Kitchen disappointed in census process

February 6, 2023, 1:27 pm
Kevin Weedmark

Souris-Moose Mountain MP Robert Kitchen

Souris-Moose Mountain MP Dr. Robert Kitchen says he is disappointed in the fact the Statistics Canada undercounted several communities in the region in the 2021 census and is hoping that in the case of Moosomin, where StatsCan admitted it made an error and added 117 people to the official count, the agency is willing to look at the numbers again as the town council still feels the numbers are low.

“It is disappointing to see what happened, in particular what I’m hearing from basically my eastern side of the riding,” he said.

“These numbers don’t seem to be anywhere close to what the local towns and RMs are reporting.”
Kitchen said he is trying to get StatsCan to look at the Moosomin numbers again.

“Based on the letter that I received and got a copy of from Stats Canada, it says that if there’s concerns, they can go and contact this certain individual, but they’ve already responded and basically that letter is saying no, they aren’t making any more changes.

“But when you look at how they were able to identify that there were 74 homes that weren’t found and 117 people. So if you’re able to do that, what work did you even do to come up with those numbers? That’s part of my questioning.

“It is concerning. I can tell you that I’ve just signed a letter that I’m sending to Minister Champagne. So I’ve drafted that, it’s signed and will be sent off today to the minister asking him a) if they are aware of this, b) are they aware of it happening in other places and c) are there avenues for which they’ll be able to look at this and provide assurances to the Town of Moosomin in particular, that it’s not going to negatively impact them—because the impact is quite significant.”

He said he believes the problem may be widespread.

“I think in a lot of cases people haven’t looked into it and I am worried about those numbers and how accurate they are because it does bring question to it.

“The article that you wrote for The World-Spectator, I thought it was fantastic because it talks about how we know this. We know in Moosomin how many people are over 100 years of age and the fact that the census says there aren’t any—it’s like hello, what were you doing? How can you miss that?

“We know these aspects, why is it they are missing them, what sort of survey are they doing? One would like to think that they’re hiring local people to do it so that those people that they’ve hired would have some understanding in their rationale and in their training. I don’t know because I haven’t been involved in it, but it is definitely something of concern.”

Kitchen said he believes towns and RMs should check their household counts against the census counts of private dwellings.

“Having those accurate numbers, to me, would be helpful when you’re appealing something. You can say here are accurate numbers as of such and such a date. To me there is no better proof than to have that aspect of it.

“The question is, and part of my request from the minister, is to look at the policies that are there and decide do they need to be changed so that they have a better reflection of that.”

He said he is hoping there will be a response from the minister responsible for Statistics Canada since the town of Moosomin still feels the census count is incorrect for Moosomin.

“I am hopeful that I’ll hear something back from the minister. Whether it’ll be a positive response will be another question but I do anticipate that we will get some form of response from the minister,” he said.