Big Data and the Third Sector
by William Warren Munroe, December 21, 2014, updated February 6, 2015

The Population Projections Project was designed to provide community members with understandable, verifiable, reproducible, valid (open to being validated), well-defined population projection scenarios. See the abridged version of the "Big Data and the Third Sector", 2nd workshop, Why the PPP was developed (video, 11 minutes 43 seconds), Edinburgh Scotland, November 25, 2014.

The presentation addressed:

    • the recommendation to permanently close an entire public high school just 7 years after opening a $10 million expansion
    • the method and data accompanying the population projection for school aged children was not the real method and data used
        • Senior government officials overseeing BC Statistics had chosen to purchase telephone landlines to estimate population change without informing the public
        • the officials had changed the methods and data many times without publication or over 10 years
        • the Canadian Population Society nor Statistics Canada were not asked by BC Statistics officials to review the methods and data changes - no peer review.
    • in an effort to defend the "integrity" of the official statistical agency, the minister's representative quoted a feasibility study stating Statistics Canada considers BC Statistics methods to be of better quality than Statistics Canada's
    • however, the BC Government refused to provide a copy of the feasibility study, not even the title, claiming " disclosure harmful to intergovernmental negotiations or relations"
    • as it turned out, the feasibility study was an assessment of methods to be used to determine Canada's federal equalization payments
    • around this time (spring 2012) the Premier said she thinks the capital city of British Columbia, Victoria, has a "sick culture".
    • the Premier recommended that representatives should go to communities where people live and work and express their concerns.
    • however, in several communities, people are not allowed to express their concerns or are threatened with legal action
    • two government ministries each provided a very different population forecast for the same area.
    • the ministry of educations new forecast showed a 0% increase in enrolment while the ministry of health representative showed a 31% total population increase.
    • when asked why the new enrolment forecast was so much lower than the forecast 3 years previous, from ~5,000 students to ~4,000 students the new superintendent explained "Any attempt to suggest/imply a grassy knoll conspiracy theory is disrespectful of the work that trustees, staff, and the community has done collaboratively to this point."
    • in another community, for pointing out deficiencies, a taxpayer was threatened with paying senior municipal staff for damages claiming defamation. She refused and instead went public and was voted newsmaker of the year.

Watch the video "Big Data and the Third Sector Workshop #2; Why the Population Projection Project Was Developed"

Abridged (11:43) (short and to the point) or Full (37:02) (too long, with technical difficulties).

Canada's equalization payments supporting documents are here; and the local level oriented documents are here.

By the way, the handsome fellow in the photo is the host of the Big Data and the Third Sector series, Dr. Alasdair Rutherford.

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