I was surprised the other day to get this in my mailbox:
Didn't we deal with this already? Are they using older envelopes?
Power and Politics yesterday had a Tory spokesman saying that the Short Form Census will remain mandatory.
Why the long form but not the short form?
The government has a right to count its citizens I suppose. I honestly considered just tossing this envelope for threatening me to cooperate or else.
I'm the type of person who likes to fill out surveys. I know how they are used, and I don't mind the idea that the world is being built with me in mind. I just hate being threatened.
I hate being reminded that I don't rule in my own home in my own country.
Finally I opened the envelope. It wants to know who lives here and what languages we speak. Whats wrong with that really? No questions about my religion or other personal questions. Makes me feel a little silly now. This is a bilingual household and we're keen to preserve our French / English institutions.
I also speak Portuguese. Perhaps we'll be seeing more refugees from European socialism and could recommend places for them to settle. We integrate well.
So I'll fill out the Census and send it in because its good for me and good for my community. I'm not filling it out because of threats. In fact the threat itself is what bugs me most. Would Statistics Canada please seek out every other method to get my cooperation? How about a tax break? How about a coupon or some other carrot? Do you have to go right to the threat on the envelope?
To this day, I haven't seen any proof that threats generate better information. My own reaction is not unique. If I didn't want something out of this census I would be tempted to enter Klingon or perhaps Whale-song purely out of spite. Who could prove I'm not fluent in those anyway?