Dec 012006

by Robert Metz – December 2006

The following essay represents my personal protest against the Canadian Census.

“Any person refusing or neglecting to complete their Census form, or answering falsely, will be guilty of an offense and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $500 or to imprisonment for three months or both.” – Canadian Statistics Act -



Since the earliest days of my political involvement, I had made it a point routinely to protest Canada’s census every five years.  I protested personally by not filling-out and returning the census.  I also protested politically by campaigning and informing the public about why the census is not driven by the benign reasons and processes that so many assume.

However, this year’s census sneaked up on me.  An ‘overdue notice’ was my first indication that the time for filling out a census form had come and gone.  So I initially decided quietly to protest the census only through non-participation.  I figured that I had already made my views on the census a matter of public record, and that there were certainly many more important and immediate issues to deal with: international terrorism; criminal gang warfare; “Indian” uprisings and domestic anarchy; taxes; an overburdened and crumbling electricity infrastructure; and a health care system so heavily regulated that the resulting rationing of services is becoming the literal death of many.

Short Straw was the Last Straw:

Then it happened.  I drew the short straw and got the “long form”.  Eighty percent of census forms issued by the government are so-called “short-forms”, which include only basic questions about the names and ages of occupants.   However, twenty percent of the forms are “long forms”, requiring the disclosure of a wide variety of information.  It is the long form that contains some of the most disturbing and revealing questions asked by the government of Canada.

The questions on the long-form must really be read for their outrageousness to be believed.  However, given that the census is taken once every five years, it would take at least 25 years for 100 percent of Canadian households ever to even see a long form (and, in fact, that number is highly doubtful when one considers that the number of households continues to increase in Canada over time).  Those living outside of Canada may never see a Canadian census form.    Therefore, I have decided that somewhat of a detailed description is in order.  My mere non-participation in the census will not suffice.  What follows is my political protest.

The Lonnnnnng Form:

There are officially 53 questions on the 2003 Long Form of the Canadian Census though some questions include up to 20 sub-questions.  Every question must be answered for each occupant of a residency.

QUESTIONS #17 through #21, 33, 51 and 52 deserve greater comment, so I’ll address those later.

QUESTION #1 asks for the Family Name and Given Names.  Even with regards to this seemingly simple question, I have to ask: is this a legitimate piece of information for a questionnaire that purports primarily to be a ‘head count’?

QUESTION #2 reads Sex, though it’s really asking for Gender.  Maybe they’re just trying to get our attention (Question #5 is the one that is actually about sex; see below).

QUESTION #3 asks for Date of Birth.

QUESTION #4 asks for Marital Status.

QUESTION #5 asks: “Is this person living with a common-law partner?”.  That, of course, is a way of finding out with whom you are having sex outside of a marriage, but inside your residence.  You could be living with another person, simply to share living expenses; in an age of both same- and opposite-sex marriages, who’s to know what’s really going on behind closed doors?  More to the point: whose business is it, and why bother asking?  There’s nothing under same-sex legislation that requires sexual attraction; two heterosexual males or females could be legally ‘married,’ making any matters of sexual preference irrelevant.  To maximize on employment or government benefits, heterosexual John could ‘marry’ his heterosexual roommate Bill, while each are conducting their real opposite-sex love relationships outside their residence.  The possibilities are endless.  Let’s be frank:  from the very beginning, the concept of a ‘common law marriage’ was and is a contradiction in terms — the notion of having a ‘contract’ without a contract.  There should be no question #5.

QUESTION #6 is about the Relationship of each of the other occupants in the household to the person filling out the census form.

QUESTIONS #7 and #8 are misleadingly categorized as Activities of Daily Living, when in truth they are actually about health:  “Does this person have any difficulty hearing, seeing, communicating, walking, climbing stairs, bending, learning or doing any similar activities?” and “Does a physical condition or mental condition or health problem reduce the amount or kind of activity this person can do…?”

QUESTIONS #9 THROUGH  #12 concern Place of Birth and Current Citizenship, and/or Immigrant Status.  These might actually be considered legitimate questions for a census, were it not for the nature of the other questions asked in the Long Form.

QUESTIONS #13 THROUGH #16 all concern Language(s) spoken.  Parlez-vous francais?

QUESTIONS #23 AND #24, the “Mobility” questions, want to know where the respondent lived one year ago on May 16, and five years ago on May 16.

QUESTION #25 is discussed below, along with questions 17 through 21.

