Wednesday, September 29, 2010

PRChina White Papers now available in English!

I remember about 6 years ago when I lived in China, I was blown away by how there was no public or unified system of availability of information. In Canada, I was so used to being able to find anything online, go to a library or, if I was desperate, shoot off an email. When we got to China, my classmates and I were baffled at how we were "not expected to need a library" and how "if we needed information ask" or having livejournal (yes, really) and google was blocked - facebook wasn't really a ~big deal~ then (yes, really). At any rate, I loved China - it was an amazing experience where I crossed amazing things off my bucket list (including climbing the Great Wall, and seeing the Xi'an warriors)

At any rate, the Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China has provided English-translations of Government White Papers. White Papers are authoritative reports or guides that address issues and how to solve them. Some of the topics covered are:

National Defense
Ethnic Minorities
Environmental Protection
Democratic Reforms
Human Rights

These papers can be found HERE!

In other news, the Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit is on at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. Go see it!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Google, Once more, is King.

Google's Project 10^100 Awards LAW.GOV $2 Million to Make Government More Transparent has just been being awarded $2 million by Google as part of the Company's Project 10^100. From Google's September 24th announcement:

Idea: Make government more transparent
Project funded: Public.Resource.Org is a non-profit organization focused on enabling online access to public government documents in the United States. We are providing $2 million to Public.Resource.Org to support the Law.Gov initiative, which aims to make all primary legal materials in the United States available to all.

Amazing. Now someone bring this to Canada!

Friday, September 10, 2010

American Government is Getting Hip. That's what the kids say, right? Hip?

The Government Printing office has done it - they've ventured into the world of comic books. I really really want to be jaded and mocking of this, but man, this is adorable.

Squeaks Discovers Type! is the story of a video game space mouse (yes yes yes!) who helps an elementary student Jake discover the invention of printing and its evolution through the ages so Jake can write a report. It may not be a Sandman, but the comic is illustrated and in color, the art is outstanding and rivals anything you'll find in a comic book store for kids. It's 24 pages long, and costs $5. I think I'm in love with this mouse. Seriously - is he not adorable?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Census. Indeed.

I haven't really gotten into the whole discussion about the long form census fiasco because... I don't really know what to say about it.

On June 28, the following email was sent by the Chief Statistician of Canada, Munir A. Sheikh (

Subject: Update on the 2011 Census

This is an update on the 2011 Census. On June 26, 2010, the census questions were published in the Canada Gazette as required by the Statistics Act. The 2011 Census will consist of the same eight questions that appeared on the 2006 Census short-form questionnaire. All households will receive a short-form census questionnaire.

The information previously collected by the census mandatory long-form questionnaire will now be collected as part of the new voluntary National Household Survey (NHS). The NHS questionnaire will include questions on language, immigration, Aboriginal peoples, mobility, ethnicity, education, labour, income and housing.

The NHS will be conducted within four weeks of the May 2011 Census. Approximately, 4.5 million households will receive the NHS questionnaire, up from the 2.9 million households that would have received the census mandatory long-form questionnaire.

I know that I can count on your ongoing support to ensure the success of these two important Statistics Canada priorities.

This change means that the mandatory long form census questionnaire, sent to 20% of the Canadian population and consisting of detailed questions will be replaced with a separate voluntary survey. I really doubt many Canadians will willingly provide all of the data formerly gathered using the mandatory census, which has lasting implications not only for the research community, but for all levels of government and community groups that will no longer have access to information used to create public policy and support many programs and initiatives.

As an important note, On July 21, 2010, Sheikh resigned from his post as head of Stats Canada. Following his resignation, in a public letter, Sheikh expressed his disapproval of the government's decision, writing:

I want to take this opportunity to comment on a technical statistical issue which has become the subject of media discussion. This relates to the question of whether a voluntary survey can become a substitute for a mandatory census.

It can not.

—Munir Sheikh