My religion, my ethnicity, my income and household expenses and what’s inside my house, along with most of the other 53 questions asked in 2006’s 40-page compulsory census form is nobody’s business but my own and the nosy-parker census takers should just butt out of my private affairs.
I am supposed to have a guaranteed freedom of religion. This guarantee should cover my right not to disclose the nature of my choice. Why should this right be abrogated by the census takers? What’s the point? Many may want to know who my God is, but nobody needs to know the nature of my religious beliefs.
My government can operate just fine without knowing most of what’s in the so-called long form census as it relates to me, but big-government advocates can’t. Busy-body social engineers and advocacy groups (read pressure groups) should do their own surveys of those who give a damn about their causes and leave the rest of us alone.
Private polling is routinely done in Canada with sufficient statistical accuracy for leading businesses, newspapers and television networks to use them on a regular basis. There are cost-effective ways of getting answers to the 53 questions on the long form without invading my privacy or threatening me with fines and prison terms.
As I’ve written before, I notice that the moaning and hand-wringing over this issue seems mostly to be coming from organizations, public and private, which use our personal information for their own (useful or otherwise) ends. I hear and read little from individuals bemoaning the loss of an opportunity to hand over quite intrusive private information about themselves.
Most every Western democracy is seeking alternatives to their traditional census methodology. So why shouldn’t Canada do the same? And let me say that I’m not at all comforted by the “guarantee” that my personal data will be kept confidential. Our over-paid, inept civil service is the last organization I want to trust with anything. They’re forced upon me, but I don’t have to trust them.
The ethnicity of my ancestors? Who cares? Nobody should. I’m Canadian, that’s all that is really important.
I look to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government to help protect my privacy.