Sep 252010

(Today, #2 comes before #1!)

(I phoned before sending this.  I don’t have much faith that these communications get dealt with.  All you can do is try.  The email from Clement’s office follows my reply to it.)

SENT:  September 17, 2010

Dear Correspondence for Minister Clement,

Thank-you for your communication.   I appreciate the steps you are taking.


(1)     Please forward this to the drafters of the legislation for the proposed changes to the Statistics Act.   It is orwellian to say that a census form can be simultaneously voluntary and mandatory.   I elaborate on this point following request # 2.

(2)     Please draw to the attention of Tony Clement:  changing the Statistics Act does not address the fundamental objection to the Census.

The resistance in Canada to the census is because Public Works and Industry Canada (StatsCan) awarded and continue to award census contracts to Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin is the American military, a corporation

–        with a long record of court convictions

–        that has paid tens of millions of dollars (maybe hundreds of millions) in fines

–        that manufactures weapons that are in contravention of Canadian and International Law

–        that is well-known for crossing political palms with silver

–        that was a large force behind, that has profited handsomely from the illegal war of aggression on Iraq.

You say I encourage all Canadians who receive the 2011 Census form to complete it and participate in the National Household Survey.

I regret to inform you that as long as Lockheed Martin has ANYTHING to do with the Canadian census, I will find it very difficult if not impossible, to be encouraged by you.

Furthermore, you are now generating $16 billion dollars of debt for Canadian tax-payers,  to purchase Lockheed Martin fighter jets that can only be used for coercive and  violent ends (war).  This puts me in a position where I cannot pay my income tax in full.   My installment payment made on September 15th deducted a representative portion for the amount of public money you are transferring to this corporation that is in the business of making money from killing people and the environment.  I sent the amount deducted from my income tax payment to Conscience Canada

I am frustrated by the obsolete thinking displayed by the Government.  I cannot understand it.  Is it “boys with their toys” (fighter jets, bam! bam! bam!)?  …  Have you seen the photographs of, or driven past the miles and miles of discarded military equipment lined in precision formation on the American desert?   If you believe that misappropriating billions of dollars on war machinery that becomes obsolete (thereby not funding the true needs of the society), that bombing people and their land to oblivion does not create terrorists, if you can show me one example from history where it has been a successful strategy in the long term, please enlighten me.

I believe the wisdom of Buffy Ste Marie and others:  it is the American tax-payers who are responsible for illegal war and the deaths and dislocations that accompany it – – they provide the money to make it possible.   Lockheed Martin feeds at the public trough.  Without tax-payers’ money Lockheed Martin, a destructive force in the World, would not exist.   I have criticized the American public for being complicit.   I will not now be complicit when Lockheed Martin and the American military worm their way into Canada.  I will not pay the portion of my taxes that go to fund what is malevolent, irrational and that displays incapacity to engage in creative problem-solving.

Back to Point #1:


An  important contradiction I point out, with the intention that it will be helpful to the changes to the legislation you are making.  You say:

–        “Census information . . .  will be collected as part of a new voluntary NHS.” (INSERT:  National Household Survey”.)  You follow with the statement 

–        “legislation this fall to remove threats of jail time for persons refusing to fill out the Census and all mandatory surveys” 

I think you would be the same as me:   I would laugh in derision at any legislation which said that the census long form (INSERT:  and/or StatsCan surveys) was simultaneously “voluntary” and “mandatory”.   However, it is more than a laughing matter.

(INSERT:  I didn’t word this properly.  The Government’s statement makes “surveys” “mandatory”.  This would actually be worse than the current law which makes surveys voluntary.    See  “THE LAW ON STATSCAN “SURVEYS”) 

Continuing with my input to the Minister:

The word “mandatory” BY DEFINITION, means you have to fill it in.

That is what the actual word says and means.   “Required or commanded by authority.”

By saying that the census long form (INSERT:  or the Surveys)  are  “mandatory” you misinform people, whether there is threatened punishment (jail time) or not.   I spend all my time trying to INFORM, not mislead.   “Communications” or “spin-doctoring” is not right or helpful.   Using words to say something that they don’t mean debases our language (“Newspeak” from George Orwell).  Language is an extremely important communication tool.  There is more than enough room for misunderstanding without deliberately saying what you don’t mean.

