Who Counts Now? Re-making the Canadian Citizen

Patricia Cormack, James F. Cosgrave, Lynda Harling Stalker


This paper considers the implications of the 2010 cancellation of the Canada mandatory long-form census in terms of citizenship and the citizen-state relation. Inspecting census questions, Statistics Canada publications, and the arguments of ethnocultural groups pushing for reinstatement of the census, we find a version of citizenship rooted in ethnocultural group membership and the mosaic metaphor. The second part of this paper seeks an historical explanation for the cultural shift away from this version of citizenship that allowed for the cancellation of the census. Here we discuss the state monopolization of gambling. Inspecting advertising and government policy we find a rhetoric of counting that encourages a risk-assessing, individualized, neoliberal, and utilitarian citizen.


census; governance; citizenship; Statistics Canada; state; gambling

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