Twitter, and Canadians, Hum to life on the Census Question.
Tuesday saw “census” becoming a major trend on Twitter as many Canadians tuned in to read the commentary offered by other Canadians on the Long Form Census issue. It’s true that most do not realize the situation, and on the surface it would seem to be a useless debate – after all the short form of the Census will remain mandatory as will Tax returns and the Social Insurance Number given to every Canadian Citizen who wants a job in the country. Oh, and by the way adherence to local, provincial, and federal law under threat of Jail on every other subject besides the Long Form Census will still remain mandatory (for those of you keeping score).
Tony Clement’s argument?
After over 1,000 detentions and a scant 10 arrests at the Federally Funded G20 talks in Toronto recently, Macaroni Tony calls his move to scrap the ‘obtrusive’ long form Census a move on behalf of Canadian Civil Rights. In a statement on Twitter Clement argues that Canadians ‘shouldn’t have to live under the threat of jail time for a form of Census that is too intrusive’ and an invasion of privacy. That’s rich, in more ways than one, but we’ll get to that later.
Well, as you might imagine, I’m a bit skeptical. And judging by the turnout under the #census tag, I’m not alone. The problem remains; the average Canadian doesn’t know what the Long Form Census is for. What I can explain, however, is what information the LFC can provide and to whom.
Statistics Canada and “voluntary data”
I want to take this opportunity to comment on a technical statistical issue which has become the subject of media discussion. This relates to the question of whether a voluntary survey can become a substitute for a mandatory census.
It can not.
Data collected in the 2011 LFC, for the first time in Canadian history, will be solely on the basis of who would volunteer the information – and those who would not. Indeed, as a cross section of society in Canada, the LFC in it’s current incarnation will have no information whatsoever. It’s now a very expensive Op Ed about society in Canada, rather than just a expensive purely Fact Based analysis.
Safety, in the Bedrooms of Canada
So from now on you are no longer required to disclose any particulars about your home, your education. A veil of privacy has been raised that some Canadians can be assured of. Who are these Canadians with privacy issues pertaining to the value of their home, the depth of their education, indeed the ‘amount of bedrooms’ they have at their disposal?
We will henceforth never know.
Statscan: Sharing of Information Clause 12(1)
Under the Statistics Act “Sharing of Information”
12. (1) The Minister may enter into an agreement with any department or municipal or other corporation for the sharing of information collected from a respondent by either Statistics Canada or the department or corporation on behalf of both of them and for the subsequent tabulation or publication based on that information.
What this means in short form is that should any government agency call statscan looking for that information, they will in most likelihood get it; especially the Canada Revenue Agency or Municipal, Provincial or Federal police forces, who have the right to audit any Canadian at any time.
What does this mean? This means that the CRA can still ‘cross reference’ Long Form Census information, but it is no longer mandatory for you or any other Canadian to provide that information to them.
Rise of the Lobby Group: touch on Crime, eh?
So who does the scrapping of the LFC benefit most, using that reasoning? Those who are Tax Cheats. Those declaring $40k on their CRA tax returns and living in Million Dollar homes – and of course Criminals who can now turn Census Canada away from the door of their mansions without fear of intrusive and coercive audits.
And we all know by the Harper Government stands for the abolishment of everything that Made Canada great in the first place; in favor of returning the country to the law of the financial jungle where he who has the cash calls the shots and those without the cash had better just shut up and listen.
Who does the voluntary LFC benefit the least? Those who won’t fill it out.