Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Statistics Canada responds

Just a few hours after sending in my request, I have in my inbox a very helpful explanation from the staff at Statistics Canada.

According to the email, and some of the web pages it directs me to, Table 1-3 represents total public sector employment in each province. Total public sector employment includes: (i) federal government employees, (ii) provincial government employees, (iii) health and social service institution employees, (iv) employees of universities, colleges, and trade institutions, (v) local government employees, (vi) local school board employees, (vii) employees of federal government business enterprises, (viii) employees of provincial government enterprises, and (ix) employees of local government enterprises.

So, both my initial post, and the anonymous comment to this post, are incorrect. Table 1-3 includes all public sector employees.

What to do now?

Well, the email from Statistics Canada also provides the links I need to find the exact information that I am looking for (total public sector employment per capita for the provincial governments and the federal government). That information is contained in several downloadable tables that I will need to paste together.

I will need a bit of time to complete this task.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

I have noticed an increase in traffic lately from the member list at FreeAlberta.com. So I wandered over there to have a look, and what did I find?

I am apparently a member of this discussion forum.

Take a look at member 27. There I am, with a link to my website and everything. The hotmail address is a clever touch.

Unfortunately, I'm a gmail user.

This person is an imposter, and this account is not mine!

They have nothing to do with this site.

I suspect that this faker is in fact a member of the Alberta Alliance. I have no idea what he/she is up to, but I would like to thank them for promoting this site. I have received at least 20 referrals from FreeAlberta.com in the last 4 days.


Apples and Oranges?

I have just sent the following email to Statistics Canada:

The anonymous commenter on this post has suggested I am comparing apples and oranges. However, the commenter has provided no evidence as to why their interpretation of the data is correct. This is one of the reasons why I suspect the commenter is from the Alberta Alliance - no corroboration for any assertions made.

The other reason I suspect our anonymous friend is AAP is that they refer to Alberta Alliance leader Paul Hinman simply as "Paul".

A tad friendly for someone with no propinquity to Hinman.

But, let's get back to the issue at hand.

In order for the commenter to be correct, Saskatchewan would have to be a major centre for the federal government. After all, according to Table 1-3, Saskatchewan has more public sector employees per capita than any other province. On its face, this assertion is absurd. How can Saskatchwan have more federal government employees per capita than Ontario or Quebec, where the government is in fact physically located?

So, I have sound reasons for questioning the assertions made by the commenter. When we hear back from Statistics Canada, we'll see if we have apples and oranges ...

... or if somebody will be eating crow.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Another email to Paul Hinman

Well, I'll try this again. The last time I sent Paul Hinman an email, he didn't bother responding. Maybe I'll have better luck this time.

Here is a copy of my email to Paul Hinman wherein I ask him for a source for his apparently false statements on public sector employment in Alberta:

I have left moderated comments open on this post, in case Mr. Hinman chooses to respond here.

Update Jan. 3, 2007: The first email had a broken link and a couple of typos. I have changed it and updated this post. This one was sent at 12:12pm.

Update Jan. 29, 2007: A comment was received from "Anonymous" late yesterday. There is no indication that this is from the Alberta Alliance, although I suspect that it is. You will note that the commenter is suggesting the issue here is my own inability to understand what the Statistics Canada table is referring to. I suggest that the commenter is wrong. This matter will be continued in a new post. Comments are now closed.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Some contradictions from Paul Hinman

Calgary Sun columnist Paul Jackson seems to be back on the Alberta Alliance bandwagon. In today's column he describes Paul Hinman as "bubbling with ideas". Based on the number of quotes from Hinman contained in the column, it would appear that Paul Jackson recently interviewed the faltering Alberta Alliance leader.

That must have been quite an interview.

I wonder if anyone brought up the fact that Jackson has recently (i) called for Hinman to step down, and (ii) described the Alberta Alliance as "seemingly dead" under Hinman's leadership. Hehehe.

But I digress.

This column is noteworthy because it contains a couple of contradictions.

Firstly, Hinman makes the remarkable observation that Kevin Taft's Liberals may be the beneficiaries of Ed Stelmach's recent victory in the Alberta PC leadership race, and that the Alberta Alliance will then rise to power after "the shock is over":

He believes Stelmach's term will turn out to be only a "babysitting" government, and Liberal Leader Kevin Taft may be right in predicting his own party will make gains come the next election.

"The Liberals might go up the middle, but the Liberal gains will be short-lived. In the best-case scenario, we might see a minority government, but after that shock is over, Alberta voters will be looking for a solid, Conservative alternative."

That alternative, Hinman, 47, contends will be the Alliance.

This position contradicts the usual dogma Alberta Alliance members spurt, namely, that the Alliance will blow away the PC's in a sudden, massive, electoral sweep - much like the PC sweep of the Socreds back in 1971. Now, it would appear that Hinman believes there may be a Liberal government in between the PC dynasty and the Alliance coming to power.

Oh well.

Next, he indicates that he would hire more public servants:

To encourage more doctors, nurses, teachers, firefighters and other essential service workers to move to Alberta or stay in their jobs, he'd give them tax incentives, too.

But would then reduce the total size of the public service at the same time:

He'd reduce the size of the provincial public service.

Because, according to Hinman, there are simply too many public servants in Alberta:

"On a per capita basis, Alberta has more government employees than any other provincial government and even more than the federal government, yet the private sector is crying out for employees."

But, according to Statistics Canada, Alberta has the lowest number of public sector employees per capita in the country. From Table 1-3:

ProvincePublic Sector Employees per 1,000 population

What is Hinman going on about? Based on this data, he couldn't be more wrong.

I assume there must be an explanation for this contradiction, but Paul Jackson wouldn't appear to have even noticed it.

Perhaps I should endeavor to email Paul Hinman and see if he'll provide it to me.

Source (click for full size):

Click for full screencap