Return of the Long-Form Census

Today is epic for two reasons. The first: it’s Star Wars Day, folks. May the fourth be with you! The second: Canada broke the Internet. Okay, we broke the Statistics Canada website, but that’s still something!


The Liberal government’s majority win and their promise to bring back the long-form census is basically Return of the Jedi writ large against the backdrop of the Canadian wilderness, subzero temperatures, maple syrup, hockey and Tim Hortons. No doubt aboot it.

(I was going to say that the much-discussed return of the census in Canada is Anakin to the awesome conclusion of the original Star Wars trilogy, Return of the Jedi, but I thought that might be a little too punny and even more heavy-handed.)

Here it is:

In a galaxy far, far away, the Empire is busy constructing a second Death Star, hell bent on their mission to rule the galaxy with a tyrannical, Imperial-military-uniform-clad fist. The Conservative party in Canada were, until their recent unseating, busy building their smear campaigns (“He’s just not ready,” anyone?), using policy to slight minorities, and generally ignoring their democratic responsibilities.

That is until a young Jedi Knight hones his skills and uses the Force to overthrow the evil Emperor. Cut to Canada, where a young Justin Trudeau uses a liberal political platform (which includes promises like bringing back the long-form census) to overthrow the then Conservative leader and all-around horrible Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper.


BAM! You’ve got a narrative that is not about the inhospitable Canadian north, but worthy of at least one kickass lightsaber duel and some endearing droids…

So my analogy is a little off. If the Jedi is actually Prime Minister Trudeau, then it would be Return of the Justin Trudeau, which doesn’t sound right. However, it could be Return of the Trudeaus, because our current Prime Minister is actually the son of the much-loved Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, whom TIME magazine referred to as a “Canadian leader of legendary proportions who helped usher in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and official bilingualism throughout the country.” Politics has never sounded sexier. Be still my heart!

Back to the census. I received my notice in the mail yesterday to complete my first official census questionnaire. I only recently moved out of my parent’s basement, so this is the first time that I am not considered a member of their household in the eyes of Stats Canada, and I am SO EXCITED! I’ve got demographics that matter now!

In fact, my fellow Canadians were similarly excited at the prospect of completing the 2016 Census, so much so that they BROKE the Stats Canada website. Not kidding. An article on the CBC website today read “Canada’s ‘enthusiasm’ for census brings down StatsCan website” with the words ‘census-2016-nerds’ in the link. I’m so proud I think I might cry *sniff*.

Just Google the phrase ‘Canada Census’ and you’ll get headlines like “Canada’s Census Is Back And Canadians Are Losing Their S**t” from the Huffington Post and “Canada’s long-form census is back and cooler than ever” from MetroNews Canada.

Canadian’s also spent the day nerding out so hard about the 2016 census on Twitter that the hashtag #Census2016 was trending nationwide, so you got tweets like:

That last reference is going to go right over your head unless you were a kid in Canada in the 90s, and if that’s the case, you are missing out on pure entertainment and I feel the need to enlighten you. Here is a link to every Canadian Heritage Minute. You’re welcome.

It probably goes without saying given my excitement, but I firmly believe in the utility and  necessity of a census, assuming that the government in question actually uses the data to implement better policies which, in light of the Conservative’s reign of terror, did not happen following the 2011 census.

Mind you, that excitement is also mingled with an anxiety-ridden fear that somehow my responses will be erased from the StatsCan servers and I will thrown in jail because they’ll think I willfully broke the law and refused to respond. I’ve watched enough Orange is the New Black to know I couldn’t make it in prison.

And let’s be honest. Who would I be if my excitements were not anxieties hopped up on excessive amounts of caffeine and disguised as opportunities with even the smallest chance of disaster.

Here’s to hoping that the information will be used by our current Liberal majority government for good instead of evil and I won’t go to prison!





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