Main menu:

History of RPE Thought

Posts by Tag

RSS New from the CCPA

  • Help us build a better Ontario September 14, 2017
    If you live in Ontario, you may have recently been selected to receive our 2017 grassroots poll on vital issues affecting the province. Your answers to these and other essential questions will help us decide what issues to focus on as we head towards the June 2018 election in Ontario. For decades, the CCPA has […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Does the Site C dam make economic sense for BC? August 31, 2017
    Today CCPC-BC senior economist Marc Lee submitted an analysis to the BC Utilities Commission in response to their consultation on the economics of the Site C dam. You can read it here. In short, the submission discussses how the economic case for Site C assumes that industrial demand for electricity—in particular for natural gas extraction […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Ontario's middle and working class families are losing ground August 15, 2017
    Ontario is becoming more polarized as middle and working class families see their share of the income pie shrinking while upper middle and rich families take home even more. New research from CCPA-Ontario Senior Economist Sheila Block reveals a staggering divide between two labour markets in the province: the top half of families continue to pile […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Join us in October for the CCPA-BC fundraising gala, featuring Senator Murray Sinclair August 14, 2017
    We are incredibly honoured to announce that Senator Murray Sinclair will address our 2017 Annual Gala as keynote speaker, on Thursday, October 19 in Vancouver. Tickets are now on sale. Will you join us? Senator Sinclair has served as chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), was the first Indigenous judge appointed in Manitoba, […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • How to make NAFTA sustainable, equitable July 19, 2017
    Global Affairs Canada is consulting Canadians on their priorities for, and concerns about, the planned renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In CCPA’s submission to this process, Scott Sinclair, Stuart Trew and Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood point out how NAFTA has failed to live up to its promise with respect to job and productivity […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Progressive Bloggers

Meta

Recent Blog Posts

Posts by Author

Recent Blog Comments

The Progressive Economics Forum

Taxpayers and the Census

My union was among many organizations listed in opposition to the senseless census decision in Wednesday’s Globe and Mail editorial. Three organizations were listed as supporting it.

The Fraser Institute and National Citizens’ Coalition have understandable motives for wanting to eliminate the mandatory long form. First, there are libertarian “privacy” concerns.

Second, depriving the government of reliable census data would undermine public programs that these groups dislike. Third, lower response rates at lower income levels (and perhaps among the super rich) would assist them in downplaying poverty and inequality.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) might take the same position for the same reasons. But by all accounts, replacing the mandatory long form with a more widely distributed and advertised voluntary questionnaire would significantly increase census costs.

The Fraser Institute and National Citizens’ Coalition can somewhat coherently argue for spending more public money on right-wing initiatives. However, the CTF is supposedly focussed on saving tax dollars (in order to facilitate tax cuts). As I point out in today’s Globe and Mail, that mandate is hard to square with advocating a more expensive census:

The price of ideology

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is listed as supporting the federal government’s census decision (Government That Listens? – editorial, Aug. 4). By all accounts, replacing the mandatory long-form census with a more widely distributed and advertised voluntary questionnaire would significantly increase census costs. Is the Federation actually committed to saving tax dollars or does it expect taxpayers to finance conservative ideological causes?

Erin Weir, economist, United Steelworkers, Toronto

This inconsistency may explain the CTF’s changing tune. A month ago, its BC director applauded the government’s decision.

More recently, its federal/Ontario director seemed to question the government’s priorities: “the Prime Minister would rather burn up political capital reforming the census than the Senate.” (Of course, an elected Senate would also entail additional public expenditure.)

Enjoy and share:

Comments

Comment from Kevin Gaudet
Time: August 6, 2010, 2:06 pm

Erin, why am I not shocked you didn’t bother to check your facts before you wrote your piece?

The census long form has not been an issue for the CTF. It is peculiar for the government to burn up precious political capital on an issue even its usual supporters care little about. Having said that, in principle it is fine that they want to end making it mandatory. Further, it is a waste of money to send it out so widely. Instead of the $30 million, it should just be scrapped.

Kevin Gaudet
Federal Director
Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Comment from Erin Weir
Time: August 7, 2010, 4:45 am

Which facts did I fail to check? Your BC director expressed approval that “The federal government has replaced the mandatory long form with a voluntary survey.” I also linked to your critique of the government’s use of political capital.

As you know, my letter was in response to The Globe and Mail’s editorial. If you feel that this editorial somehow misrepresented the CTF’s position, you should submit a letter or ask The Globe to print a correction.

Comment from Darwin O’Connor
Time: August 7, 2010, 2:58 pm

You shouldn’t assume that the everyone in the Canadian Taxpayers Federation agree on everything. Just because one director says something, doesn’t mean it is the policy of the whole organization.

The bloggers on the Progressive Economics Forum don’t always agree either.

Comment from Erin Weir
Time: August 7, 2010, 4:11 pm

The PEF, as an organization, does not have official policy positions. But my understanding is that the CTF routinely takes policy positions as an organization. The Globe and Mail listed the CTF as supporting the government’s census changes and a CTF spokesperson had indeed expressed support.

Comment from Kelsey Kirkland
Time: August 7, 2010, 10:10 pm

@Kevin Gaudet You are advocating that the long form census be scrapped altogether because it costs taxpayers $30 million. That is the kind of thinking process’ that PM Harper and NDP Layton used last time when they advocated Canadians not to call elections to save $300 million.

This calls for some kind of a SmartAlecs award.

Comment from Morgan
Time: August 9, 2010, 4:06 am

In response to my email query a couple weeks ago, “I am wondering if this posting by Maureen Bader (http://www.taxpayer.com/blog/12-07-2010/fond-farewell-forced-census) is your organization’s position on the government’s decision to scrap the mandatory long-form census questionnaire?”, Mr. Kevin Gaudet responded: “I agree with Maureen’s position. I am the federal spokesperson.”

Write a comment





Related articles