Why did the 2005 long-form ask whacky questions about housework? (In your household, how many hours each week did Person A spend cleaning house? What about Person B? How many hours did she or he put in?)

I can only suppose that someone – some group – was scouting around for data to support the idea of a publicly funded housewife's allowance. Some feminists at the time harboured a picture of put-upon women slaving away at the dirty jobs in low-income households and getting mighty little in return. Some were in favour of sending such women a little help from government coffers; a monthly check perhaps.

The form was designed to elicit a comprehensive picture of household income. In the opinion of people I talked to at the time, the household-income questions were galling and time consuming.

Stats-Can gave you the option of authorizing census-takers to call up your  recent tax returns. I did not give the authorization. I did not fill out the questions on income.

Paying taxes is a citizen's duty. It might even be called a citizen's right, or privilege. Countries where the government lives on taxes, customs, and levies duly forwarded by the citizens under the law of the land are, without exception I think, free countries. Corruption is at a minimum. The populace retains the right to query the amounts levied, and the purposes for which the levy was made.

Countries where the government depends, if only in part, on monies dealt out by international organizations, charities, etc, are less free and more prone to corruption.

Revealing your financial soul to Revenue Canada is one thing. Stripping down for Stats Can: that's another matter.

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