There's lots of chatter on the Twitter machine today about the Sun's editorial defending the government's decision to scrap the mandatory long-form census. What? You don't read Sun editorials first thing each morning - shame on you. Let me walk you through it:
"Call us crazy, but we believe the less the government knows about our personal lives the better.
Big Brother is so ... well, so 1984."
I actually believe the number of people who still watch Big Brother each week is 1750 but why quibble?
Back to the rhetorical a-bombs:
"It's also more reminiscent of the constraints of communism than the freedoms of democracy."
Got that folks; for our entire lives - because this census thing isn't new - we have been living in a country more reminiscent of a communist country than a democracy. Oh sure, we got to vote for our government but since all parties were running on platforms that didn't mention the long-form census, there was really no choice to be had. Much like in communist nations, the pro-census cabal routinely received 99 per cent of the vote - making the entire election a sham. In fact, considering that Stephen Harper has already seen one census administered under his watch, he's also been a communist supporter until, what, last month when he saw the light and decided to liberate us all.
Moving on to my favourite part of the editorial:
"So why are the Liberals against protecting our privacy?
Statistics Canada, which compiles census data, supposedly guards private information like a pit bull guarding a meth lab.
If that is the case, then why is the decision to nuke the mandatory long-form census being condemned by everyone from Michael Ignatieff's Liberals, to municipal politicians, to the Canadian Medical Association, to religious groups and charities?
Is it because the info in the census is not 'private' after all?"
That's right; while Statistics Canada claims the data is "private," we all know that's as silly as the many meth labs being guarded by pit bulls (for the record, my fear of pit bulls is the main reason I have never stolen meth before).
No, as the Sun has now revealed to the world, the census data is far from private. A tiny, discreet group of Canadians made up of every member of the Liberal Party, every municipal politician, every doctor, every person who goes to a religious facility or donates to a charity has always had access to all of the information (that's right Powers - or should I call you "Mr. five bedrooms, three of which you read in after 10 p.m."). This group of what, 10, 15 million people has, until today, kept this leak of private data secret. The rest of you suckas? Well maybe if you had given $10 to Ducks Unlimited yesterday you too would have had access to the info about your neighbour - your loss. As one of the chosen few, thanks for blowing this for us Sun!
"Industry Minister Tony Clement, whose portfolio includes Statistics Canada, has publicly stated the Tories simply chose an option StatsCan itself said was both as reliable and as viable as the old system.
Are we supposed to believe he is blowing smoke?"
Yes, I am pretty sure Clement is blowing smoke. Possibly blowing the smoke from the meth he stole out from under the nose of a pit bull yesterday but I have no way of confirming this (if only that was a question of the census we could know with some statistical precision).
The Sun concluded their tour de force by dropping a Star Trek reference:
"Speaking of which ...
In the 2001 long-form census, 20,980 Canadians protested the long-form census by stating their religion was Jedi.
Then again, maybe it was.
If that is the case, then may the force be with you.
P.S.: Michael Ignatieff is a Sith."
Not being a fan of the Star Trek movies, I presume a "Sith" is a robot that steals secret data from otherwise law abiding aliens but I look forward to tomorrow's Sun editorial for further clarity.
Update So, the thing is... I played a little joke on y'all. I mixed up Star Wars and Star Trek intentionally. I know, kind of lame. Also pretty funny to see the reaction. As it turns out, people seem to take the two series more seriously than just about any other issue I have ever written about and have been bombarding everyone up to the grand poobahs at The Globe about it (poobahs is a Jetsons reference, for the record). I apologize for those of you who practice the Jedi faith for the joke and promose it will only happen six more times before you realize I can be sarcastic at times.