QUESTIONS #26 through #32 concern the Education History of each person in the household.

QUESTIONS #34 through to #50 are all categorized under “Labour Market Activities,” and within that context, generally offer no surprises — with the exception of question #46, which curiously asks “At what address did this person usually work most of the time?”.  It is particularly emphasized that “If direction (e.g., North, South, East or West) is part of the street address, please include it.”   That is some odd and oddly specific information for a so-called census.

By commenting only briefly on the questions described above, I do not mean to imply that they rightly belong on a thing that purports to be a census: they don’t.   However, if one really wants to make the case that questions in the 2006 “census” are wholly inconsistent with the sorts of information that should be taken into account by the government of a free society, one must surely focus on questions #17 through #21, 33, 51 and 52.

QUESTION #17: “ANCESTRY” – A EUPHEMISM FOR “GENETIC MAKE-UP”

Question 17 asks: “What were the ethnic or cultural origins of this person’s ANCESTORS?”.  “An ancestor is usually more distant than a grandparent  (For example, Canadian, English, French, Chinese, Italian, German, Scottish, East Indian, Irish, Cree, Mi’kmaq (Micmac), Metis, Inuit (Eskimo), Ukrainian, Dutch, Pilipino, Polish, Portuguese, Jewish, Greek, Jamaican, Vietnamese, Lebanese, Chilean, Salvadorean, Somali, etc.)” (emphasis added)

Notice how the questionnaire proposes answers that are not limited to a single category (i.e., just “ethnic” origins, or just “cultural” origins).  It instead proposes answers based on a mix of categories: a person is free to provide “ethnic” origins, or “cultural” origins, or both.  The significance of allowing answers from two categories can be discovered if we begin by determining what is usually meant by the terms “ethnic” and “cultural”.  For that purpose, let us consider the definitions set out in my Funk & Wagnalls.  In that dictionary, “culture” is defined as: “the development and refinement of mind, morals, or taste.”  The anthropological definition of the same word in the same dictionary is: “The sum total of the attainments and learned behaviour patterns of any specific period, race, or people.”  In other words, the distinguishing feature of both definitions concerns the content of ones mind: “mind”, “morals”, “taste”, “attainments” and “learned behaviour” are the key words in both definitions of “culture”.   The dictionary implies that a given culture — a given set of “morals”, “tastes”, “attainments” etc. — might be specific to a given “race” or “people” (though, in pointing out that fact about the dictionary, I do not imply agreement with the dictionary).

In the same dictionary, “ethnic” is defined as:

“1. Of, belonging to, or distinctive of a particular racial, cultural, or language division of mankind.
2. Of or belonging to a people neither Jewish nor Christian; heathen.” (emphasis added)

So, according to this dictionary, whereas a “cultural” “division of mankind” is an “ethnic” division of mankind, other divisions are also “ethnic”: race, language and religion.  The essence of the definition of “ethnic”, therefore, is “division of mankind” into collectives: collectives defined by “race”, language, religion or culture.  Yet it will be noticed that “language” and “religion” are aspects of “culture”: they are not physical traits, but contents of the mind.  Therefore, one might logically shorten the dictionary’s definition without compromising it: “Of, belonging to, or distinctive of a particular racial or cultural division of mankind”.  In other words: ethnicity is an ambiguous term that, in common parlance, lumps genetic make-up in with the content of ones mind.

Confusing and/or integrating the contents of someone’s mind or behaviour (over which each individual has control) with his or her physical traits (over which each individual does not have control) is the very essence of racism.  As philosopher Ayn Rand explained:

“Racism claims that the content of a man’s mind (not his cognitive apparatus, but its content) is inherited; that a man’s convictions, values and character are determined before he is born, by physical factors beyond his control.  This is the caveman’s version of the doctrine of innate ideas — or of inherited knowledge — which has been thoroughly refuted by philosophy and science.  Racism is a doctrine of, by and for brutes.  It is a barnyard or stock-farm version of collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various breeds of animals, but not between animals and men.”  – “Racism”, republished in Rand’s The Virtue of Selfishness.

Now, consider question 17 in Canada’s 2006 “census”.  Does anyone really think that the government of Canada cares what the ancestors of its residents think about anything at all?  If the government of Canada wanted to know what the ancestors of its residents thought about “morals” and “taste”, don’t you think they would have asked at least one question about what those morals and tastes were?  You can bet with certainty that the Canadian government is NOT interested in the contents of the minds of the ancestors of Canadian residents: dead people do not vote.   Moreover, there is no reason to believe that one necessarily engages in the cultural traditions of basket weaving or holds the religious beliefs of Presbyterians just because ones great-grandfather engaged in such behaviours or held such beliefs.  No, with questions like #17, the government is demonstrating that it is, instead, interested only in the genetic make-up of its current, living residents.

