Roundup: Fun with the non-census numbers

It’s time for census National Household Survey data! So many things to talk about – starting with the reminder that the quality of this data is not as good as that of other years thanks to the fact that it isn’t as methodologically sound and full of sample bias, they’re now going to charge for the data that used to be free, and a few other facts about how it was collected. Here’s a look at the top line numbers. A lot of the data in this release was about religious demographics – more people without religion (now the second-highest group in the country), more Muslims as they are the fastest-growing religious group, and fewer people who listed “Jedi.” There was also a lot of data on Aboriginals, who were one of the fastest growing segments of the population, but they are also losing touch with their native languages, and more of them are growing up in foster care. Our immigrant population has surged, and we now have the highest percentage in the G8. Some small towns in the Conservative heartland were pretty much wiped out of the reporting because people simply did not reply. Economist Stephen Gordon is less than impressed by the quality of the data, and questions who will find it usable.

It looks like there will be a capacity problem with the west coast Seaspan shipyards as the new Joint Support Ships and our newest Icebreaker are slated to begin construction at the same time – which the yard can’t handle, and which will force the government to decide which will be the priority. Meanwhile, Paul McLeod casts a critical eye on the controversy around the new Arctic patrol ships being constructed at the east coast Irving shipyards and never mind the cost, has serious questions about whether or not these ships are in fact what we should be building, as more than one expert has now said that our demand that we build two-ships-in-one means that it won’t be able to handle either task well, for a high cost.

Liberal Senate leader James Cowan wants the RCMP found in contempt of parliament for effectively keeping one of its members from appearing before a committee looking into harassment in the Force. The Speaker of the Senate found there was indeed a prima facia breach of privilege, and the Senate unanimously sent it to committee to study the issue. Whether it’s government legislation or not, the Senate does care about parliamentary privilege, and this doesn’t look good on the RCMP either.

Politicisation and branding continue to collide in the otherwise neutral public service as the term Harper Government™ has been used 522 times on departmental releases since December. Remember these are departmental releases, not those coming from ministerial or prime ministerial offices. And of course, the government’s spin doctors are equivocating and trying to show how the Liberals did it too.

A Toronto Star investigation shows a number of government contracts for millions of dollars worth of consulting services were done in secret and not reported properly, with no description of the work being done having been posted on public information websites. The journalist behind the story was on Power Play to explain more.

The government has spent $23 million over the past two years on media monitoring – including some $2.4 million on monitoring their own MPs media appearances. So much for central control of messaging, apparently. The PM’s comms director later took to the Twitter Machine to shrug off the story as no big deal. Age of austerity, everyone!

The government announced new emissions regulations for ships yesterday, while a dozen prominent climate scientists wrote to Joe Oliver to urge him to move away from his high-carbon approach to energy.

Also announced yesterday – yet more funds devoted to catch international tax evasion – or “aggressive international tax planning” as it is euphemistically known. This still isn’t good enough for the NDP, who want the other cuts at CRA restored as well.

It’s going to be the March for Life on the Hill today, as Catholic high school students from across the region get bussed in to bolster the numbers, and protesters this year use “gendercide” as their tactic of choice to advance their message. What will be interesting is whether or not Mark Warawa will be allowed to make a Members’ Statement, and if the Speaker will recognise him if he stands up outside of the list.

And Andrew Coyne takes the boots to the changes to the National Research Council, and points out that not only is it bad for science, but it’s even worse economics. Ouch.