Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I'm going to court on Friday

Why I refused to send in the 2006 census...

As a Christian I believe a big part of my witness for Christ is to take a stand for the gospel of peace wherever the opportunity arises. Jesus taught us that peacemakers will be blessed, and so I try to live my life in a way that would receive some of that blessing. So when I discovered that the 2006 census was being counted by Lockheed-Martin (a producer of weapons of war, a corporation benefitting from the war in Iraq, and a producer of depleted-uranium weapons that make civilians and soldiers sick), my wife and I felt our consciences gave us no other choice but to withhold our census in non-violent action, understanding we were at risk of a $500 fine or 3 months jail time.

We, however, are not against the census itself in the least. We see it as a legitimate and useful tool for the government when used correctly. We feel that the government made a bad decision based on the bottom line, largely that Lockheed Martin could count the census more efficiently or cheaper than StatsCan could. When we eventually did hand in our census it was because we felt a census was useful, however, we defaced it's bar codes in hopes that it could only be counted by StatsCan rather than Lockheed-Martin technology. We also expressed our outrage in the comments section of the census and in a letter detailing our reasons for withholding.

In the bible, King David called a census once to count his available soldiers for future wars. The scriptures state that God was very displeased with this test of military strength, as our God would rather us trust in him than weapons or soldiers. In the end David wished he had never called the census and repented of his actions. In a similar fashion I hope that the Canadian government would repent from its use of a census intimately tied to a weapons manufacturer. In the future I hope our government will choose what is peaceful and responsible rather than what is financially efficient.

3 comments:

Marty said...

Do your Time....
But not when I come for a visit.. I do not want to spend time in jail -- bad enough I have to meet with lawyers and court clerks..
But I can recommended a couple of good lawyers if you need.

Hmmmmmmmmm to witness from the inside and the out side.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand what you hope to accomplish. Are you hoping that Census Canada will cancel it's contract with Lockheed-Martin? Even if it does, what does that accomplish in regards to your pronouncements on world peace? it's hard to see where you're going with this.

If you're a radical pacifist against all weapons manufacturers, then there are many other companies and products you should be boycotting.

For example: Boeing is the second largest aerospace and defense contractor in the world.

Therefore, you should refuse to fly on any airline that uses Boeing aircraft (such as Air Canada, or for that matter, most other airlines around the world).

I hope that you don't have any IBM computers, because ater all, IBM develops software (IBM rational) used in weapons systems.

Hopefully you don't own any blenders or other household products by General Electric, which also contributes to the arms industry, mainly by making engines for military (as well as civilian) aircraft.

I hope that you don't drive a General Motors vehicle, as GM makes vehicle for the military.

I could go on, but my point is it's not the companies one needs to avoid (even if one could avoid products from all companies related to the production of weapons systems). It's specific government policy that one must confront. Hence, a demonstration outside the U.S. embassy specifically against the wr in Iraq would make a more coherent point than this census thing.

Keep in mind that your tax dollars have been going to weapons manufacturers long before Census Canada contracted with Lockheed Martin. We do, after all, have a military. It's not the product, it's the policy. But even if it is the product for you, you have to be consistant.

Catherine said...

Hi Todd,

I heard about your battle from Next's newsletter. I did some of my own civil disobedience on my census as well and wrote a strongly worded comment about how our sovereignty was at risk by an American company - who must abide by the Patriot Act provisions and, if requested, turn over its records to the US government - having our census information.

I did not realize that it was Lockheed Martin until I read the newsletter this morning. I am flabbergasted at the short-sightedness of StatsCan. I pray you and people like you can make a difference. At the very least, I've become better informed through your action, and will be writing some strongly worded letters to the media and to my reps. So, thank you.