2 PETITIONS TO SAVE STATISTICS CANADA, OUR ECONOMY, AND OUR SOCIETY

Petition 1: " We call on Canada's leaders to protect the nation's official statistics from political interference." - Published Sept 20, 2010 by Ryan Scheie.
  • Sound information that all concerned can trust is essential for Canada’s market economy.
    When labour and management negotiate, or when civic or international issues are being debated, we want all sides to be able to trust Statistics Canada numbers.

  • Global financial markets penalize nations that lack statistics that are trusted.
    We agree with economists Herbert Emery and Arthur Sweetman: "Canadian politicians have had an admirable track record of providing Statistics Canada with the independence it needs to produce credible statistical information." We agree too that Greece's plight and the consequences for the European Union and the Euro illustrate the importance for a nation of having credible official statistics. See here  and  here.

  • Yet in July, the Harper cabinet decided to replace the census long form with a voluntary survey. Canada's Chief Statistician, Munir Sheikh,  sacrificed his career and resigned. [1, 2 His predecessor Ivan Fellegi explained: " The change means we will spend upwards of $100 million to gather unusable data." Details]

  • A reaffirmation of the de facto arms length status of Statistics Canada is needed to restore domestic and global trust in Canada’s official statistics.
    Thus we join Mel Cappe (Clerk of Privy Council, 1999-2002), David Dodge (Governor of the Bank of Canada, 2001-2008), Ivan Fellegi (Chief Statistician, 1985-2008), and Alex Himelfarb (Clerk of Privy Council, 2002-2006) in calling for a reaffirmation of the UN Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics, including the principle that the Chief Statistician is responsible for issues of methodology and technique of data collection and production. (- English - French) It is crucial too to reinstate the census long form in 2011 or even 2012. Late data is far better than bad data. [Demographer Lisa Dillon and the incoming president of the CEA, Michael Veall, explain: 1, 2. ]  

  • Petition 2: "We call on the Canadian government to reverse its decision to eliminate the mandatory long form Canada census questionaire."
  • The long form census is how we understand who “we” are.
    The information collected through this form is critical to understanding the character and diversity of Canada. The long form questionnaire is an essential tool to enable business and social planning, research, and development of programs for the well-being of Canadians.” Published July 3, 2010 by Marianne Levitsky.

  • Eliminating the mandatory long form census will ruin Canada's superior public and private sector survey data collection advantage.
    Economists David Green and Kevin Milligan explain  that the long form also is used to construct sampling frames and benchmarks for most other household surveys. From health and education to employment and marketing, the quality of the information that government and business and personal decisions are based on will be underminded. Data products such as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Labour Force Survey(LFS) will be suffer too.

  • Not just social statistics, but also key economic statistics, are affected including the CPI which is used to adjust tax brackets, wages, etc. for inflation.
    The CPI and LFS are built into contracts and agreements affecting wages, tax brackets, pensions, transfer benefits, and much more. These and other Statistics Canada indicators are also used as Government performance measures. Those being assessed shouldn’t control how the numbers are produced.

  • Sign two petitions now for two important needs:
    Click here to sign Petition 1 for reaffirming the de facto arms length status of Statscan,
    View Signatures
    Click here to sign Petition 2 for reinstating the mandatory long form census.
    View Signatures
    You may also want to click here to vote in the Globe online poll:Census. See http://datalibre.ca/census-watch/ for groups for and against ending the mandatory long form.
    See here for more information and links. http://www.savethecensus.ca/savethecensus.ca/Home.html provides a “toolkit” for community organizing.