2016-04-03 (A primer on the Census) Response to Interview of Chief Statistician, Wayne Smith. CBC
Looking for information on the 2016 Census? The one-pager below might be helpful.
We’ve followed the issue since 2003. So there is more information on this blog than you will ever want to see!
For links to census topics not addressed in the following, see Lockheed Martin, War Economy, StatsCan, Charter Right Privacy, Trial
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Sent to CBC Sunday Edition (Host Michael Enright), 2016-04-03
RE: Your Interview of Wayne Smith, Canada’s Chief Statistician
I am happy to hear that StatsCan no longer charges for its products.
Canadians could not know whether to be happy about other questions around StatsCan because you, Michael, did not ask the hard questions! Uncharacteristic of you. Nor did Wayne Smith offer the information. Silence.
I trust you will find the following helpful (please ask if you would like more source references):
- The question of whether Lockheed Martin Corp has a role in the 2016 Census (see APPENDED).
2. StatsCan is required to operate WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THE LAW.
StatsCan claims that the Statistics Act gives them authority to take away citizens’ Charter Right to Privacy of Personal Information.
(The Right: “In fostering the underlying values of dignity, integrity and autonomy, it is fitting that s. 8 of the Charter should seek to protect a biographical core of personal information which individuals in a free and democratic society would wish to maintain and control from dissemination to the state.”)
Most people know that Rights provided under Constitutional Law cannot be taken away by a regular act of Parliament. Under Constitutional Law, in order for the Government to take away a Charter Right it has to meet the criteria set out in the Oakes Test.
As far as I know, StatsCan / the Justice Dept have not applied to the Courts to see if they can meet the criteria, so the Charter Right stands. StatsCan’s assertions to citizens that the Statistics Act gives them authority to take away Charter Rights is bogus.
In summary, the personal information of citizens is protected by a Charter Right; StatsCan has not gone through the process prescribed by Constitutional Law to take away the Charter Right. Therefore the Charter Right stands.
Charter Rights are deadly important and purposeful in a democracy. The only people who will defend against the erosion of them are citizens. When push comes to shove, the only people who will insist on the Rule of Law are citizens.
3. Wayne Smith’s statement that the National Household Survey is voluntary is contradicted by the text of StatsCan’s pamphlets provided to householders “It is the law – – – ”.
Many Canadians have been, and continue to be threatened with prosecution if they don’t answer the survey questions. (Last I knew, the amount of information demanded had increased from just over 50 questions in the mandatory long form Census (2006) to more than 80 in the National Household Survey – – and note that censuses and surveys both feed information into the same data base.)
4.Wayne Smith, Chief Statistician, in response to your question provided examples of the good that arises from the data collected by StatsCan. The examples he cited would not require citizens to provide detailed personal information to StatsCan.
5. There is a potential unsavoury underbelly: Wayne Smith described the targeting by StatsCan of individuals in indigenous communities (the StatsCan program aimed at First Nations has been on-going for almost a decade as learned in the aftermath of media reports (2006 Census) that 35,000 First Nations people did not fill in their census form.).
Canadians need the number of people in different communities, age distribution and so on. Some band councils have insisted that consistent with self-government, they will provide aggregate numbers to StatsCan, which is what StatsCan will tell you it deals in anyway.
There is a particular difficulty for many indigenous communities: they wish to protect their lands. Lockheed Martin (“Senior Management Steering Committee” for censuses, see Appended) can be seen as the “enforcer” for corporate interests, especially American resource extraction companies. Surveillance is one of Lockheed Martin’s specialties, they have contracts with the NSA; detailed files on citizens are very helpful if RESISTANCE to the destruction of lands (ability to feed oneself and one’s family) is a factor.
The conflict between resource extraction by large corporations and the interests of local people have historically been settled by removal, one way or another, of the leadership of the populist movements that threaten the hegemony of the exploiters.
In the Canadian context I am reminded of the “incidents” on the Encana pipeline out in the bush in the vicinity of Dawson Creek (2008). There is a history in the area of the oil and gas industry’s role in the poisoning of livestock and people by “sour gas” which is highly toxic; remember Wiebo Ludwig and his family? the role of propaganda in diminishing Wiebo and his attempts to resolve the sour gas poisoning through the channels offered by the Government?
