2010-07-28 Census objectors come in many different forms, Guelph Mercury. Darek Czernewcan
Guelph Mercury Jul 28, 2010
The Guelph Mercury write-up (below) is good, covers many bases, not too much detail.
Czernewcan’s Father was a colleague of Lech Wałęsa in the Gdansk, Poland Shipyards. Their Trade Union brought down the Communist regime.
Elaboration by Darek Czernewcan, why he didn’t fill in the Census, from http://sandrafinley.ca/?p=182:
“I purposely declined the census because I felt that the long form, which I received, asked questions which violated my right to privacy. Being an immigrant (originally, I’ve been a citizen now for 16 years), and having come to Canada from a (formerly) communist country, where even Big Brother did not resort to the kind of tactics I am facing in FREE Canada… Well, I was just offended. I did not spend a significant part of my life in the squalor of refugee camps, running away from political oppression, only to be met with the same kind of oppression in the FREE WORLD. I don’t want to rant too much, but I’ll just sum it up this way – I am being threatened with fines and jail time because in a FREE COUNTRY, I refused to tell the government how many hours in a week I spend doing dishes!”
From Darek’s wife, Kelly:
“. . . It gives me hope for my son’s future. Darek’s maternal grandfather lost his entire family during the Second World War, and only due to a fluke, survived the “ethnic cleansing” himself, as he was posted on the other side of the country at the time. Darek’s dad’s struggle against the Communist repression during Poland’s civil war seems smaller by comparison, and Darek’s fight just a sand-box shoving match, but we are talking about one family over the span of three short generations. I do not want my son’s life tattooed and barcoded by Lockheed Martin in this or the upcoming Census. As Stalin once said, “the people who vote count nothing, the people who count the votes count everything.”
Darek, as quoted in the Gerogia Strait on-line news:
” Czernewcan explained that during the Cold War, his father was a political prisoner of Poland’s Soviet government. Later, his parents immigrated to Canada to spare Czernewcan from compulsory military service.
“I have this intrinsic aversion to anything military,” he said.
(Sandra speaking:) The bona fide Census work is valued. I am in the camp that believes “Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, debate, and dissent.” Sometimes the government has to be called on its actions. The American military (through Lockheed Martin Corporation) should have nothing to do with the Canadian census, for various reasons. I doubt that the Statistics Act, when it was written, EVER contemplated that future governments would be doing this.)
But what happened to Czernewcan in the end?
“I suppose I owe you guys a bit of an update. My case is now over. And I guess I both won and lost. I’m sorry to let you down, but I had to throw in the towel. (INSERT: he DIDN’T let us down! He did the right thing.) The Crown Attorney assigned to my case had a real hard-on for this. He said that if we go to trial, he would ask for the maximum penalty, maximum fine as well as maximum jail time, as well as an order to make me fill out the form.
I did not succeed in finding pro-bono legal representation. I have to be honest with you – personally, I can do 3 months in a provincial bucket standing on my head. But I am the sole provider for my family and we would end up homeless and broke if I was in jail for 3 months. So I asked the Crown what he would want if I pleaded guilty. He was ready to agree to a $300 fine and no jail time. So we took it to plea court. And this is where I got lucky. The judge was exceptionally reasonable. He said that he was not the least bit inclined to agree with the crown that this was a serious matter.
The judge said that he doesn’t see the purpose in prosecuting people like me. He asked me if I had anyone relying on me for support, and I said that yes, I had a wife who stayed at home and raised our 14-month old son. The judge was pleased to hear that. He said that since I have no criminal record he would like to give me an absolute discharge, but since there was some provision in the law that prevented him from doing so in this particular case, he gave me a suspended sentence. I should mention that this judge admonished the Crown Attorney for wasting the Court’s time with trivial matters and stopped just shy of asking them to bring him some real criminals! “
Census objectors come in many different forms, Guelph Mercury, July 28, 2010
OTTAWA – If there were a census of census objectors, the questionnaire would require a long list of categories.
There are libertarians, pacifists, First Nations communities and those who jealously protect their privacy.