The proposal, as I understand it,  is to tell people that the census long form – –  the “new” National Household Survey – –  is mandatory, but really it’s voluntary, because there won’t be penalties if you don’t fill it in.  And so (using our great capacity to rationalize) it can be mandatory to hand over your personal information AND it won’t offend the Charter Right to Privacy.   Orwellian newspeak

The media debate doesn’t raise the question:  wait a minute, we have a Charter Right to Privacy (Section 8 of the Charter).  How does that figure in the census debate?  The “voluntary mandatory” census form becomes a process, as so cleverly unfolded in “Animal Farm” (Orwell), through which people forget that they ever had such a thing as a Right to Privacy.  Most Canadians have already forgotten it, if the current public debate is any indication.

The majority of people will interpret “mandatory”, and the Government will propagandize it, to mean that YOU HAVE TO FILL IN the census long form.  That is the intent after all.

The U.S. census is this year.  The Lockheed Martin and IBM duo are the internal workings of the American Census Bureau, as they are working to become in Canada and in the UK.

If you look at the ad campaigns – – huge – –  AND

If you look at the strategy in the 2006 Canadian ads,

the Government and Lockheed Martin/IBM use large amounts of propaganda to get people to throw away their charter right to privacy.

Propaganda (impressive ad campaigning) is only a more subtle form of coercion than using the threat of prosecution and jail.

Here’s what you get:

–         The census is mandatory

–         Hand over your personal information.

–         If you don’t we won’t give you money (one of the approaches used in the 2006 Canadian census – you will lose transfer payments and Government funding for various programmes if you don’t fill in the form.  The other coercion was, of course, “if you don’t fill in the form we’ll prosecute you, send you to jail, and fine you”).

We badly need an educated and informed public;  you can’t have democratic government without it.

By calling the census “mandatory” you are setting people up to give away Charter Rights, in ignorance and through propaganda.

I  (and I suspect you) would laugh at any legislation (law) which said that the census long form was simultaneously “voluntary” and “mandatory”.   You cannot have both at the same time.   The words are opposite in meaning.

Please relay this to the drafters of the legislation.   It is not good to undermine respect for the laws of the land.

Yours truly,

Sandra Finley


– – – – –  – – – – – – —  – – — – –

From: CorrespondenceMinister AT [mailto:CorrespondenceMinister AT]
Sent: Friday, September 17, 2010 8:37 AM
To: sabest1 AT
Subject: The 2011 Census of Population

Dear Ms. Finley:

I have received a copy of your email regarding the 2011 Census of Population.  This government recognizes the importance of this issue for Canadians and appreciates the time you have taken to share your views on this matter.

As you are aware, the Government of Canada has made the decision to conduct the census as the short form only, which will be sent to all Canadian households in May 2011.  We believe that these recent changes to the Census, along with the introduction of the voluntary National Household Survey (NHS), strike a better balance between the need to collect information on households to inform public policy and protecting the privacy rights of Canadians.

The 2011 Census of Population will consist of 10 questions: the same 8 questions that appeared on the 2006 Census short-form questionnaire plus 2 questions regarding the ability to speak in one of Canada’s two Official Languages and the language spoken at home.  I assure you that the addition of these questions will support the implementation of the Official Languages Act and its regulations.  The Government of Canada remains committed to official languages and to supporting the vitality of official language communities.

Census information previously collected by the long-form census questionnaire will be collected as part of a new voluntary NHS. The NHS will be distributed to 1 in 3 households, which represents approximately 4.5 million households, an increase from 2.9 million households surveyed in 2006.  Statistics Canada has extensive experience in conducting voluntary surveys and will apply its same rigorous methods and standards to conduct and release survey data.  The Chief Statistician has indicated that this new approach will provide useful and usable data that can meet the needs of many users.

Beyond the provision of limited and essential information, we do not believe it is appropriate to demand extensive private and personal information from Canadians under threat of imprisonment.  That is why our government announced its intention to introduce legislation this fall to remove threats of jail time for persons refusing to fill out the Census and all mandatory surveys administered by Statistics Canada.  An additional legislative amendment will also be made to require respondents’ consent on whether personal information from the NHS questionnaire can be released after 92 years.

