I’ve just finished filling out the 2011 Census. And I’m not impressed.
The Census, in my opinion, is the best way for the Government to gather the information that it requires to meet my needs as a tax paying citizen of our great country. It’s like market research for the services that are delivered to me.
This year, with the elimination of the Long Form Census, I expected that the short form census would contain a slightly more thorough examination of Canadian demography. This was not the case. The government now knows that I’m not a farmer, that I live alone, that I speak french and that I’m 26.
A quick Google of “26 year old french man not a farmer” reveals that I might as well be a camel. The other results are just as concerning. I guess being a camel has its advantages. I can carry my own water in my humps so that when the government cuts essential services that I use, I won’t die of thirst.
Now, that leaves us with the National Household Survey, a voluntary survey that is by invitation only, but that people don’t have to fill out. This means that Canadians will not be statistically represented, meaning that my point of view is not respected.
What if no non-farmer, French-Canadian males of the age of 26 answer the survey? Or even if a disproportionate number answer it?
The mandatory nature of the long-form census ensured that people were represented in a manner that was demographically representative, but the new voluntary model doesn’t ensure this.
Where previously, we were able to say that “18% of Canadians have made love in a canoe”, we can now only say “18% of survey respondents have made love in a canoe.”
But then again, I guess, ultimately, a government who does not want to serve its citizens does not need to know about them.