There’s a website–CountMeOut.ca–protesting this relationship, and encouraging Canadians to “buy into the MINIMUM COOPERATION strategy” for the census. They’ve got a big list of tactics, which include:
- You may like to have a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, while you are completing your census form. Careful not to spill. But if you do, don’t worry–your form can still be processed manually instead of by the Lockheed Martin scanning software system.
- You may like to add a sticker or two on your census form, perhaps a sticker with your name and address, or a sticker to promote your favourite charity.
Am I pleased that Stats Canada outsourced to the Canadian subsidiary of an American company that also manufactures weapons (their slogan: “We Never Forget Who We are Working For”)? Not at all. Am I going to screw with my census form as a means of protest? Nope.
- It’ll cost my government more money to process the form.
- The census is important. I’d imagine that every department in the government relies on it as a resource. A government with good data (hopefully) makes better decisions.
- Lockheed Martin makes parts for civilian aircrafts (not to mention the Hubble telescope) too. It’d be a little hypocritical to boycott the census and then climb on one of their planes, wouldn’t it?
- There are dozens of other protest strategies–from writing to my MP to staging a sit-in in the Stats Canada office (a hilarious notion, come to think of it)–available to me. Most (if not all) of these strategies are going to send a clearer, more effective message to my government.
Messing with the census form is like ruining your ballot–a protest, but not a particularly good one. Which would have a bigger impact on Stats Canada’s policies: 50,000 people obfuscate their census forms, or 50,000 people call, email and fax the agency with their criticism of their outsourcing decision?