Friday, July 16, 2010

Clement to Farmers: Prepare to be Coerced

Farmers still face mandatory agricultural census

Canadian farmers will still be required to fill out a questionnaire about their farming methods, even though the federal government is scrapping the mandatory long-form personal census because it says it is too intrusive.

In conjunction with the regular census, Statistics Canada also surveys farmers across the country, asking detailed questions about crops and farming techniques.

For example, farmers are asked about the area of land fertilized with manure, whether that manure was spread on the soil, injected into it, or fell randomly from a cow. [ed note: speaking of random sampling...]

CBC News has learned that this survey of farms remains mandatory, although the national long-form household census is being replaced with a voluntary version in 2011.

UPDATE - Clement was on The House yesterday, and he defended the farm Census:

In the radio interview, Clement did not address the concern that the change will cost more money as the new voluntary survey will be sent to more households than before. But he did explain why the mandatory long-form agricultural census was not scrapped.

Clement says the agricultural census is used for valuable measures "that will help farmers," adding, "The argument obviously to farming associations and to farmers is, 'You fill out the form, it'll help the government help you in your farming activities.'"

He went on to say that the farm Census is the Minister of Agriculture's decision - so any farmers who feel coerced, can take up their grievances with Gerry Ritz.


  • Sure, that way farm subsidies will be safe. That's all that's important.

    By Blogger Greg, at 3:00 p.m.  

  • "CBC News has learned". What an odd way of putting it.
    Order in council, Canada Gazette:

    By Blogger Altavistagoogle, at 3:16 p.m.  

  • Lets play Sesame Street!
    3 of these things are kinda the same but one of these things is not like the others, now it's time to play our game, time to play our game:

    1) What is your sexual orientation?
    2) How much money do you make?
    3) How do you spread your manure on the farm?
    4) Do you suffer from any serious illnesses?

    Which one is different? Why number 3 is! You see, it doesn't ask anything that most people see as excruciatingly personal. Today was sponsored by the number 6 and letter P.

    By Blogger The Rat, at 3:29 p.m.  

  • good one Rat!
    Canadians are not stupid.

    By Blogger wilson, at 4:00 p.m.  

  • Rat -

    1) Sexual orientation isn't asked on the long form census.

    2) The farm Census asks about income, and a host of other questions about the value of your property/equipment/etc.

    3) It doesn't ask about ilnesses, but it asks about injuries you've sustained on the farm.

    I don't see it as being any less invasive, and the threat of coercion still stands.

    If the belief of this government is that voluntary disclosure is as good as mandatory, they should follow this through to the farm census.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 6:26 p.m.  

  • It really is easy folks. The farmers get government subsidized data to demand their share of the pie. The rest of us have to do private studies if we approach the government for a new program. Simple.

    By Blogger Greg, at 6:37 p.m.  

  • CG, It doesn't ask you directly who you're rogering but it does ask about your partnership and whether it is same sex or not. I would humbly suggest that is asking which sex I prefer sticking it to. And the same goes for illness. It asks if anyone has mobility difficulties and other difficulties that directly relate to state of health. I'm sure you know that marriage licenses have that same data but government can't use it, just like it can't use CRA data, because of privacy issues. Instead they demand it under the census. It is none of anyone's business, least of all special interest groups who use that coerced data to argue how I should give them more of my money.

    I would also suggest that farmers are a business, not an individual, for these purposes and their income and business practices aren't covered under privacy legislation. Even so, if the questions intrude on their personal life or private matters I would support them in giving the feds the Trudeau salute.

    For me privacy legislation is useless if the government can just force me to give up the same information that they are barred from gathering otherwise. The census has become a big brother intrusion and strayed very far from it's roots as a basic head count of the country.

    By Blogger The Rat, at 9:51 p.m.  

  • Rat - I can't find a short form anywhere, but I believe it asks you your relationship to people on that questionnaire too. So, yeah, you can object to that question, but it's an argument to making the short form voluntary too.

    All I ask for is some consistency from this government. I have a hard time seeing the logic of them coercing Canadians into doing the short form and coercing farmers into doing the long form, but then not coercing the rest of us into doing the short form.

    And the data being collected is useful for policy decisions. And they have no way of tracking it directly back to you. I.e. they won't know how many bedrooms you have in your house, only what the numbers are for your neighbourhood.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:34 a.m.  

  • It is the farm census I refused to fill out re income. I laughed at the stats lady who said programs were planned around info collected. My response, no wonder we are in trouble if they think those questions were answered correctly.
    Over the years I noticed that a lot of info asked turned up later in tax changes, re CCA, Capital gains,allowable deductions and audits from Rev Can. How can you have 300,000 in equip and no income-farm loans, CWB advances-hail insurance. Only the insurance is taxable.
    Today it would be worse, when one piece of equipment could cost over 100,000.
    I imagine a lot of farmers did like we did, lie.

    By Blogger maryT, at 11:05 a.m.  

  • From Order of Council, June 26, 2010 - Question #6 from the manadatory short form:


    For each person usually living here, describe his or her relationship to Person 1.
    Mark or specify one response only.
    Adopted children should be considered sons and daughters.
    Children in joint custody should be included in the home of the parent where they live most of the time.
    Children who spend equal time with each parent should be included in the home of the parent with whom they are staying on May 10, 2011.
    For all children, please consider the relationship to Person 1 and Person 2.
    If none of the choices apply, specify this person’s relationship to Person 1 under “Other”.
    Examples of “Other” relationships to Person 1:
    • brother-in-law or sister-in-law • niece or nephew • grandfather or grandmother • room-mate’s son or daughter • lodger’s husband or wife • employee • etc.

    PERSON 1
    PERSON 1

    PERSON 2
    Opposite-sex husband or wife of Person 1
    Opposite-sex common-law partner of Person 1
    Same-sex married spouse of Person 1
    Same-sex common-law partner of Person 1
    Son or daughter of Person 1 only
    Son-in-law or daughter-in-law of Person 1
    Grandchild of Person 1
    Father or mother of Person 1
    Father-in-law or mother-in-law of Person 1
    Brother or sister of Person 1
    Foster child
    Room-mate, lodger or boarder
    Other — Specify

    By Blogger Loraine Lamontagne, at 6:43 a.m.  

  • I am with you Grit, the incoherence is the problem. There is no doubt in my mind that any census, be it short or long, is an intrusion of my privacy. As is the camera in the elevator I ride to get to my office, the cameras at the banking machine, while I walk on the street; the exchange of data from barcodes when I shop; the 407 ETR knowing where my car is at a precise moment; the US government knowing that I vacation in Mexico, etc...

    I just don't hate my country like Harper and his followers. That Canada wishes to have detailed information about my life thrice in my lifetime isn't something I lose sleep over.

    By Blogger Loraine Lamontagne, at 6:49 a.m.  

  • "I can't find a short form anywhere"

    Have you tried the Stats Can website, perhaps?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:27 a.m.  

  • As is the camera in the elevator I ride to get to my office, the cameras at the banking machine, while I walk on the street.

    By Anonymous ejaz14357, at 8:57 a.m.  

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