July 22, 2010

Canada’s Chief Statistician Quits Over Census Changes

The head of Statistics Canada has resigned over the government’s decision to drop the mandatory long form in the 2011 Census, stating that the voluntary survey that will be instituted in its place is not an adequate substitute. The resignation statement by Munir A. Sheikh declined to explain what advice he and his agency gave the government about its plan.

The Conservative government’s announcement last month that the long form would be dropped from the census after 35 years of use provoked criticism from Canada’s three opposition parties, and legislators plan to hold hearings next week on the issue. The Cabinet minister who oversees the census, Tony Clement, issued a statement after Sheikh’s resignation reaffirming the decision to drop the long form “because we do not believe Canadians should be forced, under threat of fines, jail, or both, to divulge extensive private and personal information.”