The anti-terrorist squad of the RCMP was assigned to deal with the “incidents” on the pipeline near Dawson Creek. Tom’s Lake is a First Nations community near Dawson. In the name of finding the “terrorists”, any rights they may have had were eliminated. The unlawful entry into homes and interrogation of families by the RCMP (frightening to the subjects) were for the benefit of Encana.
Beneficial to citizens would have been actions to stop the poisoning of the land and its inhabitants – – the enforcement of regulations. I am not suggesting that anyone in Tom’s Lake had anything to do with the “incidents” when I say that an existing profile of each resident of the community would have been helpful to the “anti-terrorist” squad. They did not find the “terrorists”; they might have found them in corporate offices in Calgary where they did not conduct any searches.
In summary, consistent with the lessons of history and of police states, there is a reason why, in a democracy, you simply do not allow the build-up of detailed personal files on citizens.
The next time you interview Wayne Smith, Chief Statistician, I suggest you review the role of “census bureaux” and detailed files on citizens beforehand – – ask him more questions that matter. You may find Edwin Black’s book “IBM and the Holocaust” helpful. Central to the ability of the Nazis to exterminate certain populations was the collection of large amounts of personal information and the mechanization of that (census) data through Hollerith machines and punch cards.
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ASIDE: The building of detailed files on citizens is a wrong response to “terrorism”:
2016-03-22 There are two sides to the story. Why do we hear only one? (Terrorists & Context: CIA – examples Mossadegh, Lumumba, Arbenz, Guevera, Allende)
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APPENDED, Excerpt from 2016-03-18 Does Lockheed Martin Corp have a role in the 2016 Census?
- What has StatsCan announced to the Canadian public?
StatsCan has NOT made a statement to the public to say that Lockheed Martin’s involvement at StatsCan has ended.
Such a decision would have been made at least a couple years prior, so by 2013 – 2014.
Given the significance of the issue (the three trials, Audrey Tobias, Janet Churnin, Eve Stegenga related to 2011 Census alone; and non-compliance rates) IF a decision was made to end Lockheed Martin’s participation at StatsCan, surely it was StatsCan’s duty to report that to the Canadian public.
I double-checked the StatsCan website. A search on “Lockheed” shows “0 results”. If you search “All” records, there are “4 results” two of which (appended) are Expense claims from Peter Morrison related to meetings with Lockheed Martin in 2010 and 2009. I say with confidence that StatsCan has not made a statement to the public.
- One “BUT”, leads to another “BUT”
The transcript for the Audrey Tobias trial contains a statement that Lockheed Martin is out.
If true, it would represent a huge victory for Canadians against the Military-Industrial complex.
BUT, as evidenced by the expense claims of Peter Morrison StatsCan is enmeshed in collaborative censuses (U.S., U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Canada AND Lockheed Martin). You have to be realistic in assessing the evidence given by Yves Beland (StatsCan) at the Tobias Trial.
THE TOBIAS TRANSCRIPT, LOCKHEED MARTIN IS “OUT”
See 2014-07-17 Transcript, Tobias trial establishes Lockheed Martin is OUT
The testimony of the StatsCan witness Yves Beland, Director of Census Operations Division, tells
- StatsCan was getting resistance to Lockheed Martin’s involvement from the beginning (2004) during the development period.
- StatsCan reacted by “scaling back” substantially on the Lockheed contract for the 2006 Census.
- StatsCan cut again, down to $20 million for the 2011 Census.
- Resistance continued and so
- Lockheed will be completely out of it by the next census (2016).
The only source I know for “Lockheed Martin is “out”” is this transcript of the Tobias trial which ONLY A HANDFUL OF PEOPLE have seen.
So, from the transcript of the testimony by Yves Beland, StatsCan had made a decision before the Tobias trial (Oct 2013) IN SPITE OF WHICH StatsCan and the Justice Dept proceeded with the prosecutions of Audrey Tobias, Janet Churnin and Eve Stegenga all of whom were on trial because they objected to Lockheed Martin’s involvement in the 2011 Census.
The administration of Justice is brought into disrepute.
- StatsCan’s record on truthfulness
You have to address the StatsCan CREDIBILITY GAP in arriving at any conclusions about
Lockheed Martin’s current (2016) involvement in the StatsCan Data Base on Canadians.
You also have to be very careful about word-smithing, as noted in the posting about Lockheed Martin is “out”.
