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Archive for the ‘People that Matter’ Category

Don’t hate Nickelback

In Canada, Customer Service, Have to Laugh, Media, People that Matter, South of the boarder, Sports, YouTube on November 25, 2011 at 10:04

Just a tad…

It couldn’t have been easy for Chad and the boys.  Talk about a rough start.  The hard knocks band from Hanna, Alberta, released their third album Silver Side Up on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.  But since that day, Nickelback has raked up 32 Awards from Billboard Music, AMA’s, MuchMusic Video, The Grammy’s and The Juno’s.  They’ve sold more than 50 Million records.  So why so much hate for this truly Canadian band?  The answer may never fully be understood.

“There’s almost something fun about disliking Nickelback,” says Sam Sutherland with Toronto-based AUX TV, which created the Nickelblock plug-in for Firefox and Google Chrome. “I think it bonds people.”

It’s a meme, a sort of pop cultural flu, says Robert Belton, a professor in the faculty of creative and critical studies at the University of British Columbia. “Someone somewhere said, ‘Nickelback stinks,’ and it was funny, so everybody else piled on, whether they actually think that or not.”

Well, not everyone has been piling on – the Canadian Football League petition only had 52 signatures as of Wednesday.”

Well here’s hoping the City of Detroit made it through their Thanksgiving Day game shedding more tear for the Lion’s 27 – 15 loss to the Green Bay Packers than to Nickelback’s halftime performance.


The letter reads as follows:

“This game is nationally televised, do we really want the rest of the US to associate Detroit with Nickelback? Detroit is home to so many great musicians and they chose Nickelback?!?!?! Does anyone even like Nickelback? Is this some sort of ploy to get people to leave their seats during halftime to spend money on alcoholic beverages and concessions? This is completely unfair to those of us who purchased tickets to the game. At least the people watching at home can mute their TVs. The Lions ought to think about their fans before choosing such an awful band to play at halftime.”





Here’s Nickelback’s response on Funny or Die ~


Justin Bieber by the Numbers

In Business, Canada, Media, Music, People that Matter, YouTube on November 6, 2011 at 12:12

Just a tad…

Born in London, Ontario; raised in Stratford, ON; groomed on YouTube, our Canadian phenom is a bubble that just won’t pop.  Even with a tabloid sized story of Justin being a pint sized baby daddy, his numbers do not lie.  Bieber for Prime Minister? You never know.


Canada’s Walk Fame, eh!

In Canada, Celeb, Entertainment, Movies, Music, People that Matter, Sports, The CBC, Women, YouTube on October 2, 2011 at 10:07

Just a tad…

Never a bad thing showing off our Canadian all stars.  This year a songwriter, an astronaut, a tennis player, and some brown guy that will “Put a hurt on you”.  The Toronto Star’s Bruce DeMara has a nice little write up below, but here’s some video of this year sidewalk winner.


read the full article here–eclectic-mix-joins-walk-of-fame

Roberta Bondar

Birthplace: Sault Ste. Marie

Best known for: Becoming the first Canadian woman in space and the world’s first neurologist in space when she travelled aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1992. More recently, she’s become known as a landscape photographer. She was named among North America’s best explorers by Time magazine in 2003.

Burton Cummings

Birthplace: Winnipeg

Best known for: Co-founding the Guess Who, and for writing or co-writing numerous Canadian and international hits, including “These Eyes,” “Laughing,” “Undun,” “Hand Me Down World,” “Clap for the Wolfman” and, of course, “American Woman,” which was named the greatest Canadian single of all time in the book 100 Top Canadian Singles.

Daniel Nestor

Birthplace: Belgrade, Yugoslavia and raised in Toronto

Best known for: Being the third most decorated doubles champion in tennis history. He won 73 ATP Tour doubles titles. He’s also the only player ever to win all four Grand Slams, all of the Masters Series events, the year-end Masters Cup and Olympic Gold (for Canada in Sydney) in doubles.

