Aug 032010

Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, announced on June 29th that the census long form is no longer mandatory.

Well-intentioned people immediately campaigned for a “mandatory” nature to the long form.

The public discussion is woefully uninformed.  It does not address the two critical issues:

(1)  What does the law say (Charter Right to Privacy)?       and

(2)  what is the context in which the census contracts exist?  Lockheed Martin Corporation is the number one player in the American military-industrial-congressional complex. They have contracts for census work but their name is not mentioned in the census debate.  Yet arguably, the furor over the census would not be happening if the Government had not out-sourced to Lockheed Martin Corporation.

1.    The long form NEVER WAS mandatory because of the Charter Right to Privacy (Section 8 re “unreasonable search and seizure“).  The associated case law says that the Government cannot force citizens to hand over 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.

Nor can the Government meet the conditions under Section 1 (the “Oakes test”) for an override of the individual Right to Privacy in relation to the census long form.  They cannot legally coerce citizens into handing over a “biographical core of personal information” using the argument that the benefit to Canadians as a whole is greater than the individual Right to Privacy.

Furthermore, StatsCan has been collecting data on citizens in between censuses under threat of jail and a fine (reference letter-to-editor July 31, “Harassed by StatsCan”, Margaret Fehr.  She is not the only example.) This is serious disrespect for Charter Rights, and it is in breach of the Statistics Act, Section 31, which states that “surveys” in between censuses are not subject to the penalties related to the census (every five years). �

Even under the Statistics Act the long form is not mandatory – a person does not have to fill out the census form if they have “just cause”.  The Charter Right to Privacy is just cause – – and it overrides the Statistics Act regardless.  (It is legitimate that the Government requires citizens to participate in the census to provide a head count for the establishment of electoral boundaries.)

StatsCan and the Justice Department have relied on citizen ignorance of their Charter Right to Privacy.  The lack of media discussion on the Charter Right serves to erase memory of the Right from the public mind.

There is poorly-informed discussion regarding the actual personal questions and tactics that have been used by StatsCan.  StatsCan, through its surveys and the census long form has coerced citizens into answering questions such as whether they prefer to have sex with males or females, the name of their employer and so on. �

There are many questions related to ethnic background.    Jewish and Polish people in World War Two were well-advised to hide their ethnic background, if they could. The media and citizens do not know their Charter Right, let alone why we have the Right.  We sit in ignorant comfort, lulled into false security and a dangerous loss of memory of history.  Knowing what happened to Maher Arar and to Omar Khadr at the hands of the Government,  this is personal information that persons should not be coerced into handing over.

The Supreme Court rakes the police over the coals when their actions contravene Charter Rights. The Federal Department of Justice has no excuse for not knowing the Charter Right to Privacy. When StatsCan and the Justice Department use the threat of prosecution, jail time and a fine to force citizens to hand over “a biographical core of personal information which individuals in a free and democratic society … would wish to control from dissemination to the state”, the Government is in extremely serious breach of the law.  The rule of law has been upended.

On June 29th Tony Clement announced that the long form is no longer mandatory when it never was mandatory. �

My last day in court was March 16th.  I am on trial because I refused to fill in the 2006 census form.   My next appearance in court is September 9th.

2.    The other critical issue that is not being addressed is (CONTEXT) the involvement of Lockheed Martin Corporation in the Canadian census.   It might be convenient (utilitarian) to contract-out census work to them.   But tax-payers are thereby funding people who break the laws with impunity.  At the time the original census contracts with Lockheed Martin were negotiated, Lockheed was openly a manufacturer of land mines.  At the time the census contracts were extended, Lockheed Martin was openly a manufacturer of cluster munitions.  Both are in contravention of Canadian and International Law.  Lockheed Martin is almost the same as the Pentagon.  They were influential in the decision of the Bush Administration to launch an illegal war of aggression on Iraq, perpetrating lies and propaganda on the American public.  This was happening in 2003 while Public Works Canada was negotiating the census contracts with Lockheed Martin who also has a lengthy record of court convictions and fines.   According to the (American) Project on Government Oversight, in 2000 alone, “Lockheed Martin was charged with 30 violations of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.  The violations were regarding the transfer of space launch assistance technologies to China.  Lockheed Martin paid a civil penalty of $13 million.”  That is a small sampling of their transgressions.  Lockheed Martin also specializes in international surveillance.  Canadians should not tolerate their participation, in any form, in the Canadian census – – long form OR short form.

Do we have the backbone for an honest and open debate on the Canadian census?  For Saskatonians who missed it, on June 26 the Star Phoenix reported that Lockheed Martin gave $3.5 million dollars to the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology (SIIT) for the development of aviation training packages.  Through “offset agreements” in the Lockheed Martin Government contracts, Lockheed is required to spend 75% of the contract value in Canada. Lockheed Martin has a lengthy record of “procurement fraud” in the U.S.:  tax-payers pay exorbitantly for what they get.   Lockheed Martin then “gifts” the money, to SIIT, to Whitecap Development Corp, to Dalhousie University, etc.  The Canadian economy, through our tax dollars distributed by Lockheed Martin,  follows the American model. The economy becomes dependent upon the waging of war.

For SIIT, in Lockheed Martin parlance, an airplane is an “aerial vehicle” .  A “UAV” is an “unmanned” aerial vehicle, commonly referred to as an unmanned drone.  Young people proficient in computer games sit at terminals in military installations in the American southwest (Creech Air Force Base). They guide drones to drop bombs in locations in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, for example.  For SIIT, in Lockheed speak, “The advanced modules are similar to those used internally by the corporation and are based on decades of lessons learned in aerospace and systems engineering on major, complex programs”.

It is convenient that Lockheed Martin’s role in the Canadian census goes unmentioned in the mainstream media.

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Sandra Finley

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