When the Harper government announced its intent to make 54 of the 62 questions on the long census form voluntary, Harper and Tony Clement claimed that it was to protect people’s privacy from invasive questions. I, like many businesses, academics, politicians, government agencies, and rationally minded citizens, felt that explanation seemed… lacking, which made me suspicious of Harper’s actual motivations.
One month later, while the controversy over the census rages on, the CPC announces that they intend to “review” the government’s hiring policy in regards to affirmative action.
So Harper has modified the census so that it will be harder to determine if there is racially based discrimination in the job market, then he seeks to remove a program designed to combat the same problem.
The only way privacy makes sense as an explanation for the changes to the census is if it refers to the government’s “right” to enact legislation in private, without “interference” by the opposition, media, and non-white Canadians.