MP, Mayor find census revelations shocking

May 24, 2023, 9:29 am
Kevin Weedmark

MP Dr. Robert Kitchen

Souris-Moose Mountain MP Dr. Robert Kitchen, and Moosomin Mayor Larry Tomlinson, say they find revelations about the 2021 census uncovered by the World-Spectator shocking.

The World-Spectator found three things:

1) A large number of communities in the region have had revisions to their census numbers, such as the village of Carievale, where Statistics Canada missed two-thirds of the residents

2) Rather than correcting the information in the census community profiles online, Statistics Canada is keeping all the incorrect information posted, with no indication that it is in incorrect, just an indication that the data should be “used with caution” and a link to the correct information

3) While about 70 per cent of revisions in Saskatchewan and Manitoba are upward revisions because of undercounts, the situation in other parts of the country was reversed, notably Quebec and Newfoundland, where the majority of the revisions were downward revisions because of overcounts.

“My eyes are just looking at these numbers and I just can’t get my head around it,” said MP Kitchen.

“When my staff told me about this, I was thinking ‘okay there’s a number here or a number there, but what you’ve uncovered here, this is unbelievable. We’re paying hundreds of millions of dollars to this organization, to Statistics Canada, to do such an inferior job.

“I’m just shocked to see these numbers. Not only, as you indicated, for our local communities and the impact, because that is a huge impact on them. Some of them lost a lot of funding because Statistics Canada got it so wrong. But you look around the country at where they’ve overestimated. It’s like, so what are the parameters that they’re using to have numbers that are so farfetched, that are so far from realty? How can they possible do such a bad job? I just can’t get my head around it.”

Kitchen said he has a lot of questions about why the majority of revisions in Saskatchewan were upward revisions because of undercounts, while in some provinces the opposite was true, and most revised counts were revised downward because of overcounts.

“I have a lot of questions and I can tell you based on what you’ve sent me here, I’ve already sat and talked to my Chief of Staff and we’re looking at ways to address the issue.

“First we’re going to go to the Library of Parliament and then from there we’re going to see what’s out there publicly and then we’re going to try and progress from that to get a better answer as to the accountability here and what steps StatsCan is taking to correct this.”

What did Kitchen find most surprising about the revelations?

“I think the most surprising is that in certain parts of the country, you had one problem, counting too few people, and in other parts of the country you had the other problem, counting too many.

“To me, that’s shocking. You have to ask why that is. You have to ask, how could that be.

“I look at it and in Saskatchewan, one of the arguments was that the weather was terrible at the time of the census, so there were big challenges when that happened when they were doing it. But when they have numbers that are so far out across the country did everyone have a bad weather day that day? I mean how can it be? Is it the process? It can’t be bad weather all across the country.”

Kitchen said he hopes Statistics Canada can fix the issues.

“I want to have some accountability, to be honest with you. When you have the mayor of Moosomin sending letters to StatsCan and getting a response and getting a revised number, then, again, contesting the response that they got saying, ‘You’re still undercounting what we have, there’s still a problem,’ and then StatsCan turning around and saying, ‘We’re not changing it. We’re not doing anything else to it.’ Well how are they accountable for that? How do they make their decisions when they will review numbers or not? How can they just say to some towns, sorry, we’re not looking at it.

“How can it be when all of a sudden you have population counts up over 2,000 that they supposedly counted and yet it was actually only 1,200. You’re talking 1,400 extra people—how do you count 1,400 people that aren’t there? How is that possible?

“It’s not possible if you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, which is going out to the communities and basically having some form of recognition of population. Something is very, very wrong here. Something is not right with StatsCan.”

“We knew the numbers were wrong for Moosomin from the start and we still think they’re too low, but I look at those numbers for Carievale and think how can that be? How is that possible?” says Moosomin Mayor Larry Tomlinson. “How could they be that wrong? How could it be screwed up that bad. I look at some of the other towns, too, and it’s just mind-boggling.

“I see in some towns in Quebec they counted way more people than were there, more than twice as many. I just can’t get it through my head. How can it be that bad? How can they not do their jobs and count people right. I see those numbers and I don’t understand it.

“I honestly don’t know how they could have screwed it up so bad. Whoever was in charge should be taken to task.

“We knew our numbers were wrong from the start, but at first they wouldn’t even talk to us. Then when you wrote some stories they started to look. And now that everybody’s appealing they don’t want to look at the numbers any more.

“I think there are so many problems they need to do a whole recount.”