immigration patterns is possible with data collected from the Long-Form Census questionnaire. Moreover, as geographical information professionals, we map and visualize the data, and provide mapping/visualization capabilities to our researchers so they are able to analyze the data for research purposes. The results and impact of such research are then carried forward into other public and private endeavours for the benefit of all Canadians.

Part of the value of the Long-Form Census was its mandatory requirement that 20% of the population complete it. While this may have seemed an onerous task for a few participants, most gladly participated knowing that everyone else selected in the 20% sample is equally obligated to fill out the Long-Form as part of their civic duty. Moreover, the value and long term benefit for the whole population, including educators and policy makers, has been immense. Replacing the mandatory Long-Form with a voluntary National Household Survey form just raises more issues especially concerning the validity and value of the data collected. For example, will many people take the time to voluntarily fill in a 50+ question form? If there is a low participation rate, how can anyone really rely on the data as being an accurate snapshot of the Canadian population? Though it has also been argued that the Long-Form is intrusive and raises issues of confidentially, this is completely untrue as Statistics Canada has been meticulous in anonymizing census data to protect the confidentially of all participants. This has worked very well in the past for both Census participants and the users of Census data.

As geographic information professionals and providers/curators of geospatial information, we are also concerned by the lack of information pertaining to the future dissemination of Census and National Household Survey data at smaller geographic levels such as Census Tracts and Dissemination Areas. On Statistics Canada’s website, it states that the National Household Survey “will conduct and release the results of this survey applying the same methods and standards used for all of its surveys”. Most of Statistics Canada’s other survey data is only available at a provincial or Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) at best. This will not be acceptable for users who rely on such data at a neighbourhood level to conduct research or make important decisions and recommendations. Mapping employment numbers at a provincial or CMA level will be especially limiting for educational and research purposes.

The mandatory Long-Form questionnaire has been a cornerstone of census data collection for decades and its value should not be discounted. The rich datasets that have been produced have been vital components in almost every area and activity of Canadian society. The decision to abolish it and replace it with a voluntary survey has simply not been well thought out and will only hinder decision-makers at all levels of government, not to mention the research and innovation pursuits of our students and academics.
We respectfully recommend that you reconsider this decision and implement the mandatory Census Long-Form Questionnaire in time for the 2011 Census.

Andrew Nicholson, President, ACMLA
GIS/Data Librarian
Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre
University of Toronto Mississauga
3359 Mississauga Road North
Mississauga, Ontario
L5L 1C6

This is the text of a letter sent to Industry Minister Tony Clement on behalf of the Executive Council of the Canadian Economics Association.

Michael R. Veall
Department of Economics, McMaster University
Hamilton ON L8S 4M4

July 6, 2010

The Honourable Tony Clement, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Industry
House of Commons Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6

Dear Minister Clement,

The Executive Council of the Canadian Economics Association has asked me to write to you to express its concerns at reports that you have decided to replace the mandatory long form in the Census with a voluntary survey.

Important and reliable data have been collected by the Census long form for over a century: for example occupation and school attendance were first collected in 1871, wages and salaries in 1901, working weeks in 1911 and highest level of schooling and the number of rooms in dwellings in 1941. The Census is thus a precious record of our progress as a nation. The proposed change jeopardizes this legacy by risking the quality of the data. For example, it may be impossible to determine whether a new trend in the 2011 data is the consequence of real change or just the different method of collection. The 2011 Census could be costly failure.

We understand that this is a complex issue given the participation resistance from some individuals. (We address this in the attached memo.) But the purpose of the Census is to ensure that public policy is based on the best possible knowledge. Many firms also depend upon the reliable, detailed, small area data provided by the census long form. Therefore, we ask that there be an opportunity for consultation, open to both users and the general public. The discussions would seek to balance the benefits of the data with privacy concerns. If there is inadequate time for such consultation, our view is that the risk of losing the embedded value in the Census is too great, and that the change should be delayed. A number of intermediate measures are possible, including running the new survey in parallel on a smaller sample as a test.

