Saturday, May 06, 2006

Bloody Census!

First, I don't -- and haven't ever -- seen the point of filling one of these stupid things out and sending it back with all the information they "require." My personal opinion is that it's a make-work project some government hack dreamed up in lean times, and then it got unionized and bureaucratized to the point where they can't get rid of it.

Then they "require" my name. Why? I once sent one of these things in without a name, just to see what would happen. Two days later, someone knocked on my door, called me by name, and told me I had missed filling in some information. I told her I had not missed anything -- I had deliberately left it out. She nodded thoughtfully, and asked for my phone number. I said no, and shut the door. She didn't come back.

Who cares how many bathrooms there are in my house? None of your goddamned business! That's how many!

It's an "offense" (and if it's federal, that automatically makes it a crime) to lie on a census form? "None of your business" isn't a lie -- it's the honest truth. Deal with it.

Canadian Cynic has his own issues with the on-line form, starting here, continuing here, and smirking smugly here. None of this actually fixes the problem, but it's good to be able to vent once in awhile.

One of the Cynic's commenters left a link to Egale's protest page. Egale is being polite by calling this omission an error. I think it's quite deliberate. So, being the cranky shit-disturber that I am, I filled out the form and sent it in with a personal note attached. This is the substance of the e-mail that will get sent to Stephen Harper from Egale's site:

Dear Prime Minister,

I’m writing because the 2006 Census form instructs same-sex couples who are married to check the ‘Other’ category at the bottom of the list of relationships, rather than checking the top box marked ‘Husband or wife.’

I’m writing to ask you to do everything in your power so that Statistics Canada respects the principles of the Civil Marriage Act, 2005 and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Specifically, I am asking you to direct StatsCan to advertise that married same-sex couples should, in fact, check the box marked ‘Husband or wife’. This will send a clear message that same-sex married couples are respected.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

And this is the personal note I attached to the end of it (yes, you get to add your own personal touch):

I have no e-mail address, and I have no intention of getting one, so you cannot reply directly to me. However, as I have observed in the past, direct replies to petitioners tend to take the form of excuses, rather than solutions; so I really don't want a direct reply -- I want you to fix this situation by re-issuing all government forms with the correct information.

And I personally don't care whether or not you agree with same-sex marriage. Marriage is a provincial jurisdiction, not a federal one. My province passed same-sex marriage legislation before the federal case went to court; so even if the federal court had made a different decision, in my province, same-sex marriage is legal. Not including it on federal forms is discrimination.

I will be watching the news for further developments.

That bit about having no e-mail address is important to me. First, Egale requires it, and I had to put something in there (yes, I'm sympathetic to the "cause" but no, I don't want contact with you except at my convenience, okay?), so I dummied an address. It's required because it is forwarded to the government, and I very specifically want as little contact with them as possible!

I did my paper form and mailed it back. With relish. And a coffee stain. Staples (that will guarantee personal handling). Folded the wrong way. Without a phone number. And with a snarly little personal note on the back page.

Come and get me.


Blogger talk talk talk said...

I feel sorry for the poor wretches who have to process all these forms, coffee (and who knows what else) stains and all.

Saturday, May 06, 2006 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Don't feel sorry for them, T3 -- they're getting paid handsomely with your tax dollars! And at least the stains are only stains, and not fresh samples...

Saturday, May 06, 2006 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Dez said...

I can understand a certain amount of resentment to the Canadian federal government - since they charge some very high taxes in order to fuel a draconian bureau-crazy that seems to love micro-managing those they employ and sticking their noses in everyone else's business - but why...

Nevermind. I think I just answered my own question...

Still, there is a reason for the census. How do they know how much money to distribute to the various agencies and provincial support services unless they have a some-what accurate survey of the population? The information about the size of your home in relation to the number of people who reside there can effect the overall standard of living for your region, among other things.

And if you are concerned about how they are spending your tax dollars, why ask them to spend more money reprinting the forms?

To be honest, I've never seen a reason NOT to answer the census as completely and honestly as possible. But, then, I don't believe my country is spending enough money on social services in the first place. More money for people, less money for war.

Obviously, Canada has a completely different situation regarding the allocation of federal funds than the US - you already spend a huge amount of money on social services, but even more goes to support a top-heavy bureaucracy that seems to exist solely to sustain itself. The census has, traditionally, been one of the tools they use to figure out where to spend your money. But, if all it does is feed a self-serving bureaucracy, then its usefullness is questionable.

Saturday, May 06, 2006 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Bacon Eating Atheist Jew said...

I did the census on line on Friday. I can't believe some of the questions.
Am I white or black? Black? Is that what we still call blacks here? Not "people of colour" or "African Canadian"?

No questions about me being an Atheist. I work out of the home, and it was covered. But then it asks how do I get to work, and the only applicable answer was "walk to work." Yeah, I walk downstairs to my office from my bedroom.

Saturday, May 06, 2006 8:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The census has always seemed like a good thing for Canada since our country is so large and diverse. However, what point is there in giving our every detail over to America?
What is the point?
Who's asking the questions?
Who's looking at the answers?
That's the question.
This should be in-house, and even then carefully monitored.
What? No box for Athiest? No box for Same Sex Marriage?
I must have got the short form...
Anyways, I'm gonna fill mine out, and if there are no applicable boxes, I will make one and staple my additions on.
There should be a Canadian worker taking care of all the people who colour outside the lines.
p.s., I'll especially make a trip to Timmy's to sign my census ;)

Sunday, May 07, 2006 1:18:00 AM  
Anonymous DazzlinDino said...

I think the main purpose of the cencus is for the equalization thing now, all they really need to know is "how many people are in the household and have been there for the last few months.". Other than that the rest is all for your nifty little file they keep on you...

Monday, May 08, 2006 3:54:00 PM  

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