census alert

Canada's census and Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin were also involved in the 2006 Census in Canada, and a campaign calling for a boycott was organised by Vive le Canada and supported by progressive MPs in Canada’s parliament.


The issues

The Canadian Federal Government granted Lockheed Martin a $43.3 million deal to conduct its 2006 census.

From the very beginning there was opposition from peace groups and some politicians concerned with taxpayer dollars going to a weapons builder.

Many people were also concerned about a US company getting its hands on Canadian citizens' personal information. There were many concerns about the USA PATRIOT Act and the US government requesting information that the public might never be told about.

There were also concerns about competition between Canadian and US companies. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) forbids preferential treatment to Canadian companies or Canadian workers.

Canadians were also angry - simply because the census was privatised at all.

Other reasons why the issue was so contentious include:

1.The Smart Border Plan between the USA and Canada. This requires the sharing of citizen data, meaning the US Dept of Homeland Security gets almost any information it wants to know about Canadians.

2. The Security and Prosperity Partnership Agreement signed by leaders in Canada, the US, and Mexico. This agreement involved changing Canadian laws and legal structures to mimic those created by the US Congress removing civil liberties.


The campaign

The campaign did not succeed in getting Lockheed Martin removed. But it did achieve its aim of ensuring only civil servants handled the actual data, and a new government task force was set up to monitor privacy during the Census.

Democracy and rights campaign, Vive le Canada, first called attention to the issue during the 2003 Canadian census test. Many people refused to fill out the census test forms or simply wrote “Vive le Canada” across them.

They also petitioned the Industry Minister wth the public's concerns about sovereignty, privacy and confidentiality.

In April 2003 Canada's Chief Statistician announced that Statistics Canada had "changed" the contract with Lockheed Martin to "limit its scope", so that the company would not have access to any information, and would only handle developing software and hardware for the census.

A task force was also created to look into census privacy and security, and was specifically created due to the public outcry and questions from MPs about private contractors providing software, hardware, and printing for the census.

Because of continuing concerns about Lockheed's involvement, a boycott was still called, and many people refused to fill in their census forms in 2006.


Read more about the Canadian Census and Lockheed Martin:

Campaign page

Vive le Canada

Countmeout.ca

Wikipedia