Here's one way for the Harper government to change public policy: consult with those affected, seek public input and then move forward if the idea works. Here's an alternative approach: consult informally with a few politicians, undertake no formal review, and announce the change out of the blue. The government has taken the second route with its change to census-taking in Canada, and is now refusing to budge in the face of broad outcry.
Anyone interested in following this issue will want to read the full Globe and Mail editorial at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/editorials/the-federal-government-is-senseless-on-the-census/article1635140/ as well as similar articles in the Red Deer Advocate at http://www.albertalocalnews.com/reddeeradvocate/news/national/Census_discussion_disappears_from_federal_consultation_site_98271429.html and at http://www.albertalocalnews.com/reddeeradvocate/business/Census_change_irks_city_98256424.html
At issue is the government's surprise decision to scrap the mandatory long-form census in Canada next year, replacing it with a form that will be filled out only by those willing to do so. This means all Canadians will still complete the basic form with eight questions about gender, age, marital status and relationships of people in the household. But the longer form, with more than 50 questions, will become voluntary, eroding Canada's only complete national database on education, income, employment, ethnicity and language.
My thanks to Joan Miller for sending these latest updates.