REPORTING · 27th April 2011
Gwendolyn Sewell, was the next to ask a question as a professional planner. She said the Census long forms were no longer going to be used in 2011. The lack of data will make it difficult to structure and make decisions in Kitimat, where population change has been taking place. She asked what the party positions were on this issue.
Kyle Warwick agreed and said this was a part of a larger pattern in the Conservative Government. He said it favoured ideology over objective data. The planners and academics used the data to track the most sensitive member of society. If the census is not mandatory, the data would be skewed. He said it was a strange use of police officers’ time to jail people for not doing the census.
Maggie Braun said she did not know much about the Long Term Census as it was encroaching on their personal information. She said it came down to what the information was used for and what was needed.
Clay Harmon stated the long form Census was a gross invasion of privacy and jail time was served by one person for not filling it in. He said it was intolerable for someone to go to jail for protecting their privacy in a free country. There were other ways to collect information on a targeted basis. Knowing a postal code is enough information to narrow down information about a person from a census.
Roger Benham could not understand what the fuss about the long form census was about. He said he did not mind giving away any of the information. He agreed with bringing it back.
Rod Taylor said we live in an information age. He was surprised government had to ask questions at all, they must keep losing peoples’ information. He said the long form census should return and did not want to see freedom of information blocked by censors.
Nathan Cullen said the Long Form Census needed to come back because this is how government makes decisions on how funding goes, shows how population shifts occur and makes government spending more effective. He corrected Harmon by pointing out the woman wanted to go to jail for not filling out the census. She pleaded to be arrested, when she was asked to be let go, she said she wanted to make a statement, she did. She went to jail and was discharged immediately with no fine.
“This is what all this is about? Give me a break.” He added the head of Statistics Canada quit over this because she was unable to do her job without accurate figures. “A government who wants to make themselves consciously ignorant about what is going on in their country and then say we’re going to design programs and spending that is going to be effective is wrong. What it’s enabled the government to do is to stop being aware of how many poor folks there are.”