Sandra Oh

Birthplace: Ottawa

Best known for: Her role as the driven Dr. Cristina Yang in Grey’s Anatomy, for which she has won a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Golden Globe and five Emmy nominations. She also had a significant part in the 2004 movie Sideways. She first came to prominence in Canada playing a teenage prostitute in The Diary of Evelyn Lau in 1997.

Russell Peters

Birthplace: Toronto

Best known for: His live comedy shows and YouTube clips, specializing in sometimes raunchy humour that skewers all ethnic groups, including his own Anglo-Indian background. He was on Forbes magazine’s list of top-earning comedians in 2009 and 2010. And his autobiography, Call Me Russell, was a bestseller.

Mordecai Richler

Birthplace: Montreal

Best known for: His novels, including The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, which became a 1974 movie starring Richard Dreyfuss; St. Urbain’s Horsemen, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award; and Barney’s Version, which won the Giller Prize for Fiction and became a Genie- and Golden Globe-winning movie (also nominated for one Oscar) starring Paul Giamatti.


Doug Ford’s Crazy Adventure into LaLa Land

In Design, Government, People that Matter, Politico, Toronto, Transportation on September 2, 2011 at 17:17

Just a tad…

He’s really not as dumb as he looks..he’s dumber.

This is what Doug is proposing




Here is what Waterfront Toronto already has in place

You can read Paul Moloney’s full article in The Toronto Star here–australian-firm-eyeing-waterfront-mall

An Australian company that’s one of the world’s largest shopping centre owners is a driving force behind Councillor Doug Ford’s mall-based dream for Toronto’s eastern waterfront, theStar has learned.

Ford confirmed Thursday he has spoken to representatives of the Westfield Group, which has interests in 124 malls in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the U.S. and Brazil.

“They’re more than interested,” Ford said in a brief interview. “They have a lot of money sitting there waiting to invest in Toronto.”

If a deal came together, it would mark Westfield’s first entry into Canada, confirmed company spokesperson Katy Dickey from Westfield’s Los Angeles office.

“Toronto’s a great city, Canada’s a great country and Westfield is always looking at opportunities,” Dickey said.

But she wouldn’t elaborate, saying company policy is not to comment on “rumour or speculation.”

Veteran development lawyer Bob Onyschuk, who has close ties to Australia, said studies are needed on whether a waterfront mall could be successful.

“It’s really a matter of market studies,” Onyschuk said. “I think it would be a good site for retail — not big box retail — but that’s really a question for market analysis.”

Ford said he expected Westfield would be just one of the bidders if the city formally requested development proposals for a site in the city’s Port Lands area.

“It’s going out for RFP (request for proposals),” he said. “They’re one of the international companies that have been contacting us. We’re going to have local companies (bidding) I hope, and we’re going to extend it to the world.

“It’s going to be fabulous.”


CBC Metro Morning’s Matt Galloway interviews Toronto Councillor Doug Ford about proposed changes to Toronto’s waterfront.

Atwood for Mayor of Toronto…or The Leftie Pinko’s Strike Again!

In Authors, Customer Service, Government, People that Matter, Toronto on July 31, 2011 at 19:48

Just a tad…

So this isn’t really going to happen but lets just dream for a moment…With only 1220 left of Ford Days starting her campaign Monday, on the civic holiday, the 71 year old steps onto the platform at 789 Yonge Street  (Toronto Reference Library) to ask the citizens of Toronto to take back their city.  ‘It starts with closing or privatizing libraries but continues down a slippery slop of destroying the backbone of Toronto’s arts, culture and heath.  I stand here to issue a challenge to the people in Toronto.  Help me transform this city to what it should be.  Use tax money the way it should be used…”.  The crowd of nearly 5,000 march down to City Hall giving Rob Ford a message that in a 3 years in a bit he’ll be tossed out like the rest of the garbage.  Oh what a dream


You can read Chloé Fedio ‘s full article in the Toronto Star  here–doug-ford-comments-spark-atwood-for-mayor-movement

More than 5,000 people have “liked” a Facebook page encouraging Atwood to run for mayor.

