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Company apologizes for survey

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TORONTO—Aeroplan parent company Aimia Inc. apologized yesterday for a survey it circulated in mid-March that “offended” customers with questions on immigration and marriage.

But one expert said the queries shouldn't be much of a surprise because they pop up in plenty of other surveys.

The apology came after Lacey Willmott, a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo, complained to Aimia about its shopping and life habits questionnaire because she found it “problematic" when it asked her if too much immigration "threatens the purity of the country," whether getting married and having children is "the only real way of having a family," and if "the father of the family must be master in his own house.”

The last of the questions “has been asked a ton of times by a ton of different people,” including at least one other major polling and marketing firm in the country, said Laurence Ashworth, an associate marketing professor at Queen's University in Kingston.

Aimia spokesperson Christa Poole said in an e-mailed statement that the questions came from CROP, a Montreal-based marketing research company, which did not respond to the Canadian Press's request for comment.

Poole said CROP “has been asking the same questions of Canadians for 30 years.”

However, she admitted, the questions had not been properly reviewed internally and “don't meet the standards we hold ourselves to in terms of the kind of information we gather in order to provide the best program for our members.”

Poole said Aimia would be deleting the data it collected and had asked CROP to do the same.

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