Consumer? Client? User? Inhabitant? Resident? Citizen! Avoding the word citizen in the public sector obscures what policy making is for.

@ton I suspect much of it is a result of the shift in optics around immigrants / refugees / migrant workers. They aren’t citizens, but should be afforded the same rights as citizens (or so the narrative I often hear goes). Thus to speak of citizens, is to speak of a class of which some are not part.

For the modern sensitivity of ‘inclusion,’ this is one barrier to many and so linguistic gymnastics are performed lest we make anyone feel not part of the social system.

@robert Could be, esp for the use of 'inhabitants'. Good point. Although in our EU context EU migrant workers / migrants (about half of all migrants) would be covered by the meaning of 'citizen'. It's not something I hear as explanation from Dutch civil servants though, that seems to stem from the negative connotations they attach to the _word_ citizen itself, not its meaning or coverage.

@ton Except that 'citizen' isn't enough either. A substantial part of the population consists of landed immigrants - people who have migrated to Canada, but who haven't yet become a citizen (there's a process and a residency requirement). It also doesn't cover visitors to Canada, which includes students, workers and tourists. We also serve companies, institutions, other levels of government, and NGOs. The word 'client' covers all of these, and makes it clear we are working for them.

@Downes In Dutch there's a colloquial nuance between the word 'burger', citizen more akin to burgher, and 'staatsburger' holder of national citizenship. The constitution assigns rights using that nuance. Wrt holding office/voting to 'Nederlanders' (Dutch ntnl citizenship), wrt Art 1 non-discrimination clause to 'all present in the Netherlands' (i.e. residents + visitors), most others (e.g. assembly, expression, press, privacy) to 'everyone' (no matter residence or national citizenship)

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