I encourage all Canadians who receive the 2011 Census form to complete it and participate in the National Household Survey if their household is selected.

Yours sincerely,
Tony Clement

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You may have noticed the news that the opposition parties are uniting to save the mandatory long form census.

In addition to phone calls, I sent an email to every individual opposition MP and to the Liberal Senators with subject line:  The census long form is BEFORE THE COURTS  (item #1).

Sometimes I think we’ve lost our marbles.  I received an email from Tony Clement’s office (Minister Responsible) which speaks of the new legislation to change the Statistics Act.  They propose to make the census long form both “voluntary” and simultaneously “mandatory”,  as I read the email.  I asked that my reply which points out that you can’t have it both ways, be forwarded to the drafters of the legislation.   Maybe they are struggling with the contradiction?

(Not really – – see   George Orwell on Love and a few not on love.)

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In response to the news:

Opposition unites in bid to save census,

I tried phoning the leaders of the Opposition Parties but it’s Friday and hard to get an answer.  I phoned the offices of some MP’s who might be influential with their leaders.

And then, using MP and Senator email addresses at  I sent the following to the opposition MP’s and to all the Liberal Senators.  I don’t know if it will do any good because earlier I sent almost all of them (except the Senators), including the Conservatives, the information on the census – – at least some of them should have known from that:  the issue is under judicial review.

I’ve done all I can to alert them to the fact that a legal ruling is pending.  Their efforts for a private member’s bill to make the long form mandatory are ill-advised.

SENT:  Sept 24, 2010.

SUBJECT:  The census long form is BEFORE THE COURTS

Dear (Member-of-Parliament),

I am concerned that your efforts around the census long form are well-intentioned but lack information:  the Courts are dealing with the issue.

Bluntly stated:  It is the Conservatives, not you,  who will win the day if the census long-form is determined to be unconstitutional.  It is my intention to be helpful by drawing this to your attention.

Judge Whelan, Provincial Court, Saskatoon heard final argument on the census long form on September 9th , 2010 (R. v. Finley).

The trial has been on-going since April 2008.

A decision is expected (date changed).

The lawyer for the case,  Steve Seiferling, Saskatoon, (306) 664-1339, is an expert in privacy law.   The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has precedence over the Statistics Act.   The case law associated with Section 8 (freedom from undue search and seizure) establishes 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  . . control from dissemination to the State.

It is anticipated that whichever way the decision goes, it will be appealed.

It is possible that you are more or less walking into a trap.  The Government (Justice Dept) knows about the trial.  The Prosecution did not offer the argument that the benefit to all Canadians of the census long form is greater than the individual right to privacy of personal information (which the Government can’t meet the test for).  The consequence is that the case will proceed focused solely on the question of whether the long form is constitutional.  Which it is not , under Charter Section 8 case law.

I suggest that you wait for the legal decisions before you unite to save the long form.  It is the Conservatives who will win if the Courts decide that the long form is unconstitutional – – which they will do;  they have to follow the law.   You may then end up with egg on your face, the idea being that you are legislators with some responsibility to act within the confines of the law.   Governments are not allowed to run roughshod over Charter Rights, which exist for a very good reason.

“Whites” say there is nothing wrong with the census questions.  Put yourselves in the shoes of, for example, Maher Arar or Omar Khadr.   Look at history – the deliberate demonization of Poles and Jews in nazi Europe in order to create fear and hatred which is then followed by the imposition of a military (“security”) state – – all enabled by detailed profiling of citizens through census data bases  (“IBM and the Holocaust”).

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a legacy given to us by collections of people in the past who have fought, suffered and died at various times for democratic principles.  Through their actions they gave us the understanding of and tools to protect ourselves against state tyranny.   We should not, through ignorance, throw those rights away.  Especially not when the American military through Lockheed Martin Corporation is involved in our census.

The Conservatives, through making the census long form no longer mandatory (which it never was because of Charter Section 8)  have still not addressed the fundamental issue.  And you are ignoring it:  Lockheed Martin  Corporation (the American military) in the Canadian census.


Sandra Finley


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