Information about genetic make-up can be of use to a government only if it intends to take that information into account when making decisions about how it will allocate its resources — only if it intends to treat residents differently according to the “racial division” into which the government has put them.  In other words, that information can be of use only to a racist (hence collectivist) government.  The people who crafted question #17 — who support the collection of such data — are (at immense expense to the taxpayer) either collecting data that the government will never use for any purpose, or they are racist (hence collectivist) brutes.

Luckily, the question instructs the respondent “Specify as many origins as applicable using capital letters”.  Okay, why not be as thorough as possible, using already-available ancestral “records”.  How about Adam and Eve?   Adam begot Seth.  Seth begot Enos.  Enos begot Cainan.  Cainan begot Malaleel.  Malaleel begot Jared…you get the genesis idea.   Or you could just write, in capital letters, all of CANADIAN, ENGLISH, LEBANESE, GREEK, FRENCH, GERMAN, CHINESE etc, and still have validly answered QUESTION #17.   Who would dare question it?  A given Canadian could be all of these things, ancestrally speaking.

However, the sinister side of this question falls on those who answer with a single response.  Had a census with questions like #17 been conducted by Canada during World War II, how comfortable would persons of German or Japanese descent have been writing in only  ‘GERMAN’ or ‘JAPANESE’?  With so much of the news currently focused on terrorist activity carried out in the name of Islam, how comfortable could one  be in responding with ‘ARAB’, ‘PAKISTANI’, ‘SYRIAN’, or ‘IRANIAN’?  And, given the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic comments of some of Canada’s members of Parliament, what Jewish person could be confident that answering ‘JEWISH’ would not result in some sort of political oppression?  Remember, even if a respondent to this census does not include his or her name, address, location of work, etc., the census form still includes a code identifying the location where it was dropped off by the census taker.  Given that the government of Canada is actually collecting such information, who could fairly call a respondent’s concern about question #17 irrational or paranoid?

QUESTION #19 – COUNTRY OF ORIGIN, and OTHER EUPHEMISMS FOR “GENETIC MAKE-UP”

Question #19 on the long form which asks:  “Is this person  __ White  __ Chinese  __ South Asian __ Black  __ Filipino __ Latin American __ Southeast Asian __ Arab  __ West Asian  __ Korean  __ Japanese  __ Other”

The very wording of Question #19 is racist.  “Two of these things are not like the others,” as they might say on Sesame Street.  Question #19′s references to ‘black’ and ‘white’ refer exclusively to visible skin color only, in direct contrast to the nature of the rest of the categories.  The balance of Question 19′s other answers are collectives comprised of geographic areas (South Asian, Southeast Asian, West Asian), of phenotypical traits  (e.g., Arab), or of citizenship or country of origin (Chinese, Korean, Japanese).  Talk about mixing categories — and defying a fundamental principle of collecting statistics! 

If the government really wants to know a person’s country of origin, how on earth is the colour of a person’s skin at all relevant?!  What is the country of origin of a “white” person, or a “black” person?!

Of course, it is simply false that the government wants to know a person’s country of origin: had it been interested in such data, one would have expected to see possible answers like: United States, Canada, etc..  “Canadian” and “American” are not terms that refer to any one “race”: Canadians and Americans are as genetically diverse as humanity itself.  The simple fact is that the “census” uses certain countries of origin as euphemisms for genetic make-up.  It knows it would be exposed as being racist were it to use less-politically-correct answers like “yellow” and “red” along side the terms “white” and “black”.

An offensive question, it has an offensive purpose, as stated right on the census form itself:  “This information is collected to support programs that promote equal opportunity for everyone to share in the social, cultural and economic life of Canada.”  That’s a lie.  The truth is that the information is collected to support wealth redistribution among collectives defined by genetic make-up.  Welcome to Caledonia. The question is racist, and it has a racist purpose.

