I was asked for my thoughts on today’s news report (appended):
Janet Churnin was found guilty of not filling in the 2011 Census form.
Note that the CP coverage does not even MENTION the leaks by Edward Snowden. Small wonder that Europeans know about the NSA surveillance of them, but Canadians don’t.
MY REPLY: (edited July 2014, at time of Stegenga trial over same issue.)
The Edward Snowden leaks about the extent and the means being used by the NSA to collect personal data on citizens leave no room for misunderstanding. If the American surveillance system cannot collect every morsel of information on YOU through legitimate access to a data base, they do it illegally.
The statement in the news article on the Churnin case did not report the name of the StatsCan person quoted. It would have been Yves Beland. He is Director of Census Operations under Wayne Smith, Chief Statistician:
Lockheed Martin had no access to the agency’s data operation centre or its census response database
To me, the statement lacks credibility.
Unless it is taken literally – Lockheed HAD no access – – the past tense.
It HAS access now (present tense) OR, it WILL HAVE access in the future.
Given what is known through the leaks by Edward Snowden, reinforced by newspaper articles through the years (posted on this blog), Canadians would have to be VERY gullible to believe that Lockheed Martin (the NSA) does not have back-door access to the data base at StatsCan. The data base will be consolidated census records (with your name on your record) and “survey” data collection.
It is very frustrating to see another decision like this one on Janet Churnin, that completely ignores the reality of today’s world. The so-called “influential” people in StatsCan, the Justice Department, and the Judiciary are marching us right into a surveillance state. A police state.
Note that the “head of census operations at Statistics Canada”, by this news report, is now anonymous. In fact, he does have a name. It is important that Canadians know his name; it is a means by which citizens hold Government officials accountable.
Chief Statistician of Canada since the summer of 2010
(I googled to ensure that he is still the head: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_Smith_(Chief_Statistician_of_Canada)
It is wonderful that Canadians have citizens such as Janet Churnin who will stand up and be heard. It would be wonderful if the decision in her case could be appealed. But that is probably unrealistic.
It happens that Eve Stegenga, a young woman from Powell River BC, is the next one in the cross-hairs of the StatsCan – Justice Department duo. A little serendipity: I live not too far, a ferry ride away.
Eve’s next appearance in Court is in March. I will be attending.
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Conditional discharge for census resister
The Canadian Press, 2014
TORONTO – A 79-year-old Toronto woman has been handed a conditional discharge after being found guilty of violating the Statistics Act for refusing to fill out the mandatory census in 2011.
The sentence means Janet Churnin will have no permanent criminal record after she completes 50 hours of community service, but she’s on probation until then.
The judge presiding in the case disagreed with Churnin’s arguments that her Charter rights were violated, and found that the self-described pacifist had no lawful excuse for not participating in the census.
Churnin’s lawyer had argued at her trial that the government didn’t do enough to address her concerns about U.S. arms-maker Lockheed Martin’s role in the data collection process.
The Crown countered that Canadians can’t refuse to comply with legitimate government obligations simply on the basis of moral disapproval or speculative security fears.
Churnin has said she thought there was a chance information on Canada’s population could be accessed by Lockheed Martin, or even the American government if the corporation was forced to turn over the information under the U.S. Patriot Act.
The head of census operations at Statistics Canada testified that Lockheed Martin had no access to the agency’s data operation centre or its census response database.
By The Canadian Press