Making this change without consultation will damage Statistics Canada’s currently outstanding reputation inside and outside of Canada and will leave Canada with a Census that is significantly less useful than those of the countries that Canada compares itself against. Please provide an opportunity for consultation. The Canadian Economics Association would be pleased to assist in any way it can.
Sincerely yours,

Michael R. Veall, President-Elect, Canadian Economics Association

cc/ Office of the Prime Minister,
Dr. Munir Sheikh, Chief Statistician of Canada

Here is the text of the memo referred to in the letter:

Eliminating the Mandatory Census Long Form: Why It is Important to Consult
Canadian Economics Association Executive Council, July, 2010

1. We understand that the reason for the elimination of the mandatory long form was objection from those who did not wish to participate. Some such objections are principled (although there are principled objections to many requirements of modern society, such as paying taxes). But we are concerned that some resistance has been fuelled by untruths that Statistics Canada does not respect data confidentiality and that serious penalties for nonparticipation are widespread. Indeed, perhaps the potential fine should be reduced and the possibility of a jail sentence should be eliminated given that these just give targets for those who wish to register protest. Perhaps also the penalties for confidentiality breech could be increased.

2. One reason to keep the Census completely mandatory is that it provides Statistics Canada with the internal mandate to ensure everyone is included. Without the mandatory provision, data for the lower and higher income groups in particular tend to become unreliable, as there is often significant underreporting*. This is a huge information gap. If we miss the top end, we won’t know much about those who pay the most taxes and make some of the most important contributions to our society. But perhaps missing the bottom end of the income distribution is even more important. This includes some of the most vulnerable. They tend to have disproportionate interaction with government: with the health care system, the criminal justice system, the immigration system and the social assistance system. How can we know how policies are working if we do not have a data tool for use in assessment? Crucially, the long form also provides fine geographical detail for local policy analysis including things like city, school and hospital planning, as well as for private sector use. This is at risk.

3. Estimates from Statistics Canada surveys such as the Labour Force Survey depend upon information from the Census. The data quality issues are broader than just the Census.

4. We understand the privacy concerns. But much of the information is already reported to various levels of government (e.g. local property tax assessors, the Canada Revenue Agency). However, the Census collects the data consistently and at once, so that it is possible to examine relationships between variables such as education and income.

5. A consultation would allow the costs and benefits of potential changes to be considered. As our letter emphasizes, the current Census data is an asset of tremendous value because it allows long-term analysis of Canadian trends and can be compared internationally to the Census of the United States and to those of other countries. If this change goes through, it is possible much of the value will be lost. Certainly if this change is made without consultation, the damage to Statistics Canada’s reputation nationally and internationally will be significant: the perception will be that there was no weight given to data quality in the decision making process.


July 13, 2010

Broad coalition calls on government to reverse census decision

Representatives from business and finance, health and social services and other levels of government say the long form is vital to the country’s health and wellbeing

TORONTO—A surprising coalition of diverse voices came together today and called on the federal government to maintain the long form census. The group was comprised of representatives from a number of organizations — from Canadian banks to community-based organizations — as well as policy think tanks and other concerned groups.

Don Drummond, former Chief Economist of TD Bank, urged the government to keep the long form database, which is essential to ensuring decisions made by policy makers, businesses and all levels of government are well-informed and based on evidence.

“This is a key tool for tracking how Canadians are doing over time,” Drummond said.

“Scrapping the long form means we will no longer have a reliable picture of the makeup of our country — and will waste years of data tracking important trends related to the health and wellbeing of Canadians.”

Today’s call follows an announcement that the government will eliminate the long form census in 2011, which contains comprehensive information about Canadians like education level, income, employment, ethnicity and language.

