The Winnipeg Sun (Canada), May 14, 2003
By KEVIN ENGSTROM, STAFF REPORTER
The Force runs deep within thousands of Canadians, census information reveals.
“Jedi” is the religion of choice for 20,000 Canadians, according to 2001 census data released yesterday by Statistics Canada. About half of all Canadian Jedis live in B.C., a Statistics Canada official said yesterday, while Alberta and Ontario have 4,000 each.
About 2,000 Jedi followers are scattered throughout the rest of the country, including Manitoba.
The Jedi religion, taken as an off-shoot from the Star Wars movies, had previously made its presence felt in other countries. Hundreds of thousands of would-be Luke Skywalkers have written “Jedi” as their religion on census forms in Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand.
In each case, people in those countries who don’t identify with a conventional religion have been urged through e-mail to write “Jedi” on the census form.
Denis Dion, a produce manager who lives near Vancouver, said he and some friends decided to write in “Jedi” to thumb their noses at the government for asking what he felt was an inappropriate question.
“My religion is my issue, not the government’s,” Dion said.
The Jedi religion is likely more prank than fact among Canadians, said Andrew Turner, owner of Comic and Toy Zone in Winnipeg.
“I can’t say I know anyone who has ever spoken a word about believing in this,” he said.
In the blockbuster George Lucas sci-fi films, Jedis are depicted as holy warriors who use the powerful strength of “the Force” to overcome sinister elements.