Census Chaos Looms as Stats Canada Chief Resigns in Protest

Canada's chief statistician has quit in a very public protest over the Harper government's announced plan to replace the Canadian Census "long form" with a voluntary census.

2 minute read

July 23, 2010, 6:00 AM PDT

By Michael Dudley


The Harper government's plans for a voluntary census has caused widespread outrage, and now with the resignation of chief statistician Munir Sheikh, many are demanding that the government back down. According to John Ibbitsen,

"Having gotten into this mess, the Conservatives must now retreat, or put the very future of the census itself at risk. City and provincial governments had already warned [the government] that replacing the mandatory long-form version of the census with a voluntary survey would effectively gut the census. Every kind of industry, labour, academic and charitable organization had sent petitions, letters and press releases saying the same thing, backed by a truckloads of statisticians and economists.

Anyone of stature [should now] insist that the integrity of the long form be maintained, which means the government would have to back down. Anyone prepared to carry out the government's orders and conduct only a voluntary survey would have no credibility. "

In a related article, the Globe and Mail sets out how a voluntary census would affect Canadians:

"Abandoning the mandatory long form of the census will have ripple effects on Canadians because so many decisions are based on information gleaned from it, critics of the change say. They argue that the voluntary system would introduce bias and reduce the reliability of data collected about individual neighbourhoods, wreaking havoc with local planning, experts say."

Thursday, July 22, 2010 in The Globe and Mail

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