“We simply could not plan vital public health services — like our H1N1 response strategy — without understanding our city at a neighbourhood level,” said Carol Timmings, the Director of Planning and Policy at Toronto Public Health.

The significance of having reliable census data at a local level was echoed by Gillian Mason, Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Community Partnerships at United Way Toronto. “Information obtained from the long form census is imperative to United Way’s work in the community,” Mason said. “Without this detailed information we will not be able to adequately identify and respond to the needs of our community.”

Mel Cappe with the Institute for Research on Public Policy called on the government to reconsider its position in the interest of sound public policy, saying the decision will make Canada a poorer country — unable to understand who we are, what our problems are and what policies are necessary to make Canada a better place.

“This government has demonstrated a willingness to listen and change their mind when it’s in the best interests of the country,” Cappe said. “I urge the government to reconsider — there is so much at stake.”

A Letter to Tony from the masses ~ An Open Letter From

Craig Alexander – President, Canadian Association for Business Economics and Chief Economist, TD Bank

Rachel Bard – CEO, Canadian Nurses Association

Ken Battle – President, Caledon Institute of Social Policy

Marni Cappe – President, Canadian Institute of Planners

Mel Cappe – President and CEO, Institute for Research onPublic Policy, and former Clerk of the Privy Council

Debbie Douglas – Executive Director, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants

Don Drummond – Donald Matthews Fellow and Distinguished Visiting Scholar, School of PolicyStudies, Queen’s University, former Chief Economist of the TD Bankand former ADM of Finance

Nicholas Gazzard – Executive Director, Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada

Ken Georgetti – President, Canadian Labour Congress

Roger Gibbins – President and CEO, Canada West Foundation

Al Hatton – President and CEO,United Way of Canada –Centraide Canada

Alex Himelfarb – Director, Glendon School of Public and International Affairs, and former Clerk of the Privy Council

Dr. Matthew Hodge – President,National Specialty Society for Community Medicine

Jan Kestle – President, Environics Analytics

Frances Lankin – President and CEO, United Way Toronto

Roger Martin – Dean, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Nik Nanos – President and CEO, Nanos Research

Dr. Cordell Neudorf – Chair, Canadian Public Health Association

Mark Stabile – Director, School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto

Penni Stewart – President, Canadian Association of University Teachers

Peggy Taillon – Executive Director, Canadian Council on Social Development

Mike Veall – President Elect,Canadian Economic Association

Carol Wilding – President andCEO, Toronto Board of Trade

… these are PDF’s so just click on the hyperlink

34551711-Census A Census letter from James Rajotte, MP from Edmonton-Leduc

Clement Census Letter ~ Charles Stolte Chair, Canadian Urban Transit Association

keeping_canadians_in_the_dark ~ Charles Stolte Chair, Canadian Urban Transit Association

And now the other shoe drops

In Canada, From Coast to Coast to Coast, Government, People that Matter, The CBC, YouTube on July 22, 2010 at 12:19

Just a tad…

Late yesterday afternoon this letter popped up on StatsCan website.  It has been removed but the damage to Tony Clement and the Conservative Government had already been done.  Not a bad thing at all.  To Mr. Sheikh, thanks for not letting Canadians down.


Media advisory: 2011 Census

July 21, 2010

OTTAWA — There has been considerable discussion in the media regarding the 2011 Census of Population. There has also been commentary on the advice that Statistics Canada and I gave the government on this subject.

I cannot reveal and comment on this advice because this information is protected under the law. However, the government can make this information public if it so wishes.

I have always honoured my oath and responsibilities as a public servant as well as those specific to the Statistics Act.

I want to take this opportunity to comment on a technical statistical issue which has become the subject of media discussion. This relates to the question of whether a voluntary survey can become a substitute for a mandatory census.

It can not.

Under the circumstances, I have tendered my resignation to the Prime Minister. I want to thank him for giving me the opportunity of serving him as the Chief Statistician of Canada, heading an agency that is a symbol of pride for our country.