Canadians who baulk at filling out the forms have a wide variety of reasons for butting up against Statistics Canada. Some of them support the Conservative arguments for replacing the mandatory census with a voluntary survey, and some of them don’t.
One Ontario septuagenarian who wrote to The Canadian Press this week railed against the “Neanderthal” census worker who showed up at his door in 2006, pressing him to fill out the census form. His experience fits with the descriptions of concerned constituents cited by federal cabinet ministers in defending their decision.
“The census is not accurate because many (who fill out) the long form … give incorrect answers,” said the writer, who asked that his name be withheld.
“The long form is one of (Pierre) Trudeau’s gems, along with the army in Quebec and ‘Just watch me,’ the result a great country destroyed.”
Todd Stelmach of Kingston, Ont., went to court over his refusal to fill out the long-form census in 2006. He wound up paying a $300 fine, even as the prosecutor coaxed him to fill out the form on his day of sentencing.
The judge refused to go along with the Crown’s request to direct Stelmach to fill out the census form, which might have resulted in a more serious contempt of court charge.
But Stelmach’s resistance had nothing to do with the intrusiveness of the questions, or the attached penalties. Instead, he wanted to protests against Statistics Canada’s purchase of census hardware and software from defence manufacturer Lockheed Martin.
“I felt that an organization that profits from war that’s American shouldn’t be profiting from our census as well,” Stelmach said. “It was more of a Christian making a stand kind of thing.”
Stelmach says he’d still not fill out the mandatory short census, but has mixed feelings about the demise of the long census. Stelmach is a mental-health worker.
“I see that these things help make decisions for stuff that gets my work funding, so I’m not against it,” Stelmach said of the long census.
“I’ve always said I was pro-census, I was just against paying a war profiteer for the census.”
Also in 2006, Ontario truck driver Darek Czernewcan was ordered by a court to pay a fine. Czernewcan, a Polish immigrant whose father had been imprisoned in the Soviet Union during the Cold War, originally resisted because of privacy concerns and later opposed the Lockheed Martin connection.
Chantal Carey’s battle with Statistics Canada has a different twist.
Last year, the Ottawa resident refused to comply with the mandatory Labour Force Survey, a questionnaire of 53,000 Canadians every month.
She has eight slips of blue and yellow paper left at her door by insistent Statistics Canada interviewers with pleas to call them back. “We must complete this brief mandatory survey by the end of this weekend,” one wrote in pen.
But Carey, 25, read the Statistics Act, and could find no evidence that she was forced to fill out anything but the census. She has filed a complaint with the federal privacy commissioner, wanting a ruling on whether she should be forced to give up her personal data.
“I think there are people who really don’t like to do it. Perhaps they feel vulnerable or threatened, what are they going to with the information? If it’s sensitive information, do I want to give out information that might serve a certain field of activity that I don’t support?”
Would she fill out the new voluntary long-form household survey next year? Doubtful, says Carey, but she doesn’t have a fixed opinion on the Conservative government’s decision.
“I’ll have other things to do. I’d rather spend my time on other things, than that,” Carey said. “That’s my personal view.”
Many in Canada’s First Nations communities have also had a troubled relationship with the census. An estimated 200,000 aboriginals were not counted in the last go around, with large reserves such as Akwesasne and Kahnawake not participating.
Some argued they are not Canadian citizens and don’t need to comply. Others viewed their non-compliance as a protest against the Canadian government, and frictions that have gone back decades.
When Statistics Canada released census numbers in 2008, the Assembly of First Nations said the count was inaccurate when compared with the federal Indian registry. They said the numbers were being skewed to suggest fewer aboriginals were living on reserve.
“It’s exceedingly irritating,” an adviser to the assembly told The Canadian Press in 2008.
More than four per cent of the Canadian population was missed in the last census in 2006, the biggest gap since at least 1991.
Statistics Canada internal figures also show the missing tend to be young adults, ages 20-34, especially males; men who are separated from their spouses; and people whose mother tongue is neither French nor English.
The agency also says it referred 64 cases arising from the 2006 census to federal prosecutors for failure to complete the forms. The number of cases prosecuted was not immediately available.