By Bruce Campion-Smith and Richard J. Brennan, Toronto Star, July 22, 2010
The head of Statistics Canada has quit in protest over the Conservative government’s decision to axe the long-form census questionnaire, warning that Ottawa’s proposal for a voluntary survey won’t work.
This is the only viable, ethical and authentic decision the StatsCan head could do under the circumstances. A voluntary survey simply will not substitute for a mandatory long form, which no one really found that objectionable in the first place. Munir Sheikh, who has a Master's degree from McMaster and a doctorate in Economics from University of Western Ontario, had previously been the Deputy Minister of Labour and was appointed Head of StatsCan in 2006.
Mr. Sheikh, who holds a Master's degree from McMaster and a doctorate in Eonomics from University of Western Ontario is to be commended for his courage, for his integrity and for his schoolarship. The Canadian people are in his debt.
Ironically, his resignation came on the same day as the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsak, in the Obama administration came clean on his hasty and unwarranted decision to fire one of his senior staffers, in what has to be one of the most manipulated dramas in American politics.
Whereas, in Canada, the Minister responsible for StatsCan, Tony Clement, has been making simply dumb and embarrassing moves, both in the run-up the G8/G20 conferences, by paving the streets in his riding in something resembling gold with taxpayer money, he now merely replaces the Head of StatsCan with another functionary.
Wouldn't it be stunning if a Canadian cabinet minister, perhaps, say, of Mr.Clement's stature, could find the courage, integrity and authenticity to submit his resignation, over what has to be one of the more glaring of decisions, to drop the long-form mandatory census form, on which so many policy and program decisions are based, not only by government but also by many professional organizations across the country. Or is the really the Prime Minister himself, who is behind the government's decision in the census matter.
Not really caring about the information which is available from the census form |(long) is another sign of the attitude of the government to the people. In their minds, they know best, and the real data is irrelevant....