Sun Media boggles the mind

In our round-up last week of just some of the really crappy reporting on polling that is going on at QMI, we wrote about a Brian Lilley news piece on what he called a “secret government survey” that he said showed (although he only had partial numbers form this “survey”) that 70 per cent of Tamil refugees are going home for the holidays and therefore aren’t real refugees and so are abusing the system and what not.

We pointed-out how extrapolating broadly based on partial information from a “secret” survey was pretty dubious, how the information he did present could very likely not support his desired conclusion at all, and how if this survey was really “secret” someone with an obvious agenda wouldn’t have very selectively leaked it to him.

The CBC’s Kady O’Malley took it one step further, reaching-out to the Canada Border Services Agency and asking for some of the methodology behind the “survey” so as to better put the figures into context. This could either bolster, or weaken, Lilley’s thesis. The CBSA complied, and the results speak for themselves:

Per your request: travel patterns of Sri Lankans returning to their homeland after being granted refugee status in Canada, we can confirm that a small sampling was done (50 persons) and here are the results:

Of the 50 files reviewed the following information was identified:

*Number of sponsors not previously deemed Convention Refugees – 19
*Number of sponsors formerly deemed Convention Refugees – 31
*Within the aforementioned subset of 31 sponsors formerly deemed Convention Refugees who, according to the FC1 applicant, had subsequently returned to Sri Lanka – 22

As this review was done based on statements applicants made during their immigration interview and not based on any formal entry control system, this information must be considered anecdotal in nature.

Numbers were counted within the sample group and no statistical modeling or statistical process was applied. As such, CBSA has no ability to state that this sample is statistically representative of any pattern that may or may not exist beyond this sample. Rather, these numbers are solely indicative of an observed pattern within the small sample reviewed.

Since there has been no analysis beyond what was on the immigration file in Colombo, these findings should be considered as context only.

Additionally based on the size and statistical validity of this sample, it should be noted that no conclusions should be reached on the comments/observations made on this file.

As O’Malley rather benignly noted:

So it seems that this was not, in fact, a “secret government survey,” but a review of a sampling of files from Sri Lankan nationals, some of whom were formerly found to be Convention refugees, who now want to sponsor family members to come to Canada. No weighting was done, and no claim has been made that the findings are representative of the total population. In fact, as far as CBSA is concerned, it “must be considered anecdotal in nature.”

All of which may not make for quite as snappy a headline, but does, at least, provide some much needed context — and when it comes to a public policy debate as emotional as this, it’s hard to see how that could be a bad thing.

Ah, Kady. It’s not really that hard to see. Not if you want it badly enough. Queue Lilley who, instead of accepting this new information with grace and re-considering his thesis, decided to go another route: ignore the contrary information, double-down on his weakening argument, and attack the pint-sized messenger:

It has been fascinating to watch the political left in this country react to the news, reported on Sunday, that 71% of Sri Lankan refugee claimants in a secret government survey go home for vacations or to sponsor family members into Canada.

For pointing out that the Harper government is not taking the issue of bogus refugees seriously, we have oddly been painted as mouthpieces for the government. The left in Canada, it seems, would rather ignore the issue than take the government to task. Over at the CBC, blogger in residence Kady O’Malley took issue with our numbers for not being statistically valid.

Again, Brian, those that prepared the “secret government survey” we’re talking about here said themselves that it’s not statistically valid, and that no conclusions should be reached. We’ll let blogger BigCityLib pinch-hit here:

But, of course, Lilley has no way of knowing that any of the 50 Tamils in the sample were among the 611/392 that came over “last year”. As the CBSA email suggests, many of them could have been in Canada for considerably longer. All of which makes Lilley’s percentages in the above far less “significant” than advertised.

Still, the best defense is a good offense, right Brian? Lock and load!

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About sunmediawatcher

Checking facts and reporting bias in the reportage of the Conservative Party's official media wing.
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