The MLFC's characterization by representatives of the Fraser Institute (Veldhuis and Lamman 2010) as "a cheap way for academics and social scientists to get information that ...
"In such a theory," notes Saurette (2010), "the more numerical, general, and statistical the analysis, the less trustworthy it is." Thus, emphasizing the objective evidentiary value of the MLFC could actually feed a sentiment in favour of its elimination (on this, see also Dillon 2010); or, to broaden the point, statistical evidence of global warming, or of the safety of vaccines, or of a decline in criminal activity, could actually incite suspicion of all three.
Rhetorical contrasts using labels like "nanny state," "elites," and "the bureaucrats" were deployed to galvanize core supporters in relation to the census decision, accentuating what Jeffrey Simpson (2010) called "the Conservatives' oft-displayed disregard, even contempt, for 'expert' information and analysis." The Conservative government's cancellation of the MLFC appealed both to a libertarian skepticism about claims making by academic elites, and to a popular faith in the knowledge value of personal opinion and experience.
One might explain the decision to scrap the MLFC as a political mobilization tactic, targeting a particular voter base through an appeal to libertarian populism.
We argue that the decision to end the MLFC must be understood, in part, as a battle over the discursive construction of personal sovereignty and the nature and value of knowledge.
The axing of the MLFC was a symbolic act, removing a governmental function that, whether or not it actually was an imposition, could be represented as something that should be seen as one, and about which "your" government was prepared to do something.
William Robson (2010) argued that "prodigious growth" in the economic role of the state was rightly a matter of concern, but that, as government's reach grows, "so does the need for information with which citizens can hold them to account." In eliminating the MLFC, libertarians had "taken out the wrong target" and won the wrong fight, depriving "those who want government to do less but do it better" of indispensable information.
Aftershocks of the battle over the MLFC also continue to be felt when justifications for its elimination are perceived to clash with innovations in data gathering or monitoring in areas such as crime, security, or voter response-management.
Cancellation of the MLFC concretized several threats to the practice of sociology and the social sciences in general.
It will likely be a long time, if ever, before the process involved in the Conservative government's elimination of the MLFC is fully understood.