Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Long-Form Census

If you look at the photograph at the top of this blog you will recognize it of the classic chain-gang. This is where a group of prisoners are chained together to perform work outside of Prison. It ensures none of them escapes. Now when think of a chain-gang, you would probably suspect it would be composed of, murderers, rapists, and bank robbers. Well, if this was a photograph of a Canadian chain-gang you would have to include, people who did not fill out their long-form census. Yes its true, that failure to fill out said form may lead to arrest and imprisonment.

I got to admit for most of the summer I couldn't care less about the arguments of long form census, it was one of those bureaucratic arguments that tend to cause the eyes to glaze over, plus I did have my garden to work on, so my time was fully occupied.

All this changed with a few tweets. I saw this tweet:
RT @Carolyn_Bennett: Honoured to submit the Private Members Bill to enshrine the Long Form Census in law

I immediately responded with the following:
so you want to enshrine threats to Canadians who don't fill the long form out?

Then came this response:
Read the article -- it would enshrine the long census but without threat of prison.

If you read the article, you will discover the threat of imprisonment is removed, however, you can still be fined. The maximum fine is $500.00
I then retweeted:
but the threat of a fine still exists.

The final tweet was:
I think we disagree about how bad a thing that threat is.

That's the one that got me going. We have people who support the idea that the only way you can get Canadians to do anything is through threats of punishment. It was bad enough there was the potential for jail time, now its a fine. To say, that the fine is not that bad is ridiculous. Why do we need threats?

Then again, we know why; consider the parties supporting the private members bill.

The Liberals: they have as their core set of beliefs that the average Canadian is a dolt. If you remember during one election, they opposed the Conservatives plan to give money to Canadians to help with day care. The reason they opposed it was the view that give Canadians that extra bit of money, they would spend it on beer and pizza. I even blogged about it. Yeah, that's what the Liberals think of you. They believe you can't be trusted to do the right thing. You will notice that person did not say Canadians would use the money to buy diapers, clothes or food for their children.

The NDP: the party of social workers and social activists. Their core belief includes the idea that you are totally incapable of doing anything for yourself. That's why government has to do it all. We've been through the long gun registry, if these clowns formed a government, you'd have to register your staplers.

I can hear someone complain, "you're just an anarchist, you oppose all those sorts of things. I imagine you oppose speeding tickets and such things." No, I do not oppose speeding tickets and fines for txting while driving. You see, those are attempts to make you understand the gravity of speeding and texting. You are fined because you are involved in behaviour that could lead to injury and possibly death, to yourself or others. Speeding kills, you could lose control of your automobile. To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever been killed by a long form census not being filled out. There is no listing of fatalities during census weekend.

In Canada, the right to privacy is enshrined by law. The Privacy Commission has been reviewing Facebook to ensure they are not violating Canadians right to privacy. Yet the government will demand more information from you then Facebook asks you to give, and Facebook is in trouble. Perhaps this should be the government's strategy come Census Time, make a facebook page. Canadians love Facebook, we post everything about ourselves, to the smallest detail.

Normally I think Ezra Levant is a bit of a crack. However his recent reprint of a column he did about the long form census is worth reading.

One more piece to consider, at the last census, 21,000 people who filled out the long form put "Jedi Knight" down as their religion. This is not to disparage true followers of the Force, but I don't think the Old Republic had 21,000 Jedis, so I think that's rather suspect. By the way, the Jedi Church of Canada supports retaining the long form census.

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