Knowing Counts

Knowing Counts / La Connaissance qui Compte logo

Dear fellow citizen,

There are a lot of good arguments for evidence-informed decision making, but for people to really believe in it, I think we need more stories.

Do you have a story? Could you or your organization contribute some time to be interviewed for a project called, Knowing Counts?

My name is Ted Hsu. I am a former scientist and a former Member of Parliament representing Kingston and the Islands who, through my private member’s bill C-626 in 2014-2015, led a national advocacy campaign to reinstate Canada’s long form census.

Like many, I continue to be concerned about the place of evidence in public debate and public policy. It is said that we live in a post-truth world, characterized by high complexity and low trust, a world where people mistrust public institutions, experts and expertise.

My response to this is to embark on the project I am calling Knowing Counts. I want to collect and retell stories about how, by filling out the census, people helped their neighbours in a way which affected their everyday lives.

I believe that showing people how evidence-informed decision making improved their lives will improve trust in the use of evidence. I believe that a good story will show Canadians one way to make sense of a complex world. I believe that stories about making use of the census – a national research project which Canadians contributed to, and are vested in – will show how Canadians themselves produced evidence to inform public institutions and make decisions that benefit themselves and their neighbours.

Would you be able to contribute the raw material for a story about how data from the census (or data from a survey whose sample frame depended on the census) have helped people in their everyday lives? Or would you have a story about how missing data could have helped?

If you think the answer is yes, please let me know and allow me to contact you so that I may conduct an interview to collect your story and some background information. If you pass on this request to your colleagues who may wish to contribute, I would very much appreciate that as well.

I thank you very much for your time and consideration of this request.



Ted Hsu

Tel: 613.449.8382 email: [email protected]

Visiting Scholar, School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University

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