StatsCan CREDIBILITY GAP
- Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald did a good job of explaining that under the auspices of the NSA, backdoor entry to data bases is established if American “security” forces cannot obtain legal front door access. Lockheed Martin is a contractor to the NSA. Both entities are surveillance specialists; both see themselves as being outside the rule of law. The data base at StatsCan will contain the on-going collection of data through censuses AND surveys. Your name is on your file. All in all, EVEN IF Lockheed Martin is “out”, a backdoor entry to the data base will be in place.
[The interest of the Americans in obtaining access to information on ALL Canadians is known through mainstream media report (Ottawa Citizen 2008). The “President of the Americas for Lockheed Martin” is quoted in Maclean’s Magazine Sept 2006. Lockheed’s position at StatsCan was in place by then. Ron Covais was speaking in general when he said, The Ministers have told us, Tell us what you want, we’ll see that you get it. This was how things were to work because as he said, they (corporates) knew they couldn’t get what they wanted through normal democratic channels; they would get it this way, working through the bureaucracy and agencies of Government.]
- StatsCan claims that the Statistics Act gives them authority to take away citizens’ Charter Right to Privacy of Personal Information. Most people know that Rights provided under Constitutional Law cannot be taken away by a regular act of Parliament. Under Constitutional Law, in order for the Government to take away a Charter Right it has to meet the criteria set out in the Oakes Test. As far as I know, StatsCan / the Justice Dept has not applied to the Courts to see if they can meet the criteria, so the Charter Right stands. StatsCan’s assertions to citizens that the Statistics Act gives them authority to take away Charter Rights is bogus.
- StatsCan proceeded with prosecution of 3 women AFTER the claimed decision (Lockheed Martin is “out”) was made – why would they do that if Lockheed Martin was indeed “out”? The reason for dissent by all 3 women was Lockheed Martin’s involvement.
- StatsCan continues to tell citizens “it is the Law”, you have to fill in (for example) the National Household Survey (formerly known as the long-form Census) when the Statistics Act says that participation in surveys is NOT mandatory (the sanctions for census non-compliance do not apply). StatsCan uses a serious lie to intimidate and coerce citizens into providing information protected by the Charter Right.
- They always report to the media that Census non-compliance is 2% when the figures they supplied under oath at the Tobias trial compute to 11% non-compliance.
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So there we are, Matthew. Is Lockheed Martin part of the 2016 Census? I would say yes. StatsCan has never made a statement to the public to say that the StatsCan contracts with Lockheed Martin have ended. StatsCan’s credibility provides no basis for believing what they say. So you have to figure it out.
To me, the CLINCHER is this: Lockheed Martin is a component of the 5 Eyes partnership which commits Canada to collaboration and conformity with other nations in Census operations.
If people do not understand that this is about surveillance, they need to read (related to Bill C-51) 2014-09-26 Journalists and whistleblowers will go to jail under new national security laws, Australia, The Guardian. (Includes info on Five Eyes (FVEY)
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Morrison, Peter, Assistant Chief Statistician
Travel expenses – 2010
|January 28, 2010||ARCHIVED – Lockheed Martin Steering Committee Meeting||$909.88|
|September 22, 2010||ARCHIVED – Corporate Business Architecture presentation to Regional Offices||$1,523.32|
|October 11, 2010||ARCHIVED – Participate at the 2010 Meeting of the International Census Forum and Lockheed Martin Senior Management Steering Committee Meeting||$2,062.94|
|October 21, 2010||ARCHIVED – Corporate Business Architecture presentation to Central Regional Office and visit to Regional Census Centre||$1,128.14|
Morrison, Peter, Assistant Chief Statistician
Travel expenses – 2009
|June 17, 2009||ARCHIVED – To visit the Regional Offices in Vancouver and Edmonton||$1,478.68|
|June 22, 2009||ARCHIVED – To attend the Steering Committee Meeting with Lockheed Martin and visit the United States Data Processing Centre (DPC) site||$1,262.61|
|August 10, 2009||ARCHIVED – EX interviews||$684.78|
|September 7, 2009||ARCHIVED – International Census Forum 2009||$4,369.27|
It’s interesting to note that Stats Canada’s own website states that surveys are “voluntary.”