“So, apparently, you need to be elected to be heard,” Julia Vyse posted on the page.

“This would be brilliant! And a good way to solve a lot of our problems as a city,” wrote Heather Danter.

The Twitterverse is also encouraging the author to run for mayor. Users are Tweeting signs endorsing her future as a politician, including sidewalk chalkboards at a French bistro in Parkdale and a café on Queen St. W.

The “Atwood for Mayor” movement includes a greater discussion about the value of libraries, and that’s evident on the author’s Twitter feed.”


You can read Ray Argyle ‘s full blog page here

” So how about it, Margaret Atwood. Would you run for Mayor?

Anyone who knows her knows that Margaret Atwood could never fill the role of a back-slapping politician.  But she wouldn’t be the first artist to go for political office. I’m thinking of Vaclav Havel, the Czech playwright and poet dissident who was the President of free Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic. Or Jan Paderewski, the great Polish composer and pianist who was the second Prime Minister of an independent Poland after the First World War.

Would Ms. Atwood have the interest, the stamina, or the ability to withstand the inanities of a political life? Anyone who’s been through the ordeal of author tours as she has, surely has the stamina. Age is not a factor. Look at Hazel McCallion, long-serving mayor of neighboring Mississauga, and at 90 only now is in what will be her final term.

But let’s face it, Margaret Atwood running for Mayor of Toronto is a highly unlikely prospect.

Let’s suspend disbelief for a moment, and pretend Toronto voters could choose between Atwood and Ford in the next election.The campaign would be highly entertaining, pitting culture against the barbarians. However, like all things political, it probably wouldn’t be fought on any rational understanding of issues facing the city. The Ford forces would depict Margaret Atwood as a “tax and spend liberal.” She’d fight back, brilliantly, but perhaps not successfully.

The library controversy is a case in point. It would be nice to have a rational discussion of the cost/benefits of the city’s chain of libraries. Doug Ford claimed, erroneously, there were more branches in  his Etobicoke district than there were Tim Hortons coffee shops. Not true, but what’s that got to do with it?”

300: The Rob Ford Cut

In Government, Media, People that Matter, Toronto on July 28, 2011 at 17:50

Just a tad…

And so it starts.  300+people who have signed up to voice their opinions on cost cutting suggestions from consultants.  It’s going to be a long night.  You can watch it live here

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Rob Ford’s prepared remarks, as provided by the mayor’s office, to the City of Toronto executive committee


Good Morning and welcome to the meeting to consider the Core Service Review of Programs that fall under the mandate of the Executive Committee.

Before we get started this morning, I’d like to thank my Standing Committee chairs who have already chaired seven meetings as part of this process – and all the Councillors on those committees who have already spent a good amount of time working through this process.

I’d like thank City staff for their hard work launching this process – and the hard work that has yet to come.

But, mostly, I’d like to thank the thousands of taxpayers who have sent emails to my office or participated in this process up to this point. This process is one of the biggest community consultations in Toronto history.

And, I’d also like to thank the hundreds of residents who are here this morning to be part of this process. We are here to listen to you.

This meeting is one part of a long process that involves many steps. This process is necessary for one simple reason.

For years, our city has spent more money than it brings in. Instead of fixing the problem, we’ve kept passing the buck to “next year.” Well, next year has arrived. It’s time we fixed the problem.

What we’re doing with this core service review is the same thing every family in every household across the city does every day.

But it’s something this city has never done – in fact, I don’t know of any city in Canada that’s ever done what we’re doing.

Every year, we’ve added expense after expense to our budget. We’ve added some “must have” spending and a lot of “nice to have” spending. Now, we spend more than we can afford.

