Gordon Watts in an article "Federal Government Destroys Value of Future Census", at http://globalgenealogy.com/globalgazette/gazgw/gazgw-0122.htm, expresses concern about the short form being adopted for the 2011 Canadian census, and the fact that there was no prior consultation with the historical or genealogical community.
In the 2011 short form you will be required to supply:
- Telephone number
- Family name, Given Name
- Exact date of birth, and age
- Marital Status
- Whether living common law
- Relationship to first person in household
- Language first learned (English, French, other)
Complaints about the census are hardly new and have usually been about it being too intrusive. Some early UK objections are recounted in "Why did some Victorians object to the census?" at http://quezi.com/11321 . Neither have complaints been restricted to the UK.
Many native groups rejected participation in the census in 1986, and reportedly had done so on previous occasions, http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=dL8yAAAAIBAJ&sjid=lO8FAAAAIBAJ&pg=1208,4449277&dq=census&hl=en.
In a 1983 column Don McGillvray opined on overly intrusive questions http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=6aMyAAAAIBAJ&sjid=-u4FAAAAIBAJ&dq=census&pg=5836%2C3481262
In 1961 there was concern in Quebec about the ethnic origin question, see http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=XPsxAAAAIBAJ&sjid=3-QFAAAAIBAJ&pg=7282,867180&dq=census&hl=en.
We also have the Jedi census phenomenon, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jedi_census_phenomenon which brings the census into disrepute.
You're likely to be comfortable giving someone your name and address, and less comfortable telling them your salary or your religion, whether Jedi or not. The less intrusive the census the more likely people are to agree to the data being released, and in 2011 Canadians will have the option to decide whether they want their census responses to be released after 92 years.
Those protesting the government's decision should consider the likelihood that our descendants may well have more, not less information available as a result of adopting the short form.