QUESTION #33 – LIES, DAMNED LIES, AND THE ANSWERS TO CENSUS QUESTIONS

Question 33 is possibly the most subjective question on the census.  Divided into three parts, QUESTION #33 asks:  “Last week, how many hours did this person spend doing the following activities:  (a) doing UNPAID housework, yard work or home maintenance for members of this household, or others?  Some examples include: preparing meals, washing the car, doing laundry, cutting the grass, shopping, household planning, etc.  (b) looking after one or more of this person’s own children, or the children of others, WITHOUT PAY?  Some examples include: bathing or playing with young children, driving children to sports activities or helping them with homework, talking with teens about their problems, etc. (c) providing UNPAID care or assistance to one or more seniors?  Some examples include: providing personal care to a senior family member, visiting seniors, talking with them on the telephone, helping them with shopping, banking or with taking medication, etc.  In QUESTION #33, report all time spent on each activity, even if two or more activities took place at the same time.”

Let’s be Frank:  ‘Unpaid work’ is a contradiction in terms, and operates on negative unreal concepts – ‘pay’ that does not exist and implied relationships which do not exist.

Paid work implies some sort of employer-employee relationship or a written contract indicating the same.  Unpaid work implies no such relationship, particularly when there is no other party involved in the work or baby sitting done for oneself.  The concept of ‘paying oneself’ amounts to nothing more than fiscal and financial masturbation! “Unpaid” work is not objectively measurable, either in terms of dollars or in terms of time — particularly when virtually any activity qualifies and when you can include “two or more activities [taking] place at the same time.”

So here I am, sitting at home writing this essay (for which no one is paying me), while I’m baby sitting my grandson (which I do regularly for free), while I’m doing my laundry (both the dryer and washer are operating – that would be two activities),  while my computer is busy working on Freedom Party audio and video files which I captured earlier, while my stove is warming lunch, while I’m ‘planning’ to do some ‘household’ vacuuming later on… wow, am I ever one busy guy!  I’ve already done three days of  ‘unpaid work’ just sitting here figuring it all out!  In fact, now that I’m thinking about it, I even do ‘unpaid work’ (as per the definition of QUESTION #33) when I’m sound asleep because I keep my computer working overnight to finish the files I’ve prepared during the day!

Honestly, I can hardly remember what I did this morning, let alone for the entire week of May 7 to May 13, 2006.  But with the explicit threat of “a $500 fine and/or three months in jail” hanging over my head  for “neglecting to complete” or “answering falsely,” what is one to do?  Why, make it up, of course!

One might argue that silly questions demand silly answers, but the real question that demands an answer is: “What could the government possibly do with such unreal and purely theoretical ‘information?’”

Four possibilities immediately come to mind: 

(1) It can be used to promote a radical communist agenda, one arguing that ‘unpaid housework’ should be included in the statistics used to determine real government benefits for those doing the ‘unpaid work’;  

(2) It can be used to falsely bolster Canada’s economic performance in the world — fixing the national books, so to speak — so that the ‘value’ of  ‘unpaid work’ can be included in the Gross National Product of the country (just imagine how much lower the national debt could be said to be relative to a Gross National Product that included such work). 

(3) It can be used to justify the imposition of ‘income’ taxes on self-sufficient communities or groups who may produce their own food and/or clothing, etc.   If the ‘work’ you performed for yourself was arbitrarily ‘valued’ at, say, $5 per hour, then you would be taxed accordingly, even though you did not actually receive any money for your work.  After all, I’ve heard it outrageously argued, if you’ve received a benefit of $100 without paying taxes on it, that’s ‘unfair’ to those paid workers who did have to pay tax (both income and sales) to receive a $100 benefit. 

(4)  It can be used to justify some sort of ‘guaranteed minimum income’ program.

All of these ideas have long been advocated by the left.  In the absence of both a moral or economic basis for such grand larceny, the only possible way to ‘justify’ the unjustifiable is to use statistics.  The schemers who designed question #33 were ‘working overtime’ on this one.  Concurrently.

QUESTIONS #51 AND #52 – COUNTING NOT HEADS, BUT DOLLARS

This is the last thing one would expect on a so-called ‘census.’  Believe it or not, question #51 reads:  “Does this person give Statistics Canada permission to use the income information already available in his/her income tax files for the year ending December 31, 2005?”
Question #51 should actually have been numbered 22, since there’s a ‘Catch’ to its answer.  If you answer NO to question #51 (as any self-respecting person would),  then the form compels the respondent to “Continue with Question 52.”

Guess what QUESTION #52 is?  You guessed it:   It’s a two-page tax return!  So your real options are:  “Give us your tax return or give us your tax return!”

