Even the most basic issues in government need good data to work with. Whether you're speaking of the Environment, Economy or Health Care, you have to know where the people are, what their needs are, and what the trends are if you want any hope of doing a good job.
A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work here. Manitoba is not BC, and BC isn't Quebec. Trying to do anything governance-wise without data is folly. Like it or not, the government DOES spend money on programs and it DOES handle a lot of problems. The Canadian government is responsible for providing health care money (though the provinces are responsible for actually delivering care) and First Nations, etc., etc. Complain if you want about how the Federal government should do less, but in the meantime, the government should be using its power to spend the money it has WELL.
Their census fits nothing. It does nothing. They have no data, so they can only guess at what the priorities should be. Even the most minimalist government should want accurate and detailed census data so they know how to confine their spending to only the things that need immediate attention. It's just a blinders-heavy view of the world to ignore the facts.
But that's this government. It ignores the overwhelming facts in the hopes that they'll go away. The Tar Sands, the F-35 boondoggle. Corruption in its own ranks, the Lakes project and the Census. For them, the less people know, the better they can plow through and waste our money. They're objectively one of the least transparent governments in the last 50 years. Despite their claims of being open and honest and transparent, access to information has languished under this administration.
A government doesn't need to manage all problems. But it needs to show that it's working on the priorities of the populace that elected it. The only way to do that is to provide data before and after, and let democracy decide. Surely you can agree with that. Otherwise, don't go around slinging around the 'ideology' argument so freely.