22 July 2010

Former Chief Statistician's Resignation Letter Removed

... and replaced with this:

Media advisory: 2011 Census
July 16, 2010
OTTAWA — Statistics Canada is not in a position to answer questions on the advice it gave the Minister in relation to recent statements the Minister has made.

Anticipating such a move, I saved Munir Sheikh's letter of resignation, together with its embedded link, to my Mac's hard drive. Like other bloggers, I paste it here, for the sake of posterity.

Media advisory: 2011 Census
July 21, 2010

OTTAWA — There has been considerable discussion in the media regarding the 2011 Census of Population. There has also been commentary on the advice that Statistics Canada and I gave the government on this subject.

I cannot reveal and comment on this advice because this information is protected under the law. However, the government can make this information public if it so wishes.

I have always honoured my oath and responsibilities as a public servant as well as those specific to the Statistics Act.

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.

I want to thank him for giving me the opportunity of serving him as the Chief Statistician of Canada, heading an agency that is a symbol of pride for our country.

To you, the men and women of Statistics Canada – thank you for giving me your full support and your dedication in serving Canadians. Without your contribution, day in and day out, in producing data of the highest quality, Canada would not have this institution that is our pride.

I also want to thank Canadians. We do remember, every single day, that it is because of you providing us with your information, we can function as a statistical agency. I am attaching an earlier message that I sent to Canadians in this regard.

In closing, I wish the best to my successor. I promise not to comment on how he/she should do the job. I do sincerely hope that my successor’s professionalism will help run this great organization while defending its reputation.

Munir A. Sheikh

Here is that "earlier message" to Canadians, dated July 21, 2010, whose link now brings up an error page:

Message from the Chief Statistician of Canada

At Statistics Canada, our goal is to provide the best and most reliable information possible on our society, our economy, our environment and other dimensions of our country.

We follow the highest technical standards in collecting information from you as individuals, businesses and institutions and in reporting it back to you. In addition, we work neutrally and objectively, without interference or influence from any groups or individuals. Finally, we place a very high value on the confidentiality of the information we collect and on the privacy of those who provide it. For these reasons, we are rated as the best statistical agency in the world.

Our data serve a very useful role in the functioning of our country, allowing Canadians to make informed decisions and governments of all levels to develop appropriate policies. We take this role very seriously indeed.

As always, our focus at Statistics Canada is on data quality—which includes key features such as relevance, accuracy, timeliness, accessibility, interpretability and coherence.

And, finally, I take this opportunity to thank all those who give us their data. It is because of them that we can produce statistics that benefit all Canadians.

Munir A. Sheikh
Chief Statistician of Canada

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