Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Head of Statscan quits over census

Munir Sheikh, head of Statistics Canada today:
"I want to take this opportunity to comment on a technical statistical issue which has become the subject of media discussion. This relates to the question of whether a voluntary survey can become a substitute for a mandatory census.
It can not.
Under the circumstances, I have tendered my resignation to the Prime Minister."
Cue ShamWow Tony from last Friday :
StatsCan recommended move to voluntary census, Tony Clement says
“So I went to StatsCan. They’re the experts. I said to Stats Canada, ‘Give us some options. Is there a way that we can have a balance, get the data that everyone hankers for . .
"He said he asked whether the voluntary survey would produce “robust” data.
Stats Canada replied “in no uncertain terms, ‘Yes, it would give us the data that everybody hankers for.’ ”
Tony Clement is using the word "everybody" to mean the word "Steve" here. "Hankers" is a Canadian heavy metal band.

But Sheikh's resignation must have come as a big shock to Tony, given that he got around 10 supportive tweets from his 3500 followers about gutting the census (h/t Aaron Wherry) in this G&M interview yesterday.

In the same interview Tony said Sheikh would be making a statement today "to assure Canadians that Statscan is going to do its job".

And Mr. Sheikh did indeed come through for us today. Hats off to you, sir.

Reuters :
"Some Statistics Canada employees have complained to the media that the Conservatives have cut or curtailed several major surveys since the party took power in 2006 in an effort to reduce the amount of analysis the agency does."
... because pesky facts and science and analysis get in the way of the Cons making shit up.
Thursday update : Munir Sheikh's letter of resignation taken down from StatsCan website.


Anonymous said...

This actually scares me. What if this so disrupts things at Statscan that it throws the whole department into disarray? What if the damned despot just says the hell with statistics altogether? How much are we going to take of this?

Anonymous said...

Rewriting the past and the present.
It's hard work.

Kev said...

See Phony Tony prevaricate in a Globe Q&A

Alison said...

Hi Kev. That's the link above labelled 'G&M interview'.

"Q: So has Mr. Sheikh or the people speak to you from Statscan raised objections to abandoning the mandatory long form?

A: I think I will stand by my earlier statement. ... I am entitled to believe that when a deputy minister -- in this case the chief statistician -- gives me a set of options, he is comfortable with those options."

"Entitled to believe" over truth or accuracy.
Cheney used the same MO to force intel orgs to come up with 'options' to invade Iraq.

Kev said...

oops totally missed the link in the story.

what struck me was that Clement was perfectly ok with discussing his conversations with statscan, until the questions became uncomfortable for him, then all of a sudden there were privacy concerns.

Anonymous said...

Start archiving Statscan surveys now!
They're disappearing!

Blog Archive