by Jane Gaffin
I am blessed to live in a quiet sanctum and neighbourhood that are agreeable to going about my writing and research undisturbed.
One afternoon I nearly jumped out of my clothes when that serenity was suddenly shattered by an enormous pounding reminiscent of a doorbusting riot squad. I always expected when the Nazi SS came for me it would be a 5 o’clock morning surprise, not 5 o’clock in the afternoon.
If I were truly in danger, I had the ultimate option of risking life and limb by leaping over the balcony railing. Instead, and for the first time in my life, I felt compelled to grab the handiest object. It was an iron breaker bar tapered to a wicked point on one end for flipping off hubcaps.
I don’t know what good a hubcap-flipper could do against Tasers, 9 mm handguns or paramilitary paraphernalia. But the breaker bar provided a false sense of comfort until I could identify the intruder who may be nothing more than someone looped on stagger juice and had stumbled into the wrong building looking for a clansman.
“Who is it?!” I yelled.
The answer was another thunderous crashing that made my head hurt. If any tenants were home on my floor, they surely would be poking their heads out into the hallway to check on the obscene ruckus.
“IF YOU ARE NOT GOING TO SAY WHO YOU ARE THEN GET AWAY FROM THAT DOOR!” I snarled.
From the other side of the door came the meek reply, “Stats Canada.”
“I sent you something already,” I said, perturbed at the invisible guy who had been either raised in a barn or a whorehouse with an impatient Madam for a mother.
“This is the long-form census,” he chirped timidly, belying his prowess for door-crashing.
“I’m busy,” I retorted.
“Can I leave it and come back in a couple of days?” he asked, politely.
“You can do whatever you want,” I answered, assuming he was going to do what he wanted anyway, with or without my permission.
To arrive at my residence, this stranger had to do a “break and entry”, maybe with assistance from a keyholder, to access the locked building, then trespassed private property where he didn’t belong.
The only people who have carte blanche access to the building are the landlord, manager, tenants and approved guests, maintenance and service people, contractors, postal carriers and couriers, and, during elections, politicians and enumerators. Once, every five years, bona fide Census-takers are added to the eligibility list of legal entrants.
Other than that, stay the hell away. Even the police do not enter the building unless they have been summoned to an emergency or have made prior arrangements to visit a tenant.
At 5 o’clock the following afternoon, the balcony door was open. I observed an unfamiliar car pull into the parking lot. After some chatter, a tenant was convinced to let him in the front door.
The breaker bar was still laying on the table beside the hallway door and the Stats Canada packet was still laying on the hallway floor without my fingerprints on it.
It was good to know that this guy was a quick learner. His knock was subdued and sane.
“Yes?” I asked.
“Can I talk to you?” he asked.
I opened the door. There towered two strapping young men who had the appearance of cops. The first introduced himself mannerly, then introduced his sidekick.
They did not acknowledge me by name. Since Household Census surveys are purported to be “random”, the nameless recipients are supposed to be known only in the Orwellian fashion of phone number and address.
Does the government really believe Canadians are stupid?
It struck me as odd that Stats Canada felt obligated to send two heavies to deliver one dinky packet to a lone occupant. Did they feel “threatened” and traveled in pairs for “officer safety” like the police? Were they packing heat?
“You filled out the Census form,” the first said.
“Yes, I have,” I answered, referring to the May campaign that had accomplished the head count of all Canadian residents.
“This is the long form Household Census,” he said. “Won’t you at least look at it?”
“No, I won’t,” I said. In my opinion, there was no need for a second “census” form, long or short. From previous encounters, I had a fair idea what the invasive long-form questionnaire contained and didn’t need to review it.
“I’m under no obligation to fill it out.”
Evidently, these guys knew the rules, too. They accepted my decision and left without argument or threat. But it won’t be the end of a saga. Stats Canada doesn’t take ‘no’ easily.
Stats Canada deceitfully promotes the long form as a “Household Census”. If it were a “census”, the foot soldiers would be canvassing every apartment dweller in my building instead of again pretending to target me as a “random” subject to receive the long form.
I applauded Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Company for responding to complaints of privacy infringement, civil rights abuses and agents’ obnoxious behaviour. He outlawed the “long-form” in late 2009. However, the Privy Council eventually caved to Stats Canada’s whining and agreed to a suitable compromise of “voluntary compliance”.
That was fine. Some Canadians relish spilling their guts in compliance with the government’s false pretenses.
However, the purpose of a census is to obtain a head count, which is growing exponentially in view of Canada’s 250,000 annual immigration influx, the highest rate in the world that is also importing crime exponentially. It leaves Ottawa in a lurch about how to divvy out transfer payments and budget for welfare and police programs. Hint: Cut the immigration rate by 75 percent until Canada catches its societal breath.
Every five years Statistics Canada designs another form and pushes the envelope beyond the half dozen or so allowable questions: name; birth date; sex and gender; city and province; name of spouse; names and ages of children; number of people living in the household. That’s about it.
Unlike some Canadians, I willingly file a Census form, not because I’m concerned about Ottawa’s per capita funding. As a writer, I am often called on to conduct genealogical work. Census records are the first important source of attack.
However, privacy is precious and must be guarded. Deep thought must be put into how much personal information to release to strangers. Once your personal information is given away, you can never retrieve it. At some later date, that personal information can come back to haunt you because you don’t know where the information flows now or where it will flow in the future as laws and societal attitudes change.
When the Marxist social engineers decide to euthanize a specific group because they discovered socialism doesn’t work, never did work and never will work, and they have exhausted the spending of everybody else’s money and can no longer afford to support lavish social programs, Stats Canada computers can handily spit out names. Then the government medicare brass can line up the eligible for their death shots.