QUESTION #52 demands the respondent to “enter the amount of Total Wages and Salaries, Net Farm Income, Net Non-Farm Income from Unincorporated Businesses, professional practice (gross receipts minus expenses), Income From Government, including Child benefits, family allowances, Old Age Security Pension, Guaranteed Income Supplement Allowance, Benefits from Canada or Quebec Pension Plan, (Un)Employment Insurance, Other Income from Government Sources, Dividends, Interest, Investment Income, Retirement pensions, superannuation and annuities, Alimony, Child Support, Scholarships.”

The question concludes with “Total Income in 2005 from all sources” AND “Income Tax Paid on 2005 income (federal, provincial and territorial)!!

Pretty personal stuff, if you ask me.

Now, understand that only one census form is provided per household, but that all members of the household (over 15 years of age) must report these income ‘statistics.’   “If you are answering on behalf of other people, please consult each person,” demands QUESTION #52.
Are they kidding?  Can you imagine, say, two or more unrelated boarders (who may not even like each other) sharing the same household or premises and having one ask the other(s) for their personal income information?  “Hey Joe, do you mind giving me your tax return from last year?  I need to report YOUR income and taxes paid to the government.”  Is the census trying to encourage domestic violence, or what?

Significantly, if all it takes to access ‘confidential’ tax records is an ‘x’ on an unsigned, generalized document like the census, it is obvious that Statistics Canada does not need our permission to access these records. Clearly, our personal tax records are not confidential, by any stretch of the imagination.  And that’s what questions #51 and #52 are really telling us.

QUESTION #53 – BETTER-OFF DEAD

QUESTION #53 is both the ultimate census lie and the ultimate consensual irrelevancy:  “Does this person agree to make his/her 2006 Census information available for public release in 2098 (92 years after the census)?  The Statistics Act guarantees the confidentiality of your census information.  Only if you mark ‘YES’ to this question will your personal information be made public, 92 years after the 2006 Census.  If you mark ‘NO’ or leave the answer blank, your personal information will never be made publicly available.”

Imagine that!  I’ll have ‘rights’ in 2098 when I’m long gone and dead that I do not have today in 2006 while I’m alive!  The utter gall of making it sound as if some sort of ‘consent’ were even a factor in the totally non-consensual collection of census data!!

“Your personal census information cannot be given to anyone outside Statistics Canada without your consent,” says the form.  “This is your right.”

What nonsense!  Canadians have NO rights with regard to the Census!   Isn’t that obvious?  If we had any rights in the matter at all, there would be NO law threatening fines and imprisonment for just saying ‘NO’ to the Census.

THE UGLY TRUTH ABOUT CANADA’S CENSUS

Most of Canada’s Census questions have no legitimate purpose in a supposedly free society.  The questions are not even logical (let alone rational), and cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be answered ‘factually’ or ‘truthfully’ as required by legislation.

None of the census questions relate to any proper function of government or of its proper relationship to the citizen: the administration of justice, maintenance of an objective court system, or the function of the military.  They’re all about genetic make-up and wealth redistribution.

Many of the questions relate to information that no mentally healthy or self-respecting individual would even give a first, let alone a second, thought to.  Like those speculative questions about day-to-day hours spent on doing dishes, baby sitting.  To think that someone could, technically, spend three months in prison for not keeping track of their hours spent at leisure, bathing, etc.  is so outrageous a consideration, it defies any sense of civilization or civilized behaviour.

Of course, we all know that in practice, virtually no Canadians really get charged for not filling out the Census.  I personally know of only one case in the London Ontario area where, many years ago, a local high profile developer was actually charged and fined for failing to fill out his census return.  Not exactly the great deterrent.  Over 11,000 households in London Ontario alone did not complete their 2006 Census forms, according to a televised news report on the A-Channel.

But again, fines and jail sentences are a secondary issue, particularly when rarely enforced.  The real significance of Canada’s Census lies not in the seemingly senseless questions being asked, nor in the threats of penalties directed against us, but in what we are being told about our collective future.   Sadly, if the racists and other collectivists who design and administer the Canadian Census have their way, Canadians can expect a continued reversion from a productive society — which survives by consensual trade in which wealth is earned by productivity — towards an uncivilized jungle inhabited by warring tribes forced to segregate and divide themselves according to a genetic code.

“There is only one antidote to racism,” says philosopher Ayn Rand, “the philosophy of individualism and its politico-economic corollary, laissez-faire capitalism.”                             {end}

- Robert Metz      Consent #35   December 2006