To you, the men and women of Statistics Canada – thank you for giving me your full support and your dedication in serving Canadians. Without your contribution, day in and day out, in producing data of the highest quality, Canada would not have this institution that is our pride.

I also want to thank Canadians. We do remember, every single day, that it is because of you providing us with your information, we can function as a statistical agency. I am attaching an earlier message that I sent to Canadians in this regard. In closing, I wish the best to my successor. I promise not to comment on how he/she should do the job. I do sincerely hope that my successor’s professionalism will help run this great organization while defending its reputation.

Munir A. Sheikh

You can read Gloria Galloway’s full article in The Globe and Mail here

Opposition vents spleen over Tory census bungling

“…Chief statistician Munir Sheikh, who helmed what has been ranked among the top analytical agencies in the world, handed in his resignation on Wednesday as the debate over the census dominated news headlines.

Mr. Clement has said Statscan was onside with scrapping the mandatory nature of the long-form census because the agency had presented alternatives. But Mr. Sheikh posted a statement saying the Conservative plan to replace a compulsory questionnaire with a voluntary one won’t work.

Mr. Goodale presented reporters with a list of witnesses his party wants to hear from at the Commons industry committee. He said they constitute a broad cross-section of Canadian society, as well as past and present Statistics Canada officials and the minister himself.

And the Liberals are not the only party jumping on the issue. The New Democrats also blasted the Conservative decision to make completion of the long-form of the census voluntary…”

The Census isn’t coming to a town near you

In Canada, Customer Service, From Coast to Coast to Coast, Government, Me Myself & I, YouTube on July 21, 2010 at 09:13

Just a tad…

It seems like the Harper government has stepped into a bit more doo doo over their new policy.  A plan to scrap the long form Census on the grounds that, “Canadians have spoken and the Government is listening to them”, has bit to much bull shit to be true.  Rosemary Barton wrote on the CBC’s Inside Politics Blog “Industry Minister Tony Clement says he is hearing from Canadians on Twitter who are grateful the government has chosen to scrap the mandatory long-form census. And he’s got proof.”  6 people and counting!  The issue of scraping the long form Census is not an easy answer of it’s right or it’s wrong.  What the government has done in this debate is make the decision without consulting with Canadians.  Explain to us why this will be better for us in the long.  Explain why not knowing that it takes me 45 minutes to get to work, that I live in 2 bedroom house and make x amount of money isn’t going to help in projecting the needs of transit, affordable housing and tax benefits in my neighbourhood.  My city.  My country.  This is a minority government and as such, the other parties including the Bloc need to keep them in check.  The Conservatives are slime in my opinion but the fact that the Liberals (the natural party) isn’t standing up and asking “WTF” is almost as bad.

Oh and if you have a problem with what the government is doing you can always get a hold of Tony Clement @TonyClement_MP on Twitter.  He likes his tweets


Below is a letter written to Dr. Munir A. Sheikh, the Chief Statistician of Canada from the Canadian Association of University Teachers

July 20, 2010

Dr. Munir A. Sheikh
Chief Statistician of Canada
Statistics Canada
150 Tunney’s Pasture Driveway
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0T6

Dear Dr. Sheikh:

On behalf of the 65,000 members of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, we are writing to you to ask you to clarify serious concerns we have surrounding the Government of Canada’s decision to make the long form Census voluntary.

As you know, our members are heavy users of the impartial and reliable data and reports provided by Statistics Canada. Academics rely upon the work of your agency to conduct research and analysis that benefits Canadians.

We are therefore alarmed to learn the Minister of Industry claims Statistics Canada was consulted on ways to deal with alleged privacy concerns over the long form questionnaire. It has been reported that your agency proposed several options, including ending the mandatory nature of the long form Census and increasing the number of households to receive a new voluntary survey. The implication is that you and your agency agree with the elimination of the mandatory long form.