I hope your letter to the CBC regarding the interview with the Stats Canada rep, gets their attention and results in followup.
Also, I read on Stats Canada website and in a 2016 census-related newspaper article, that the 2016 Long Form, mandatory census incorporates much of the Household Survey information. The article also said that every household would receive the census, but that a a large percent of households would receive only the short form, while another article stated that every household would receive the long form. I don’t know if they are intentionally misleading people, or if they are just very poor at communicating clearly.
Thanks for your input Steve.
Maybe the journalist misunderstood the administration of the census? The media don’t always get all the details right. But whatever happened – –
It is the case, as it used to be with the Census, that most households will receive the “short form”. The practice prior to 2011 was that one third of households got the “long form”.
One report said the number is being cut back: for the 2016 Census, one quarter will receive the long form. Maybe StatsCan doesn’t need as many Census long forms because the National Household Surveys (the same questions) is continuously administered anyway. (And they tell people they have to fill it out, under threat of prosecution.)
Has anyone that you are aware of opposed stats canada under charter of rights section 7 , unlimited scope and vague. I read your section 8 article.
Under section 7 laws that are vague or without limits viloate our rights. The way the act is written opens the door to unlimited intrusion into our lives. I believe the act is unlimited in scope and vague.
You raise a very interesting point, Barry. Thanks.
No one has challenged the Act under Section 7, as far as I am aware.
I’ve never received the Household Survey, so I may be one of those that gets the long form to compensate for that. Plus, I was contacted for the Survey of Household Spending, but didn’t respond….not having done either of those, I think that increases my chance of being targeted for the long form.
Do you agree?
I can only tell you what I know, Steve.
Theoretically, StatsCan should use a random selection process to generate the list of households (25% of all households) that will receive the Census Long Form. Could be as simple as every fourth household receives the form. You should have a 1 in 4 chance of being selected, the same as everyone else. You should not be moved into a pool that would increase the probability of being selected beyond 1 in 4.
I do not know how random the random process would be. For example, StatsCan started the 2016 Census operation in northern communities in February. Indigenous communities have had historically-high rates of not filling in census forms. Does that mean that more than 25% were selected for the long form? …. What process was used to select which households received the long form? I don’t know.
Moving forward in the process, the prosecution of those who do not fill in their census form. StatsCan had a quota of people that they, working with the Justice Dept, prosecuted after each Census. They routinely prosecuted approximately 65 people. Under the Rule of Law, they should not be allowed to selectively prosecute. Did they?
I actively engaged in dialogue with them starting well before the 2006 Census (2004). I ran an email network that distributed information about Lockheed Martin and its role. During the taking of the Census, Anil Arora, then-head of the Census operation phoned me. We discussed the question of Lockheed Martin and the Census for about 45 minutes.
From my point-of-view, no satisfactory reason was provided for the involvement of Lockheed Martin. Thousands of Canadians did not comply with the 2006 Census. I was selected for prosecution. In spite of reassurances to the contrary, I suspect that I was “selected” and for a reason.
A couple of items about the 2016 Census.
1.Online census info says that they are basically using a slightly modified form of the 2011 Household Survey. One BIG CHANGE is that now the census form supposedly won’t ask for financial info or for your permission to get it from your tax return.. They now just AUTOMATICALLY get it directly from your tax return!! So now even our tax returns are open for this and who knows what else. I can’t help but wonder about the motivation for this change. I find this automatic access to our tax returns shocking!
2. Today I received a Census notice from Stats Canada. Just a simple note of info, along with an access code for completing the census form online, and a note that response is required by law, and is due by May 10. I was disappointed that it doesn’t say, upfront, whether I am assigned to a long form or a short form. It provides a phone number for an automated service you can use to request a hard copy format that you can return by mail. Since related info I saw online says that it can take 5-7 days for one to receive the hard copy format by mail, and at least 3 days to get it filled out and back in their, then choosing that option means a hard copy response would be sure to be late. I am not thrilled with the idea of responding online because they then have access to my IP address, the name of my internet provider, etc. It’s just one more piece of information Stats Canada has access to that adds to the reality that we no longer have any right to privacy – words on paper have little meaning when there is not even a facade of enforcement.
Recent COMMENTS about the 2016 CENSUS from participants are continued at
(2016-03-18 Does Lockheed Martin Corp have a role in the 2016 Census?)