When the New World Order’s High Priest is governing the world from the lofty towers of the United Nations and people are subjected to the UN’s constitution, laws, courts, treaties, policies and eugenics, it will be easy to use worldwide statistical databases to select the three billion people who are scheduled for extermination and a lesser number to be interned in concentration camps.
Josef Stalin and Adolf Hitler would have respectively slaughtered another million for the luxury of computers. As it were, the deranged dictators reviewed hand-written lists each day and personally decided the fate of their enemies. Occasionally, the masters of doom would strike through a name, saving a person from fate in one of the Gulag’s hard labour camps or a killing camp like Auschwitz.
When a Stats Canada agent identifies himself as such on the phone, you can not verify that the person is not really a Google information-gatherer, an I.D. fraudster or some other con artist profiling you for unethical purposes.
Anybody can sound official, reading an intimidating preamble that threatens prosecution for refusing to answer a litany of invasive questions.
You wouldn’t give out numbers of your credit cards, debit cards, bank accounts or personal identification numbers and passwords to a stranger. Yet Stats Canada’s squad members demand you share your HealthCare Card number and Social Insurance Number–not for statistics, I might remind, but for surveillance. Stats Canada has to attach an accurate identity to Josephine Doe or John Citizen for Revenue Canada purposes.
It’s highly advised never to do a survey on the phone with any one who only confirms your identity by a phone number. Ask who they are calling; or say that whoever they want to speak with will return the call later.
Dealing solely in phone numbers indicates telemarketers, independent surveyors, hacktivists and other unsavory characters trying to obtain your private information for disreputable intentions.
In the past, not only has Stats Canada been on my back, but those groping bastards have tried to get into my womb. I, like gun owners who have to answer probing questions about their love life and bedroom activities to register firearms, resent Stats Canada’s blackmail tactics. “You HAVE to answer,” the Winnipeg caller demanded.
Oh? Who said? Response to all impertinent questions, either verbally, or scrawled in black felt pen across the page of a form, should be met with: NOYFB!
When dealing with Stats Canada. know your rights. If you are unsure, pretend. No matter what, stand your ground. Worry about possible fallout from heavy-handed threats later. I daresay there won’t be any. These people are overbearing bullies trying to have their way by playing petty-assed power games.
Some years back, when under threat of prosecution, a supervisor, later diagnosed with job-triggered mental illness, intervened on my case which is how I inadvertently came aware that Stats Canada is the watchdog for Revenue Canada.
I was balky because one of her power-tripping broads had stolen into the locked apartment building and come to my door. She demanded my Social Insurance Number to match me with tax-related information she needed to extract from me. I refused to talk to her again.
This episode went on for over a year. I could not–therefore would not–answer questions about (un)employment that were irrelevant to my freelance-writing lifestyle. I could not get delisted.
“It would ruin our statistics,” they lied.
It was blatantly obvious the goofs were tracking me for Revenue Canada, a fact confirmed when I accidentally caught them red-handed with all my tax returns scanned into their laptops. So much for Revenue Canada’s promise of confidentiality.
My financial records were accessible to all of the part-time, temporary, casual help as computers were passed from one person to the next. What happens to the information when the computers are replaced? The hardrives are not carefully scrubbed before the computers are sold at auction or trashed. It means the sensitive information is floating around in cyberspace.
The supervisor denied all. She claimed that I had provided Stats Canada with the personal financial information. Hardly. I wouldn’t have remembered where I’d worked or how much I earned and other sundry information from 20-to-25 years earlier unless I had checked references, which I wouldn’t have bothered doing, even if I could. I only keep tax records for seven years.
I refused to cooperate because Stats Canada’s devious agents had not been forthright. Then the supervisor warned me that Stats Canada had the right to prosecute.
“Send me a copy of the Stats Canada Act,” I said.
Unbelievably, copies were not available in her Whitehorse office and had to be ordered from Vancouver. Travel time took a while because these brainboxes didn’t have the smarts to send mail to a mailing address.
Later, the tenacious supervisor rang to prove she was right. She instructed me to turn to a certain page of the “Act”. I did. Nothing there.
She was incredulous, stumbling and bumbling, reading a blurb from her “Act”. After I quizzed her, I discovered we weren’t reading from identical documents. This babe was reading from the office Guidelines!
I was being threatened with prosecution by a functionary who didn’t know the difference between a procedural manual and a parliamentary act that legally governs her employer! These are the clever bureaucrats who want command-and-control over our lives!
In my estimation, it would be easier to catch flies with honey than with vinegar. But Stats Canada’s squads adhere to the premise of setting off people’s ire and engaging them in a war of wills.
These goons have been known to overstep their legal boundaries, trespassing property and trampling gardens in their attempts to break into back doors, as well as brazenly invading family Sunday afternoon barbecues and dragging the husband aside under threat to “fill out the long form or else.”
I can’t remember if the gentleman complied. But his heated letter-to-the-editor was one of many that saw ink during that Stats Canada pestilence one season when agents swarmed Whitehorse like a horde of locusts.
The agents will claim they don’t know the occupant’s name, only the phone number and address. Change your phone number. They will latch onto the new one jiffy quick, listed or unlisted; move to a new address and Stats Canada will follow you to the new digs.
“Oh, this household was targeted for a survey; not you personally.”
Do I look stupid? I guess so because those are some of the lies Stats Canada’s drones are taught to spew to the prey.
Make no mistake. They are after you personally, looking for undeclared income, and trying to trip you into a contradiction. Stats Canada knows everything about you, either from the long-form or telephone surveys, or, more likely, because Revenue Canada gave them your latest “confidential” tax return.
You are not sought out to provide statistics; you are under surveillance.
This Blastogram was originally published on July 21, 2011