Public libraries. Child care. Seniors. Affordable Housing. Safe roads. Clean water. Clean air. Sewers that don’t flood basements. Beaches safe for swimming. Parks ready to play in. Garbage collection. Ambulances. Fire services. Policing. Community Centres. Recreation programs. Public Health… the list goes on and on.

These are all important things. Are libraries more important than Child Care? Is policing more important than safe roads? You tell me.

That’s why we’re here today. To listen… so we can begin to set priorities.

If we are going to reduce spending… and ladies and gentlemen, we must reduce our spending… it only makes sense to take the time to figure out which things are “must haves” and which things are “nice to haves.”

Because, it makes sense to look at “nice to haves” first.

That’s what this process is about.

As a first step, we asked KPMG to look at the city’s spending and report back on which spending items are “must haves” – things that are required by law or essential to the operation of the city. And, we asked them to report which spending items were “nice to haves.”

They’ve completed that work and today’s meeting is the last of a series of meetings where they report their findings.

I want to stress something that has been lost in the media coverage over the past two weeks. This is the beginning of the process. Not the end.

As of today, not a penny of spending has been changed in any budget.

All that has happened is that spending has been listed and put into categories for discussion.

We’ve started a great public debate about what is “must have” and what is “nice to have” – and that’s exactly the point.

Today, we will hear what you have to say about what’s important to you.

That information will go forward, with the KPMG report and a report from the City Manager, to the September special Executive meeting where we will begin to identify our priorities.

Those priorities – combined with a review of how to improve efficiency – plus a user fee review – will then go to council for decision as part of the 2012 budget process which will finish in January.

The Top 100 Canadian Singles by Bob Mersereau

In Authors, Business, Canada, East Coast, Entertainment, Media, Music, People that Matter, The CBC, Writers on September 30, 2010 at 08:37

Bob Mersereau also wrote The Top 100 Canadian Albums in 2007.

You can purchase either book

here and


Ontario Place Rebirth

In Customer Service, Design, Government, Money, Ontario Only, People that Matter, The World Comes To Toronto, YouTube on July 25, 2010 at 13:17

Just a tad…

I use to love going to Ontario Place when i was a kid. Probably more than going to the CNE. One word. Cinesphere. I didn’t know what it ment and I had no idea what this IMAX was all about. What I did know though is it was all sorts of awesome watching massive objects flying past me at a 100 miles an hour. Jets, check. Birds, check. Space ships, triple check! My first experience riding a bumper boat was here. Jumping in a pool of bouncing ball all done here. Atlantis night club, I’m still trying to forget that. I’m happy there’s some buzz about the future of Ontario Place. There is so much that can be done. I just hope the government opens it up to the regular peeps to give their two cents about the future of this semi great Ontario/Toronto land mark. My two cents, don’t even think of touching the golf ball.

If you have ideas to make over Ontario Place, follow this link to MERX to get the RFI (Request for Information).  You have until 4pm on Friday September 10, 2010 to submit.


You can read Daniel Dale’s full article in The Toronto Star here

Ontario Place: ‘A fantastic Jaguar, and you run it into a ditch’

Eb Zeidler is 84 and mostly retired, and he tries to be nice when he talks about what happened to Ontario Place in the decades after he designed it in the late 1960s.

Who made a mess of the thing? “No point in mentioning names,” he says. What did those unnamed people do wrong? “I can give you a whole slew of things,” he says, “but it’s kind of tiresome.”

Prod the renowned architect just a little, though, and he can’t help himself. Zeidler, who also designed the Eaton Centre, complains about the central location of the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre: “There’s nothing wrong with the amphitheatre, but it split the place in two.”

He complains about the seven concrete silos erected in for a 1980 display on Northern Ontario: “There was no reason for these silos to be on Ontario Place.”

And he decries the gradual construction that he feels made the site cluttered and confused: “We felt that if you have areas of entertainment, there should be a part that is relaxing. There should be some major green spaces. But all those spaces got filled up.”

