StatCan Cuts and Flaming Snowballs

It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

In the news today: Statistics Canada has been trying to find $7 million in cuts. Five surveys have been axed so far. But those five don’t add up to enough savings, so more cuts to come.

That’s on top of the surveys cut, throttled or mothballed mentioned in this post, and the other surveys that have emerged over the course of the summer as cut and cancelled, which you can view here.

It is not clear if the latest $7 million in forced savings is on top of the more than $50 million in cuts to Statistics Canada operations that were imposed by Strategic Review in the 2008 budget (Annex 3, p.259 – $51.1 million over fiscal years 2008-9, 2009-10 and 2010-11) .

The Harper team has stated the National Household Survey, the voluntary survey positioned to replace the mandatory long-form census questionnaire, will cost – kaching! – $30 million more than the old census arrangement. That’s because it goes out to more households and has a hefty advertising budget attached to it. Statistics Canada has not yet received – and undoubtedly will not receive – additional funds to cover these costs.

Meanwhile, same day, different page in the newspaper, the Harper Conservatives have spent $3.9 million scoping out the commercial viability of a new “key energy source”: flaming snowballs. Who knew?

Just one more example of budgetary sucking and blowing that has come to define this new Age of Austerity.

Footnote: The data from the two environmental surveys that just got axed have not yet been published. They probably won’t see the light of day, what with James Cameron running all over the land of the Alberta Advantage telling the world that the tar sands suck…..literally.

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