“All of you are aware of my view that this loss of independence and control is not only an apprehension, but an effective reality today,” wrote the Chief Statistician of Canada Wayne Smith in a resignation letter obtained by The Canadian Press.

Smith is the second chief of the organization to quit on principle in the last 6 years. Munir Sheikh, Smith’s predecessor, resigned in protest of the Conservative government’s changing of the census into a voluntary survey in 2010.

“… Statistics Canada is increasingly hobbled in the delivery of its programs through disruptive, ineffective, slow and unaffordable supply of physical informatics services by Shared Services Canada,” Smith stated.

“I have made the best effort I can to have this situation remediated, but to no effect. I cannot lend my support to government initiatives that will purport to protect the independence of Statistics Canada when, in fact, that independence has never been more compromised.”

The government’s Shared Services Canada has a veto over Stats Can, according to Smith, and this undermines the independence of the statistics organization.

“I do not wish to preside over the decline of … a world-leading statistical office,” stated Smith.

“So I am resigning, in order to call public attention to this situation.”

Man Running Across Canada And Back Has Made It Half Way

Cross Canada charity runner Fast Eddy has made it to the East Coast — he ran from Vancouver Island to Cape Spear, Newfoundland, the most eastern point in North America, and is now on his way back to the West Coast.

The ultramarathoner started out in Victoria, British Columbia last March. He calls the journey his “There and Back Run” — and it has two charity causes, Alzheimer’s and Breast Cancer,” two medical conditions close to Fast Eddy.

Alzheimer’s is something Fast Eddy’s grandmother deals with. She helped raise the runner and gave him his nickname. Fast Eddy’s birth name is Edward Dostaler. Breast cancer was a cause undertaken by Fast Eddy’s former professor, Tom Owen, who taught at Thompson Rivers University before his death from lung cancer.

The run has already amounted to 10,000 kilometers one way. The way back will be twice as long.

“Now I’m basically running across Canada again but twice in one go,” Fast Eddy told us.

In order to fit speaking engagements into the trip, Fast Eddy is running a leg, running back, and driving back again to his furthest point.

Fast Eddy

Fast Eddy’s breakdown of the legs of his return trip

“It allows me to go to schools and do presentations and put the causes first,” Fast Eddy said. Also, he is his own driver, so it is a practical method of juggling the tasks of running and driving the gear necessary for the trip.

Not only is Fast Eddy raising money for charity, but he’s also speaking to students in Canada’s school on such topics as saying “no” to bullying, believing in yourself, and persevering. The issues are ones personal to Fast Eddy, like the causes he is fundraising for. Bullying was something the activist faced in school — moving three times with his family because of it — and persevering is something he says he deals with every day.

Fast Eddy (left) with friends in Gander, N.F. where the runner currently is

Fast Eddy (left) with friends in Gander, N.L., December 12

“Every morning you have to get up and face the mental challenge of your day,” he tells the kids he speaks to. “The brain has to say, ‘Nope, we’re going to get up and get going.’ Don’t quit, just keep on moving.”

Interesting “There and Back” Facts

– It takes 4,500 calories per day to fuel the body running as much as Fast Eddy runs
– It will take 28 pairs of shoes to make the complete “There and Back” journey (a pair of runners lasts approximately 700 kilometers)
– The cost will be around $25,000
– The total length of the trip will be 21,585 kilometers

By Justin Munce

Fast Eddy’s webpage and Facebook page

For the First Time in Over 100 Years, Bison Freely Roam Banff National Park

Parks Canada announced this week that wild bison have been released in a remote valley in Banff National Park in a project to re-establish a thriving herd in the area.

The released group numbers 16 bison in total, mostly pregnant 2-year-olds.

Parks Canada will monitor the herd with radio collars for the first 16 months, with the eventual goal of releasing the Bison group into a 1,200 square kilometer area where they will meet other native species and join a natural ecosystem.

Harvey Locke, a conservationist, writer and trustee with the Eleanor Luxton Historical Foundation in Banff, was quoted: “This is a great day for Banff National Park. It’s a great day for Canada and frankly, it’s one of the great days for wildlife conservation in the history of North America.”

Photos: Parks Canada and Johane Janelle/Parks Canada

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