His thoughts in a simile: “It’s like if you get a fantastic Jaguar and you run it into a ditch.”

You can read Mark Medly’s full article in the National Post here

Once a gem, now generally forgotten, what could the future hold for Ontario Place?

“…Opened in 1971, Ontario Place represents both our idealistic past and our betrayal of it. A masterpiece of modernist architecture by Eberhard Zeidler, who also designed the Eaton Centre, it has been forgotten by the city. Shawn Micallef, author of Stroll and an associate editor of Spacing magazine, says, “it has this wonderful, faded grandeur, which is kind of romantic, but maybe we don’t want it on our waterfront.”

Attendance has plummeted from a high of 2.5 million its inaugural year to less than one million for seven years in a row. So it’s little surprise last week’s news that Ontario Place issued a Request for Information, opening the doors to an extreme makeover, was greeted with a mix of nostalgia, mutters of good riddance and horror at the prospect that some of Toronto’s icons may be lost.

“Everyone has a real emotional attachment to the space, and I think everyone is relieved to see that something is finally happening down there,” says Hugh Mansfield, spokesperson for the revitalization project. “It needs an injection of energy and new ideas.”

But what ideas? The renewal of Ontario Place presents Toronto with an intriguing opportunity: the chance to transform 96 acres of lakefront property.

Though developers have a blank canvas, the new Ontario Place should include educational, recreational, commercial and entertainment components, and showcase Ontario’s green energy initiatives, notes Mansfield. Details on the public consultation process will be announced next week. Proposals will be accepted until Sept. 10. Ideas floated thus far include a university or college campus, a planetarium, a casino and an aquarium, while, in a letter to the Toronto Star, one man proposed an indoor ski hill.

“The idea of theme parks doesn’t really work anymore,” Micallef says. “You can’t really compete with [Canada’s] Wonderland. So it has to be a little more intimate, and maybe a little more urban.”

Perhaps we should revisit the past when deciding the future. Michael McClelland of E.R.A. Architects thinks we should look at Zeidler’s original blueprint…”

You can read Daniel Dale’s full article in The Toronto Star here

10 visions of a new Ontario Place

Ten opinions on what the struggling park should do to succeed


Partner, The Planning Partnership

Unlike Farrow, Madi opposes residential development on the site. Like her, he believes Ontario Place should allow for an all-seasons houseboat community and do away with its general entry fee in favour of charges only for specific attractions. “I personally don’t believe that theme parks work in the long-term. By opening the place up, you bring the volume of traffic up, and then the functions that currently exist become more successful.”

Pedestrian, bicycle and transit access should be improved to better integrate Ontario Place with the city. “Any plans or visions for Ontario Place must include Lakeshore Blvd.”; a streetcar running along the route “would be a phenomenal attraction in and of itself.” A ferry connection from central downtown would also make the site easier to reach.


Chief executive officer, Luminato.

Ontario Place should become known as a home for events that are part of popular festivals like Pride, Caribana, the Jazz Festival and Luminato, Price says. “While I know there is a capital and hardware side to it, I think the real solutions are going to come on the content side,” she says. “If they gathered a group of us and said, ‘What would it take for us to get you to commit, for example, to use the facility. . . and not change your festivals or rename them, but partner with us, for at least five years, for at least one significant event during your festival, and we would in turn commit to a major marketing campaign.’”

Ontario Place will find it difficult to succeed if it attempts to produce its own content, she says.


Founder, Toronto Public

Space Committee

Says Meslin, a community organizer involved in a variety of civic projects: “Maybe part the property could be used as a community meeting space? We have a few large convention centres, but what about smaller groups that can’t afford those spaces? Ontario Place is government-owned, so we could create a space that non-profits could use to hold small conferences, retreats, public events and group activities by the waterfront. A planetarium would be cool too though. . .”

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…”