From a scientific perspective, replacing the mandatory long form with a voluntary one cannot be justified.  We would like some clarification from you about your assessment of the cancellation of the mandatory long form. Specifically, we would like to hear your response to the following questions:

•    How was Statistics Canada “consulted” on this matter, and what exactly was your response? Did you in fact recommend the elimination of the mandatory long form Census? What other recommendations did you offer?
•    What do you consider to be the consequences of the decision to eliminate the mandatory long form for Canada’s entire statistical system, in scientific terms?
•    How would you assess the research value of the mandatory long form compared to the new voluntary survey?
•    What will be the impact of this decision on the availability, reliability and time-series comparability of specific surveys, reports and studies produced by Statistics Canada based on long-form Census data?
•    Given the high value Statistics Canada places on the confidentiality of information collected and the privacy of those who provide it in all its surveys, do you believe there is any substance to the claims that the long form Census jeopardizes privacy rights?

Statistics Canada has long been respected around the world for conducting its work objectively, free from political interference and outside influence. As Chief Statistician, your foremost duty is to the Canadian public, not to political interests. Your job is to ensure that the data produced are reliable and impartial, so that Canadians can better understand their society and make informed decisions about appropriate policies. We believe the decision to end the mandatory long form Census undermines those goals and puts politics ahead of science.

We look forward to hearing your reply.


Penni Stewart                                James L. Turk
President                                      Executive Director

You can read Rosemary Barton’s full article on Inside Politics Blog here

Tony Clement’s census complaints: the proof is in the tweets

“…We thought Maxime Bernier, who was Industry Minister back in 2006, had proof after saying he got 1000 emails a day complaining about the census, but it turns out he says he didn’t actually keep any of the complaints.

Clement is up to…six people. Well, in all fairness at the time of this writing, he had tweeted about six complaints. Perhaps there are hundreds more that he has yet to reveal. To date, he says Leo Flemming, Julius, Adam, Patrick, Paul and Chris have all written in with their support “from this unwarranted intrusion & coercion”…

You can read Steven Chase’s full article in The Globe and Mail here

Privacy commissioner not consulted on plan to scrap compulsory census

“…The last time Canadians registered beefs on the census that were measured in the double digits was in 1996 – 14 years ago. And back then, the Privacy Commissioner’s office only received 16 complaints. In 1991, the watchdog heard 33 complaints.

The Conservative government has decided it will no longer be mandatory for one-fifth of Canadian households to fill out a so-called long-form census questionnaire.

Opposition parties are marshalling efforts to recall a Commons committee this summer that could probe the decision, one they warn will erode the comprehensive profile that the census normally draws of Canada. The Liberals, New Democrats and Bloc Québécois want Industry Minister Tony Clement called on the carpet to justify the move.

None of this changes the fact that Canadians must complete the basic census form with eight questions about gender, age, marital status and relationships of people in a household.

But the longer form, with more than 50 questions, will now become voluntary, eroding Canada’s only complete national database on education, income, employment, ethnicity and language. This threatens the pool of information that social scientists, policy-makers researchers, businesses and charities use to target different groups.

Mr. Clement is refusing, however, to consider changing course.”…

You can read Shannon Proudfoot’s full article in the National Post here

Government to explain decision to scrap long-form census

“OTTAWA — The Conservative government has agreed to reconvene a parliamentary committee to explain its decision to scrap Canada’s long-form census and replace it with a voluntary survey — a move that’s received widespread public condemnation since it was made public three weeks ago.

On Sunday, the Tories called for a meeting of the Industry, Science and Technology Committee as soon as possible to discuss the change to the census, a call that comes just days after the Liberals said they would seek to reconvene the committee and force the Conservatives to explain their actions…

…On June 26, with no public consultation or advance notice, the Conservatives announced they would scrap the long-form mandatory census questionnaire that has collected information on issues such as ethnicity, income, education, occupation and disabilities…”